the WAFFLE page

March 31, 2012. So here we are... end of the month. Next thing ya know, we'll be getting ready for Christmas.

I gathered from watching a program called Planet America last night that universal health care is not a big issue with your average voter in the US. He's more interested in other things like the state of the economy, the war in Afghanistan, unemployment, affordable housing, etc. Nonetheless, NC Art had this to say:

    Winston Churchill once remarked that Americans can be relied on the get things right--after they've tried everything else. I'm reminded of that often as our Supreme Court busies itself with tearing up a new health care program...before it even goes into effect. This court is so far to the "right" ideologically I wonder if this isn't still the 18th century.
    Your recent remarks on Aussie politics and medical care system should teach us where our real interests are, but since we are so "exceptional" it is impossible to learn anything from anyone else 'cos we are so fuggin smart awreddy! Thus we traipse to the election stations and vote against all logic and our own self-interests. A whole lot of us know that we are all paying for health care for others through higher medical fees, but stubbornly refuse to adopt a national system for all. Y'see, that would be such awful "socialized medicine" like those crazy Europeans, Canadians, Aussies and even Taiwanese practice.
    When our half-assed Medicare system was adopted, it was over the howling objections of doctors. Two years later things had quieted down and I asked a surgeon who hacked on me if they had given up. His answer, they didn't need to give up, they just learned how to screw the system. Exceptional folks, these Learned Doctors of Medicine.

And here's Oregon Richie's twopence worth: You are correct in noting that many of our core-believer Republican types raise no end of hell about the so-called Obamacare, and often just scare the wits out of people over it.  This is really dumb !!  Health care reform has evened the playing field, allowed for more fair and competitive insurance offerings, and even in the medium term will reduce overall costs and the impact on our fiscal budget for the federal government.  I have had the foul chance here lately to encounter one or two absolutely anti-Obama nut-cases who predict a revolution in the streets should he be re-elected, and made him the focus for all the social and economic ills in our country; absolutely none of which makes any rational sense.  Add to that the fact that when they open up a bit, you can plainly see that they are simply racist sunsabitches to the bone.  Most sad, really.
While OZ has many many millions less peeps living on the big rock, our own health care services have soared in costs and provided less in return.  It is not sustainable and while people have bitched and talked about it for years... nobody has really tried to accomplish much to change it... until now.  I think most people think it should be an entitlement anyway although they won't admit it.

According to Planet America, many US administrations have tried to introduce universal health care over a period of 50 or 60 years and failed. I can't remember all of them but they did mention Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton. It'll be quite a coup for Obama if he succeeds. 

The attitude of Aussies towards such issues as universal health care may be explained by this article about Egalitarianism in Australia.

You can Google anything ya know. I was just wondering when daylight saving ends in Oz, and it's tomorrow at 3am when clocks go back 1 hour.

TX Greg discovered that HTML Gear is closing down April 1. That's the part of Tripod that holds and powers Cody's guestbook. At first I thought it was a real bad April Fool's Day joke, but it's not!!! Holy Crap, tons of folks are going to lose all their guest books!!! OK, I'm going to stay up late tonight and copy out all of the entries, so we will have a backup. Then tomorrow I'll start putting it all into regular htm pages to put with Cody's other "Old Guest Book Page". When they shut it down I'll set up a new guest book. At least it's Friday, but I think I'm going to need a bigger coffee pot!!!

I knew this would happen eventually, which is why I don't use a free public service to host Aussie Odyssey. I don't wanna suddenly discover that 10 or 20 years worth of stuff is kaput. Greg takes anything and everything to do with Cody very seriously, so his willingness to save all the guestbook entries doesn't surprise me. Had it been up to me, I would have let it slide. A few days after Cody's memorial service, friends gathered at his local beach with his ashes and we paddled out to the back line, with his dad.   His ashes were scattered on "his back line" on his beach, below his mountain.  Rest in peace dear friend.

Anyway, there goes another Satdee, as well as daylight saving for another year. Gary

March 30, 2012. Yes, Dr Johnathan Clark, my head and neck specialist, does answer emails. Hehe. But I know docs don't like patients using email to ask questions cos they feel like they've given a free consultation. Anyway, my numb tongue is normal for this kind of operation. When will regular feeling return? Who knows?

Lindsay is mumbling about Easter eggs so I checked my calendar. The weekend after next? Oh... well there ya go. I don't follow this stuff. If the weather stays nice, I guess we'll get an influx of holiday-makers, one of whom will be me on the Odyssey. I'll be a holiday-maker 24/7. I've been awake for 2 hours so far and haven't ventured outside the front door yet. See what being domiciled and stuck in a rut does to you? I know what's out there... a front yard, a fence, and a road with traffic. I've seen it all a million times before.

Okay, so I relented. It's another stunning day... and I'm back from standing in the sun for 10 minutes. I need my vitamin D. Actually, there was a news item about that on telly the other day. People are being told to stay out of the sun, to wear hats and to apply sun cream to avoid risking skin cancer. The downside is that many people are now suffering a vitamin D deficiency, and there's talk about adding vitamin D to basic foods such as bread.

Francois' tale of the scolopendra yesterday (which Oregon Richie described as a 'harrowing medical adventure') brought back memories for NC Art:: That scolopendre is one nasty looking critter. As a boy, I lived where oak and maple trees flourished, and the maples seemed attractive to caterpillars with lots of legs and spiny fuzz all over. Lay a hand on one while climbing a tree and get a sting the length of the critter. I think the whole damn thing spurted venom and left a red streak that hurt for an hour or so. Doing military stuff in the American Southwest, I learned to shake out my boots before sticking a foot in. Scorpions were likely to seek moisture from sweat right inside the toe of the boot. Not fatal, but the sting will make you cry for an ice water foot bath!

    Guess everywhere has nasty crawlies. In Florida Everglades--huge wetlands area with stinking water, little islands, etc., an overnight bivouac was a 'turn green' party. Huge green caterpillars crawled all over and into sleeping bags and lost their lives as we turned during sleep. Everything and everyone looked like great green, slimy aliens by reveille.

I've had a few close up and personals with leeches, thanks very much, and that'll do me. I'll never walk through a wet and humid rainforest again. But I can't read about sleeping bags without being reminded of Wingnut putting a lizard in Mark's sleeping bag during a hike, sending Mark flying out of the tent in the middle of the night hehe.

However, I can remember being quite partial to some buggie type critters as a kid - cicadas, beetles, grass hoppers, tadpoles and whatever.

Lindsay arrived home this morning with his Wrangler boots. $400 worth. I thought they were gonna be those knee high cowboy things but no, they're ankle high dress boots, and very tasteful. I wouldn't mind a pair like that myself. Lindsay also put a deposit on some jeans which he'll collect next pay day, so I gather he's run outta cash for the time being. Silly boi - nothing left for a rainy day.

When ya think about it, Lindsay got a pair of boots that will last a lifetime, and for the same money all I got is a year's worth of insurance on the Ute. Speaking of which, she's almost done a thousand ks, most of which is the result of driving to Port Macquarie and back a few times. I think the return trip is about 160kms.

Anyway, it's time to turn on the telly for a bit of news and throw something down the screech to keep me alive. I think I might indulge in a Yoplait Le Rice (apple and cinnamon) as well as a can of yukky stomach tube stuff. Gary

March 29, 2012. I was watching a news item about a new strain of bacteria in Western Oz that, if not contained, could kill thousands of people. And it occurred to me that despite all our human achievements and aspirations we're still vulnerable to microscopic enemies with no intelligence.

So then an email like this one from Francois arrives: I'm not dying but this time I was on the verge... In the middle of Friday night, I was awaken by a harsh pain in my calf: I'd be biten by a small scolopendra of 6 cm. In some seconds my heart was hitting a race (120p/mn when they recorded it 5mn after) and I was soaked by a sweat as never. I thought to call an ambulance but I live far of them (3/4h) and it's quite impossible to find my house. So I called the police and happily a car was not far of here, and in more, there was a policeman I know very well from the port in the car: he was here in 5mn and took care of everything. I don't remember what arrived after: I think I fainted then, not from the pain which was not very hard but from the effort I'd done to remain awakened waiting them, talking them in the cell for the enter code etc...

They found the scolopendra below the mattress and sent me to the hospital (I missed the trip in chopper...) where I remained til today with a big allergy: my daughter said my body was as a balloon... I awoke only on monday afternoon and they set me free today: I didn't say to the doctor I live alone and far of everyone... but I feel very well, but drenched... happy to be alone with no visitors and no noise around.

The worst is to think it was a very small scolopendra and I've yet had a big one (16cm) on me in the middle of the night some months ago, and I'm in a neighborhood where they are very rare... Kanaks (our aborigens or melanesians) use to sleep on the ground in their baracks and are immune against the venom...

I don't know if I'd sleep this night without nightmares... Yet, I use to put much insecticide around the doors the windows and the bed! My daughter said she was surprised I'd killed them easily because they're running very fast when you hit them, so the insecticide is maybe exhausting them but they can still bite! If you don't know what's a scolopendra, I took some pics in my yard when I was in Martinique:  and you've to cut them in small pieces to kill them else each end is able to live rebuilding its body... Tomorrow I'll go and buy a very high bed with thin legs and nothing will ever hang to the ground when I lie on it!

So when I read your dreams to live outside below the stars hehehe there are some dangers outside: think to them too! But life isn't worthing to be lived if you've no action at all, and action is always going with a part of danger, so try to realise your dream anyway!

You live a dangerous life, Francois. But it's not all the scary creatures in the sea you have to fear... it's the bugs in your bedroom! Anyway, I'm glad you survived and lived to tell the tale. The other day, there was a creature such as the scolopendra in my office, but it was a harmless centipede or millipede. They are very common around here. When I saw him crossing the room, I fetched a dustpan and brush and swept him up, and then took him out to the garden. When you first mentioned scolopendra I thought you might have meant a scorpion. I was surprised to see such a harmless looking "worm". But not so harmless!

Just out of interest I checked New Caledonia's population - about a quarter of a million, which is big enough to support a reasonably sophisticated medical service and hospital.

Oz has many varieties of nasty critters but it's rare that we hear of someone being bitten or poisoned. I guess the critters prefer to keep to themselves.

Speaking of nasty critters, Lindsay arrived home with his and Sue's share of the rent and announced that he's going to buy a pair of Wrangler boots. How sensible. They should be ideal to wear while he sleeps the afternoons away, or while he's watching TV after midnight and through the wee small hours. Hello??? 

Obviously, England is not on the agenda this year (or any other year, most likely) so the dopey duo is spending all its money on other things, not thinking about what they're gonna do when I'm no longer here. I figure Lindsay is expecting a windfall when Sue's mother dies (she's 90+). But Sue's mother is aware of her daughter's mental illness and inability to manage money, and also aware of Lindsay's sticky fingers. My guess is that mother will appoint Sue's sister as the administrator of her younger sibling's share of the estate.

I've been watching news items on telly about Obama Care and Republican reluctance to accept it. Well, if it weren't for Medicare in Oz I'd have been dead long ago. My heart surgery 10 years ago was free, and my cancer treatment this year is free (apart from a few incidentals). People with health insurance in this country get to choose their doctor and get a better class of accommodation, as well as access to private hospitals, but I ain't complaining about the basics. Hehe. I don't get to choose anything but that's cool. In any case, I don't understand what the objection to public health care is all about in the US. Socialism is not communism, for crying out loud.

Anyway, what's America's foreign aid bill? Must be in the billions. How come it's cool to give billions in aid to a bunch of foreign countries but to refuse medical aid to America's own citizens? I don't get it.

NC Art wrote: On march 27, the New York Times ran an opinion column by Thomas Friedman pointing out some differences between American politics, parties and policies (and those Down Under) which drew a lot of comment from readers in the U.S. and Oz. Auckland, New Zealand and all over. Thought you might like to have a go at reading it. I found it fascinating, especially the readers' comments.

Thanks for the tip, Art. I must say when I watch guys like Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, etc, I see them as strictly American. If we had guys like that in Aussie politics, I would consider them at the very least right of center, and more likely eccentric or extreme. Religion doesn't play a significant role in Australian politics. Never have I heard a politician here say, "God bless Australia." Never. And nor would I expect to. The closest was Gough Whitlam on November 11, 1975 after his government was sacked by the Governor General John Kerr (the Queen's representative in Oz). Gough stood on the steps of Parliament House and said, "Well may they say God save the Queen, because nothing will save the Governor General."

I saw Gough on telly the other day at his wife's funeral. Margaret was 92 and a marvelous woman. They were just a few days short of their 70th wedding anniversary. Gough is well into his nineties now and gets around in a wheelchair. He looks a bit slow and tired these days. He said of his wife Margaret, "She was my greatest appointment."

Today's weather is perfect... sunny with clear blue sky, but the intensity of the sun is not like summer's (it's autumn now). It's warm without being hot, and there's little or no humidity. Perfect!

Today I did something I haven't done in ages. I licked a stamp. It was weird cos my tongue is still numb, and I wasn't sure if my tongue was making contact with the stamp or not. Then I did something else I haven't done in ages. I licked an envelope flap. Once again, I got the same weird sensation of not feeling contact with the envelope. At least I'm totally sure of one thing now... my tongue is still 100% numb. Does Dr Johnathan Clark, head and neck specialist, answer email from patients? I'll find out soon enough.

And there goes another day. From now on, every time I see a little pede of the milli or centi kind scurrying about the place, I'll thank my lucky stars we don't have scolopendras around here (that I'm aware of). I hope you've got that tall bed on skinny legs by now, Francois. Gary

March 28, 2012. What does a 25 y/o $10,000 slide-on camper look like? Obviously, you don't get much bang for your buck in Oz, especially from dealers. If you wanted something cheaper and were prepared to do a little handyman work, here's one for half the price.

On the other hand, if I rented a beach-side flat, it would cost about $10,000 for a year's accommodation, and after a year I'd have nothing to show for it. Spend $10,000 on a camper and you get to keep the camper for as many years as you want.

Admittedly, there's not a lotta room inside - just enough to sleep, cook and eat. But, you'll notice there's a helluva lotta room outside. :o) The first thing I'd add is a side awning. I figure outside is where I'll spend most of my waking hours. A cheaper option is a foldaway gazebo with detachable screened walls for about $150.

It must be cool to watch the sun set, and then cook dinner over a fire before relaxing for a few hours knowing that you don't have to drive home... that your bed is waiting for you just a few feet away.

Meanwhile, I'm sipping on a mug of that Campbell's beef stock I mentioned the other day and I'm here to tell you it's delicious! Pour some into a mug, nuke for a minute, voila. It's got that real hearty beefy flavor that I miss so much with all this mushy dairy-based stuff I'm eating. Bleh.

Just weighed myself and I've hit 60kg... that's about 5kg (11 pounds) more than I weighed after the major operation in Sydney. Not bad, huh? 65 is about my normal weight.

Hmmm, well I kinda got sucked back into browsing slide-ons for sale on the internet this afternoon. There's a lotta rubbish out there, and crooks just itching to take your cash. Next month will be the first anniversary of Das Busse - driving all the way to Tamworth to collect a heap of nuts and bolts. What a catastrophe that was! And it ain't gonna happen again! One thing about slide-ons is that there's not much to wear out... no mechanicals, no wheels or suspension, no brakes. It's just a box. Cracks and leaks are what you gotta look out for.

Anyway, that kinda made the day disappear without a helluva lot to show for it... just a bunch of window shopping and day dreaming. It'll be a while yet before I'm in a position healthwise and/or moneywise to go shopping for a slide-on let alone disappear in a cloud of dust towards the horizon. Gary

March 27, 2012. Typical autumn morning... fresh but clear and sunny with the promise of a warm day to come. That'll do.

Yes, I can imagine stepping out of the camper into the early morning sunshine, and breathing in the fresh air from the surrounding trees as I sip my morning cuppa. By the way, that big rock in the Northern Territory called Uluru is a pile of sand deposited by the current of an inland ocean billions of years ago. It didn't fall out of the sky, and it wasn't disgorged by the bowels of the Earth. Outback Oz, dry as a bone, is full of rocks embedded with  fossilized remains of sea creatures. Spooky, huh?

Cody used to love the dawning of a new day, sitting on his board beyond the rollers and beneath towering Table Mountain, as the sun appeared over the horizon. He loved the stillness and the silence. It is indeed a very special time of day, which too few of us witness or appreciate.

Back from giving the Ute a drink. $55 for about 37 liters. $0 for the air in the tires. I also called into Kodak to have some old slides scanned and digitized onto DVD. Some of those slides go back 50 years or so. Anyway, at a buck a piece that's $60. AND my annual membership to NRMA roadside assist is due. That's $99. And the Ute's comprehensive insurance is due at $380 (she's been on the balance of Bluey's). It's a wonder a bloke can afford to feed himself.

Ya know dem creme' caramelie thingies that ya turn upside down and all the toffee sauce dribbles down da sides? Yeah? Well, I just had one a dem now. Ya see when ya all growed up ya can have whatever ya like for lunch.

I've been looking at slide-ons. Oldies made for tub utes like mine are pretty rare but at least they're $10,000 or less in reasonable nick. Most of the slide-ons now are made for flat-top utes, but they're expensive, up around $30,000 used and double that for new. Even if I did sell the Ford and get a flat-top ute, I could never afford a slide-on. So, it looks like I stick with the Ford and keep my eyes peeled for an oldie designed for a tub ute. There were quite a few around during the 80s.

Been a bit of a lazy day today, but that's okay... I checked with the boss. :o) Gary

March 26, 2012. I meant to mention yesterday that Lindsay took a shot at me the other day, so I told him I'd get my own flat and take everything with me if he didn't stop his shit. That shut him up quick smart, and he even apologized. The only stuff L&S own in this house is a bed, an old beer fridge in the laundry, a TV, a chair and their clothing. Everything else is mine.

NC Art wrote: Fer gawds sake, SPLAT! sounds like a great blob of snot hitting the pavement. Ugh. 

That's the whole point of the advertising campaign, Art. Little boys are made of snips and snails and puppy dogs' tails, remember. They love goo.

    Then there are different opinions about eating in the great outdoors. At age ten or so, I was--briefly--a Cub Scout eager to explore the wilderness and learn all about the ways of American Indians who originally owned, hunted and fished these environs. About a two-mile hike out of town, a light rain began and the Cub master decided it was time to make camp and cook breakfast. An hour of futile attempts to get a fire going finally rewarded us with a small, smoky flame. Bacon duly laid in a pan, the stuff just sat there and got slightly warm. The kid carrying the eggs had mislaid them somewhere along the trek, but we had bread to wrap around half-cooked bacon. Unfortunately the bread was a soggy mess after being prematurely opened in drizzling rain. But we ate the stuff because we were cold, wet and hungry little boys.

    Never saw an Indian artifact going or coming. I guess it was supposed to make men out of us, but it made Baron and Joey cry. And I got a head cold.

Hehe. Well, you've not forgotten that little adventure despite it happening three quarters of a century ago. However, one swallow doth not maketh a spring, Art. In any case, your experience is precisely the reason I insist on a civilized camper before I go traipsing off into yonder wilderness. Even when it's pouring outside, I should be comfortably ensconsed in my little camper with DRY everything... bed, food, cooker, clothing. And if the wet weather appears to be setting in for a while, it's off to town goes me headed for the nearest pub.

BTW, PayPal wrote yesterday to say that my account has been returned to regular standing. Apparently, they're satisfied I'm not a crook, which means Jace can't have his donation back.

Taree Upholstery have finally agreed to install the new floor carpet I bought on eBay before Christmas for the Ute. They've been soooo busy, and I've had issues with being in Port Macquarie at certain times for cancer thingies. Have you noticed politicians don't talk about problems any more? They talk about issues. Anyway, next Tuesday (April 3) the carpet gets installed, and the bloke even said he'll drive me home (he's on the other side of the rail line, in the industrial area).

Mieke sent some more stuff. Check out these old ads. Talk about politically incorrect! No way they'd cut it these days.

I visited Averil for a chat today and she says I'm looking healthier every day, especially minus the beard, which she said was not a good look. Hehe. I agree. And it was uncomfortable to boot... like having a porcupine strapped to your face. What's left is growing back very slowly so it must be the radiation. Good. I hate shaving!

Anyway, ladies and genitals it's time for all that again. Actually, my appetite is improving. I'm sipping on a mug of potato and leek soup at the mo, and earlier I had a Yoplait Le Rice which was pretty good. This is all on top of my obligatory stomach tube stuff. And of course there's a cuppa or two to start the day. With a bit of luck, this kid will be pumping and grinding again before too long. Seeyaz tomorrow. Gary

March 25, 2012. Well, the new journal main page (linked on the home and update pages) and all the journal index pages for years 2007 to 2012 are now posted. The thing is, at the bottom of every journal page is a link to the old journal index page, which I'm not sure is such a bad idea. Lemme think about that one a bit more. Navigation can be such a complicated pain in the ass.

Meanwhile, I'm back from a little shopping, hunting for snacky type things I can eat to supplement the stomach tube stuff. Check this one out! I'm eating one now. Isn't it amazing how boring old puree can be dressed up to become exciting enough for kids to take an interest?

And since I need to avoid things with lumpy bits, do you think I can find good old fashioned beef soup without BITS in it? No. So I got a brainwave... what about beef stock? Yes, I bought two 1 liter packs of Campbells beef and chicken stock. That should do the trick.

I was photographing the new courthouse/police building this morning (while the sun was in the right spot) when a bloke approached me and asked me what I thought of it.

"Same as everyone else."
"Oh... I rather like it, actually. I think it will probably win awards for architecture."
"Yes, so do I. I think it will win awards."
"Oh? So you agree with me?"
"No. It's just that I think the people who give out awards are all loopy."

I've been photographing the building ever since construction began about a year ago. It'll be ready to assemble into an album soon...they're putting the finishing touches on it now.

NC Art is a happy man because he just got a new Dell computer monitor with big, clear and readable text and pictures. His fav old one died, and a cheap, used replacement nearly drove him mad until he threw it out. Meanwhile, he's happy about my "new look": Congratulations on clearing the brush off your mug. So post a photo of the new man...and stick out your tongue if you can get it to move. Hehe. That's a sore point, Art. As to yesterday's vid about cooking in the bush: That bread cooked in hot ashes doesn't seem much of an enticement to go wandering around in the Bush. Ughh. True, but when you're out in the bush, Art, there's not a lotta corner stores in sight! Besides, everything tastes better out in the fresh air. Maybe the outdoors sharpens the senses or something.

Mieke, my friend in Derby WA (waaaaaaay over the other side of Oz) often sends me stuff. Here's a little quickie:

ATTORNEY:  Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS:     The autopsy started around 8:30 PM
ATTORNEY:  And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS:     If not, he was by the time I finished.

Well, time to post the Waffle and watch a bit of news on telly. An election was held yesterday in Queensland that absolutely annihilated the previous Labor government. Federal Labor, of course, will dismiss the catastrophic loss as a result based on state issues. But everybody knows that if a Federal election were held right now, the same thing would happen. Federal Labor would be reduced to rubble. Gary

March 24, 2012. And there's journal2010 done! I apparently got lazy with albums in 2010 because it only took an hour or two to finish.

TX Greg wrote to say that the yearly links to journal/index.html updates could be listed under the beer-drinking kangaroo on the home page, thus eliminating the need for a separate index page. Hmmm. I dunno about that. But I do appreciate suggestions because it broadens my thinking. For now, though, I'll press ahead with the new index ideas and see how they work out.

Oregon Richie thinks the changes are cool: I went over your journal entry page and it was an improvement the second round.  I don't believe it was miserable and boring but adding pictures is always an improvement.  I'm very glad that you are gazing ahead with serious and deliberate intent as to the AO saga to-come.  That's most important. But it's good that the AO file is alive and well and not relegated to being put on a shelf where the dreams of life just lie there caked in the dust of history. Home... home on the range !!!  Where the 'roos and the scrummies do play !!  Just give me my pension, and defy convention, and go camping in yonder dimension !!

Oh dear...

As you may be aware, some dickhead introduced cane toads into Oz to rid cane fields of certain bugs but the toad found more interesting tucker elsewhere and soon became a nasty predator, threatening our indigenous wildlife, and spreading its habitat far and wide. Here's a vid of Shaz, an Aussie cane toad wondering what happened to his mate Baz.

Okay, the beard's gone and the moustache is gone. Good riddance! All that facial hair was sending me crazy. I stopped shaving after the operation in January at Royal Prince Alfred, so that's almost 3 months. Now I'll be able to enjoy my potato and leek soup a little later without mopping my lips after every spoonful! Even drinking a cuppa was difficult.

I've been giving a bit of thought to the promotion of Aussie Odyssey on the internet and I figure the easiest and cheapest way is to do a couple of vids and post them on Youtube. But they'll need to have content with the potential to attract viewers. Bush cooking could be one, and maybe something else to do with camping in the bush. Most vids along those lines attract very few hits, so I'm gonna have to think of something a bit different. The vids that do attract lots of hits are usually professional. Here's one about cooking damper (bread) in the bush. Attracting hits to AO is not a priority now though because I ain't ready!


Steve apparently reads the Waffle page, so he would have noticed my signature at the end of each entry. Now if you run your mouse pointer over that signature what do you see? Ah ha! My email addy! And if you click it, it'll take you to your email client in readiness to write me. I shoulda been Steve's boss. Hehe.

Anyway, back to what Steve wrote: Hi Gary, your old boss from kempsey. have been reading your blog since last i contacted you and of course following your drama. great to see youre hanging in there, and with such good humour.

its also pleasing to follow your improvement. I know how boring being sick can be, i broke my back and arm a few years ago and had to stare at the roof in the hospital for six weeks without being able to move. once you have watched tv all day for a week you want to smash the hell out it. The only light at the end of the tunnel was a nurse that i fancied (girl), however, you might imagine how frustrating that became when movement of any kind caused excruciating pain as everything is connected through your backbone and a broken right arm in plaster didnt help. Not to mention she was married and had to wipe my ass every day. 

just about every night when i go to sleep i listen to british comedy on my computer, i just about never hear the end of it as i fall asleep quickly. In case you dont know its, bbc radio 4 extra comedy. For me it blocks out any worries or potential night dreams that aren't pleasant. You live in one of  the very best places in Australia, I just love being beside the river and the sea. I miss that area and am hoping to make it back somewhere near the coast next year.  Hope to call in some time. take care and keep buggering on.

Jeez, and I thought I had probs with a swollen tongue and a stomach tube. I honestly don't think I could stay still for 6 weeks. After the heart op 10 years ago I had to stay still (flat on my back) for 12 hours and I thought that was insufferable. Anyway, it's always nice to hear from Steve. He and Chris, my boss from 2UE, are the only two who keep in touch.

One of the things I remember about Steve and the ABC is what he told me about the music I chose to play on the breakfast program. He told me not to play anything "esoteric". Eso-what? I had no idea what esoteric meant but I nodded anyway.

Oh, and another thing about email addies. If you type them out in full on your blog or web site, robots pick them up and they're used for spam. That's why mine is "hidden" behind Gary - the robots can't find it there. On the Odyssey home page just under the little poem up top, there's "Contact Me" which also contains my email addy. Click on it and it'll take you to your email client. All very James Bond you know.

Well, time to post this Satdee edition of Waffle and attend to my nightly whatsits. I must say, I don't have Steve's problem with sleep. Five minutes after the head's on the pillow I'm gone. Gary

March 23, 2012. Okies, working hard again. I fixed two photo albums from 2008 which were "experimental" and dreadful. I must have been drunk at the time or something. Anyway, they're fine now... and thank god for the backup hard drive. I have also made journal2009. Three more to go!

Dave, the Ormond Beach kid, wrote and suggested I improve the index pages by narrowing and widening certain columns. Yeah, well, I'm using an old and free program that's not very sophisticated, Dave, and those columns just don't wanna move. But thanks anyway. Dave also has some suggestions for me when I move outta this house and into something of my own. I really don't have any plans for that yet, Dave, because when I do move outta here it might be straight into a slide-on camper! In which case, I'll be constantly on the move!

Francois wrote: but I've to say this page journal-main.html is the most boring and useless page I'd imagine: what can do someone who doesn't know you when he is on this page? clicking whatever? or going elsewhere...

Yes, I agree. It looks terrible, and I don't like those two black maps of Oz. The page should be an invitation to excitement... the doorway to lots of interesting journal stories and photo albums. What the central white space needs is a background that depicts a montage of travel related images... roads, signposts, cityscapes, country towns, faces, beaches, forests, Uluru, Opera House, etc... the sorts of things you'd expect to see while traveling Oz. And a headline: Where have I been so far? Click on a Year to find out!

Hmmm, well I kinda got myself inspired there, and I've just spent the past several hours seeing if I could do something myself. And guess what? I did! And it ain't too bad! Let me know what you think.

Francois goes on to say: ...and yes you're right: your site is run by an old (stubborn) bloke with a dream and a pension : hehehe excuse me for the italic add! I understand you to want to be the only one managing the site... but think it has to be attractive for a large public! Thanks anyway to imagine and say (as an excuse) I'd fall of the perch before you hahaha. Have you forgotten I'm way younger than you? (3 or 4 years, I think)

Francois is forgetting my younger bro (3 years younger than me) died in 2009. Oops! But I have no wish for Francois to fall off the perch sooner than me.

Anyway, it's late now and I've done a lot of work today! Time for a break. See you tomorrow! 

March 22, 2012. More about the Journal Index page: TX Greg asked if I really needed the District column. Yes. When I get to traveling, I'll be in different states and different parts of states. When I'm in Wollongong for example I'm in the Illawarra. When in Newcastle I'm in the Hunter. And in both instances I'm in New South Wales. However, Greg saved me a column by combining the Journal number and month. Check out the revised page here.

I did #2008 today and it took over half a day. What a BORING job! Check it out.

Francois writes:  just to say you, I think nobody is interested in what you did in 2007 or 2008 except your friends... so I think you've to do it by places

Those numbers ARE places, Francois. The Journals are not about what I had for dinner or who I kissed, they are about where I traveled and the photos I took. I've divided them into years because it makes the index pages smaller and more manageable.

the best could be to have a chart of australia and to click on it to have a chart of the region and then click on the place you're interested in  : I can do this for you if you want and send it in a zip file: you've just to send me the charts...

I agree that an interactive chart of Australia would be great, Francois. But there is a reason I cannot accept your generous offer. If anything happens to you, I have a chart I cannot use. I couldn't even untangle your zip file today! Besides, I prefer to manage the site myself - I like to be independent. I am aware that Aussie Odyssey has its limitations. It can't (and is not meant to) compete with other travel sites like National Geographic because it simply doesn't have the money or resources. Aussie Odyssey is a basic, no-frills site run by an old bloke with a dream and a pension.

Anyway, when I finished journal2008 at about 2pm, PayPal emailed me with a request, to wit: we need to confirm some details you've given us so that we can comply with Australian Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing laws. Hmmm. So now I've gotta go through this dopey rigmarole. I had all kinds of troubles and errors trying to follow the process on line so I phoned them and they're gonna get back to me within 48 hours or something. And all because I'm asking for donations. It's pathetic.

Quite a bit of excitement in Taree today... just a stone's throw from this house, outside the new police station. Malcolm Naden, Australia's most wanted fugitive, has been on the run from the law in NSW for 7 years, hiding in bushland not from from here and terrorizing the locals. But today he was caught, and brought to Taree police station and courthouse. The manhunt has been one of the biggest news stories for many years and today the police station was surrounded by reporters, television cameras, police vehicles including riot and crowd control. Choppers have been buzzing overhead all morning. There's a mistake in that story... it says the Manning Base Hospital is in Port Macquarie. It's not... it's two blocks up the road here in Taree.

I should have been up there at the cop shop taking photos of all the circus but I was too busy here.

And speaking of busy, the day has flown. It's time to post this Waffle and catch up with the news on telly. I'll catch you tomorrow. Gary

March 21, 2012. Now lemme see, what do people need to know from an index page? Date, place, journal #, album title. That's 4 columns spread across a page. Can you imagine scrolling down 1000 or more of those? I think I need a series of index pages, one for each year. How about something like this? It's not linked yet. I'll have to do pages for 2008, 9, 10, 11 and 12 first, and that'll take a while. Took a couple of hours to do 2007. The new Journal Index pages will be accessed from the main Journal page.

Regulars go straight to the Waffle Page and bypass the Journal index. The Waffle page also has links to anything new I do, so regulars don't need the Journal index. BUT, visitors down the track will. A first-time visitor today, for example, would go to the Journal index to find out what's been going on since the beginning. Also, anyone wanting to re-visit a particular location or album at some later date would use the Journal index. Yeah?

Well, well, well, guess what? The PayPal donation thingy works. Ohio Jace has the honor of being the first to try it. He shouldn't have really because he's been generous in the past. Now don't you start getting too carried away, Jace. You've done enough already. More than...

What's this? Check your paypal account, the little guys (Cody, Steve, and Ryan) sent you a gift. Yeah, right. Jace just sent an email and blamed the kids for sending the donation. At least now I know where all our Aussie weather has gone. It's been wet and lousy here lately: Over the weekend it was warmer here, and it is still winter, than in Melbourne where the Formula 1 race was held. And it is even warmer today; 29 degrees C with abundant sunshine. It should be around 7 degrees C this time of year. It has been like this the entire month of March except for two or three days when it snowed. If we reach 30 C, and it should tomorrow and Thursday, we will set an all time high temperature for the month.

Speaking of donations, I just got a call from a guy representing volunteers who have been doing heaps of rescue work during the floods in NSW. They're running a $20 raffle. Anyway, I was just about to give the bloke a sob story about being a pensioner and broke and all that stuff, when I kinda got sucked in by his accent. So he's gonna send me the tickets in the mail. When he was checking my details he pronounced Taree with a short 'a' to rhyme with Gary, so I said, "What? Where do you come from?" He said, "I come from the good ol' USA." I said. "Well, go back. You're not allowed into Australia if you can't pronounce Taree properly." Hehe. Anyway, we sorted that out. And I'm $20 poorer.

Actually, when I told him to go back he said, "No, I don't wanna go back yet, I'm lovin' it out here." Lots of young backpackers do work for charities to pay their way around Oz.

NC Art wrote with this contribution:

I am often in Coherent
And find good company there;
Whenever I'm in Temperate
I have another beer.

Go ahead; have fun matey!

By the way, the scrambled egg last night didn't work. It was nice... bloody nice... but I couldn't manage to eat it properly. I got about half way through and dumped the rest. Damn it. I tried some mashed baked beans today and same thing... couldn't manage to get it down. It builds up in the mouth (behind the bottom teeth) and sticks because the tongue doesn't work properly. Oh well... another day. Tonight I'll have some chicken soup. That should be nice.

Lemme know what you think of the Journal index idea and I'll work on it some more. Gary

March 20, 2012. TX Greg reminded me of something that's been worrying me for quite a while: the site grows bigger it gets harder to find things from the past without going thru a ton of stuff looking. I got a idea, why don't you create an album index page??????? 

Yeah... what a great idea. Hehe. What a daunting task... becoming more daunting as time passes. I created the Instant Updates page to list the places I'd been and link the albums to the relevant journal entry. But even that is becoming a bit complicated and messy. The main Journal Page is no help at all... just a series of boxed dates. So what am I to do? How do I keep it simple and yet include information that makes it easy to navigate? Should the index be chronological or alphabetical or both? I'm gonna have to think about this a bit more, but not for too long. Meanwhile, suggestions are welcome.

Lindsay has just gone to the medical center to collect prescriptions. It's a few miles away so he would have gone by taxi. And it's raining. He doesn't believe in umbrellas or rainwear so he went out in his normal clothing. Then he has shopping to do... and an appointment with the eye specialist who thinks he might have cadillacs. What? Never mind. Oh dear... life was much simpler (and cheaper) when he and Sue had a carer to chauffeur them about. But that's all gone now. And it's gonna stay gone.

When he gets back from having his cadillacs checked (I need to stay here and keep an eye on Sue), I'll DRIVE up the road to do some shopping. Meanwhile, Ford invited me to pop in anytime to have my windscreen wipers checked.

Speaking of traveling, etc, you might get a kick outta this little ditty:

My Travels

I have been in many places, but I've never been in Cahoots. 
Apparently, you can't go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.
I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.
I have, however, been in Sane. They don't have an airport; you have to be driven there. 
I have made several trips there, thanks to my friends, family and work. 
I live close so it's a short drive.
I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, 
and I'm not too much on physical activity anymore.
I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often.
I've been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand on firm ground.
Sometimes I'm in Capable, and I go there more often as I'm getting older.
One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! 
It really gets the adrenaline flowing and pumps up the old heart! 
At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!
And, sometimes I think I am in Vincible but life shows me I am not.
People keep telling me I'm in Denial but I'm positive I've never been there before!
So far, I haven't been in Continent; but my travel agent says I'll be going soon.
Wishing you all safe travels

Back from shopping and getting a few scripts from the pharmacy. The checkout chick recognized me which I thought was amazing. "You don't look THAT different," she said. Hmmm. Anyway, I bought some gingernut biscuits and I'm having a couple now dunked in hot tea! I also bought some eggs and I'll see if I can get through a couple scrambled tonight. I looked everywhere for suitable things for me without much luck... although the range of soups is improving with the cooler autumn weather, so I got creamed chicken, creamed mushroom and creamy potato and leek. Oh, and I also whizzed out to Ford where I bought 2 new wiper blades ($18) and had them fitted by one of the young mechanics free. Nice. Thank you very much.

Oregon Richie bought himself a new (used) truck, which is kinda like a ute only bigger. He says the US has had nothing like my Ute forever. Well, the history of the first Aussie ute (built by Ford) goes back to 1932.

Interesting story, yes? Richie also mentions another Aussie Ford: I hear that the new Ford Ranger was designed in and by Ford Australia and is far and away the best one ever built... and European test agencies have given it full marks and the best safety ratings of the type.  It's also a well reviewed hit in South Africa.  For all those superb reviews and reasons the American Ford operation decided not to import or build it here for our market.  Most odd. Maybe not... considering the Aussie dollar is now buying 1.06 US. Anything made in Oz at the mo is expensive.

What about this horrific story unfolding in Oz about the 21 y/o Brazilian student in Sydney who was chased by six cops and tasered to death in Pitt St after allegedly stealing a packet of biscuits from a convenience store. It's outrageous! Or so it seems. Details are still sketchy even though it happened on Sunday. He was a student studying English in Australia.

I guess that's about it for today... not a lot of excitement in town. Time for some scrambled egg and a bit of news on telly. Gary

March 19, 2012. March marches on. Meanwhile, for you technophiles, check out this device (still a work in progress) called "Sixth Sense". Technology is becoming more amazing every day, folks.

And while you're learning a thing or two, how about listening to Elizabeth Gilbert as she talks about genius and creativity, where they come from. A most fascinating insight into the world of creative effort. For me, it answers the question: Could I ever write another book like Green Room?

But back to donations. I've made very few in my time on the internet. It's not my thing as a rule. However, I did donate $30 to Wikipedia some months ago. It's a free service staffed by volunteers, and I've used it a lot over the years. So I figured I'd give something back. Normally, I wouldn't part with as much as $30 but Wikipedia is an exception. Although I do donate $43 a month to World Vision to care for my little Anyel in Nicaragua. I tend to think of spontaneous donations as what one might drop into a busker's hat, or tip a taxi driver or a waiter. A few bucks, certainly nothing too extravagant. The reason I mention this is because some tightasses might be wondering what I'm expecting from the new PayPal thing. Hehe.

I figure over the years, thousands of visitors will pass through the Odyssey 'turnstyles', and maybe a percentage of them will drop a few bucks into the hat. If it keeps me on the road and pays for a bit of this and that, fine with me. I'm not aiming for a particular figure or fundraising for a particular item or event. Know what I mean? It's like the rain... a little bit here and a little bit there, enough to keep the daisies smiling.

TX Greg wrote: Awesome job on the PayPal page. I really think you should also include the PayPal link & logo somewhere on the main index page, say maybe lower right corner below the surfer pic??? There is a gap in that spot the logo would fit nice, and hey the more places to click, better chances :) Thanks, Greg, but I don't wanna overdo it. I thought about putting something on the main page but the main page is something you only read once, maybe twice. Waffle's the go... and maybe somewhere else if I think of something. But as I said, I don't want the site to appear too greedy. I'm just li'l ol' me doin' ma thang.

Greg went on to say: Love the Fword album, hahahaha. That also needs a link on the main page!!! That way you can always come back and add more to it and peeps can easily find it. Hmmm. It's already linked from the Journal page and the Updates page.

Steve W has this to say: You have kept us entertained and amused for some time and we are all rooting for you (be nice, though the yanks won't understand), so you should not have any concerns about us supporting you. Especially what you have been through of late. I'm in….. "Root" is old Aussie slang for sexual intercourse, although not used very often these days.

Meanwhile, Oregon Richie reckons I can go to buggery cos he's got enough money problems of his own without worrying about mine hehe. That's cool. I tried to donate $5 to myself to test the thing but PayPal said "you can't send money to yourself"! So I'm still waiting to see if the thing works. Hint, hint. 

I was gonna go shopping today but it's too WET! Too wet to check out the Ute windscreen wiper blades at Ford as well. And even too wet to rock next door and chat with Averil. Not too wet to shower though, which I just did. Up until a week or two ago, I was nervous about showering because I was so weak. I couldn't stand for long or get too vigorous with soaping myself. That's all changed now... not quite as fit as a Malley Bull but getting close. I'm also not napping as much... no naps at all yesterday and none so far today.

Oh yes, before I forget... today is the 80th anniversary of the old Coathanger, still Sydney's busiest traffic corridor.

I watched an interview the other night on telly with surf film-maker Jack McCoy who teamed up with Paul McCartney to make a stunning video called Blue Sway, and I thought of Cody and how he would have appreciated it (as well as McCoy's new movie). McCoy was born and raised in Hawaii but is now an Aussie and lives on Sydney's northern peninsula. Here's the trailer for McCoy's new movie, A Deeper Shade of Blue.

The film, McCoy’s 25th, tells the story of surfing, from wooden planks in Hawaii in the late 1800s after a missionary ban to the days of TV surfer girl Gidget to today, that sees the sport as a $6b global industry. McCoy said: “The aim of the movie was to tell the story of surfing in a way that truly encapsulates its spirit and how the art of surf won hearts and continues to conquer the globe. It was a lot of fun to make. I think the result is pretty magical and hope that there’s something in there for everyone.”

Wow, I've been working my lil ole ring off today fixing stuff on the site that I've been intending to fix for AGES! There was a bunch of tacky stuff in the beginning before I got to know Jalbum properly. Go to Journal0001 and scroll down to the bottom of the page where the pre-Odyssey links are, and take a trip down memory lane. Most of that stuff is about 10 years old... not exactly ancient but old enough. Naturally, when I was fixing all that stuff I went ass about and did everything the wrong way first hehe. Jeez, I'm hopeless... but I get there.

Oh yeah, another little thought I had. A month ago my nephew was worried about how I would cope with the radiation therapy on my own: The cancer bit comes as a shock. It sounds like your going through it alone and i would like to come and see you if you are up to it. But then he read more of my scrapbook...  Still going through your memoirs and trying to get to know all about you first. I will call you early next week and we can go from there. Truly hope the worst is over you. Hmmm, well I guess he read the bits about my being gay so now the fact that I'm coping alone with the radio therapy is irrelevant. Funny huh?

So I guess that's about it for today. Jeez, I'd love a burger BUT I CAN'T EAT A BLOODY BURGER! Woe is me. I'll have to settle for some mushy stuff. That mash last night wasn't too thrilling... they'd been in the pantry too long and had gone a bit woody. Seeyaz. Gary

March 18, 2012. Yes, I've become mercenary... a greedy bugger with sticky fingers. No, not really... but I have made a few changes to Aussie Odyssey that solicit financial assistance to keep the machinery pumping and grinding. Buy a book, buy a framed print, or simply throw a buck or two into the hat via PayPal Donate. Click on the AO logo top/right and you'll see what I mean. The message will now be a permanent fixture on the Waffle Page to eventually bludgeon readers into feeling guilty if they haven't made a contribution, no matter how small. I figure if I don't get realistic about funding this project then it's never gonna happen... so there ya go. At the same time, if a few bob starts dribbling in it'll make ME feel guilty as well if I fail to regularly update the site with new material. Anyway, we'll see how it goes. I don't expect much... people have a reputation for deep pockets and short arms ya know, especially when it comes to getting stuff free on the internet.

My throat feels a little tender this morning so I figure the recent radiation is to blame for that. It's no biggie, and I can still swallow without a problem but I suspect this latest dose of zaps has upped the anti a bit.

TX Greg and OR Richie thought the pics of Port Macquarie were pretty cool, some better than good. It was basically a quick point-and-shoot job but, yeah, it did the trick. It was early morning and cloudy so I did a bit of shooting into the sun for effect. It's not often I get up with the joggers, lemme tellya. On the Odyssey I expect to be keeping all kinds of strange hours to capture certain images at their best. I thought this shot was rather atmospheric in terms of early risers, both human and solar.

I'm defrosting the bar fridge at the mo so I've got time to buggerize around with silly stuff... like when it's okay to use the F Word.

There's a few leftover spuds in the pantry from ages ago, but they're still firm and seem okay. I was gonna throw them out but instead I'll make some mash - nice and creamy - and have it with lots of gravy for dinner tonight. Hehe. Maybe it doesn't sound too flash to you but I'm desperate for some ORDINARY food, and the gravy will give it a kinda beefy flavor. It'll also be a welcome change from cold food. And when I go shopping next, I'm gonna get some bikkies - gingernut cookies. They're almost bullet proof but are great for dunking in tea, which is what I intend to do. It softens them so that even a crippled old convalescent like me can eat them.

One thing I would like to do on the Odyssey is a couple of bush cooking vids as I pick up a few tricks, and even steal a few ideas from fellow campers. Yep, I reckon a vid now and then could be a lotta fun.

Well, it's almost 5pm. I think I'll post this Waffle, have a little nap and then attend to food matters and a bit of telly. Catch you tomorrow with your thoughts and impressions. Gary

March 17, 2012. Back home in Taree. Left Rotary Lodge at about 7:30 this morning and drove into Port Macquarie township where some of the beaches are and did a photographic wander for about an hour without becoming tired or puffed. Feeling pretty good, actually... all things considered. On the drive home along the highway, I ran into heavy rain, put the wipers on double speed and the blades almost took off! A couple of clips came loose. One of them is fixed now. I'll see Ford on Monday and get the other one done. And for good measure, while I was praying that the blades would stay put during the storm, the car in front chucked up a stone that hit my windscreen. No damage luckily, but not a lotta fun. Anyway, back to the pics... check out the new journal entry here.

I'm keen to eat more food orally rather than use the stomach tube but it ain't all that easy. I'm currently digging into a small can of flaked tuna in salsa sauce, which is pretty yummy, but the surface of my tongue is still almost numb and I have to be careful I don't bite it. It's also difficult to swallow stuff that's 'flakey' because it gets separated in the mouth and I don't have full use of my tongue to 'round it up' again. But I can kinda solve that by washing the food down with a drink of some kind as I eat. A bit slow and awkward but, hey, it'll get better.

I rather like those Rotary Lodge rooms... much brighter and airier than my rooms here at the house. I could get used to living in something like that... a modern flat with nice views and a short walk to a beach. No plans just yet tho. Besides, I've got an Odyssey on the agenda.

Speaking of the Odyssey, the site needs a bit of updating so I'll be busy with that the next few days... and I've got an idea or two I wanna incorporate.

For my St Patrick's Day contribution today, I'll leave it to Justin's Blog to stir things up a bit between Dublin and New York.

I read an interesting not to mention motivational phrase somewhere yesterday... less think, more do. That's why this morning I stopped thinking about doing a photo essay of Port Macquarie's town beaches and went out and DID it! Gary

March 16, 2012. Zap one is over for the day, and was incident free. Meanwhile, there's a bloke outside the lodge in the parking area using a motorized blower to blow all the dead leaves into a big pile. I wonder if he's aware of which way the wind is blowing? Hehe. Yes, folks, you guessed it.

I drank "breakfast" this morning instead of pouring it through the tube... my dietition (who I didn't see yesterday but will this afternoon) insists I exercise the muscles that control swallowing. Sounds like another step back to normality. Actually, I do feel much better than I did last time I was here. On the other hand, this series of zaps hasn't kicked in yet.

The things people say to photographers: Helmut Newton met a famous cook and ate in his restaurant, and was confronted with the statement “oh, you make good photos, you must have a good camera”. After the meal, the cook went to ask Newton how everything was. Newton answered. “It was delicious, you must have expensive pans.”

And there goes the last of the zaps for today, and this month. No dramas. And my dietition remembered to provide me with enough tube food for the next month (for free! - and delivered to my lodge door). However, I am going to make an increased effort to feed myself orally with things like eggs, baked beans, soft fish (canned tuna/salmon), and whatever takes my fancy.

And while I was there, I solicited the services of a nurse to remove a stitch in my neck that was missed by the nurse at Royal Prince Alfred hospital in Sydney two months ago! The nurse here said after a stitch has been in the body that long, it can became part of you! Luckily this one remained separate and unattached. It's gone now tho.

So all's well that ends well, and I'll be back here in Port Macquarie April 11 through 13 for my third and final quad, and hopefully the removal of the stomach tube. Apparently they just give it a yank and it's out.

While I was in the radiation room, and about to be released from the monster machine, I dragged my little Fuji out of my pocket and gave it to one of the operators to take a few pics of me still in position and wearing my mask. I'll post them tomorrow when I get home. No point in going through all that rigmarole without sharing it with the world.

Well, time to post this lot and settle down to ABC News 24 and Planet America, the ABC's weekly look at our US friends from an Aussie and an American perspective. Actually, the 24-hour news station's programming is interesting because its main prime-time feature programs like The Drum and Planet America are 45 minutes long, with the remaining 15 minutes of the hour allocated to topics that require less time for coverage. It's a great channel (free to air) and I tune in quite a lot. Gary

March 15, 2012. Well, well, well, I've put on 3 kilos since I was here last month, so that's good news. But this morning's radiation session was a bit unnerving. They were performing some new maneuvers for the first time and I was strapped into that contraption with the headmask bolted on for half an hour instead of the usual 10 minutes. Eeeek! But I survived. 

And now I'm trying to eat a biscuit/cookie with a cup of tea but not doing so well. The biscuit dries out and doesn't wanna slide down the screech so I've gotta help it along with a few sips of tea. Obviously, the eating/swallowing process isn't quite back to normal yet. Speaking of food, I run out today... of the tube stuff, that is, and I'm not terribly sure about where I'm gonna get the next lot from. I think my dietition arrives today for a visit so I hope she knows what's going on.

Sleeping here in the Lodge is okay but the single bed is a bit of a worry. I'm used to a queen size with tons of room. A single is a bit restrictive, like being wrapped in a sleeping bag.

Back from my second zap for the day - 20 minutes, but at least I had Paul Simons for company (they play CDs while you're in there). Was it Gracelands? Anyway, it was all that cool stuff with African rhythms and bands. I should mention the zap doesn't last for a whole 20 minutes, otherwise I'd look like Wylie Coyote when one of his schemes goes wrong. They're doing a series of different zaps with laser and have to enter the chamber several times during the session to make physical changes to measurements to avoid damage to my spinal chord. It's a precision business!

They're a pretty good bunch of people there... all laughing and jolly and friendly. One of them, a nurse who took me by the arm, went to the trouble of helping me with my food shortage problem, at least until tomorrow. Now they're encouraging me to get off the tube and start sticking more stuff down the screech (even if it is still liquid).

Here's an interesting vid about changes in the fortunes of the world over the past 200 years in 4 minutes. Very interesting indeed, and sent to me by a friend.

And now ladies and genitals, it's time to post this Waffle and get ready for another night in a single bed, with a bit of telly beforehand. Gary

March 14, 2012. And here I is... room No.2 this time, with 4 single beds, and only me! Got here in time this morning for my medical review with a young doc. "Third room on the right," he said as we proceeded down the hall. "When do I start counting?" I asked. "Back there." So we entered the room, had a brief chat, and that was it. I told him everything was fine and that I had no bad side effects apart from chunks of my beard falling out... "but that doesn't bother me cos I can look as scruffy as you do (which he does). Then I commented on his pointy-toed shoes and said I wore similar shoes during the days of the Beatles. He apologized for the scuffed toes and lack of polish, and promised to clean them up sometime. "Don't bother," I said, "they match the rest of you." Hehe. But he was cool. "I came here for a medical review," I said as we were about to depart. "Was that it?" "Yep." "No blood test or anything?" "Nope. You'll be right to take another 4 radiation doses tomorrow and Friday."

The lodge manager told me I had been booked in when I arrived earlier but also that the hospital wouldn't be providing any freebies this time. I only paid for 1 out of 4 nights last time. Why no freebies? They didn't say. So I asked the young doc, but he couldn't remember. Besides, it wasn't his responsibility.

The weird thing about being back here at the lodge after 4 weeks is that it's as though I've never been away; as if the time in between back home in Taree never existed. Maybe that says something about what a pain in the ass Taree is... or sharing a house with L&S is... or being tube-fed is. One thing's for sure, I gotta get better and I gotta get moving.

Okay, time for a bit of telly, then the sack, and a zap at 8am. And then? Dunno yet. Gary

March 13, 2012. Roite, everything's packed for tomorrow's trip to Port Macquarie - not that I'm taking much, Ts and undies, trackpants, netbook, cameras, medication, yadda yadda. I get the feeling that hospital has something in common with Fawlty Towers. It's after 5pm Tuesday and I still haven't had any official confirmation of my medical review tomorrow morning at 10. I've had to do my own detective work and find out for myself. Too late to turn back now... I'll be on their doorstep tomorrow morning.

I've been giving the MrB stories idea a bit of thought today, and going through some of the archives. There is a problem with PayPal though... they dumped MrB once before, about 6 or 7 years ago. I don't want them to dump me (gary) as well because once you're dumped as a recipient, you're dumped for good.

Ohio Jace wrote with some surprising news. He lives in a rural area of Ohio in a town with a population of about 11,000 (half the size of Taree), and yet he has this to say: We have had over 70 break-ins since Christmas in this town and the crooks have stooped so low they are stealing grave markers from cemeteries. Most veterans have a bronze marker with their service records attached to the grave stones plus a bronze star and eagle flag holder that is planted in the ground. Both have been stolen. The markers go all the way back to the Civil War. Nearly every store has been robbed at least once and no one has been caught. Peeps are arming themselves for safety, especially after a woman was robbed at knife point closing up a fast food joint. So far everything is happening late at night. There have been two bank robberies in the past year or so. Only one was caught (an out of towner), the other got away on foot in broad daylight.

I remember Jace telling me that a large public housing development was built on land not far from his property. He and his neighbors were expecting an influx of lower-socio-economic types to take up residence and perhaps bring trouble with them. I'm wondering with so many break ins if any of the crooks arrive home to find their own place broken into while they were out breaking into someone else's. Maybe it has something to do with the jobless rate, especially in a blue collar state like Ohio. Anyway, I'm sure Taree would be shocked and outraged at a crime figure like that. It really surprises me because Jace has always talked about how neighborly the area is, and how he and his neighbors are like family. 

Time to post this and turn on the telly. Catch you tomorrow from Port Macquarie. Gary

March 12, 2012. Fog, then sunny. Oh, so does that mean I'll be driving in fog on Wednesday morning to Port Macquarie? I don't like fog. Maybe the fog will have cleared by 9am. I hope so.

A familiar face on Oz TV screens for decades, Ian Turpie (Turps), died of cancer yesterday aged 68. I'd not heard of him for ages and then saw him on one of those dreadful "advertorial/infotainment" daytime TV shows. He looked ancient and I figured he must be desperate for work. But I didn't suspect cancer. The other day it was Davy Jones from the Monkees who fell off the perch with a heart attack. Well, I survived one of those in 2002 and so far I've survived cancer. But I must admit I'm getting a bit nervous about all those bullets whizzin' about.

Just read Oregon Richie's email. He does more in a day than I do in a week... even when I'm feeling fine! The hare and the tortoise, and I'm happy to be the latter.

Out of curiosity, I Googled apartments for rent in Port Macquarie. They're about the same as those around Taree. But the thing is, 2-bed apartments are more expensive than 1-bed and bedsitters. If I decide to move from here, I'd like the extra space but I don't wanna share. What I'm saying is I need to make a few bucks - whether it's for the Odyssey or an apartment or whatever. MrB is free, right? But it doesn't contain ALL the stories I wrote. There are quite a few more stories lying around in my archives. Most of them went for 4 or 5 chapters and fizzled out because I got tired of them. So what if I resurrected those stories, finished them with proper endings (I remember some readers getting quite upset when I got tired of a story and just dumped it hehe), packaged them and offered them for sale... just a couple of bucks through PayPal. There's probably enough MrB fans out there to keep a few bucks rolling in. It would be a straight out purchase deal, once only. Cody/MrB would remain as it is, a free site, no membership or passwords or any of that shit. The packaged stories would be a separate deal, advertised on the About MrB page. There are some technical issues I'd have to check out with TX Greg, but maybe it's worth thinking about.

Right, time for the flatscreen telly and the latest news. Gary

March 11, 2012. Did I say I'm hanging mine out to dry yesterday? I didn't think of it at the time but that could have been misconstrued. Anyway, a Red Bubbler sent me a bunch of stuff to get my day off to a good start this morning.

When you're from the country, your perception is a little bit different.  A Queensland farmer drove to a neighbours' farmhouse in his Holden ute and knocked at the door. A boy about 9 answered. "Is your dad here?" the farmer asked.
"Nope, he went to town with mum."
"How about your brother, Howard?"
"Nope, he went with them." The boy waited for the next question but then volunteered more information. "I know where all the tools are if you wanna borrow something, or I can give dad a message."
"I really need to talk to your dad," the farmer said uncomfortably. "It's about your brother getting my daughter pregnant."
"You'll have to talk to dad, then," the boy nodded. "I know what he charges for the bull and the pig, but not Howard."

Then there's the story about the Irish accident when Paddy phoned Emergency and said, "Quick! Get an ambulance. Me mate's been hit by a car. He's bleedin' from his nose and his ears and I tink both his legs are broken." The operator asked Paddy the location. "Outside 28 Eucalyptus Street," he said. "How do you spell Eucalyptus?" the operator asked. But there was a long pause. After several attempts to raise Paddy, the operator tried one more time. "Are you there, sir?" Finally Paddy's voice returned. "Sorry about that," he said, quite breathless, "I couldn't spell eucalyptus so I dragged me mate around to 1 Oak Street."

It's been a quiet Sunday with lots of snoozing and not much thinking, and a bit of wondering about where I go from here. I seem to be in a kinda limbo at the mo. There's no way I'm gonna spend the rest of my days sharing a house with L&S. Besides, I have no particular attachment to this house or even this town. One way or another, whether it's through the Odyssey or otherwise, I'd like to find a place where I feel I belong, and maybe a real-life mate or two to share a yarn and a beer with. Gary

March 10, 2012. Perfect weather, at last. So I'm doing the laundry (cos I hang mine out to dry). There's a tumble dryer in the laundry I've owned for about 12 years and used maybe 3 or 4 times. So why did I buy it? Cos some druggie offered it to me for $20.

Laundry's done but it took a bit of stuffing outta me standing at the line hanging it, and then removing it and folding it later. Whew! Then Averil phoned and wanted to know where I'd been all week. Truth is I'm still smarting about Ken's intrusion last time I was over there for a natter. Anyway, I told her about my nephew's failure to contact me after saying he would, and my suspicion that he has read about my sexuality in my Scrapbook. If he's anything like his father he would have freaked.

So much for being concerned about li'l ol' uncle Gary having to handle the cancer thing all on his lonesome.

Not much thinking time today or ideas for Waffle. Oh well... let's see if I can do better tomorrow. Gary

March 9, 2012. Received an email from a guy who "discovered" Cody and Steve, and who lived in Cape Town for many years "in the shadow of Table Mountain" until he moved to Pretoria. He found the stories deeply moving and expressed his sincere gratitude.

My dietitian responded to my email and phoned about my next appointment(s) with the hospital. I have a medical review Wednesday 14th at 10am and then a morning and afternoon radiation on Thursday, repeated on Friday. Home Saturday morning. So there ya go... another one of those in April and that'll be it (except for maybe a final checkup in May).

And Rush Limbaugh? Oregon Richie's not a big fan of his either: RUSH is a pompous fool.  He's a bigmouthed "infotainer" who has an audience of millions and even at times called the unofficial leader of the Republican party.  He's been around for years polluting the radio and television frequencies and his followers... having a deep need to listen to his reinforcing nonsense... and many Republican politicians are very much afraid to criticize him.  He's also crazed about money and that is probably the only thing that does influence his behavior... and recently about a dozen lead advertisers dropped him.  THAT he will pay attention to.

Better make that a rich pompous fool, I guess. You might like to check out this article: Rush Limbaugh gives women another reason to vote for Obama

Anyway, this Rush bloke has quite an interesting background if you'd care to check out his bio on Wikipedia.

And on that note, it's time to post this Waffle and waft into weekend mode. Gary

March 8, 2012. TX Greg reckons he's found something "unnatural": Well wouldn't it be "unnatural" if you won the Lotto, hehe. Based on my averages so far? Yeah, perhaps it would. However, Greg also found something natural that looks totally bizarre!

NC Art had this to say: Unnatural? Nah. When we say someone is unnaturally nasty, we really mean that the guy is a natural ass hole. I offer Rush Limbaugh as a current example.

I'd never heard of Limbaugh until now but after seeing his home page I agree with Art.

Anyway, I think many people use the word "unnatural" when they mean "abnormal". In my opinion, only something not created by Nature can be unnatural. Homosexuality, like driving a Lamborghini, may be abnormal but it's not unnatural. 

I reckon I must be getting close to my second "quad"  but I haven't heard anything from Port Macquarie Hospital... so I emailed my dietitian and asked her to check it out for me. I can clench my teeth now without any effort so things are improving, but there are still areas of my tongue that are numb. One day closer to a burger. Gary

March 7, 2012. Here's an example of NC Art's still-vivid imagination: Seems odd indeed that bit about listening to your bod. Picture twisting about to use your arse as a speaker. Would scare your shorts off for sure! Especially if you were a nurse in a ward with 4 patients all trying the same thing at the same time.

Meanwhile, Oregon Richie commented: Interesting to see some of the photographs and memories of the way-back file, and your thoughts on that.  I also had the thought that it's admirable how you are dealing with most if not all of your present situation... not that you CAN really change a helluva lot about it... and perhaps that is one of the keys... but absent is the normal "stages" of dealing with a crucial or critical situation.... anger, grief, denial, and such.... and, AS such, you have dealt with it as well as anybody.

If I thought anger, grief, denial and such would help I'd probably consider making use of them. Anyway, it's like the old saying, "There's no use complaining... no one listens."

But I thought it was interesting to see photos of father and son both as babies taken only a little over 20 years apart. That red settee Warren Jnr is sitting on is now in this house, used by L&S in the living room. I use one of the two matching easy chairs in this room. I am mindful, however, that my younger bro was distinctly unimpressed with certain aspects of my character. In an angry outburst a few years before he died of cancer, he more or less banished me from his sight. Those aspects of my character, which I fail to see as in any way offensive, are made public in my Scrapbook which my nephew is reading. So if there's a "father like son" issue here, I may never get to meet Warren Jnr.

Remember Kirk Cameron, 80s sitcom actor from Growing Pains? Well, he's now a religious activist who believes that homosexuality is unnatural and detrimental. I can understand why some people might have that view. However, to believe that anything at all is unnatural, one must believe there are two creators. Anyway, here's what Kirk told Piers Morgan in an interview.

By the way, can anyone out there tell me what else in the world is unnatural. It's an interesting word, unnatural... not of nature or alien thereto.

Did you check out the origin of the expression 'drop of a hat'? Oh that would be right……..definition "drop of a hat" - "may have Irish Origins". Typical Kelly. That was Steve W's comment. :)

Time to buggerize around with the evening routine again after another uneventful day. If I didn't believe that it takes a number of uneventful days to make an eventful one, I'd bitch about it. Gary

March 6, 2012. Now you'd think a bloke would win something a little more generous than $19.20 for getting four numbers out of six in Lotto wouldn't you. But nope, that's all I got. The bloke who got two more numbers than I did won $1M, which is $980,080 more.

NC Art wrote: One of those tornados totally wiped out a distant cousin's popcorn crop in Alabama. Popcorn is his major money maker, so he's got some problems. Thankfully, no one dead or hurt in that one. Just the look of those tornados is enough to scare the pants off a bloke. But Art goes on to say: When you meet that cousin, make nicey-nice... he could cut you in on lucrative real estate deals, what? The thought did cross my mind, Art. But he's a nephew not a cousin, and he's interested in me because his father and I grew up together.

Funny thing about my younger bro and I... I can show you photos of him that I took, but I can't show you photos of me that he took. It was that kinda relationship. Below is Warren Jnr about the same age as his father pictured with me above.

Steve W wrote: I went through radiation and chemo some 12 years ago, trust me being able to sleep at the drop of a hat (where the hell did that expression originate?) is perfectly normal. It is your body's way of telling you it needs time to recover from the abuse with which it is being assaulted. Just go with it………you will recover, just listen to your body - well not literally, cause that's a bit odd - but if it says sleep, then bloody well sleep. It is the best form of healing for you right now, but you will have to make up for it later with exercise!!!! Take care my friend, ...

As to 'the drop of a hat', check the phrase finder... and thanks for the medical advice, Steve. Gary

March 5, 2012. And here it is... another day. It's been over two weeks since I was last radiated and I've been wondering if there were any side effects I hadn't noticed. Just lately, I've noticed short white hairs lying around and figured they were from my beard. Sure 'nuff, they were. Then I got a bunch between my fingers and tugged. Guess what? I got me a side effect. My beard's coming out in clumps. The moustache hangs in there but pretty much everything below it looks history. Cool with me... I hate shaving.

Ohio Jace wrote and mentioned the recent Ohio school shooting. I dunno how I missed that one: You have probably heard, but we had another school shooting, this time in Ohio. Three dead two wounded, one of whom is paralyzed from the waist down. Two of the three dead donated their organs to help 16 other people, the third died at the scene so was unable to do so. All three were shot in the head at close range. One of the wounded was shot four times the other once. All were teens including the shooter, who was seventeen.

If your kid came home with a bloodied nose or skinned knees when I was growing up, that was about as bad as it got. School shootings break your heart but I get the feeling they're here to stay. I have been hearing lots about the tornados in the US though and the incredible destruction they're causing - one town of about 2000 completely wiped off the map. Here in Oz we're dealing with some pretty dramatic floods.

But to cheer things up a bit, I got some good visuals from Jace's description of little Ryan: Ryan has finally gotten the hang of crawling and is into everything, so hopefully no more bruised chins. He will walk if you stand him up, but can't do it on his own yet. Also, if you stand him up in a chair he watches whatever is going on outside. He gets very excited seeing daddy coming up the path to take him home. 

I love that. In case you're not aware, Jace is the neighborhood baby sitter and has been for donkey's years. He even takes care of the local gang when they're way past being babies.

Well, this phantom nephew of mine appears to have done quite well for himself. Check out his stomping grounds... that's Nelson Bay, a couple of hours south of here, where he is the principal of a real estate company. He lives close by at Soldiers Point. Yes, I've been doing a little Googling. Seems he's followed in his father's footsteps as a sailor and a salesman.

It should be interesting to meet him sometime this week. Gary

March 4, 2012. Well, rain hail or shine the Gay Mardi Gras went ahead in Sydney last night with lots of enthusiasm.

Arrogance or ignorance? I popped into Averil's place for a chat yesterday and was just beginning to tell her about my long lost nephew appearing on the scene when she turned to the doorway and said, "Come in, Ken." Ken is a neighbor on the other side. I call him The Weather Forecast because he's forever commenting on it. Anyway, Ken makes himself at home on a chair and proceeds to take over the conversation. That's another habit of his. He seems to think that if I'm already there, Averil and I must have been sitting in silence, twiddling our thumbs. I didn't say anything but that kinda ignorance irritates the hell outta me.

Meanwhile, I'm not sure if all this sleeping is a natural part of the cancer rehab or not. I can nod off at the drop of a hat, and then sleep all night as well. It's kinda scary really cos a day can drift by like a cloud on time-lapse, and there doesn't seem to be any point to my existence unless I think in the longer term such as months rather than days. One day is the same as another. 

Maybe this week will bring something different. Gary

March 3, 2012. Weekend again! If you were to ask if I have family, I would say yes and no... technically I do but we don't mix. Well, outta the blue
along comes a nephew to whom I've hardly said a word in over 40 years, who wants to check on me to see how I'm coping with this cancer rehab on my own. He's not talking about emails or phone calls either, he's talking about visiting. I hope he's wearing a name-tag. 

A few years ago, during our worst drought in a century, Sydney's Warragamba Dam was almost dry and Sydney built a desalination plant at Botany Bay. Last night, Warragamba was full and opened its flood gates. Parts of western and coastal NSW have had more rain in a day than they normally get in a year. Huge areas are flooded. Here in Taree it's wet and cool but nothing serious. Despite the Sydney downpour, the Gay Mardi Gras is expected to go ahead.

TX Greg wrote: Glad to see you posted that pic on Red Bubble. It just captures the morning peace and beauty of the place :) Perhaps you could include this pic on the next calendar. Yeah, good thing I got the last one finished before the operation. Now the trick will be to get some pics in time for the next one. I should take a good look around Port Macquarie when I'm there later this month. In fact, I'm getting a bit antsy about dusting off those cameras of mine.

Just watched NewsHour on PBS which is a bit late from the US but current enough to be interesting. And it's quite a well presented, informative program. And now it's time to settle down into evening time here in Oz... not a very exciting prospect for this ol' dude, I can tell you. Gary

March 2, 2012. A while back, TX Greg suggested I post a pic I took of Taree Railway Station at sunrise. For some reason, I decided to do it this morning on Red Bubble. I haven't been active on RB since before the operation.

Hi Uncle Gary. Now that doesn't happen often. In fact, I can't think of the last time anyone called me uncle. Anyway, my younger bro's son Warren emailed to say he'd seen a lot of stuff about his father on Aussie Odyssey in the Scrapbook section. A friend of his told him about the site. So I guess I can expect a phone call soon. Warren Snr died a couple of years ago of bladder cancer aged 61.

BTW, I noticed on the news last night that Davy Jones, front man for The Monkees, died of a heart attack aged 66.

Just happened to be buggarizing around on Youchewb when I spotted this clip of Virgin Blue's very first landing at Port Macquarie (from Sydney). Very wet!

Okay, here we are again... zap and we've rocketed from wakey-wakies time to watch-telly-and-post-waffle-time. And I haven't even walked out the door yet! Gary

March 1, 2012. Pay day, and because it's the first of the month, I get paid 3 times this month. Whoopee doo! I'm still getting paid carer rates so Centerlink hasn't changed me over to age pension yet. I better be careful of those buggers cos they might turn around one day and accuse me of being overpaid for this period, and demand their money back. On the other hand, it's on record that I have already applied to be changed over from carer to age. Bleh.

Coincidentally, the phone rang a little while ago and I was late getting to it. Sue also answered the call in the next room. She's not aware of my office phone and didn't recognize my voice. It confused the hell out of the caller so I asked her to hold the line while I went next door to tell Sue the call was for me. It was Centerlink wanting to know if I was aware of losing the annual $1600 Carer Bonus this July if I changed from carer to age pension. "Yes, I am," I said, and explained the reason I applied for the changeover. So they're processing it today. I also lose a little over $200 a month carer allowance so it all adds up. Oh well...

I wonder if Centerlink will be in touch with Sue to enquire as to whether or not she needs a new carer?

NC Art commented on my ISP: Incidentally, your ISP sounds like a dream outfit. I am locked into a virtual monopoly which treats customers like inconveniences or perhaps fleas on a mangy dog.

Art also forwarded this link to a vid called carpool - driving while Italian.

We're getting a lot of coverage of the Republican race for nomination here in Oz, but OR Richie added an interesting touch: Meantime... the election news and the big Republican feud continues... not that the party even knows who they are anymore.  There are few centered peeps in that group now... just a few, and far more extremist wack-jobs of whom was said... even Reagan was far-left of these clowns.  Hmm.

Richie also had this to say about Obama:  National polls show Obama leading by more than a comfortable margin, and the evidence that far more women vote than men now, and that female support of Obama amongst D, R, and even Independent women has a HUGE leaning towards Obama.. one concludes that it's basically a done-deal come November.  Hmm.  And I further note that the Israeli folk have rather implied that they are going to do something about the nuclear works of Iran and declared that they won't even tell us what that might be, and "keep the US in the dark...", which certainly means they are serious.

Oh yeah, by the way, I won $8.60 on Lotto. Gary


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