August 31, 2012. Another August bites the dust. Before I fergit,
I've seen plenty of spectacular sunset pics before but I think this
one takes the cake in NYC.
And speaking of pics, I've often linked to stuff by Norbert on Waffle.
He's a professional SCUBA diver and photographer who does a lot of magazine
covers. Here's his latest... a
close-up and personal encounter with a salt water croc.
Meanwhile, NC Art wrote: So my birthing day greetings are a bit late?
Sue me! It’s the days ahead you need support for anyway.
Joao takes issue with what he thought I meant,
evidently. But his treatise on English history is of some value. When Richard
won the Battle of Bethel, Joao is on the mark. I’ve seen the battle site;
has he? And, I never claimed anyone was speaking English in the comments
about the Vulgate. Vulgata was simply the language people generally understood,
and the language of the educated elites was more rigid than language of
the streets—or fishmongers for all that. That was coarse and unrefined;
shall we say vulgar, a term still used for language spoken by sailors,
printers(?) and other crude and rude types. Boys on schoolyards do a very
good job of it, if you need instruction. Cody and his buds did use the
vulgate out of earshot of parents and teachers. Got all that straight now?
Withal, I approve of the b’day card. Reminds
me of a nude Prince Harry hiding his genitals, but the subject on the card
was much hotter looking! Didja get a testicular tingle? Heheh. Incidentally
this current mob of royals pretty well exploded the myths of royal chastity,
decorum, and all that rot. But they still can put on a flash show on matters
Nope, no testicular tingle, Art. I'm far too mature and dignified for
that kinda behavior these days. :o) However,
I too approve of Joao's card. The word 'decorum' reminds me of Lindsay's
claim to fame. He says he doesn't have any. Must be something to do with
his ability to belch and fart simultaneously. He offered to demonstrate
one time years ago but I declined the offer. I suspect it was his main
party trick at school. Sue still finds it entertaining.
AND ANOTHER THING... writes Art after a bit more deliberation...
On the subject of England and the language, Joao
might recall that the Latin spoken there is not surprising, given the long
occupation by the Roman Empire. That wonder called Hadrian’s Wall was long
thought to be a defense against the ‘wild men of the north’.
More likely it was meant to set a limit to Roman
adventurism. Hadrian [117-128] ruled for 21 years and spent ten of them
away from Rome evaluating the territories for soundness of the investment.
He realized that Rome’s centuries of conquest for the sake of conquest
was not such a hot idea. The far reaches were too poor and too backward
for profit and the emperor actually drew back from some areas and established
lines which could be maintained—at least for awhile longer.
And so history was made and the empire
collapsed for a variety of reasons, one was invading ‘barbarians’ from
Northern Germanic tribes and Eastern encroachment. And Rome was beset by
corruption and in-fighting.
I saw a bit of Paul Ryan's speech to the GOP gathering in Florida and
was quite impressed with his oratory. Whether or not Romney can match it
remains to be seen. Then there was an interview with a conservative from
Tennessee who makes a living selling slugburgers, "Aaa've been a Republican
ahhhll maaa laaafe". I couldn't believe the accent. Hehe. Anyway, he reminded
me of Lindsay when he does something dumb. "I've always done it this way!"
I have a feeling Obama is biding his time, waiting for the perfect moment
to bring out the big guns. Never underestimate the bloke who beat the toughest
lady in world politics for the Democratic nomination last time, I reckon.
It's gonna be one helluva ding dong battle.
Good heavens! Early days yet but I just checked the Paralympics medal
tally and Oz is #2 behind China, with Britain 3rd. The US is 7th.
I finished that last sentence and thought, "PANO!" For years I've had
cameras capable of shooting panoramas but never thought about taking one.
I've been at lookouts where you can see for miles, long stretches of beaches,
and all kinds of places where a pano would have been perfect. SILLY MOI!
Then, outta the blue, I thought now's the time. So I whizzed down to the
river and tried my first pano. Click
on the pic to enlarge it. It was windy and you can see where the surface
of the water changed during the final shot (far left). Then I went to the
other side of the bridge and
shot another pano, my second. The island in the middle of the river
is Coocumbac, a nature reserve. It's 5 hectares (15 acres).
Yes! That's pretty exciting cos it shows what I can do on the Odyssey,
especially in the Outback where the horizon stretches forever. And mountain
ranges, and beaches and even skyscapes and sunsets/rises. Matching the
stitches in the viewfinder is a bit tricky but I did well even on my first
attempt. Either that or got lucky.
Mmmmm. I'm getting better at making pancakes with sugar and lemon juice.
I took the first one over to Averil's place. "Eat this!" "Wait a minute!
Aren't you staying?" "I'll be back!" So now I'm eating mine. I'm improving
the flipping business... loosening them so they don't stick, and then flipping
them over. I like to make them thin so they cover the whole base of the
pan, which means you can't get an egg-lifter underneath. I was a bit more
generous with the castor sugar this time... a sprinkle all over, then lemon
juice all over, then another sprinkle of sugar for good measure. I also
increased the temperature a notch this time, to 5.
Cool weekend coming up but warmer Monday, Tuesday and even summerish
Wednesday, Thursday. I've been thinking of doing a short vid on some of
the small villages around here, like Tinonee and Croki. They're quaint,
and probably interesting to peeps who live in cities. In fact, I don't
think Croki even has a shop!
Anyway, I just put the heater on cos it's getting a bit fresh. Gonna
be only 5C tonight... hot water bottle time. When I woke this morning,
I thought, "Oh, no... I really don't wanna get outta bed just now cos it's
so warm and cozy under the covers." Then I felt guilty and looked at the
clock. 6:10. "Oh, goody! I can sleep for another hour!" So I did. Bugger
the birds and all their chirp chirp bullshit.
Just thinking about those pano shots again. When I'm in Sydney in November,
I'll be able to get a pano of the city skyline at the Quay, the Pacific
Jewel berthed at the overseas passenger terminal, and the Harbor Bridge...
all in the one shot! I'll get a few panos of Darling Harbor too cos it's
such a big place. I'll take both the big Fuji and the smaller Fuji (as
well as the little compact as a spare). Pano shots will be handy at the
Kombi Fest at Old Bar in October as well. Pano shots won't work as stills
in videos though because of the screen size. But in videos you can do pan
shots. Anyway, leave it to Beaver. I know exactly what to do. I think.
And now it's time for the evening rituals. One of those potato pies
I bought from the patisserie a while back has been in the freezer. Today,
it's been defrosting so it'll be ready to heat in the oven for dinner...
with a large dollop of tamaaaaata sauce, of course. Planet America is on
telly tonight, one of my favs, so I'll be brought up to speed about the
Obama/Romney tussle. Gary
August 30, 2012. Pay day, bills day, whoosh day. Back to square
one in milliseconds hehe. How-bloody-ever, I received a donation for the
Odyssey, so that's nice.
TX Greg wanted to know if I noticed the mug on the left in the pic he
sent yesterday. Yes I did. I'm a lefty. I live with two righties and they're
forever putting things the wrong way around. I'm so used to lifting the
kettle with my right hand now, I don't worry about it. But I still have
to turn the sugar bowl around.
I hadn't heard from BR Joao for a long time so I was nice to receive
an email from him this morning: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! It was a hard year
for you but you won. Great. Now back to the Odyssey.
Solar City Tower is not a real project. It was created by a Swiss company
for an architectural contest in Equador. I didn't understand it very well,
it seems to me like another visionary moto perpetuo. In Brazil power comes
chiefly from hydroelectrical plants. We have a lot of rivers, you know...
I send you a DVD as a birthday gift, I hope it arrives before your
next bithday. And you know how much amazing I think your idea of Aussie
Odyssey is (crazy but amazing). Greetings for you and all your friend readers.
Yep, the DVD arrived yesterday but Lindsay noticed it early this morning
and left it at my door. It's the story of George Harrison with songs, old
footage and interviews with lots of his friends as well as members of the
Beatles, produced by Martin Scorsese. The package even had a red bow tied
to it! Thanks, Joao. I can't wait to watch it. And thanks for the pic!
Joao also writes: What NC Art wrote about common language is very
interesting but I have some comments about it. The Vulgate is not the Bible
in common language, if you mean English as that language. The Vulgate,
or originally Vulgata, is the translation of the Bible from the Greek into
Latin, made by St. Jerome, in the 4th and 5th centuries AD. The New Testament
was originally written in Greek; the Old Testament was translated from
the Septuaginta (seventy, in Latin), a Greek translation of the Hebraic
text made, second the tradition, by seventy two rabbis of Alexandria,
between the 3rd and the 1st centuries BC. Why Latin? It was then the “common”
language of all Europe, in the meaning of a language used in all countries.
The first “official” Bible in English was the King James Bible, published
in 1611. English royalty didn’t speak Latin or High English, they spoke
French. We used to consider Alfred, the Great, as the first English king,
but England didn’t exist then. He was the king of Wessex, one of many small
Saxon kingdoms. He dreamed to conquer more countries, like Mercia or East
Anglia, but died before he could. Just after the Normand conquest, in 1066,
England became a great country. Sorry, Elizabeth, but England is still
a Normand colony. Richard the Lionheart, for instance, didn’t speak English
at all, he only speaks French and hated England (don’t tell Hollywood,
please). When he was not devastating English Treasure in a Crusade, he
used to live in his possessions of Aquitaine, near to his all life true
love, the young Philip II, King of France.
I survived the dental appointment this morning with some discomfort.
No needles but not much fun. Nancy cleaned the teeth again and also gave
me a filling. Actually, it was a refill. The original dropped out years
ago. I'm due for another next week. Bleh. Meanwhile, she says I need to
"bulk up". Tis true, tis true... I'm fading away to nothing.
And the pancake? Delicious! I'll have another for lunch. One was all
I could handle last night, so I had a mug of soup as well. Ready made pancakes
are not the same. Better to make each one fresh (fried in butter, of course).
I used castor sugar (very fine) to sprinkle over, and fresh lemon. Mmmmm!
The two XD 2GB memory cards arrived for the big Fuji so that gives me
2 x 29min of record time + 1 x 14min with the old 1GB = about 72min, which
is plenty. Older cameras can't be upgraded to higher MP or memory which
is a bit of a bummer but they're still okay... at least for another few
years before they become museum pieces like my 2002 Kodak.
I watched QI last night with Stephen Fry and he was talking about mining
gold in Japan, which is a country short on natural resources. So they mine
gold in old cell phones. Apparently, cell phones - if there's enough of
them - are rich in valuable materials. In England they're talking about
recovering platinum from road surfaces... something to do with the dust
created by car exhausts. So how do they recover platinum from fine dust?
Bacteria... namely E. Coli. The theme of last night's show was "green"
as in eco friendly. So one of the guests - normally in pairs with Fry in
the middle - complained that one side of the set was wasting electricity,
so the two guests on Fry's right grabbed their chairs and moved over to
the other side hehe. It was a bit crowded but the show went on regardless.
Meanwhile, it's good to see recycling being promoted by the media. The
earth's recources are finite, as we're rapidly discovering with oil.
Mining is a constant issue in Oz. We have massive reserves of coal,
gas, minerals and other materials but the Greens are forever protesting
against exploiting our natural resources. The Aborigines make a fuss too
if they decide the location has spiritual and/or cultural significance.
So it's always difficult to strike a balance, which is what we need to
do. It can't be all one way or all the other. Most of us don't want an
On the other hand, it's encouraging that science is researching greener
ways of keeping our lifestyles intact... generating electricity without
fossil fuels, using recyclable materials in buildings, cars and other manufactured
goods, developing machines that use less energy to deliver the same or
better results, etc. Incandescent light globes disappeared from the Oz
market a year or two ago. Now we all use those twistie ones or fluros.
Or even LEDs.
Have you heard about the new NBC
sitcom The New Normal?
I don't think sitcoms portray normal people. If they did, they'd fail
to rate. However, I think the day will come when it'll be normal to have
a same-sex married couple living next door. And not only in gay enclaves.
Kids at school with same-sex parents won't be treated any differently.
People who resist change forget that evolution is with us whether we like
it or not. It really is the nature of the beast. And there's no going back.
I often wonder about the validity of expressions such as "the wisdom of
the ancients". It's true that many ancients were wise, but I don't think
antiquity has a monopoly on wisdom. Take NC Art, for example. If he didn't
have such a bony butt, I'm sure he'd quite happily sit on a mountain top,
dressed in robes, and spend his time dispensing profundities.
Just checked the Beeb: The Australian army suffers one of its worst
days in Afghanistan, with five of its soldiers killed in two separate incidents.
Oh dear, that's a lot for us. It'll be all over the news tonight with the
PM and Minister for Defense making the usual speeches. Three soldiers
were killed by a man in Afghan army uniform in Uruzgan province on Wednesday,
the latest in a series of so-called "green-on-blue" attacks. In a separate
incident, two others were killed in a helicopter crash in Helmand province
In other news: Paralympics chief Lord Coe says people should prepare
to be "inspired, dazzled and moved", as the Queen opens the Games at a
spectacular ceremony in London. I watched an interview last night with
a Safrican runner who wears strange looking prosthetics below this knees,
but he can run like the wind. He's also exceptionally good looking.
And here's a clip of a koala trapped by a tidal river hitching
a ride on a canoe.
So that's about it, Ls and Gs. The day is slowly coming to a close and
the telly beckons. Gary
August 29, 2012. The phone rang at 7 this morning while I was
still in bed. It was my sis in law phoning to wish me happy birthday. How
could anyone wish a bloke happy birthday by dragging him out of bed on
a winter's morning? So I ignored it. It rang again at 7:30 by which time
I was in front of the comp having my morning cuppa. Still too early for
all that rah rah business so I ignored it again. At 8, the mobile/cell
rang. "You have missed one call." My sis in law is one of those people
who expects others to spring into action after the first ring. If nothing
happens, she hangs up. Hehe.
TX Greg was far more sensible. No phone, no noise, no disruption, no
rah rah, just a wonderful thought... and one I very much appreciate:
Several times you've painted a picture of what it would be like on
the Odyssey to wake up, go outside the camper and have your morning cuppa,
BTW> The photo is the Rainbow Valley, Northern Territory :)
Isn't that wonderful? Thanks a stack for a most appropriate and thoughtful
gift, Greg. It was a most pleasant way to greet the day. I can imagine
being in that picture thinking to myself, as I sip my tea, "Well, whaddaya
know! My dream has actually come true."
And then Oregon Richie knocked me for six with his comment: So it's
about time, eh? Another scratch on the calendar or however you view
it but of course... all good thoughts, better wishes, and the best hopes
for a HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GARY and for rolling good times in the times ahead
!! It counts. YOU count. The great sage and my friend in OZ has been
one of the most incredible and meaningful relationships and friendships
of my life. I celebrate that with appreciation and celebrate the
life of Gary of OZ big big big-bloody big-time, mate !
Nothing in there about my being witty, charming and good looking, Richie,
but I suppose ya can't have everything. Thanks, mate. It's quite a speech...
and one, I must admit, that leaves me quite speechless.
Lindsay was in the shower when the phone rang at 7. He wanted to know
what it was all about so I told him. Then he asked how old I was. "68?!?!?!
You better start that trip pretty soon, Gazza!" Thanks, Lindsay. I said
68, not 108.
Ohio Jace sent an e-card that didn't arrive, so he wrote to wish me:
HAPPY 68th BIRTHDAY!!!!!
Since you did not get the ecard here is the backside of Table Mountain.
The city is in the valley between the mountain and the gold. Cody's home
would be to the left and the CBD to the right. The Atlantic Ocean is beyond
Thanks for the cool pic, Jace, and for bringing me up to speed with
the Ohio Gang. Your great nephew not wearing groin support during motocross
races reminds me of an incident when I was in my early teens. I had a Speedwell
Flash bicycle with 3-speed chain gears. At the base of a hill, I stood
on the pedals to get more push when the chain slipped and I came crashing
down on the crossbar. Oh, man... the pain! It was excruciating! That's
something I'll never forget.
It's actually mid afternoon now and the day has flown. Dunno why...
I haven't done much. However, I did get an email from Lotto to say NO WINNING
GAMES. Thanks very much. Next! And I managed to snaffle a few specials
at the supermarket. After all that talk about Morroccan flat bread and
stuff the other day I bought some Buttermilk Pancake Mix... one of those
you add water to and shake in the bottle. I read the label and saw that
once water is added, and the buttermilk is reconstituted, it only lasts
3 days in the fridge. I was hoping longer. It means I gotta try to get
through 4 pancakes a day! Oh well... I also bought some mandarins cos they're
easy to peel and eat (for me). And eggs! Last time I tried scrambled eggs
I had trouble eating them but I have a feeling I might do better this time.
Just picked a lemon. I figure a sprinkle of sugar and a squeeze of lemon
might encourage me to eat more pancakes.
So what's a bloke supposed to do on his birthday? You've all made me
feel guilty now. I have nothing planned, nothing at all. It's just another
day. I remember my 40th. It was a party at a restaurant with a stack of
people there, some I didn't even know. Where are they now? Who knows. On
my 50th, a bunch of people heard that I'd kicked a goal in Canberra with
a TV show, so they came out of the woodwork. Where are they now? Who knows.
Mind you, they probably say the same about me hehe. IF they remember.
If my sis in law phones back tonight she'll no doubt ask, "What did
you do?" And when I say nothing, she'll say, "Nothing? It's your birthday!"
I don't have a problem with people who make a big deal of birthdays and
other occasions. Just don't expect me to. Some of my most treasured memories
of Cody's life happened on his birthdays... Paul's visit from England,
Mark's visit from Joburg. Those times could not have been more special.
But there were also tons of special moments that had nothing to do with
birthdays. I think that's why I appreciate TX Greg's pic so much... it
could be any day of the year; the cuppa, the laptop, the view. It doesn't
need to be a particular day.
Speaking of Cody, I remember when the family was holidaying up the "Green
Route" with Mark and Wingnut in tow, and they stayed in a cabin at a holiday
park. During a quiet moment between Cody and his mom, she told him that
the cabin was where he had been conceived. Now THAT was a special moment
for me (and obviously for his mother). I'd never thought of conception
as being a relevant date before. Mine must've been early December
1943, which made my dad 40 and my mom 35... and me 0. And if you add it
all together it makes me 68 and 3/4.
Anyway, birthdays schmirthdays... with some exceptions.
Just had a thought. Is there any law against having pancakes for dinner?
Since you blokes have made me feel guilty about not doing anything special
for my birthday, maybe I should have pancakes for dinner. No candles...
bugger the candles. Just the pancakes. One with lemon and sugar for mains,
and one with jam and cream for dessert. Yeah. Why not?
Okay, that's settled. Pancakes it is.
And tomorrow? Lindsay told me that while I was up the road, the butcher
shop rang to remind me of my 9am appointment tomorrow. That's his joke
for the day, dear Breth. He meant the dentist. Ha ha. Sheesh. So that's
where I'll be in the morning, lying back and being drilled for fillings.
I can't wait. Seems 2012 has been the year of the carvers... lots of people
with knives and scalpels and drills and needles and lasers and whatever,
all wanting to carve up the old G. What a year it's been. Gary
August 28, 2012. NC Art wrote: English may as well come from
Turkey as well as anywhere. It is a weird conglomerate of tongues from
all over hell. Latin, German, French, Nordlander, etc. Middle Eastern speech
flavored by Asian a la Genghis Kahn and his soldiers. So it’s a losing
proposition to distinguish Aussie, American, Canadian or English English.
Each have their own peculiar spellings, idioms, and ungodly names for things.
Natural, I think; England was the most frequently conquered spit of land
anywhere, I think. Ruled by French kings, Germans, Spanish and god knows
whatall. One royal house married daughters off to foreigners to keep peace.
Didn’t work too well.
So, while you write in American, some of the
references to objects or emotions are purely puzzling to some of us. Yet,
I get the idea, and that adds a bit of spice to mundane descriptives!
Yes, I like to have two bob each way (a bet on both a win and a place
in racing). I continue to use Aussie idioms and expressions even though
I prefer American spelling. It adds a bit of flavor to my style and keeps
it Aussiefied. Aussies reckon and Merry Cans figure. I do both. Aussies
have a shower and Merry Cans take a shower. Hehe. What the hell. We buy
take away whereas Merry Cans buy food to go. We have arses and they have
asses. Bonnets and hoods. Tyres and tires. Mud guards and fenders. Mince
steak and ground steak. 'Ow ya goin' and 'ow ya doin'? Gunna and gonna.
Mum and mom. The end is listless. I throw in a few of my own as well, like
Harry Stottle and Dozen Madder.
While on air at my first job in radio I said the temperature "downtown"
was whatever degrees. A minute later, the manager burst into the studio
and told me NEVER to use that expression again. It was an Americanism and
we don't use Americanisms at this radio station. Okay... just lots of Doris
Day, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, et al, et al.
After fiddling around in my camper yesterday, I was delighted to spot
this video on Youtube about a 16 y/o kid building his own "mortgage free"
trailer house. It's
really great... check it out.
Back to NC Art for a tick, he sent this link to a vid of an Aussie office
her thing with the photo copier.
Yes, building things "and stuff". On Gardening Australia the other night,
a woman demonstrated how to make a framed mini garden. She bought an old
picture frame from an op shop, plus a few bits of scrap timber "and stuff".
She made a shallow box by putting 3 sides to the frame (about 3-4" deep)
and a backing board. Then she stuffed a rolled-up newspaper lengthwise
into the end without a side. She laid the box on its backing, frame side
up, and filled it with potting mix. Then she planted a number of small
succulents (varieties of different colored cacti) into the potting mix,
keeping the plants tightly packed so that no soil was visible once the
planting was complete. Three months later, when the roots of the plants
had taken hold in the soil, she raised the frame to hanging position and
removed the rolled up newspaper (used to stop loose potting mix from spilling
out during planting) and voila - a framed mini garden that looked fabulous.
The open top (where the newspaper was) could now be used for watering.
Boxes are cool. The interior of the camper is a series of boxes... boxes
to sit on, boxes to put things in. Lift the divan cushions to reveal storage
boxes underneath. Open the cupboard doors to reveal boxes to store stuff
in. At one end there's a big box to sleep in. There's a box to house the
fridge, another to house the water tank (and double as a step up to the
sleeping area), another to house the gas bottle, and another to house the
stove/grill. At one end of the kitchen bench, hinged to the wall, there's
a fold-away shelf to add extra shelf space while stationary. It's amazing
how much space there is in such a small space. But it doesn't feel small.
Compact, yes, but not claustrophobic. There's enough open space and window
space to create a feeling of spaciousness. As the kid building his trailer
house says, everything is within easy reach. And because it's small, so
are the chores. Smart kid.
Been checking out digital camcorders on eBay just to see what's available.
The cheaper Chinese makes don't have a viewfinder, only an LCD screen which
isn't easy to see in strong daylight. I also prefer a viewfinder to frame
shots more accurately. Used Canons, JVCs and Sonys are better quality but
the older ones use DVD disks to record onto, and some even use tape. Sheesh.
So it looks like I'll have to wait a while before I splurge on a camcorder.
My old digital SLRs will have to do the job in the meantime.
On the other hand, I could be worth a few bob tonight. The $13m Lotto
is drawn this evening, the eve of my 68th birthday. I'm in a syndicate
with 9 other peeps so that'll improve my chances of winning something.
I believe there's only about another 4 billion ticket holders so it's practically
Nice springish day BUT the heater's on. Gets a bit chilly during the
night and in the mornings. 2" weather. Cody used to talk about 2" temps
in the surf during winter. Hehe. Or maybe it was 1". Can't remember.
So how old is old? Turning 40 was no biggie. Turning 50 was a bit of
an event. One teenage girl I knew called me a fossil. But at 50+ I thought
40 was quite young. Now, as a sexagenarian, I think 50 is quite young.
I can only assume that NC Art thinks 70 is quite young. And 80? Well, it's
getting on a bit. Hehe. Mind you, I've seen pretty sprightly 90 y/o's and
even centenarians who are the full quid. It's all in the genes ya know.
In other words, dear Breth, if ya ain't got the genes, forget about reaching
So who was the nitwit who said you're only as young as you feel? I reckon
you're as young as you THINK. I know peeps who started to think old well
before their latter years. They were always old. It's all very well to
be mature and sensible but that shouldn't mean being DULL. Keep the windows
of the mind open and the curtains fluttering, I say. Remember the good
old days, yes, but don't forget that today is just a good day that hasn't
gotten old yet. Hehe. Give it another 30 years and it'll join the ranks
of the good olds.
So what's for dinner? I dunno. Fish fingers? I thought about making
a white sauce with parsley or whatever but... too hard, especially for
one. Then I thought about putting the fingers in foil and adding a bit
of this and that but... they're crumbed, and you don't steam crumbs. Hehe.
So it looks like a boring old oven fry. Soooo, that's about it, Ls and
Gs. It's a wrap. Gary
August 27, 2012. Steve W commented: Gary, wtf "flavor" is
I didn't understand what Steve was on about at first. It took a while
to realize he was less than impressed with my use of American spelling.
I've been using American spelling for years, ever since writing Daniel's
Diary, which was set in Tampa, Florida. In any case, Australian English
is not Australian at all. It's English English, so it's not like I'm being
unpatriotic. Besides, American English is probably closer to being a universal
language than any other. From what I've read, American English is closer
to what English English used to be before the Poms decided to tart up their
lingo to make it look as classy and sophisticated as French. That's when
they started adding 'u' to words like flavor and savior.
By the way, there was an article on the Beeb yesterday about English
having its origins in - of all places - Turkey!
Some Aussies are critical of American culture and the influence it has
on Oz, but I don't hear anyone being critical of the influence Italian,
Greek, Asian and various other cultures have had on Oz. Actually, I do.
Old Ken, a neighbor, reckons we shouldn't be eating "foreign" food, that
we're Australians who should be eating Australian food. Remind me never
to eat at his place.
Anyway, after writing about dreams yesterday, I began to think about
that expression "body of work"... the sum total of a person's contribution
over a lifetime. Most people do a day's work for a day's pay. At the end
of their working life, they look back and wonder where the hell it all
went and what the hell it was all about. Rather than use each day to contribute
to the next, and the next, so that the sum total of their days result in
a cohesive "body of work", they've ended up with a string of vague memories.
There was no dream, no purpose, no plan, nothing to glue the days together
to prevent them floating away like scattered flotsam.
For me, that's where Aussie Odyssey comes in. I keep a record of each
day (or couple of days) so that the journal, pics and vids build into a
collection that ultimately becomes a cohesive "body of work". Yeah? That'll
make up for all the disjointed bits and pieces I've left behind so far
My Red Bubble mate Mieke has been at it again, adding to her "body"
of photographic work. She has a natural talent for spotting situations
she can turn into something really interesting, such
as this image she called Exit. And here's a great example of what Mieke
can do with a bunch of trees. What
Meanwhile, Romney is accusing Obama of "dividing America" by running
a campaign built on "anger and divisiveness". Hello? Who's the pot calling
the kettle black? On the other hand, Obama, according to a Huffington Post
report, says that Romney has locked himself into "extreme positions" and
deals in factually dishonest arguments that could soon haunt him in face-to-face
And what about this Breivik character in Norway, and his far-right idealism?
He remains unrepentent despite Norway rejecting his crusade to rid the
country of Islamic influence and racial integration, and despite being
condemned by his countrymen as a low-life mass-murderer. Far-right or far-left,
to me, is taking things too far. Either way, it's extremism. Off the wall
I spent a bit of time this arvo in the camper just buggerizing around
like a kid in his cubby house. I even used the hand broom and dust pan
to clean up the joint a little. Hehe. How domestic. But I'm very comfortable
with the idea of feeling "at home" when camped somewhere, especially with
all my bits and pieces stowed away in the storage bins or cupboards. A
bloke's gotta have his "things". I also re-read the fridge instruction
manual just to make sure I understood how the thing works. No matches,
by the way. Ignition is piezo. Not so with the stove top though... I'll
need a lighter for that.
I suppose my first home cooked meal on the road will be quite an event.
Incidentally, I love the look of a blue gas flame. It's homely. I grew
up with gas... gas cooker in the kitchen and gas water heater in the bathroom
(both Carmichael brand). Boxes of matches were a permanent item on mom's
grocery list. I have two stainless steel vacuum flasks. Experienced campers
advise keeping excess boiling water hot in vacuum flasks to save gas. Yep,
instant cuppa anytime you want it.
Just checked out camp ovens (Dutch ovens) and saw a recipe for Moroccan
flat bread, which apparently was so delicious it disappeared before the
chef could take photos. It's very simple... 250g self raising flour, 250g
plain natural yoghurt, generous pinch of baking powder, pinch salt. Combine
all ingredients, separate into 6 portions, flatten to between 1 - 2 cm
thick. Fry 2 minutes each side in a little olive oil in Dutch oven or heavy
frying pan. For me, I'd fry one at a time for fresh bread and store the
rest until needed. Daily fresh bread out in the bush. Heaven!
And now ladies and genitals, it's time to take care of my stomach's
rumblings. It's carrying on a treat at the mo. Rumble, rumble, rumble.
Gimme, gimme, gimme. It's also time for a bit of telly and my regular programs...
being Mondee again. Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Gary
August 26, 2012. Well, that sprinkle of powdered gravy (pepper
sauce, actually) on the meatballs to thicken the liquid last night worked
an absolute treat. It was so damn tasty, I didn't care about my sensitive
gums. In fact, it was so delicious, I reckon it's probably the best thing
I've ever made. But don't ask me why. Was it the mix of pork and veal rather
than beef? Was it the parmesan cheese in the mix? Was it the chopped tomatoes
with basil and garlic? Was it all of the above? I'll never be absolutely
certain, but I'm glad I wrote down the recipe. Thats a keepers. I do suspect
the parmesan had a lot to do with the result. I've seen quite a number
of cooking show hosts use parmesan in various dishes to sharpen the flavor.
Usually they shave it from a block. I used shavings from a packet. Shaved
parmesan is much better than powdered. Okay, so it smells like puke but
it tastes wonderful.
On Landline last night there was a story about a couple of people who
invested their retirement superannuation into a business growing, packaging
and selling "bush tucker"... berries, fruits and vegies native to Oz. It
tends to be tart and even bitter but that suits one well known Aussie restaurateur
(born in Malaysia) who orders heaps of the stuff every week. Chinese cooking
uses contrasting flavors in many dishes, and has for thousands of years...
sweet and sour, for example. Anyway, "bush tucker" has become big business
with many restaurants offering dishes based on indigenous ingredients.
And the two people who started the business of growing and supplying it
a decade or so ago are flat out keeping up with demand. They also bottle
jams, chutneys and sauces.
There was another a story of a man and a woman who live on a chain of
small islands off the coast of Western Oz. He's on one and she's on another,
living in separate houses and operating separate businesses growing pearls.
But they're married and have a child. Hehe. It works okay. She visits his
island for dinner and he visits hers for the same reason. Before they married
and had a child, they ran their businesses independently anyway and have
decided to continue that way. The pearls are huge by comparison to normal.
At first, seeding the shells resulted in only a small percentage being
harvested. But they discovered a way to increase the success rate and now
almost all the seeded shells result in perfect pearls. They say it has
to do with the type of oyster and also the pristine waters around the area.
How the other half lives, yeah?
The man who famously said "One small step for man, one giant leap for
mankind," has passed into history. Neil Armstrong died yesterday of complications
following heart surgery. Armstrong uttered those words back in 1969, shortly
before I landed my first job in radio. My parents and I sat around our
21" black and white HMV TV in the living room and watched Apollo 11 touch
down on the lunar surface. My dad couldn't handle it and said it was a
fake. The way I feel about it is that I'm privileged to have witnessed
such a momentous event in my lifetime. A month later, my boss said to me,
"There's no need to be nervous, Gary. There's only 30,000 people out there
listening to you."
So who's Clive Palmer? He's an Aussie billionaire on a mission. He wants
to build Titanic II, a faithful replica of the original. "Most people of
my age and means either want to retire or build a boat. I want to build
a boat." Check
out his story.
One commentator on telly the other week said about Clive Palmer, "If
Clive Palmer didn't exist, we'd have to invent him." Larger than life,
indeed. Palmer is a man who dreams big and then sets out to turn his dreams
into reality. He wasn't always a billionaire. When I think back over my
life, I can see now that I didn't dream enough. My first dream was to become
a radio announcer. So I became one. Then there were no more dreams until
I went bust and began to dream about finding a hero; a person I could admire
and write about; a person who could show me "the way". So I found Cody.
And here I am with my third and final dream, Aussie Odyssey. What I'm saying
is that my life is the direct result of the dreams I've had. No more, no
less. I've never dreamed of being hugely successful or famous. I've never
dreamed of being rich and powerful. Go figure. So it seems the secret to
getting what you want in life, dear Breth, is linked to your dreams. The
less you want, the less you dream. The more you want, the more you dream.
And the bigger you dream.
I think wishing and dreaming can be two different things. Wishing to
be successful or rich or famous or whatever is too fuzzy. Wishing lacks
definition. Dreams, on the other hand, have a specific goal or purpose.
For Barack Obama it was becoming President of the United States. When asked
as a child what he wanted to be in life he said, quite confidently, "President."
My answer to the same question as a kid would have been, "Buggered if I
Yesterday, I read a little about Hilter's early life: Embittered
at his rejection by the Viennese Academy of Fine Arts, he was to spend
"five years of misery and woe" in Vienna as he later recalled, adopting
a view of life which changed very little in the ensuing years, shaped as
it was by a pathological hatred of Jews and Marxists, liberalism and the
cosmopolitan Habsburg monarchy. Existing from hand to mouth on occasional
odd jobs and the hawking of sketches in low taverns, the young Hitler compensated
for the frustrations of a lonely bachelor's life in miserable male hostels
by political harangues in cheap cafes to anyone who would listen and indulging
in grandiose dreams of a Greater Germany.
Grandiose dreams, yes? The other motivation for his rise to power was
intense hatred, a powerful emotion. But he always had a very clear vision
of where he was headed. As opportunities arose to achieve his ultimate
goal, he recognized them and followed them.
Clive Palmer has the same clear vision of Titanic II. He has the original
plans, plans for the new ship with certain modifications, and a dream which
has now become an obsession to see the project through. Walt Disney borrowed
$500 from an uncle, created Mickey Mouse and built Disney Land. So it's
all about dreams, ladies and genitals. Or the lack thereof.
Here we are again at after 5-ish and I'm looking forward to another
feast of meatballs and my magic sauce. What the hell do I call that thing?
Kelly's Meatballs? Savory Meatballs in tomato gravy? Pork and Veal Yummies?
Buggered if I know. But I tellya what, they've revived my interest in eating.
Since the operation and radiation therapy, eating has been a real chore,
and I've lost serious weight as a consequence. But now flavor IS BACK!
August 25, 2012. NC Art doesn't necessarily agree with treating
stars as ordinary people: That advice on treating stars as ordinary
works with some, but most won’t go along with such democracy. The ones
who seem human are there, but not in great numbers. My son has worked in
film business for many years and met all kinds. Two standouts are Whoopee
Goldberg and Tom Hanks. Both take the job seriously, do the job they get
paid for, and manage to be real decent humans while at it. Some actors
believe they are the only ones who matter and treat like dirt all the support
crews who actually make things happen. Carpenters, painters, electricians,
set dressers and grips make them look good but seldom a word of thanks
but plenty of crap if the star screws up a scene all by herself. Ah well.
Years ago, I sacked the lead guitarist of the band I managed during
practice because he got his knickers in a knot about something or other,
and behaved like a prima donna. The rest of the band was horrified at losing
one of the best guitarists in Sydney but remained silent as the guitarist
left the hall. Then the lead singer ran after him. 10 minutes later, both
returned. The guitarist apologized for his behavior, which was a relief,
and once more we were all happy little Vegemites working together as a
team. It was a good lesson for the members because there was never any
more trouble after that.
When I ran my own advertising production biz, I regularly used the cream
of Sydney's voice over talent and never had a problem with any of them.
Seems to me the more secure a person is, the less likely they are to be
temperamental and/or defensive.
At the time, there was a tape doing the rounds of Marlon Brando chucking
a wobbly during a recording session for an advertisement. Admitedly, the
script was apalling but Brando was overly abusive, I thought. And I suspect
the reason was due to his failing popularity. Big stars don't need to do
ads for soups. If it were my session, he would have been out the door and
replaced. I don't have a problem with constructive criticism or helpful
suggestions, but vindictive, sarcastic remarks are unprofessional... and
that goes for both sides of the microphone.
However, I wouldn't have hired Brando or any other star in the first
place. Most agencies believe that stars give ad campaigns credibility.
Maybe they do, but I have confidence in my own ability to make the script
the star. For one thing, it's a lot cheaper. During my heyday, I turned
"Lefty and Shirl" into stars by writing great scripts and hiring two talented
voice over artists who specialized in character voices. Lefty and Shirl
ran for years in Sydney. Silly me... if only I'd been aware of the true
value of that campaign (and others) I could have made a fortune.
Lefty and Shirl were a pair of mentally-challenged business entrepreneurs
with comic voices whose main aim was to outwit their competition, Valiant
Glass. One of the ads (and there were 24 of them) went something like this:
Lefty: This answering machine is a great idea, Shirl.
Shirl: Yeah, Lefty... no more interruptions hehe.
SFX: Phone rings.
Machine: You have reached Lefty and Shirl's emergency glass repair
service, available 24 hours a day except during morning tea, lunch, afternoon
tea, dinner, nights, weekends and holidays. Please call back later.
Customer: You call yourselves an emergency glass repair service and
you're closed?!? I'll phone Valiant! (Bangs phone down).
Shirl: He hung up!
Lefty: He said he's phoning Valiant!
Shirl: The nerve!
Lefty: No worries, Shirl. I've got an idea. I'll re-record the message
and after I say please call back later, I'll add '...and don't call Valiant'.
Shirl: Oh, Lefty... that's pure genius!
Lefty: Yeah, Shirl. Hehe. That'll teach Valiant emergency glass repair
service to mess with the likes of Lefty and Shirl!
Mind you, there's no shortage of dickhead producers. I did a voice over
for an ad that ended with a web site address back in the days when web
addresses were uncommon. I suggested to the producer that we drop the http,
colon, forward slash, forward slash and settle for www dot etc. But no...
he insisted that people were too stupid to understand the shortened version
of the web address and told me to read the whole damn thing. How absurd.
Now, of course, I don't have to worry about egos and personalities...
apart from my own.
Just back from a little sojourn up the road, and what a lovely day it
is... poifect! By the way, Florida Dave wrote: And when are you allowed
to have 82-degree temps in the wintertime? Central Florida has seen
this happen a few times in recent years, but it's not a common occurence.
We also get temps in the low 30's some winter nights, perhaps three or
four times a year, maybe once in the upper 20's. How to deal with
it? Stay inside with the heat on, yeah?
Dave also mentioned the veteran car at the Holden Show: I think you
made a slight error in the description of the 1929 automobile at the Manning
Valley Holden show. Looking carefully at the picture showing
the rear of the car there is a small plate opposite the license plate with
the word "Marquette" on it. Isn't this the name of the manufacturer?
By whatever name it is an interesting historical auto. I own a couple
of them myself!?
I think you're right, Dave. I took a closer look and realized the letter
I thought was C was worn. It's actually U, and the letter before it is
Q not O. So the name is not Marocette, it's Marquette. That explains the
owner's pronunication of "Markette" which I couldn't quite make out at
the time. Another thing that confused me was the GM badge at the bottom
of the radiator, and why the car was being displayed at an All GM Day.
was a Buick, that's why.
But don't ask me to change the video. That would mean copying the original
to .wmv again and uploading it to Youtube again. Too bloody hard. However,
I will place a comment on Youtube.
Dave also refers to himself as a curmudgeon. So that makes 3 of us.
Actually, a Curmudgeon Blog would be interesting, yes? A bunch of grumpy
old farts venting their spleens on the world and all its foibles. Today,
Justin posted an article about gays being obsessed with their physical
appearance despite (according to a survey) having a low opinion of their
bodies. The article mentioned the inordinate amount of time gays spend
at the gym. So I wrote a comment and bitched about the gyms I've been to
not allowing me to just sit around and watch.
The reason I find Dylan Moran so funny is that he's always bitching
about something, and acting drunk. He's a bit too young to be a fully fledged
curmudgeon yet but he's certainly got the potential. When I heard him say
that male genitalia looked like something hanging from a shark's mouth
I thought it was one of the funniest things I'd ever heard.
I learned yesterday of the death at 95 of Phyllis Diller. She had the
most absurd laugh, and sent herself up mercilessly. She understood that
making fun of her age, looks and cooking, and her husband "Fang", could
do no harm and attract no criticism. I sooooo identify with her line, "Housework
won't kill you but why take a chance?" Hehe. She also said she was 18 years
behind in her ironing. And what about this one: "I want my children to
have all the things I could never afford. And then I want to move in with
them." And... "Burt Reynolds once asked me out. I was in his room." Yes,
she was a very funny lady. According to Joan Rivers, another funny lady,
Diller paved the way for female comedians in a previously male dominated
Ya know, if the human condition wasn't so inherently ridiculous, there'd
be no such thing as comedians. You can't poke fun at something that's not
funny. Even Adolf Schickelgruber loved to watch Charlie
Chaplin doing Hitler impersonations.
My wonderful old mate, SF Jim, who died in 2006, once told me that God
had a sense of humor. I think he must have.
Once again, ladies and genitals, the sun is doing its slowly-sinks-in
the-west trick, which reminds me of Art's comment earlier: Your meatballs
sound yummy. I first thought you were going for a meatloaf because the
ingredients would make a big tasty treat. When cooled, slice in servings,
wrap or put in freezer bags for storage until needed.
Yep, meatloaf, meatballs (rissoles), burgers... all the same... except
usually with a meatloaf I add sausage mince to the ground beef to act as
a binder and make it more 'sliceable'. I also spray the top with cooking
oil to encourage a crusty topping while baking. Ditto with roast potatoes
and pumpkin... give 'em a spray of oil and a sprinkle of mixed herbs before
baking. The only prob with the meatballs last night was the sauce, which
thinned out too much and became a bit watery. So tonight I'll open the
parcel and add a sprinkle of instant gravy. That should do the trick.
So lemme check the TV guide... One Plus One - 3 x 10-minute interviews
with prominent peeps, Landline - stories about life on the land, Gardening
Australia - gardening, cooking, greening the urban environment, the therapeutic
aspect of planting stuff, etc. Great show. And ABC National News at 7.
There ya go. I'll be a veritable fountain of knowledge after watching all
And now let me leave you with another Phyllis Diller quote: "The only
time I ever enjoyed ironing was when I accidentally put gin in the steam
August 24, 2012. It's on mornings like this you're reminded that
Earth is not a bad planet to inhabit. Bright blue sky, no wind, warm and
all that cool stuff.
TX Greg wrote to say his mail bounced the other day... "service unavailable".
Yep, my ISP was down for a while, but not long. Greg also said: Wrote
yesterday because you lost me on that one "I ran outta footballers at the
I see. Well, I didn't wanna go into too much detail so let's just say
that while living at the hotel I met quite a few footballers who were much
friendlier than I'd anticipated... especially in a country town. My boss
at the radio station knew EXACTLY what I meant.
That's one awesome pic Ohio Jace sent. Wonder if there is a vid like
that on XTube. Most motocross riders stand up while racing. Talk about
bouncing willies, hahahahaha
And speaking of bouncing willies, Greg sent this link to "Dirty
Harry" and the "royal weiner". Personally, I don't see what all the
fuss is about. However, I can imagine that grandma has taken a rather dim
view of the publicity, hehe. Greg says there's an old saying, "What happens
in Vegas, stays in Vegas". But not this time.
And on the subject of "willie clipping", NC Art has this to say: Medical
advisors have been weighing for decades about the dubious value of circumcision.
No significant health problems attend leaving the willie as it first appears.
And no significant advantages attend the clipped crew; the notion that
an exposed glans penis can promote prolonged sexual performance because
it becomes less sensitive is still a matter for debate. But what the hell.
They all work pretty well whatever the appearance. I belong to the intact
club as did all my brothers and most of my friends during youthful years.
Actually, the one bud missing his foreskin got some good natured teasing.
One advantage for the Motocross nudes may lie
in cooler testicles. The medical men opine that overheated gonads depresses
sperm production and can lead to lower libido—aka horniness. Nothing for
you and me to worry about now, y’know.
I must have asked my mother why my younger bro was cut and I wasn't.
Apparently he was born with a foreskin long enough to wrap several times
around a firehose wheel. Anyway, all I can remember my mother saying was
something lamo about foreskins dating back to the days when naked people
ran through tall grass. Right. Thanks, mom. That clears that up.
All this genitalia and "agog" business that happens in British and American
media makes me think of Aussie political cartoonist and satirist Larry
Pickering. For 30 years he's been lampooning our political leaders and
how he depicted our PM Julia Gillard recently. Can you imagine the
stir that would create if it were about an American or British polly and
published over there? During a press conference yesterday, Gillard referred
to Pickering as one of the "mysogynist nut jobs on the internet".
Here's another cartoon about Gillard
"getting into bed" with independents to prop up her minority government.
another. During the '80s, Pickering made a fortune publishing calendars
depicting prominent Australian
politicians naked with varying sized willies appropriate to their political
status (according to him). That was back in the days when Bob Hawke gave
up the booze to focus on his career. So it appears to me that the kinda
stuff that might cause outrage in the US and UK fails to raise an eyebrow
over here. Not that we don't have a religious right, we do, but it's hardly
a blip on the radar.
Back from some biz up the road. I was still holding my "green" bag when
the checkout chick asked if I wanted to use my own bag rather than a plastic
one. "Sorry," I said as I handed her mine, "I was day dreaming. I've lost
the plot." "Well, don't find it... you'll be disappointed." Hmmm, she might
have a point there.
Another bit of advice I heard today was from a famous photographer of
rock bands: "Treat stars like ordinary people, and ordinary people like
stars, and you'll be okay." I remember being on a shoot with Kate Ceberano,
a famous Australian singer. I'd never met her before and was a tad nervous
about directing her on location at the Sydney fish markets. Anyway, the
shoot was about to begin and I gave her my script - just a few opening
lines to get the thing happening. She read the lines and said, "This is
great!" She immediately understood what I had in mind and went for it.
From then on it was a breeze as she ad libbed her way through the rest
of the takes. Here she is doing a cover of Fleetwood Mac's Go
Your Own Way.
But back to shopping: I bought 500g of ground veal and pork, mixed it
with 2 tblsp tomato paste, dollop of tomato sauce, pinch of herbs, dried
parsely, dried onion flakes and half a cup of shredded parmesan, rolled
it into small balls (1"), placed 6 balls on a sheet of foil, sprinkled
fresh chopped shallots over, sliced mushroom, topped with a generous
dollop of chopped tomatoes in basil and garlic sauce (thick so it doesn't
run), and then folded the foil into a neat parcel. I made enough balls
for 4 parcels, with half the mix left over for freezing. So guess what
I'm having for dinner?
The last time I made foil parcels I used whole meat sliced, which was
a bit too chewy for my sensitive teeth and gums, so the ground stuff should
be much easier to handle. I'll find out soon enough.
And that's it for this Fridee. Time to catch up with Planet America
on telly and learn a bit more about my mates "over there" hehe. Or curmudgeons.
Do you know what a curmudgeon is? A crusty, ill-tempered old man, full
of resentment and stubborn notions. However, on the other hand, a curmudgeon
can be described thus:
A curmudgeon's reputation for malevolence is undeserved. They're
neither warped nor evil at heart. They don't hate mankind, just mankind's
absurdities. They're just as sensitive and soft-hearted as the next guy,
but they hide their vulnerability beneath a crust of misanthropy. They
ease the pain by turning hurt into humor. They attack maudlinism because
it devalues genuine sentiment. Nature, having failed to equip them with
a servicable denial mechanism, has endowed them with astute perception
and sly wit. Curmudgeons are mockers and debunkers whose bitterness is
a symptom rather than a disease. They can't compromise their standards
and can't manage the suspension of disbelief necessary for feigned cheerfulness.
Their awareness is a curse. Perhaps curmudgeons have gotten a bad
rap in the same way that the messenger is blamed for the message: They
have the temerity to comment on the human condition without apology. They
not only refuse to applaud mediocrity, they howl it down with morose glee.
Their versions of the truth unsettle us, and we hold it against them, even
though they soften it with humor. - JON WINOKUR
I'll leave you to ponder that... Gary
August 23, 2012. So what'll I buy myself for my birthday? Is
13 a lucky number? 13 million is on offer for the Lotto draw next Tuesday,
the night before I hit 68. Now wouldn't it be noice if some of that loot
landed in my backyard. Sooooo, I bought a syndicate ticket rather than
go solo, which means I share a systems 10 and a systems 11 with 9 other
players. It's a pretty nifty way of increasing one's chances without breaking
the bank. It also means sharing any prize the syndicate might win but what
the hell. Winning the biggie is next to impossible anyway.
According to the forecast, Taree is gonna hit 28C today, and winter
ain't over yet. That's 82.4F. But there's a possibility of a thunderstorm.
Drat. The next few days or so will be sunny with low 20s, rising to mid
20s early next week. Not bad, huh? Probably a good excuse to get out there
and give the bigger Fuji a run.
NC Art wrote: Watching those blokes peering under the bonnets reminded
me of my Alaska motor trip with three buds who didn’t know a brake shoe
from a spark plug. That left me as the resident fix-it guy and my expertise
was damned shallow. Two of us had driver licenses and one had never driven
a car, but learned on the trip. And, of course things went wrong.
One standout memory is of mysterious engine shutdowns
at 30 miles per hour. Happened in Montana, at the point near crossing into
Canada. Wait five minutes and the engine started but repeated the balk.
On the fourth occurrence I had the engine cover open and was staring at
the works in frustration. I yelled to a bud to race the engine. And I saw
the stall cause right away. The coil was shorting out and grounding to
the block instead of sending current to spark plug.
The why part was because a pinhole leak at top
of radiator threw water back over the coil. I wrapped an oily rag around
the coil and we chugged on to a town with a radiator shop. That was another
small drama. We had little cash and made a deal with the mechanic to give
him ten bucks to solder the hole and we would remove and re-install the
radiator ourselves. That was the biggest part of the job.
So we all learned a bit about how-things-work
My dad was good at running repairs. I managed to plough headlong into
a field one time by missing a turn. A sudden stop sent the fan into the
radiator. Couldn't afford road service back then so I phoned good ol' dad.
He arrived with a potato, plugged the leak in the radiator, topped up the
water, and I was able to drive home. I've previously related the story
of my mate and I arriving back in Sydney from the Gold Coast in my Morris
Oxford. I coasted downhill much of the way, with the engine turned off,
to save juice. At the bottom of the hill, turn the ignition back on, select
top gear, ease out the clutch, and Bob's yer uncle. We were stopped at
traffic lights just half a mile or so from his house when the engine died.
So we pushed the car across the intersection into a service station, stopped
at a bowser, searched under floormats and the mat in the boot and found
11 pence (10 cents). Hehe. In those days, that bought a quarter of a gallon,
enough to get us to his place, borrow 5 bob from his sister, and then get
me home (without spending the 5 bob).
His sister was a funny lady. She was grossly overweight. At dinner,
she'd sit at the table, eat like a sparrow, and then retire to her room
where she'd previously hidden a couple of burgers. The silly girl thought
no one knew despite a telling aroma wafting throughout the entire house.
One time, she went shopping for a new car and rather fancied the new Ford
Falcon. But she couldn't fit her stomach under the steering wheel, so she
settled for an English
British cars in Oz took a sales nose-dive during the '60s (except for
the Mini) because of competition from the Ford Falcon, Chrysler Valiant
and Holden. BMC/Leyland held on to its conservative boxy styling despite
buyer preference for a sleeker, wider, lower American look. I didn't understand
it at all because I thought the Pininfarina
style was pretty snazzy.
The other day, when I posted the pic of the Olympic lads wearing tight
uniforms, I mentioned that motocross riders were covered head to toe. According
to Ohio Jace, that's not always the case...
Jace goes on to talk about circumcision: They
have found another excuse to circumcise boys. Uncut dicks will increase
medical cost in both men and women that adds up to USD $505 million per
year. The circumcision rate has been dropping from 80% in the 1970s and
1980s to only 54.7% in 2010. Many insurance companies no longer pay for
the procedure considering it optional. Many states no longer pay under
the Medicaid system, which mainly covers the poor. The article is based
on a 10% circumcision rate similar to Europe's. My brother was the first
one in the family circumcised and all other males in the family after have
been. Our boys were not supposed to be, but when the oldest arrived our
doc was on vacation so he was delivered by another and cut. The youngest
was cut so he would “match” his brother.
I'm not entirely sure what I would do if I had a son. I'm uncircumcised
so I'd probably go for that. But I would be sure to educate a son (or sons)
about the difference between the two. Kids are naturally curious and automatically
check out their peers at school to see what's what. As an uncircumcised
kid amongst a vast majority of circumcised peers, I developed a major complex,
exacerbated by a neighbor a few years older than I who said that mine was
a reject and that I'd never have kids. As it turned out I didn't but not
because there was anything wrong with my willie. A total lack of sex education
at school as well as my parents failure to discuss sex at home only prolonged
These days, I'm older and far more cynical. It's not coincidental that
Jesus was born of the Immaculate Conception ya know. Can't have all that
hip swiveling and thrusting going on. What a joke.
Remember those padlocks I bought on eBay? 3 packs of 4, each pack keyed
alike? And the colored rings to tell one set from tother? Well, I was fitting
the colored rings when I noticed two keys from separate packs that looked
pretty similar. Similar? They're identical! So now I have 12 padlocks that
can be opened by a single key, plus 23 spare keys. How many blokes do you
know with 23 spare keys to a single lock? No too many, right? I've always
wanted to be famous for something, so now I am.
Just finished surfing the web for prices on gas refills and how long
a 9kg bottle lasts. Seems you can run a gas fridge and a 2-burner gas stove
for about $10 a week. With a second solar panel I might be able to run
the fridge on electricity alone, which is free. Or I could alternate between
gas and electricity depending on the weather. One thing I learned... make
sure the camper is parked on dead level ground before using the fridge.
After six months on the road I'll be an expert. Now I'm just a guesser.
I'm also wondering how long, on average, I'll remain camped at any particular
spot. I suppose it'll depend on the spot, but I have a tendency to get
settled and comfy - not to mention lazy - so moving to another location
might not be all that appealing in certain circumstances.
Anyway, back to the present and Taree and 5pm and telly and dinner and
all that baloney. How boring. Seeyaz tomorrow. Gary
August 22, 2012. Well, what's going on here? Dunno. Can't connect
to my ISP. So I phoned only to get a busy signal. Maybe they're down and
getting a rush of callers.
My ex-boss from my days in Bega during the mid '70s wrote a stack of
stuff about the things he's been doing since then, and they are staggering.
He was up here in the Manning Valley setting up a cinema advertising biz
which grew into a huge enterprise, and is still running. And I didn't know
about it? Damn! It could have been a nice little earner for me doing voice
overs and scripts for the past 10 years. He also bought and sold various
radio stations during that period and made a lot of money... specializing
in buying unprofitable stations for a song, turning them around, and then
selling them. He laments my not returning to Bega because I missed out
on all the expansion plans that came to fruition. When I was there, Bega
was making an annual profit of a few hundred thou. A few years later it
was making multi millions while I was flip flopping around the traps with
no direction. Oh well...
But the thing that really grabbed me was how he vividly remembers me
telling him the reason I was leaving... "I ran outta footballers at the
Grand Hotel (where I was living)". Hehe. I SAID THAT? Me and my BIG mouth.
I can't believe I said that (even though it's true). Ever since I posted
Scrapbook on AO, old colleagues have been contacting me and reviving memories
of embarrassing moments I'd forgotten. Or chosen to. Seems I was much more
of a terror in my younger days than I thought.
So that blows any chance I might have had of getting to heaven.
Ray is also big time into trains, both model and real. He's on the executive
board of management of a large train museum in Sydney (which I must visit),
and also a member of various steam loco clubs, including the one that runs
the 3237 I videoed a month or two ago. The poor old thing died here in
Taree and had to be towed back to its home near Newcastle. I was on board
when it died.
Ah! Back on line. I checked the bigger Fuji to see what kinda memory
card it has. Oops, only 1GB, and it's an Olympus XD, about half the size
of an SD. So then I Googled Fuji to find out what max memory it can handle
(it's a 2004 camera). 2GB, which provides about 30 mins of 640x480 vid.
So I splurged $40 on 2 x 2GB cards from Hong Kong with free postage. 30
mins of wild footage is not what it seems. Edited down, it's probably worth
about 10 minutes max.
BTW, I just put together an album of the stills I took at the Old
Holdens Show 'n Shine. There's not very many but if you wanna check
out the pics at a more leisurely pace, especially of the 1929 Marocette,
this is the way to do it. The owner of the Marocette used my little Olympus
digital voice recorder to say a bit about the car and its history but I
didn't use it on the vid. Hehe. If you didn't understand the hill billy
with the FC Holden there's no way you would have understood the owner of
Which reminds me of something Oregon Richie said about the types of
people who are attracted to vintage motor shows: I watched the GM and
Holden show this morning; albeit somewhat quietly since Becky was still
asleep and evidently did not have a good nights sleep anyway, and it was
really great !! Well done, mate... very. Pretty cool.
It looked to me, with the variety of vehicles and custom work... to actually
have a very American look in many of the vehicles. And there are
just as many ugly bastards ( but possibly very wonderful people ) at those
shows with wild, weird, scuffy beards, and sagging guts... ) at those shows
as anywhere else. Okay... very nasty comment but a view nonetheless,
There were a couple of American cars there, a Corvette, a Pontiac and
a Chevy Camaro ute. The majority were Holdens most of which through the
years were Chevrolet/Pontiac based, usually scaled down somewhat to suit
the Oz market. There were also a couple of Toranas loosely based on the
British Vauxhall but given a bit of Aussie beef with straight sixes and
V8s. The most popular Holden at the mo, the Cruz, is a re-badged 4-pot
German Opel. Paul, the radiator bloke down the road, hates them. He reckons
they're the worst car to work on under the bonnet/hood (but he says the
owners love 'em). He drives an old Holden panel van similar to my old Tough
Titties. His missus drives a later model Commodore. I had trouble remembering
her name so he said to me one day, think of tennis... a net...Annette.
Hehe. He's the same age as me, give or take a few days. But much uglier.
What's the worst drink of all? Dylan
Moran reckons it's gin. On the other hand, Dylan
has this to say about wine tasting.
So here we are again; shadows creeping across roadways are getting longer
and the air's beginning to freshen. Another day prepares to join the countless
billions preceeding it while another prepares to take center stage. I still
can't believe I said I was leaving because I'd run outta footballers. Who
the hell puts something like THAT in a resignation? Oh well... Gary
August 21, 2012. I wrote to the secretary of the Old Holdens
Club and let her know about the vid on Youtube, so she's gonna let all
the members know. That should bolster the views a bit.
TX Greg wrote: That wasn't bad. I didn't notice the focus problem
at all. Just a little crackling in the sound at times.
Yes, well, old chap, I did a bit of fancy editing and left a bunch of
stuff on the cutting room floor hehe. It doesn't look too bad in small
format but you notice the faults a lot more on a bigger screen. Anyway,
cest la vie... keep on buggering on regardless, I say.
NC Art had this to say about Stoner as well as the Old Holdens: Stoner’s
outrageous fortune seems to be a big hazard for active competitors—whatever
their business. So son Keith is working on a big action movie called Iron
Man III, and the star has just broken a foot. Threw the whole giant enterprise
into a cluster-f**k. Robert Downey, Jr. is main actor, so shooting came
to a halt, possibly for weeks unless doctors and film wizards can cobble
up a work-around. I think Keith might like a week off from the 12-hour
work days of climbing about on huge sets and squabbling with insanely oversized
egos which are naturally attracted to the insane world of movie making.
And you are fretting about shooting an antique car show? Actually
it was good, I thought, and did credit to the CARS. That’s what it was
about, my toothless old curmudgeon. Voices didn’t meet sound stage quality,
but what the hell.
Yes, the voices. When I first asked those blokes to make a comment they
said no. So I told them I needed a couple of hill-billy drunks to give
the vid a bit of a lift and they said okay. Hehe. The guy with the hat
wasn't prepared to say much but the other bloke did. I'm an Aussie but
I had trouble trying to decipher what the hell he said. I think it's "Fucking
FC Holden, mate, with 5 carbies. Fast car. Gotta know your cars, mate."
Or something like that. When I mentioned I'd forgotten to put my teeth
in, the bloke with the hat whipped his out and showed me. Then he did the
Cheshire cat grin and revealed several vacancies in his top row. Shoulda
taken a pic but I wasn't quick enough.
Have you noticed I have a propensity for right to left pans? I think
it's because I'm left handed. Gotta watch that cos too many pans (especially
in the same direction, one after another) is not a good look.
Meanwhile, Stoner was able to participate in yesterday's race and managed
4th. Maybe the fall made him a little more cautious about pushing his bike
and himself to the absolute limits. Actually, Ohio Jace wrote and added
the following info: The whole weekend was filled with crashes. One was
a multi-bike pileup. Lot's of bruises and some broken bones. Casey was
on crutches before and after the race.
Also, yesterday Jace referred to his local TV talk show being agog about
the tight uniforms worn by Olympic male cyclists and rowers. Today he sent
the pic that caused all the agogness. Is that a word? Dozen madder. Maybe
Sheesh! That caused agogness? Ohioans must be a pretty sensitive lot.
Anyway, why didn't someone tell the bloke on the right to hold his flowers
lower? In fact, maybe they all should have used their posies to discreetly
cover their thingamejigs and avoid outrage from potential agogaphobes.
I arrived home from a little excursion to town a short while ago to
find an email from some bloke with a Mexican sounding name who graciously
used PayPal to send me 711USD. Ooer! How nice! But on further scrutiny,
I noticed I wasn't addressed by my full name (as PayPal normally does).
Also, there was a text message from my ISP that an attachment had been
removed from the email. Hello? Then I checked my PayPal account and there
was no mention of $711. Yes, folks, it was an attempt by some asshole to
invade my computer with a virus. There are some nasty peeps out there.
Good thing my ISP keeps a close watch on those things.
Another email I received was from my old boss at Bega radio station,
Ray Rumble. I've since received a second in which he outlines all the things
he's done since '77. Bloody hell, talk about busy! He always did have stacks
of energy and an indomitable will to make things happen. It's a long story
so I'll tell you about it tomorrow. He often visits Taree (where he still
does a bit of business), and has invited me for a few beers and a Chinese
meal. I can handle the beers but not sure about the meal. Anyway, more
August 20, 2012. Yep, the Old
Holdens vid is now uploaded to Youtube. I started editing it last night
(bad decision... got engrossed and forewent dinner and everything else)
and then resumed this morning. I'm not happy with it. Too many auto focus
probs and lens glare, but it's passable. I have two choices at the mo...
get a better video camera or limit my shots to what the Fuji can handle
comfortably. Can't afford a new one so... go figure. Actually, next time
I might try the bigger Fuji. I can put a lens hood on that one and it's
a better quality camera (albeit older).
And yes, that's me yelling "And ACTION!" without my teeth in. Hehe.
What a bloke needs now is a bloody drink. Several. So it's a bloody
good thing NC Art sent this link to a vid of a Ukraine
bartender with a few tricks up his sleeve.
Ohio Jace also wrote yesterday: Casey Stoner had a nasty spill in
either practice or qualifying and may not race tomorrow. This is his last
From what I can find on Google, Stoner tore a ligament in his ankle
but it's possible he'll be fit to ride again and go on to defend his title.
It's always the way, isn't it... decide to quit the game and whammo. Casey
wants to retire and spend more time with his family.
Jace also has this to say: You mentioned tight jeans on Waffle: a
local TV talk show was agog about the tight uniforms worn by the male Cyclists
and Rowers in the Olympics. The photos were so explicit the groin area
was blurred out. One was from the medal ceremony. A quick Google will reveal
what the "controversy" was about. Of course the commentator was female.
Women wear almost nothing on the beach and men are covered from waist to
knees with baggy boardies to hide the junk. Even women who should not been
seen on the beach wear skimpy bikinis. You know the ones; boobs sagging
to the waist and the belly hangs to their knees. Guys here are still running
around with half their underwear exposed and the butt cheeks hanging out.
Justin Bieber is one of the worst offenders. He was on Ellen once with
purple briefs clearly visible, as well as most of his ass. Do not see it
so much here locally.
No, not here either... and certainly not on the track at motocross meets
hehe. Those blokes are covered from head to toe, literally. But a bit of
skin has always titillated the gawkers. Remember the days when women were
brazen enough to show a bit of ankle? NC Art remembers those days. And
then the ladies had the temerity to reveal toes in toeless shoes! My god,
how daring was that??? 20 years ago I saw a young bloke in Glebe with small
holes cut in his T-shirt to reveal his nipples. I thought that was overdoing
it a bit hehe. People sure are weird. And that includes... no, I won't
As to guns and idiots, Jace comments: Every time a mass shooting
occurs here it is brought up that drunk drivers kill 10,000 peeps per year.
Everyday on the news you hear about shootings in Columbus, some days several.
And they keep making it easier to get guns.
Well, I'm not sure drunk drivers can be compared to loonies with guns.
Two different issues, apples and oranges, and as the old saying goes, two
wrongs don't make a right. And speaking of right, I heard a bloke on radio
today commenting about Oz drivers breaking the law while talking on a mobile
(cell) phone. He said 98% of drivers consider themselves above average,
so that laws prohibiting such activites only apply to "inferior" drivers...
not themselves. Only 2% of drivers consider themselves below average. Yeah...
I can believe that. Ditto with gun ownership, I suspect.
Meanwhile, Jace's great nephew continues to recover from his motocross
accident and, typically, wants to compete again. Hehe. BOYS! But I think
the little bloke has a bigger problem with wanting to live with his dad
rather than being shared between his dad and his biological mom. What a
sad pickle for a kid to be in through no fault of his own.
And in Oregon,
Richie and Becky are shouting their joy to the world, especially Becky
who's relishing every moment of her special occasion on Facebook by posting
pics of the rings and updates about plans for the ceremony, etc. Isn't
romance wonderful? The ring is Richie's mother's wedding ring. She passed
away at 90+ not long ago. And the message written on the sand? Becky wrote
that... and Richie added "forever".
Yes, a joy shared is a joy multiplied. The need to share is like a dam
about to burst unless the flood gates are released. I feel the same way,
albeit not for the same reason, about the Odyssey. Sharing is everything.
Obviously not everyone traveling Oz feels the same but, for me, there'd
be no point unless I could write about it and photograph it, and share
it with peeps like YOU. Invisible audiences are wonderful... they don't
And now, ladies and genitals, we've reached that time again when I must
cease waffling and focus on bellies and tellies. I've hardly eaten a thing
since I started editing that damn Holden vid. If I'm not careful I'll waste
away to nothing! And then I'll weigh as much as you do! Gary
August 19, 2012. All the morning duties have been performed...
email read, sites checked for updates, tea and coffee consumed, etc. So
in about an hour or so I'll be pointing the Ford towards Cundletown and
the Holden S&S. It's only a mile or two up the road. My dissertation
yesterday about cars and the memories they evoke prompted NC Art to reminisce:
The horseless carriage story takes a monster place
in man’s inventiveness. Easy to understand why my dad fell in love with
the machines. Born in 1874 and living 12 miles from a town, a trip to the
courthouse required rising before dawn, saddling a horse or hitching up
a buggy. And of course horses need oats as cars need gasoline, but horses
don’t start with a yank on a crank. And the horse trip required the early
start and entire day before seeing home again after dark.
Dad’s first machine was a
T-Model Ford with large wheels and small tires to chug through mud
and shallow creeks. An industry dedicated to paving widened roads, building
bridges, and fueling stations grew with astonishing speed to accommodate
man’s insatiable hunger to get somewhere else--and hopefully back. A lot
of car making companies appeared—and disappeared--through the generations,
some classics and some misfits.
A few I remember include a Star Roadster with
an enclosed cockpit and a rumble seat behind. There was an Essex, tall,
boxy and roomy. Unfortunately the alcohol anti-freeze agent boiled away
one day before a hard freeze which cracked the block. A 1932 A-Model Ford
was a real workhorse until Dad skidded off a mountain road and broke it.
Another Ford was the 1937 V-8 60 horsepower; fast but underpowered for
the body. Two years and it was junk. A
‘39 Chevrolet with “Vacumatic Drive” was his final vehicle. The new
drive feature was a forerunner of fluid automatic shift.
Some odd machines came and went as the boys of
the family acquired this and that. Two brothers operated a service station
and accepted cars in lieu of cash occasionally. One was a Chrysler touring
car which boasted two reverse and five forward speeds. In extra low the
thing would out-pull a tractor and the cruising gear would sail along at
70 mph! Another was a B-Model Ford Coupe, and another a stripped down T-Model
Ford. My first bicycle was acquired in payment for a gasoline fill-up.
I’ve likely missed a few strays here and I won’t
go into the beasts I’ve owned over the years.
Yep, production engines back in the '30s, even V8s, were flat out trying
to produce 100 horses. Now they get over 200 horses from a V6. Even back
in the '60s, a Chrysler Valiant managed 165 from a straight 6. An uncle
bought the first of the Valiants in 1961 but sold it soon afterwards because
it was "too powerful" for a light body. He settled for a British Humber
Super Snipe which was much more sedate. But he soon got pissed off with
that as well because the bulge in the seat just under the knee caused his
leg to go numb. Hehe.
Cars are a bit like friends. I've owned several over the years all of
which have earned a sentimental place in my heart for one reason or another,
but I'm not sure I have an absolute fav. My current Ford ute is a good
car... pleasant to drive with oodles of power and precise handling. I just
hope my next one is as good.
In fact, I'm sure my next vehicle together with the camper will eventually
earn an extra special place in my heart simply because it/they will have
been the means by which I managed to visit interesting places all over
Oz as well as being my home. In a few years from now, I should have a stack
of memories that I'll treasure for the rest of my life... and write about.
That's the theory.
BACK! Well, that was a bit of a disaster. The weather was sunny and
bright, the sky was blue, and the turnout of old Holdens was great. In
fact, it was almost a summer day with lots of people in short sleeves and
one young bloke with no sleeves at all. He was bare-chested with a pretty
decent bod but a rough head. In any case, he arrived with his dopey mate
after I'd finished the shoot. Once home, I transferred the footage to the
Acer and checked it out. That's when I noticed the auto focus having a
helluva time trying to figure out what to focus on, especially during pans.
A fair bit of the stuff is unusable. I'm not entirely sure why the auto
focus was going troppo but I suspect it was caused by the relative closeness
of some subjects to the lens, and then panning to those more distant, or
Also, I was getting a lot of lens flare from sunlight reflections on
chrome and mirror-like paintwork. I've never noticed that problem before
so maybe it had something to do with high UV or the camera itself. It was
a very bright sky. Also lots of cars were parked half in and half out of
shade which makes it impossible for the camera to set an average apperture.
So it looks like I'll have quite the task ahead of me in editing all the
stuff into a respectable video. Another prob could be the live music which
will be stopping and starting out of sequence with each edit. I'm hoping
it won't matter but it might, in which case I'll deal with it.
So there ya go... live and learn, yeah? Forewarned is forearmed and
this experience will stand me in good stead for the next shoot. Meanwhile,
I gotta deal with the current mess hehe. This time, I didn't bother to
drop the monopod to the ground. Instead, I used it at collapsed length
(about 2') and held it with one hand while I held the camera with the other,
giving it reasonable stability. There's a bit of shake but nothing worth
worrying about. I'll get stuck into the edit tomorrow... or maybe even
start tonight. There are about 120 different takes so it's gonna take a
while. Oh well, it's all good practice.
Oh yes... last but not least, I realized when one bloke spoke to me
that I'd forgotten to put my bloody teeth in.
So that was my day, dear. How was yours? Gary
August 18, 2012. Oregon Richie has mentioned in dispatches that
he hears quite a lot of racial slurs aimed at Obama. I wonder if the same
thing happens in black communities when there's a white president in power.
Reminds me of that expression about leopards not being able to change their
spots. Racists are racists, and no amount of education or legislation will
change their attitude, I suspect. On the other hand, I've noticed that
if you put a whole bunch of kids from racially different backgrounds into
a school playground, they happily mix and make friends with each other.
Segregation breeds suspicion.
NC Art also wrote about the Rio Tower: Seems the verdict hasn’t been
delivered on the Rio Solar wonder. According to web opinion, the thing
is a pipedream, viciously expensive, impractical, and will require more
energy to operate than it produces. Armchair engineers cite inefficiency,
laws of thermodynamics, hydraulic properties, and any number of obstacles.
But, it’s right pretty, even tho some squawked about the aesthetics, claiming
it will pollute the visual sea/landscape of the whole Rio experience.
Well, we gotta have soreheads to bitch about
everything. Probably Christopher Wren had his critics while building St.
Paul’s Church in London. And some smart asses probably claimed the Tower
Bridge would fall down in a year or two. What about Sydney opera house?
“What man can imagine, man can do,” was an aphorism
frequently heard in my childhood. I thought that wasn’t quite true, but
a look at some structures that stood the test of time lends some credence.
The cathedrals in Europe were built over hundreds of years, the National
Cathedral in Washington, DC, has been under construction for more than
100 years and it still has some finishing touches to be done. Perseverance
or just damned stubbornness? Did the pyramid builders study geometry, calculus
and trigonometry in high school?
Interesting question about the pyramid builders. As to the Sydney Opera
House and its radical design, I think Jørn Utzon managed to convince
the bureaucrats that those soaring white shells represent billowing sails
which complement Sydney Harbor and its maritime history. Anyway, 50 years
down the track, it's impossible to imagine Sydney without it. I think it's
a magic building with a timeless quality. The Bridge is a classic design
as well, and it's a most fortuitous thing that Bradfield managed to convince
the authorities to include those sandstone pillars at each end (which are
purely decorative and have nothing to do with structural integrity) despite
the extra cost. The old Coathanger simply wouldn't be the same without
them. It was built during the Great Depression at a cost of a million pounds,
whereas the Opera House was funded by the state-run Opera House Lottery.
Lindsay's dad just phoned to wish his son a happy birthday. Dad's 80
something, and I sound older than he does! Hehe. He didn't recognize me
Oh yeah... the foil parcels. Well, the beef one I had last night wasn't
too bad. A bit spicy but that's because my tongue and mouth are extra sensitive
after all the radiation. I also overdid the olive oil. The meat was tender
but a tad too chewy for my sore gums. Typically, I rushed in before doing
any research. AFTER THE EVENT, I checked Google and discovered a couple
of cooking sites with recipes for meals wrapped in foil. Doh! I was pretty
close to the mark with my first attempt but could have done a couple of
things differently... like spray the foil with oil rather than dribble
it from a bottle. I got the liquid thing right... not too much... the moisture
in the meat and vegies creates enough steam to cook the food, and 30 minutes
in a moderate oven is enough.
Here's one if you happen to be a sweet tooth: Place a donut on sheet
of foil. Mix tblsp softened butter and tblsp brown sugar together and spread
it over the donut. Place a pineapple ring on top. Wrap the donut in a tight
flat pack. Place on hot coals and cook for 5-7 minutes. Yes, the butter
and brown sugar would turn into a caramel sauce. Sounds delish!
Anyway, I've decided to experiment further with this idea, using ground
beef, ground chicken (formed into patties or balls), canned crushed tomatoes,
canned soups, fresh vegies and other ingredients. And I'll do a bit more
planning rather than off-the-top-of-my-head stuff.
From the Beeb: The Obama campaign says if Mitt Romney releases five
years of tax returns, they will drop the issue - an offer rejected by the
Republican candidate. The heat is on. I noted on Planet America last
night that Romney is edging ahead in the polls. If the election had been
held last week, the Republicans would have won. But it's still a tight
call with 11 weeks to go. It surprises me because I thought Obama would
win easily. Not so.
As to the fate of Wikileaks boss: The UK says it wants an "amicable
solution" to the diplomatic crisis over Wikileaks founder Julian Assange
after Ecuador granted him political asylum. The Ecuadoreans say they are
looking for guarantees that after any trial in Sweden there would be no
further extradition, and for safeguards over how Mr Assange would be held
in Sweden would be met.
Meanwhile, in Moscow: Moscow's top court has upheld a ban on gay
pride marches in the Russian capital for the next 100 years. How absurd
is that? How the hell could anyone predict what public sentiment might
be in 2112?
But back to what Art said about what man can imagine, man can do. Lots
of things that exist today existed decades ago in comic books. It all begins
with an idea, which leads to a plan. Man is basically a problem solver.
But you can't solve a problem unless you have one. Imagination creates
the problem, which the practical side of the brain then goes about solving.
Once upon a time villagers had to go to the river to drink. Then someone
got the bright idea to use a container so that water could be carried from
the river to the hut. Some other bright spark figured out how to weave
baskets. I read somewhere that our brains grew in size and ability because
of our twin opposed thumbs, which gave us superior dexterity to other animals,
and the wherewithall to fashion tools and various other implements. The
more we fashioned, the more creative and adventurous we became, and the
bigger our brains became. The ol' one thing leads to another trick.
Nature's got all the time in the world, so if it takes another few thousand
years or so for mankind to evolve to a stage where it inhabits the entire
cosmos, with lots of Scotties and lots of beaming up, no worries. If that
pisses you off as a three score and ten mortal missing out on all the innovation,
tough titties. Nature couldn't give a rat's ass.
Blowing like the dickens today but fine. The wind will ease later and
tomorrow looks okay. I'm trying to anticipate what tomorrow's Holden extravaganza
will bring. The last one I attended wasn't all that exciting. Maybe I left
it a bit late to arrive. This time they reckon there'll be market stalls
and live music, as well as trophies and prizes. Anyway, shooting a movie
rather than a bunch of stills has its own unique challenges. Here's an
old newsreel (with bits missing) about the design and testing phase of
the first Holden back in '48.
I was only 4 when the first Holden hit the road, but I remember them
from the '50s. Car ownership was pretty rare then, especially new cars,
and the things fascinated me. Once in a while, dad would bring one of the
bosses cars home and take us for a ride. That was really something special.
These days, they're a dime a dozen. In fact, I wonder if most of modern
cars will ever become classics like the Ford
convertible from Karate Kid. Jeez, I think that's a gorgeous thing.
My dad wasn't prone to doing anything extravagant or unusual so it was
a surprise one day when he arrived home with a cuckoo clock, which he attached
to the kitchen wall. The clock face was a little house with a high-pitched
roof and two doorways. A man dressed in an overcoat and hat would emerge
from one doorway if rain was imminent, and a woman in a colorful sundress
with sunhat would emerge from the other when the weather was fine. Below
the clock face was a long chain in two lengths, each with an acorn attached
to the bottom. The clock was wound by pulling the higher chain down, causing
its twin to rise. As I recall, the cuckoo never appeared, but could be
heard on the hour. Now that I think about it, there was no clock in the
kitchen before the cuckoo arrived, so my guess is that mom asked my dad
to buy one... and he took a fancy to that one.
There's no cuckoo clock in this house, but there are two cuckoos. Some
might even say three.
After 5pm now and I found myself day dreaming again. The dream was about
parking too close to the Holden Show 'n' Shine and discovering my car later
splattered with pro-Holden and anti-Ford graffiti. But in the dream I managed
to film the culprits who were later identified by police and charged. Then
I claimed on insurance and got $3000. The car was undamaged apart from
the paint so I sold it to a guy for $1000. That gave me a total of $4000
for which I bought a good used 4WD ute. Hehe. Not a bad dream.
Anyway, it's time to relax in front of the telly (much better in front,
I've discovered) and repackage the chicken foil thingy so there's less
olive oil. I'm curious to know what it'll be like with the wholegrain mustard.
August 17, 2012. Here we go again. Sue's got it into her head
that she wants to go up the road to the shops. Lindsay's running around
telling her this and that, and it's all going over Sue's head. He wants
to take a shower. But the moment he disappears into the bathroom, she'll
take the opportunity to leave the house. Or try to. I've locked the security
One loony looking after another loony. Sheesh.
Have you seen Rio's
Solar City Tower? It will be the welcome symbol for the 2016 Olympic
Games. The tower captures solar power to supply energy for the Olympic
city, as well as part of Rio . It pumps water from the ocean to create
a waterfall that stimulates turbines, producing energy during the night.
Pretty clever, yes?
Meanwhile, my vids on Youtube are slowly getting more views. The steam
loco is now at 111, and Taree has just broken the century barrier at 101.
Sydney is now 74. Not exactly Guinness Book of Records material but encouraging.
I'm not doing anything to promote them so people must using search engines
and/or recommending the vids to friends.
Does the porta potti fit into the camper side storage bin? Yes, with
a couple of inches to spare. Does the ice box fit? No. Don't need it anyway
so I'll sell it and get a smaller one. I figure ice will be a practical
alternative to gas in certain circumstances. Took another look at the battery
and ac/dc converter. What a mess... wires everywhere. Definitely needs
an electrician to tidy up that abomination, and declare it safe. Two deep
cycle batteries would be nice as well.
Meanwhile, the Ecuadorean government has granted political asylum to
Julian Assange. Now all he's gotta do is figure out how to get from the
embassy to the airport without being nabbed by British police.
Bad news in South Africa with police opening fire on striking workers
at the Marikana platinum mine, leaving at least 12 dead. I was horrified
to read that until I also read that the strikers were armed with machetes,
spears and clubs, and had thrown missiles thought to be either petrol bombs
or grenades. That's not a strike, that's a war.
Well, it's 4pm and getting a bit fresh. Been a nice day, though, with
plenty of sunshine and 22C. I spent time at the mall shopping for those
things I mentioned yesterday... steak, chicken, sauces, vegies, etc. Then
Averil phoned for a chat... from all of 20 or 30 yards away hehe. And then
it was time to hit the kitchen to make foil parcels of goodies. It was
all guesswork so I hope I guessed okay. I made four parcels... 2 steak
and 2 chicken, using about half of what I bought. 2 are in the freezer.
I'll try a steak one tonight.
All up, I spent just under $30 on ingredients which will make 8 or 9
parcels. So what's that? A bit over $3 each. And all top grade stuff...
and plenty of it.
I didn't want to add too much liquid to the parcels so I'm relying on
the moisture content of the meat and vegies, together with tomato paste
and olive oil, to steam the food and blend with a sprinkle of powdered
sauce to make a nice gravy. Good thing I bought fresh mushies rather than
dried. In the steak parcels, I also added a splash of Worcestershire. The
chicken parcels have a dollop of wholegrain mustard. So, fingers crossed.
The Thai black bean thing last night wasn't too bad but, jeez, you don't
get much for your money. Heaps of rice and hardly any meat and veg. There's
probably less than a dollar's worth of food content. The rest is labor,
packaging, transport, etc.
Tomorrow (Saturday) is gonna be windy but Sunday looks okay, which is
good for the Old Holdens Show. I'm always nervous about a video shoot until
I get into it. Reminds me of Cody being invited to Mark's place for dinner.
Mark opened the front door and said, "Are you wearing Brute?" "Yeah." "Must've
used the whole bottle." Hehe. Anyway, hopefully I'll return home from the
Holden meet with a bunch of cool footage and spend the next day or two
editing what will ultimately be an interesting and entertaining fillum.
Dunno about music yet, but there's a web site I checked out the other
day that sells good instrumental stuff, with a variety of moods, rhythms,
styles, etc. You can use it for whatever you like and only pay a one-time
license fee of $10 a track or less if you buy 5 or 10 or whatever. You
can also use the site to edit each track to a specific length. So once
you finish editing the vision, you can figure out what kind of music you
need, and what lengths, and then order it to suit. Hmmm. Depends on how
the vid stacks up by itself. Maybe it won't need music. I hate vids that
use music fade-outs. I like clean beginnings and endings.
If all this digital technology had been available 20 years ago, I could
have set up my own edit suite and specialized in corporate vids. Coulda
made a fortune. A pro edit suite with all the bells and whistles would
only cost about 10 grand. Oh well...
Anyway, it's time for a wrap. I'll let you know how the beef parcel
turned out tomorrow. Or maybe I won't. Hehe. Gary
August 16, 2012. Art's
Art - Recollections of a Small Town Boy - is now updated with two new
essays, Tramp Printers and Gold Diggers, and Hog Killing. The latter is
about the days before delicatessens - or delis as we now call them. When
I was a kid, they were called the Ham & Beef Shop because the Italians
and Greeks who ran them thought Aussies were too dumb to appreciate something
as sophisticated as delicatessen. And they were right, of course. I remember
the smell of the Ham & Beef shop; fresh, clean and spicy. But I was
always suspicious of the weird looking sausages hanging along rails suspended
from the ceiling, especially the black ones. And I still am.
Actually, there was a cooking show on telly recently about a mobile
restaurant designed to introduce people to a new cuisine (in Oz anyway)...
offal. A team of chefs prepared a number of dishes all of which featured
things like tongues, brains, hearts and other internal organs, and even
testicles. Bugger that. They can stick their nouvelle cuisine right up
their collective clacker. I don't care how chic it is.
TX Greg wrote: So the Mustang did get a shot off, hehe. And I would
have thought by now you would have spent one night sleeping in it just
to get the feel of it. The first day I got my Winnebago I just had to sleep
in it, on the street in front of my parent's house. Yes too often the first
time RV buyer has no clue about all the things we take for granted living
in a house like electric, water and sewer.
You what? Slept in the Winnebago on the street in front of your parent's
house? How pathetically childish is that? How juvenile! Yes, I did the
same thing when I bought the Kombi campervan, except it was across the
road from my own house in Glebe. I was careful, though, to wake before
sunrise and tippy toe back inside my house before the neighbors saw me.
Greg also wrote: Here's
a really cute kid helping his dad dump the holding tank for the first time
in their new Winnebago....
AND... And speaking
of porta potty check out the bloke fishing, hahahahaha.......
I've not seen those hose-type systems for emptying holding tanks. Maybe
they're in caravan parks but all I've seen in national park camp grounds
is a pit type arrangement where you tip the porta potti tank contents into
a hole manually. And if there's no pit? Grab the spade and dig one. However,
most camp grounds have public toilets and some even have showers.
On the subject of loos, Bill
Gates is now flushing his money down the toilet according to a Beeb report.
Gardeners have been using and utilizing poo for thousands of years,
and it's high time serious attention was paid to recycling waste rather
than using a precious resource like water to flush it out of sight and
mind. A lot of the public bush toilets I've seen in national parks have
signs warning against dumping chemically treated waste into them. They
use a natural organic/bacterial method of dealing with the waste. Have
you ever seen those
wonderful little dung beetles going about the business of forming dung
into balls and rolling it home to the missus? Hehe. "Hello, darling! I'm
home! You'll never guess what I've got!"
I see that Julian Assange is not out of trouble yet. The British government
has threatened to revoke the Ecuadorian embassy's diplomatic status if
they refuse to hand over Assange for extradition to Sweden, in which case
British police could storm the embassy and arrest Assange. Ecuador has
protested that it's not a British colony. "Ecuador rejects in the most
emphatic terms the explicit threat of the British official communication."
I can only imagine that Assange now regrets having launched Wikileaks in
his attempt to become the great champion of free speech and freedom of
I've noticed young girls getting around town lately in short shorts.
So, the wheel turns, yes? And so do quite a few heads. Justin's blog posted
an article about tight jeans. Seems they're back in fashion along with
press articles about the dangers of twisted testicles and urinary infections.
When I wore tight jeans as a teen, my dad remarked that he also wore them
as a teen "when they called them stove pipes". My dad wore pointy-toed
shoes as well. So it looks like we'll be hearing expressions like "lunch"
and "package" a lot more once the young blokes start pulling on their stove
pipes and trying to fit their naughty bits inside. Hehe. And if the boys
follow the girls, as I suspect they will, it looks like we'll be in for
cheeky buns and longer thighs as well. That's okay... I need to get out
So there ya go, all that's old is new again... including the newspaper
articles about squashed wobbly bits. By the way, is a bit of ass crack
still in? Or showing the top of your undies? It's been winter here so I
haven't noticed. Not that I never did, of course. *ahem*
It hasn't been typically winter today though. I even saw a few peeps
getting around in short sleeves. However, as the sun dips closer to the
horizon it's becoming a little fresh. It'll soon be time to flick the switch
and rub the hands together.
And that time is now. Thai beef and black bean with vegies tonight.
Sounds cool but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I was disappointed
with the last two La Zuppas. The first one I had at Port Macquarie was
delicious, with tender strips of chicken and mushroom. In the last, the
vegies were mushy and the pasta was tacky, and in the chicken one the chicken
meat was stringy and chewy. I'll email the buggers and tell 'em they're
off my shopping list. I'd rather make my own but it's hard to make stuff
in small batches. Actually, I might try baking things like chicken breast,
tender cuts of steak and fish fillets wrapped in foil, with various things
added that become a sauce during cooking. I could prepare them in advance,
freeze them, and pop them in the oven one at a time as needed. Foil is
good stuff. From freezer to oven to plate. And I could make those parcels
for a fraction of the cost of ready made.
Yes, I'll do that tomorrow... chicken fillet, eye fillet steak and fish
fillets. And some packet sauces to make life easier. And fresh shallots.
Gotta have shallots. And celery and carrot. Peas or beans? Why not. They
cook in the steam. And dried mushrooms. And some tomato paste. How long
in the oven? Buggered if I know. Probably 20-30 minutes on moderate. AND,
if you wrap the foil parcel correctly, you can place it directly on the
oven shelf without needing a baking dish. Saves washing up.
Telly time now, and then I'll try that Thai thing. Gary
August 15, 2012. The forecast for next Sunday and the Old Holdens
show is looking okay... mostly sunny and 18C. Pity it's not as good as
today, 23C, but ya git what ya git. Most directors and crews do a reckie
(recognizance) to check the scene before filming, but I don't have that
luxury. What happens on the day is what happens on the day. Actually, on
a typical shoot, the camera crew would be sent on location a day or so
early to get "establishment" shots of the area before the rest of the crew
arrived. For me, it's arrive, check out the scene, go for it.
My vids on Youtube are adding a new view or two each day, ever so slowly
gaining an audience. Young Cody Simpson, the Aussie singer, has a helluva
lot more pull. I noticed the other day his new post about a missing kid
had 300 views. The next day it had 30,000. Sheesh.
We had a bit of rain a few days ago so I checked the camper. Dryzabone.
I also checked the spare keys and they work just fine. I sat in the corner
of the divan (the rounded corner supports the back quite nicely), swiveled
the dinette table out of the way, and then thought about how I could design
a support for the laptop at proper typist height (same as piano with forearms
parallel to the floor). Too easy. A piece of timber 18" x 12" x 1/2", with
7.5" deep hinged ends that form legs when folded down. The ends rest on
the surface of the divan and the top acts as a desk with sufficient room
to cross my legs underneath (which I like to do when typing). I could use
the dinette table but it's a bit too high. So that's settled. I wanna be
comfortable when I Waffle. I'll ask Stan the Lawn Man to make it for me...
he's got all those power tools and wotnots.
I must admit, TX Greg gave me a rude reality check the other day when
he suggested I move the camper next door and live in it. I thought, "What?
Live in the bloody camper?" Mind you, it is winter. But I thought about
things like cooking, and showers, and toilets and all the things I'd miss
about living in a house. I'm hoping those things won't matter on the Odyssey;
that they'll be compensated by the sheer adventure of living in exotic
locations close to the beach or the forest or whatever. I mean Averil's
backyard is a helluva long way short of being exotic. Hehe. The other prob
at the mo is I don't have a flat tray ute, which would mean the camper
would be on stilts.
Anyway, I ain't going anywhere until the time is right, and I've got
all the gear I need. I spoke to a neighbor yesterday who's moving a few
blocks away. She was bitching about having to dispose of all the crap accumulated
over the past 8 years, and having to inform the power company, the post
office, the phone company, Centerlink, and god knows who else about the
move. Tell me about it. Been there, done that. And I'm not looking forward
to having to do it again... although it will be simpler this time. It's
the accumulated crap I'm mostly worried about... heaps of stuff I
can't take with me.
Now there's an interesting sentence...'heaps of things I can't take
with me'. I just realized that's not confined to physical things... it
also relates to other aspects of my life. You've heard of people walking
out the front door leaving everything behind, right? I suppose that's more
or less what it will be like. A clean break. Goodbye previous life.
One aspect of my "new life" I'm rather curious about is using the porta
potti for the first time, hehe. It'll be quite an event, I'm sure. And
you can rest assured I'll write about it. No pics, though. On the other
hand, maybe I've got it wrong. Maybe the real event will be emptying the
thing for the first time.
The Australian government has just been successful in winning the court
challenge for tobacco plain packaging against which tobacco companies fought
tooth and nail, citing rights infringement of corporate logos and trademarks.
However, the court ruled in favor of the government. So may I take this
opportunity to congratulate the Australian government for, once again,
protecting the great unwashed and ignorant masses from tripping over their
own feet in making decisions about their own lives. It's comforting to
know that despite our stupidity and inability to make sensible choices,
we have a government willing to wrap us in cotton wool to protect us from
evil. That way, they don't need to make tobacco illegal. Uh... yeah.
If I were a tobacco company, I would make available cigarette tins/containers
and tobacco pouches labeled with their familiar logo/s minus any mention
of tobacco or "smoking". That way, the plain packaging could be discarded
and the contents placed in the appropriate container by the consumer.
When I was up the road today, I met a bearded guy about my age with
a heavy foreign accent, so I asked him what his country of origin was.
He said he was a gypsy. "There are gypsies from Romania, Russia, Germany...
all over the place. So I don't have a country of origin." When I got home,
I did a Google...
Gyp·sy also Gip·sy (jps)
n. pl. Gyp·sies also Gip·sies
1. A member of a people that arrived in Europe in migrations from northern
India around the 14th century, now also living in North America and Australia.
Many Gypsy groups have preserved elements of their traditional culture,
including an itinerant existence and the Romany language.
2. See Romany.
3. gypsy One inclined to a nomadic, unconventional way of life.
Ooer! So once I'm on the Odyssey, I'll be a gypsy! Sounds interesting
actually... a gypsy. I rather like that label... it sounds romantic and
mysterious, like someone who reads tarot cards and tells fortunes. Hehe.
Anyway, I spent a few hours in town and it's late, so I better vamoose.
August 14, 2012. Off to the dentist in a few minutes. When I'm
laying back in the chair, I'll ask if the roof slides back. I have a feeling
I might be getting a view of Taree from about a thousand feet.
BACK! Well, that was a non event. Their computer is down, which apparently
brings everything else to a grinding halt. One of the dentists, in his
white coat, was fiddling around under the reception desk trying to fix
the wires or something. He was on his knees and for a while there I thought
he was a very short person. Anyway, they had a waiting room full of people
so they sent me home. They'll phone later when they can fit me in.
Meanwhile, TX Greg sent this pic of the Spitfire/Mustang battle. I'm
beginning to know how Snoopy felt, hehe.....
On the news last night, I watched a report from London about how they
planned the Olympic site to be useful after the event, with sporting facilities,
housing, parks and gardens in one of the most neglected areas of the city,
the east end. They got the idea from Sydney. Our main Olympic infrastructure
was built at Homebush Bay, which was a swampy dumping ground for the city's
waste. It was also a toxic industrial area. So we cleaned it up, re-established
the wetlands with gardens, parks and lakes, built the stadium and other
facilities, a village for all the athletes and their entourage, and whaddaya
know, it's now one of the most desirable areas of Sydney in which to live.
And the stadium is still used for major sporting events. I remember it
from the days when the clean up had just begun, and it was a mess.
For many decades, the banks of the Parramatta River, stretching from
Sydney to the western satellite city of Parramatta (the geographic heart
of the greater metropolitan area) was a 20-mile stretch of hideous industrial
chaos, with ramshackle factories dumping their crap into the river. It's
only in fairly recent times that the pollution has been eradicated, the
banks restored to their former natural state, and the river revitalized
as an attractive thoroughfare between the two major centers, with regular
ferries helping to ease road congestion. Parramatta was actually the site
of the first Government House back in the early 1800s. The area around
Parramatta, with its abundant fertile land, became the food bowl for the
Interestingly, the east end of London is still the site of the working
foundry that made Big Ben's bell as well as the Liberty Bell.
And how did the world's press see London's Olympic Games? Most
were complimentary... only Turkey's Aksam and China's People's Daily
got their knickers in a knot.
Another shooting in the US, this time in Texas near the A&M University.
A policeman serving an eviction notice was shot when the suspect opened
fire. A civilian was also killed and several others wounded. Guns for protection,
huh? Yeah, right.
Oregon Richie will be interested in this
article from the Beeb: The Merseyside Jaguar Land Rover plant has
moved to 24-hour production, with the introduction of an extra shift. The
car maker has created another 1,000 jobs at its site in Halewood so it
can meet demand for its Evoque and Freelander models.
Speaking of which, I've been perusing used 4WD Utes just to see what's
out there. There's no shortage, that's for sure, with quite a few bargains.
NC Art has also been cruising the Web: Oh well, the things I do out
of curiosity to find out what goes on in the world. The porn industry is
one helluva big money act. I saw figures once that blew me away. Bigger
than Microsoft and Apple combined at one time. And I spent my life as a
damned printer when I could have learned a lucrative trade. No interest
in the performing part, but managing director or some executive spot where
the real money is collected.
Of all sad words of tongue or pen
The saddest are these, It might have been.
from Maud Muller
by John Greenleaf Whittier
Well, you know what they say, money is not everything. Besides, what
we do in life is what we'll be remembered for.
As kids, we always got a thrill out of doing the things we weren't supposed
to, like rolling dog droppings in newspaper and putting them in people's
letter boxes. Hehe. Or stealing Farmer Brown's watermelons. Porn is much
the same. It's main attraction is that it's "naughty"... the forbidden
fruit... taboo. But if Farmer Brown said you could have all the watermelons
you wanted, and more, the thrill of sneaking through his fence and making
off with one without getting your buns peppered with gunshot would disappear.
When porn became readily and easily accessible on the web, I was a regular
viewer. But not for long. Now I agree with Dylan Moran; "Male genitals
look like something hanging out of a shark's mouth." "A set of bagpipes
with hair around it." Hehe. Watching porn means watching the same old,
same old plot over and over and over again. How many watermelons can you
steal without getting BORED SHITLESS?
I'm convinced now that the attraction/stimulation humans feel when faced
with the sight of naked person is identical to the attraction felt by one
hippopotamus at the sight of another. It has absolutely nothing to do with
There's a bit of drama going on here. Sue was in the bathroom tarting
up the face. Sure enough, she was getting ready to go shopping. Yeah, right.
In her mental and physical condition? So I woke Lindsay. He's ugly as shit
anyway but even worse when he's half asleep. So, without even getting out
of bed, he spoke to his wife and told her if she went up the road,
he wouldn't be here when she got back. It made no difference to Sue, as
I knew it wouldn't, and she continued to get ready. So I locked the security
door with a key, which means you need a key to open it. Lindsay heard the
noise and came into the hall to see what was happening. Then he and I had
words. I told him if he let Sue go out by herself, I'd contact the authorities.
I also reminded him of his reaction when I first arrived home after cancer
surgery. "You couldn't wait to get me off the carer pension and on to the
age pension. Well, you succeeded. Sue is now your responsibility." He argued
that he'd been looking after Sue for 30 years. Yeah, right. "I was there,
remember? I saw how you were looking after her." So then he told me to
mind my own business "for a change". What a joke. Anyway, he settled down,
told Sue he would take her shopping tomorrow in the wheelchair, and went
back to bed. It's not even 2pm in the afternoon yet.
Do I need this kinda shit in my life? No.
The dentist phoned... Thursday August 30, 9am. The day after I hit 68.
It's after 3pm now, and Sue's up to her earlier tricks. She went to
the bathroom again so I locked the security door again. She just tried
to sneak out while she thought no one was looking. "You're not going anywhere,"
I said, and she meekly complied. Quite frankly, I don't like the woman.
Never have. She has a devious nature, and I've always been aware of that.
You have to watch her every move, and anticipate what she's up to. Lindsay
wouldn't have a clue. And why does she want to go to the shops? Booze.
Well, it ain't gonna happen. And if those two don't settle down again,
I'm outta here.
Mind you, moving would mean putting the Odyssey on hold indefinitely.
But I'm not ready yet to go galavanting around Oz. For starters, I'm still
recovering from the cancer treatment, and there are several dental appointments
to think about, plus a new set of dentures.
Why should I move and not them? Because they have the same mentality
as the guy who shot the policeman serving an eviction notice in Texas.
They truly believe they have some kind of moral right to be here.
I can relax now. The front door's locked, the heater's on, and the drama
has subsided at least for the present. I was hoping to ease myself out
of this situation quietly. Just pack the camper and go. Byeeeee! Hopefully,
that will still be the case.
When I look back at how this ridiculous scenario began over a dozen
years ago, I was a minute away from being homeless, jobless and on the
streets. Shacking up with L&S saved the day at the last possible moment.
Then the carer opportunity came along. At the time, it seemed like the
logical path to follow. I'd been deserted by everyone else. It was my only
option. So I'm not sure whether I should be thankful or resentful. However,
I do know that the time to move on is rapidly approaching. Enough is enough.
I want my life back.
The bigger picture, of course, goes back further than meeting L&S.
The road downhill began when I got involved with Mr Silver Tongue and his
miserable cohorts, and handed over the reins so that I was no longer in
control of my life. I remember those times so vividly; how he methodically
and surreptitiously eroded my independence and confidence over a period
until I was an empty shell. Then came the buzzards to pick at any remaining
tidbits until my bleached bones glistened in the desert sun.
So, dear Breth, if this kid can do a Lazarus in his late sixties, that's
gotta be worth a brownie point, yeah? That's the thing that drives me,
ya know... proving to myself first, and my critics second, that I ain't
finished yet; that there's still fire in the belly; and that I will live
to rise from the ashes (with a perfectly cooked sausage).
Mr Silver Tongue believed that it's 'who you know' that elevates you
to a position of power. He started with me, and then moved on to the people
I knew, and then to the people they knew, until he elevated himself to
the point where he was able to exercise power and influence. Then he proceeded
to trash the people he used to get there. But, unbeknown to himself during
that elevation period, he remained a person without substance, a hollow
silver tongue without talent. And when it all came crashing down like a
house of cards, he was exposed for what he was... a nobody. BTW, he's on
Linked In now, still using the names of famous people to give himself credibility.
What a loser.
Meanwhile, I remained a person of substance despite having been convinced
otherwise. It was only a matter of time before the Codys, Steves, Richies,
Gregs, Arts, Jaces and others of this world would make me realize that
I've still got it. Took a while but, hey, it was worth it. What's the saying?
You can't keep a good man down. I dunno about good but... you know what
Anyway, it's late. I've been on the phone to the power company trying
to figure out why the hot water system is not working properly. Got that
sorted so now it's din dins time. Actually, when I said to the girl on
the phone that it was getting close to din dins time, she didn't know what
I was talking about. So I asked her if she ever had a dog hehe. "It was
a long time ago when I was very young." "And who did the feeding?" "My
mother." "There ya go... no wonder you don't know what din dins means.
What about wee wees and walkies?" Anyway, she appreciated being informed
about doggy talk and said it'll come in handy should she ever own one hehe.
Yes, folks, I'm a veritable fountain of vital information. Gary
August 13, 2012. And that's it for the Olympics until Rio in
2016. But what a games it was in London. US 46/104, China 38/87, UK 29/65,
Russia 24/82, Korea 13/28. Oz managed a place in the top 10 - just - which
was quite a feat, 7/35. You
can check the full medal table and list of countries at the Beeb.
Oregon Richie's lady has a crush on Britain's diver Tom Daley hehe.
By the same token, Richie also thinks Mr Daley has a nice butt. And I ain't
However, like all of us, young Mr Daley has his less flattering moments...
When I checked mail this morning, there was Rys (or something like that)
with a $25 donation. How encouraging! I don't even know Rys! Well, when
I checked, Rys turned out to be one of those on line gambling casinos hehe,
trying to tempt me to play slot machines or whatever it is they do. So
that email got the flick right away. Oh well...
TX Greg suggested I save rent by moving the camper over to Averil's
yard and setting up home there. Not a bad idea, except Averil wouldn't
go for it. That would be sub letting, and I doubt the landlady would be
too pleased about it, not to mention the agent. So there goes Greg in his
Mustang again (I fly a Spitfire), leaving a trail of smoke behind as he
plummets towards earth. However, not having to pay my share of the rent
for six months ($2500) is tempting. On the Odyssey, there will be camp
site fees in some places but I expect to be able to live rent free most
of the time. In the interim, ladies and genitals, I'm not quite recovered
from the Big C yet.
Yesterday, I mentioned embedding the vid of Sydney on The C Word page.
Just now, I did the same with the journal pages, including the Taree and
Steam loco vids on Journal 0057. Take
a look to see how it works.
Back when NC Art was a young airman flying USAF bombers across the English
Channel during WW2, he said to a mate of his, "Y'know, Wilbur, one of these
days there'll be a US Army general, and that general will be a woman. And
not only will that general be a woman, she'll be gay." Art's mate smiled
and said, "Well, that figures, Art. I'd be damn gay too!" Hehe. No, I'm
lying. But those times Dylan sang about are certainly a-changin' cos now
there is indeed a
female Brigadier General in the US who is openly gay.
Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.
Well, the Poms did a sterling job of staging the XXX Olympiad, and all
credit to them. There were a few wobbly bits at first, but they got smoothed
out soon enough despite Romney's doubts. Their ranking of 3rd behind superpowers
the US and China is highly commendable as well. A week and a bit ago they
were still looking for their first gold medal! I've only seen stills of
the highlights of the closing ceremony but it certainly looks spectacular.
If there's any doubt about GB's influence on the world over past centuries,
let it be dispelled. They are an undeniable force to be reckoned with.
Think back half a century to the chaos and devestation of the London Blitz,
and then fast-forward the clock to today. The Brits certainly are a resilient
Speaking of resilience, I have a 9am appointment with the dentist tomorrow
for fillings. Do I hear a drill? I think I do. Do I see a needle? Oh, god,
don't mention needles. I hate the things, especially poking around in one's
oral cavity. And don't say it could be worse... there are no teeth there
anyway (at least not to my knowledge). Unsurprisingly, I'm not looking
forward to it.
Did you know I've got ginger nuts? Well, I have. A whole packet. And
I'm just about to dunk 2 in my cuppa tea. I took a nap on the couch, one
of those speed naps where you wake in about half an hour feeling like you've
been dragged through a hedge. And that's when nothing but a cuppa will
Meanwhile, can't complain about the weather. I tried, and it didn't
work. Nah... it's actually not a bad day, sunny and bright... a bit cool
but not too bad in the sun. Which I'm not. Besides, it's gonna disappear
shortly so I'll have to flick the magic switch. Either that or set fire
to the house, which is probably not such a great idea.
Speaking of being cool... here's
two and a bit minutes of Dylan Moran.
Well, the heater's been on for a while and Mondee's beginning to fade.
Pretty soon I'll be glued to the telly watching my fav shows after having
demolished a curry pie washed down with potato and leek soup. What an exciting
life I lead. No wonder everyone else is jealous. What are they going to
say when I'm holding a sausage-impregnated stick over a campfire in the
middle of the Nullarbor? They'll be livid. Positively green with envy.
Sticking pins in a doll wearing a bush hat.
Now here's an idea. I could make a How To video about building a campfire,
and then use real footage of a huge out-of-control bushfire with helicopters
and fire trucks and people running around with hoses. And at the end, I
could stagger from the blackened forest, covered in soot, holding a perfectly
cooked sausage. That'd be cool, and would no doubt attract quite a few
viewers on Youtube. I'm fulla brilliant ideas. It's only a matter
of time before people like Speilberg are pestering me for my autograph.
It's gonna happen ya know. I'll be out there in the middle of nowhere
wondering what I can do to pass the time. Hehe. As a kid, I used to get
up to the most reprehensible mischief and I can sense that I'm about to
re-enter that phase of my life. I mean, someone's gotta liven up the party,
Oregon Richie emailed photos taken of him and his bride-to-be in their
senior year at college. Childhood sweethearts in those oval frames favored
by photo studios of the period. He's looking directly at the camera whereas
she's looking to one side in one of those "candid" shots. "Oh, is someone
taking my picture? I had no idea!" But the thing I noticed most was Richie's
tie. The knot is perfectly centered. I have a thing about that. When I
see politicians interviewed on telly with their tie not straight, or the
knot off center, or too small for the gap between the collar peaks, I get
distracted and upset. Not that I like ties. No, I don't. I think they're
an unnecessary and silly relic from the absurd dress codes of centuries
past. Mind you, when I was about that age, I used to wear an open neck
shirt and a cravat. Hehe. At the time I thought I looked very suave. Oh,
But getting back to politicians and ties, those guys are so paranoid
about presenting an image of respectability and conservatism, they always
wear charcoal or blue suits of the most uninspiring kind. The savior, as
far as they are concerned, is the tie. It allows them a splash of color
just to prove that they're not totally boring. Some get quite adventurous
and wear pinks, greens, reds, florals, and even paisleys. But it's only
a splash, remember... nothing too demonstrative. However, it's the ones
who not only wear dull suits but also dull ties that you gotta watch. Those
guys have had a personality bypass.
And Obama? He's all for rolled up sleeves and open necks. "Yes, we can!"
Well, telly's on and it's time to exit stage left. Gary
August 12, 2012. Well, Hungary and Italy won a gold each overnight
and relegated Oz back to 10th. But it didn't stop Oz from winning 4 more
medals, bringing its total to 7/35. US 44/102, China 38/87, UK 28/62, Russia
21/78, Korea 13/27. NZ has won another gold, taking its total to 5/13,
and chasing its rivals across the Tasman. Anyway, considering our embarrassingly
poor start, I'm quite proud of Team Oz.
I suspect if the US wasn't doing so incredibly well, Romney would have
blamed the Obama administration for damaging America's self esteem and
confidence hehe. Too bad, Mitt. You'll have to find another excuse. Meanwhile,
I won't be surprised if the US Olympic result benefits the Dems.
Which reminds me, on Planet America the other night, they showed footage
of Obama's latest speech in which he said, "There's not a country in the
world that wouldn't gladly trade places with America." Hehe, that made
me laugh. As soon as John Barron returned to camera, he said, "With the
possible exception of Australia." Yep, no way Oz would trade places with
anyone. And I'm sure many other countries feel the same way. Obviously,
Obama was focused on his home audience when he made that remark. The Yanks
DO like to think of themselves as the envy of the world ya know. Which
is fair enough. I guess we do too.
I wrote TX Greg last night asking if he knew how to embed Youtube vids
on an HTML page, as in an Aussie Odyssey page. Turns out it's pretty simple
(which explains why I couldn't figure it out). So I tried it on The C Word
and it worked. So from here on, rather than link to Youtube, I'll embed
the screen on the AO page (which links to Youtube anyway. It just means
you watch the vid while remaining on AO).
Ooooooowaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! TX Greg asked if I got the
meaning of his reference yesterday to "Yankee Dime", so I just checked
Google. And now I'm blushing. A quick,
innocent kiss. A peck. A child like term used by/for children in the Southern
Which brings me to the Pledge. First off, I gotta say that if you'd
rather ignore it because of your current fiscal status or for whatever
other reason, then ignore it. There's no pressure. The thing is gonna be
there on AO until early next year anyway so don't feel compelled to rush
in, or even participate period.
BTW, not sure if I've ever mentioned this but I went into hock for about
$2000 in order to buy the camper, and I'm still paying that back. That's
one reason I'm not able to save as much as I'd like at the mo.
However, NC Art suggests I get a raffle license. Nah, that's all too
hard. He also suggested the prize for the raffle could be my current Ute.
Hello? That thing is worth a couple of grand hehe. No way, Jose. I need
to trade that on the new Ute, or use the proceeds for another solar panel
and a couple of deep cycle batteries. Also, if someone from overseas wins
it, how the hell would I ship it? Nah. Not a good idea, Art. BUT, I could
manage something like autographed copies of all my books in print. They
would be the only autographed copies in existence, and might be worth a
fortune if I ever become famous. Or fall off the perch.
Art also has this take on exploration pre-dating our current efforts:Capts.
Jimmy Cook and Christoph Colombo never worried about germs. Wherever they
made landfall the results were great swaths of natives wiped out by Smallpox,
measles, whooping cough, common colds and venereal diseases. They may have
wondered what was happening, but were innocent on grounds of ignorance.
But hey, they made Christians out of the aborigines while stealing their
Yep, they had different standards back then, mainly due to ignorance
but also due to a belief in their own superiority. Oz, after all, was established
as a penal colony... a dumping ground for Britain's human trash. Check
us out now, baby.
Here's a fascinating account of a small group of protestors breaking
in to a high security nuclear facility in the US, posted on Justin's blog.
Are we talking about an 82 y/o nun here? Yessum,
we are. Hehe.
Well, for the past hour or so I've
been working on the Pledge page and I think I've got it right. Lemme
know what you think. There's a link below the Pledge blurb to the current
total of pledges page. Also, lemme know what you think about the signed
copies of all my books idea for a prize. BTW, I've dedicated my other email
addy gary at aussieodyssey as the addy to use for pledges. So don't be
alarmed or confused, okay.
I see on the Beeb that Paul Ryan has been chosen by Romney as his running
mate in the US presidential campaign. The pair will be touring various
states they need to win in order to be successful, including North Carolina.
I can see Art out there waving the Stars and Stripes. Ryan is a practicing
Catholic and according to the Beeb Was voted prom king and "Biggest
Brown Noser" at school, is a fitness fanatic, and has expressed fondness
for catching catfish with his bare hands.
Did you see this video
of a bloke in Western Oz being rescued after spending 20 hours treading
water and floating on his back after a boating accident? As the rescue
was being attempted hammerhead sharks were circling. Sheesh. He won't forget
that experience in a hurry.
Bob Dylan sang about the times they are a-changin' back in the '60s
but even he couldn't have anticipated the changes that are happening today.
Justin posted this
NY Times story on his blog about married gay couples being pressured
by parents and friends into filling the cradles.
Heater's on! The sun's been popping in and out all day, punctuated by
rain. Not the best of days. But I noted last night that the wind damage
in Sydney during the past day or two was pretty bad with trees and power
lines down, sizeable boats dumped on shore, roofs torn from various buildings
and thousands of calls made to emergency services. At least lil ole Taree
managed to avoid that kinda drama.
Despite the dreary weather, I decided it was worth a trip up the road
to get some of that La Zuppa soup I was so impressed with when I was last
at Port Macquarie. This time I got a spinach and chick pea variety, plus
a creamy chicken and veg. I'll try the spinach one tonight. They're not
all that cheap compared to other brands but just under $4 a pop for good
quality is a pretty good deal I reckon.
On Gardening Australia last night, they featured stories about immigrants
and how they've influenced Oz cuisine and culture, starting with the Italians
back in the '50s and their penchant for fresh fruit and vegies grown in
their own backyards or in market gardens. "When we first arrived, the only
olive oil was in little brown bottles from the chemist!" Hehe. The Greeks
were the same, and later came the Vietnamese whose food I adore. Now we
have Iraqis, Iranians, Afghans, Palestinians, Lebanese (already well established),
Burmese, Malaysians and god knows who else. Interesting to note that there's
a thriving olive oil industry in Tasmania (and even truffles). Oz coffee
is pretty good too, and tea. So Oz owes a lot to those people who have
made this country so cosmopolitan and interesting.
Another Satdee night program I enjoy is Landline, which is a compilation
of stories about life on the land in Oz. One was about the longest fence
in the world, the famous
Dingo Fence that stretches almost 3,500 miles from eastern Queensland
to the Nullarbor Plain in South Australia. It was built in the 1880s and
is still regularly inspected and repaired to stop dingos and other pests
from attacking flocks of sheep. I think it began as an attempt to contain
the spread of rabbits but that failed. There weren't all that many sheep
back in the 1880s, at least not roaming the outback, so the fence found
another use with the spread of farming over the years. The story interviewed
a couple of the blokes who spend their time maintaining the fence over
long distances. One bloke said it can be a pretty lonely life for some
of the workers but he was okay because he lived in a town of 7 people hehe.
"So at least I can go home on the weekend and have someone to talk to."
His only companion on the job is a Jack Russel/Terrier mix who has a talent
for spotting snakes and warning his master. The camera showed one coiled
up at the top of a fence post.
Yes, all very interesting and the type of stories I'm looking forward
to sampling myself on the Odyssey. But for now, it's telly time and La
Zuppa time. Meanwhile, keep your legs together and don't talk to any strange
men (except me). Gary
August 11, 2012. Goodness me! Oz is certainly making the most
of the final days of the London Olympics. One more gold to bring our total
to 7/31 and 9th place, surpassing Italy who's now in 10th. That's pretty
cool, and I'm confident that the team will return home to a rousing welcome.
US 41/94, China 37/81, UK 25/57, Russia 15/63, Korea 13/27. I see that
NZ has 4 gold now.
Soley? As NC Art says, it sounds alright but it's spelled solely. Oops!
So there's another one I've been misspelling without realizing it. As
Christmas approached during my sojourn in Alaska, the local radio station
began airing public service spots, one of which asked for donations to
a fund for the poor of the town. The script mentioned the “indigent” people,
which the announcer invariably pronounced “indignant.” After three nights
of hearing this I called the station’s attention to this faux pas. The
manager assured me that they knew about it, but left the guy alone because
it got lots more attention than it would if it were read straight. Hm.
Yep, strange things happen when English speakers
put on airs with imported Frenchy sounding words. Trouble is, the French
don’t spell what they say or say what they spell. And we ain’t so hot in
that department either. Take the word ‘soley’ as you spelled it. Sounds
ok, but the bugger is spelt solely. He he.
I probably made lots of faux pas during my radio career but the one
I remember most is mispronouncing the name of a movie way back in '69.
I said Tarren-chewla instead of Tarantula. Oh dear. Later, in the mid '70s
I read a news item and mispronounced Arkansas.
Art also has this to say about fund raising: Wondering about a lottery
to fund your walkabout, aka Odyssey. Don’t know what the prize might be
but you could think of something. A football player I tutored at the University
of Georgia decided to raffle his commemorative ring won in a post season
bowl game. When the time came to award the ring he decided the proceeds
were not sufficient and called the lottery off. And he refused to rebate
the money, reasoning that lotteries were gambling, so everyone lost but
him. His name was Garland “Bulldog” Williams and he was much too big and
mean to dispute with.
Cody would have raffled a pair of his unwashed Speedos hehe. (Or worse,
but I ain't going there...) However, you need a license in Oz to run a
raffle. When I opened a donations account with PayPal, they did a check
on me to see if I was a crook before allowing me to go ahead with the account.
I'm not a registered charity. I wonder if buskers need a license to busk?
And here's Jimm's comment: Gary, speaking of ads and donations, how
about an ad for Green Room? Placed on the home page, high enough to be
seen without scrolling down.
Thought about that, Jimm but Green Room has nothing in common with AO.
It's a bit confusing. Jimm also has a few probs with certain words: Words
I have trouble with: writing checks with ninty (ninety) amounts; all my
high school papers and essays were written using the word greatful (grateful),
and I enjoy people who are spontanuos (spontaneous). And then there are
'g words' like in giraffe where I pronounced it with a hard g (as in girl).
And there I was thinking that a 'hard g' had something to do with me
waking in the mornings. Note: only one 'n' in waking. And your 'ninty'
reminds me of 'fourty' which is spelled 'forty'. I also remember some Ukrainian
friends who were confused with 1st, 2nd and 3rd when everything else ended
in 'th'. So they settled for 1th, 2th and 3th. Maintain and maintenance
is another confusing one, as are lots of ables and ibles hehe. No wonder
Francois gets irritated by English.
And here's what TX Greg had to say about being shot down in flames:
Well as hot as it's been here I already feel like I'm in flames!
I should pledge you a yankee dime :)
So here I am on a winter Satdee morning. The forecast is for more wind
and rain but it's not looking too bad at the mo, despite the cold. Wind
damage in Sydney yesterday was pretty bad with tens of thousands of homes
losing power caused by downed trees and power lines. They said the damage
was in small pockets scattered around the city, which made the logistics
of attending to repairs laborious and difficult.
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!
Last night on telly there was a story of a bloke with cancer similar
to mine, who underwent radiation and whatever. He also had a stomach tube.
But he could speak. He was interviewed on radio and TV. He had a Facebook
page with lots of supporters who sent gifts. Hello? I breezed through the
whole damn thing with hardly a mention, as if it were just another ho hum
episode of life. You'll be right, Gaz. Stiff upper lip and all that. Seems
I missed my 15 minutes of fame.
I might write a page about the cancer thing, though... just for the
record... and post it on AO.
Might? No might about it, I just spent a couple of hours putting it
together from pastes of journals and waffles plus a bit of new commentary
and pics. The link is on the main home page... and I moved Art's Art link
up a few rungs. I
called it The C Word.
Sifting through all that cancer stuff I wrote revived a few graphic
memories I'd chosen to archive somewhere in the dim, dark reaches of my
mind. It was certainly not a pleasant experience, or one I'd wish to repeat.
But it happened and I suppose it deserves a prominent place on AO as part
of the "journey".
So then I made a hot dog for lunch and took a bite when I realized I
hadn't put my bloody front teeth in. Hehe. I think I'd better forget about
hot dogs for a while... or anything else that needs a fair amount of chewing.
It's all too hard. So I've settled for a bowl of minestrone instead.
I see that Romney will announce his running mate shortly. Sarah? No.
And Clint Eastwood has endorsed Romney. Make my day. Bleh.
The Mars Rover story is interesting. A spokesman last night on telly
(Planet America) was talking about a future manned mission which will probably
last 3 years, so the current Rover mission will be evaluating the possibility
of astronauts being able to grow their own food, use Mars water, etc. He
also spoke about the current Rover undergoing a thorough cleanliness and
contamination test before its launch to ensure no living organism from
Earth was on board. An important part of the mission is to find evidence
of life on Mars, so they don't want to be finding anything that might have
been imported from elsewhere. I wonder what Jimmy Cook and Christopher
Columbus would have to say about all this space exploration business.
It's only 60 years ago when I was a kid that Hollywood was making sci
fi movies about aliens from Mars. And now we're seeing live pictures transmitted
directly from the surface of the red planet. Pretty amazing stuff, what?
Heater's on! And it's about bloody time. Each night when I watch the
weather on telly, I
see Broome with a min in the mid teens and a top of about 30C. Mieke,
my Red Bubble mate, gave Melbourne the flick to go live in Derby, not far
from Broome in Kimberley country. I often wonder where I'll settle once
the Odyssey gets a bit too much for me. Derby or Broome? Maybe. I really
don't know. There are thousands of places that could take my fancy, including
Sydney. So, at the mo, it's a complete mystery.
In 2 days, my monthly broadband usage will be due. Seems Optus has fixed
the prob here at the Taree tower because I've not had any connection probs
and my usage so far is only 39% of 5GB.
Satdee night so the TV schedule is different but it's not too bad. Anyway,
time to think about vittles and settling into the easy chair for a while.
Seeyaz Sundee. Gary
August 10, 2012. I happened to spot this photo of Art
in the North Carolina Bugle.
Meanwhile, the London Olympics continues to be an exciting tussle, especially
between the top two contenders for Numero Uno. The US has now grabbed the
lead in both outright gold and total medals, US 39/90, China 37/80, UK
25/52, Russia 12/56, Korea 12/25. The UK has done exceptionally well as
host country. And where's Oz? Doing quite nicely, thank you, with 6/29
and 10th place. So now we're in the top 10. Have the Kiwis stopped dissing
us yet? I think so. Hehe. South Korea surprised me with its performance.
They'll be pleased with themselves for sure.
Speaking of performance, the ABC's (Oz) main reporter in London is one
of those people who can't get his brain around 'per'. He pronounces performance
as preformance. I knew a bloke who couldn't say spaghetti. He said pasghetti.
One word commonly mispronounced, even by highly educated peeps, that surprises
me is prerogative. They say perogative. I had a problem with ridiculous
for many years, misspelling it as rediculous. And truely instead of truly.
Oh well, dozen madder.
As to 'common', NC Art writes: Common, commonplace, familiar to all,
commonality, commonly understood meanings or rituals. Sure, the common
man was once considered lower in most things; manners, morals, and so on.
But that was royalty’s opinion, else how could some blokes feel superior
and oh so smugly self-important? Ain’t democracy the great leveler wherein
no man must kneel, doff the hat or tug his forelock in the presence of
his betters? So, the House of Commons consists of citizens who ain’t got
much claim to be a Lord by inheritance, and many commoners are richer than
the dukes and earls and barons, what?
So now in good old democratic America the most
money gets the most deference—a new aristocracy which deigns not to notice
the lower classes or their needs. Seems like it’s going thataway, pardner!
Yes, there was a discussion on telly last night by a Brit author who
thinks it's time the capitalist system readjusted itself to elevate the
poor and middle classes to a more acceptable level of sharing the wealth.
He said the capitalist system was working quite well during the '50s and
'60s but has gotten out of tune in more recent years. Lopsided.
Which reminds me of something Oregon Richie wrote: Yes, the political
scene. Obama drama and "Romneyhood", which is a pretty funny way...
albeit quite true.... to put it. No further comment. Oh, wait...
yes- just one. Some caustic folks 'round here say that of November
2nd... "America is not going to RENIG". Pathetic comment. Here's
mine for November 3rd: "I'm black; I'm back... deal with it !"
There have been a few responses to the Pledge thing so far. Steve W
thinks it's a great idea. TX Greg thinks there were too many numbers to
absorb first thing in the morning, and wants to think about it "some".
My inclination is that it's worth a shot. If it bombs, I'll end up with
egg on my face but it won't be the first time. Egg schmegg. If I can handle
the cancer drama, I can handle anything.
I'll tell you what did irk me for a long time. "Gary's got a million
ideas but none of them work." That's an exaggeration, of course, but even
if it were true, so what? Should I stop trying? Me no theeeng so. Remember
that swimmer Eric Moussambani at the 2000 Olympics? What
a classic moment that was.
Blowing like crap outside, and cold. Bleh. And it won't improve until
after the weekend.
Ohio Jace has been glued to the telly, watching as much of the Olympics
as poss but misses his "Olympics buddy"... his great nephew who's still
recovering from the motocross bike accident. And he sends his best wishes
to Oregon Richie and his bride to be. They'll be marrried September 23.
Jace reckons the Olympics highlight for him was when Kirani
James (Grenada) asked to exchange bibs with Oscar Pistorius (South Africa)
in the 400-meter semifinal. Kirani won the heat and Oscar finished
Watched an interesting story on telly last night about a Chinese woman
who runs a restaurant in Oz. She has very fixed ideas about how food should
be eaten and not wasted. Her restaurant has strict rules such as food should
be chewed 30 times before swallowing because the chewing digests the food
before it enters the body. Nothing should be wasted, so patrons are instructed
to bring a container for leftovers. Food should be shared around the table,
a little bit of every dish for each person. Diners who don't adhere to
the rules are asked to leave and never to return. Two customers (gay, as
it happened) said the restaurateur was strict, but they loved her food
and dined there every night. However, it seems that there are too few people
who are willing to abide by the rules and as a consequence, the restaurant
will close because it can't make a profit. Nonetheless, the restaurateur
refuses to compromise.
And there's another word peeps get confused about... restaurateur. They
pronounce/spell it as restauranteur. Oh, and another one I've noticed in
emails and blog comments... people often use loose when they mean lose.
Don't lose your cool if your shoelaces are loose. Yeah?
And what has been the international press reaction to the London Olympics,
and the Brits themselves? Check
this article on the BBC.
TX Greg has had time to think about the Pledge thing: Ok, been thinking
on this pledge thing all day and keep coming back to what we've tried before,
sponsors and ads. But we need to look at this from a different approach.
You got your regular friends that keep up with you on the waffle, but don't
forget you have a bigger audience of tourists. You know your site get hits
from peeps looking to travel to Oz. I seen ads all the time on TV here
about visiting Australia. So why not think a little outside of the box
and try selling some ad space on the home page that reflects tourism. The
big one that pops into mind would be Qantas. Then there's cheaptickets
/ orbitz / priceline etc. Even car hire companies and hotels. Geez I'd
even take a condom ad to get some revenue in, hehe. But really you know
from all the years at the radio station that ads are what kept a paycheck
in your pocket and the station on the air.
Would be a little sneaky, but you could create some fake ads on the
homepage just to make others jealous of that ad spot, hehe.
"Dear Qantas, We are looking to replace the current ad spot held
by cheaptickets and wondering if you company would like to place a bid."
hahaha You know that could work!!!
Again just thoughts, use what you can and throw the rest out the
Yep, ads and/or sponsorships would be great, provided they didn't overwhelm
the site and intrude too much. But at this point, pre-Odyssey, what do
I have to sell? A few bits of Sydney, The Manning Valley, and Port Macquarie?
Fact is, there won't be anything of substance to sell until I'm on the
road. Even then, it'll take a while to build up a portfolio of places I've
visited and stories I've told. The proof of the tasting will be in the
pudding and, right now, there ain't no pudding.
Soooooooo, I think I'll go ahead with the Pledge thing. Sponsorship
can wait for another day. In fact, some time ago I wrote to a number of
companies seeking sponsorship and they all declined. I have a feeling people
I know personally might be somewhat reticent to pledge a donation because
if all they can afford is 10 bucks or something they'll worry that I'll
think they're a cheapskate hehe. Okay, so what if I think they're a cheapskate?
Bloody hell, if I get enough cheapskates I'll be laughing! Besides, a person's
financial situation is no business of mine. As far as I'm concerned, 10
bucks is as good as a hundred and I'm not about to judge anyone's capacity
to part with whatever they can afford. The point is, if I relied soley
on my online friends for pledges, I wouldn't be going anywhere. I'm hoping
there are lot of other people out there who want me to travel Oz so they
can read about my adventures for the next whatever years and check out
all the pics and movies. Seems to me 10 or 20 bucks is a pretty cheap ticket
to a show that runs THAT bloody long!
Okay, so the show's gonna be free anyway. But that depends on whether
or not THERE IS A SHOW! Hehe. And donations will ensure that there
So I'll take the risk of getting egg on my face if the project bombs.
There's no money involved, and won't be for about six months, so it's not
like it's all gotta happen by next week. Meanwhile, I'll keep saving my
pennies as well. In fact, if I can manage to save a grand or two, I'll
pledge that! I've got about a grand already. Hmmmm.
But certainly down the track I'll be eager to seek sponsorship. As an
age pensioner, I'm allowed to earn an extra $6500 per annum tax free. If
I can make that from advertising revenue that would be sooooo cool! It
would pay for expenses and a few extras. But like I said, I gotta get a
few runs on the board first.
So there ya go, that's TX Greg shot down in flames. Who's next?
I'll work on the Pledge page over the weekend and get it right before
I launch it.
I was just thinking about that bakery
in Birdsville that bakes curry camel pies. I could do an ad for them
along the lines of do your bit for the Oz environment and bite a camel.
The bloody pests are roaming around the outback in their millions. They
have no natural enemies, and they denude what little vegetation there is
out there during the dry season, making it impossible for native species
to survive. So don't leave Oz until you've bitten a Birdsville Curry Camel
Actually, most of the advertising would be targeted to people outside
Oz who are thinking about traveling Down Under, or tourists already in
Oz (hotels, car rental, resorts, etc).
But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Itchy feet syndrome. Can't blame
me, though. On the old About Me page I originally wrote, "Not long ago,
I turned 63..." Hello? Pretty soon I'll be 68 and I haven't been anywhere
yet (well, hardly anywhere).
Getting close to heater time and I can't wait. Cold weather ain't my
cuppa, and I can hear the wind blowing outside. In the bathroom, I heard
on the radio that gusts of up to 90kph have downed some powerlines in Sydney
and left some homes without electrickity. Eeek! No heating, cooking or
lighting in winter! Not good.
America is on tonight, which is a show I enjoy. One American guest
the other week (mayor of Pittsburgh) asked why John and Chas weren't syndicated
in the US. He said it would be a huge hit over there. John Barron is the
one on the right; a polished ABC Oz newsreader and commentator. Chas Licciardello,
on the left, is a cheeky Aussie accented Italian (born here). Both guys
have a deep interest in American history and politics. The thing I like
about the show is that it's impartial. Moreover, the ABC is a publicly
funded, independent broadcaster. No media barons calling the shots. AND
Funny innit... an ex ad man poo pooing ads. But when I was writing ads,
I tried to make them as entertaining and/or as interesting as possible,
as if they were part of the show. Sometimes I managed to make the ads even
more entertaining than the show as witnessed by a giggle or comment from
the on air announcer.
Anyway, dozen madder. The heater's on and it's time to bid thee farewell
for another day. Gary
August 9, 2012. Well, lookie, lookie... another gold for Oz,
which brings our tally to 5/26. We've left our run a bit late but better
late than never I suppose, and 5 gold is certainly more respectable than
the 1 we had a week ago. It's also reminding Aussies that we have more
than just a bunch of swimmers in London.
Overnight: China 36/77, US 34/81, UK 22/48, Korea 12/25, Russia 11/52.
The sun is shining brightly again but there's a prob. Someone's dragged
a big bunch of cloud between the sun and Taree, and it's bloody cold!
Last night I watched a program about a self-funded art show. They got
the thing happening by public donation but instead of asking for donations
per se, they set a target and then asked for pledges. When the pledges
reached the target, they asked for the pledges to be honored. Boom, boom.
The show is now on the road. So I thunk to myself, that's what's wrong
with the Aussie Odyssey donation thingy. It's ad hoc. There's no target,
nothing to aim for.
So then I thunk, what if I set a budget of $20,000. I could do with
less, but 20K would buy a near new flat tray 4WD ute in top condition with
money left over for a second solar panel, two deep cycle batteries, and
a bunch of other stuff I need. Pledges would be made via email with no
money sent. I'd publish a daily tally of pledges (no names) and when the
target was reached, whammo, hello Odyssey. If the whole thing bombed because
of a lack of response, then all pledges would become null and void and
we'd all forget about it.
On the other hand, say each pledge was worth $5 and you had a choice
of buying 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or whatever. That would mean a target of 4000
pledges. My problem is, I'm not sure how many followers AO has. According
to Webalyzer, AO gets over 500 visits daily, but 95% of those could be
robots for all I know. Also, many visitors see an image or text on Google
and follow the link to a part of the site that could have been created
months or years ago, so they're not regular followers who visit the site
If AO doesn't have enough regulars to make a target of 20K a feasible
goal, then it's a pointless exercise. But if I lowered my sights and settled
for something like $5000, that would be enough to get a "reasonable" flat
tray ute (with the sale of my current ute) and at least get the show on
the road. I can always launch another fund raiser for some other specific
purpose at some future stage if need be. I believe that once the show is
on the road, and things are happening, the increased activity will attract
more regular visitors and a larger support base.
$5000 means 1000 pledges at $5 each. If the average purchase is 4 pledges,
250 would reach the target. And like I say, if the exercise bombs, no one
loses anything because the pledges will become null and void.
So what do you think of that idea? Is it worth a shot? Savings at the
mo are stalled. Once the bills are paid, there's not much left over to
save, especially since I'm no longer a carer. Surviving on the age pension
won't be a problem. Capital investment is the hurdle... although less of
a hurdle now that I have the camper. My intention is to depart on the Odyssey
in 2013 so the fund raiser will have about 5 or 6 months to achieve its
goal. I eagerly await your comments, dear Breth. Give it shot or what?
Yesterday, I mentioned marriage and semantics which prompted NC Art
to write: Truly the evolution of language is a stumbling block. Diplomats
meet to construct a peace treaty but start a war because they couldn’t
understand each other. So, if you would argue with me, we must first define
our terms. Just so, gay no longer means light hearted and happy, and the
new gay often finds himself wounded and unhappy.
For two centuries the Anglican Book of Common
Prayer contained a prayer asking God to prevent us...just because it came
from the Latin ‘to go before.’ And we said it without a quibble. Just so,
vulgar today refers to rude, crude, uncouth talk or behavior. Originally
it meant simply the language of the common man as opposed to that spoken
by royalty, usually Latin or High English. Thus, the first bible in the
common language was termed the Vulgate. The priests didn’t like it since
it removed some of their power to interpret and instruct holy writ to suit
The politicians are still perfecting the art
of duobabble, but technobabblers and fiscababbblers are winning hands down.
So never send to ask for whom the bell tolls. Unless you’re dead already.
Apologies to John Donne.
And there's another one... common... the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.
"G'day Boss who art in Heaven. Owyagoin, mate, no worries." These days
a common person means socially inferior. I often wonder if the British
parliament should change the name of the House of Commons.
And here's something TX Greg sent. He says he can imagine me whizzing
around Taree in this:
Interesting trying to figure out the bits used. The front is from a
'70s Kombi, the windscreen looks like it might be the rear window of a
Beetle, the side window I'm not sure about, the wing mirror is from a Beetle,
the door handle is a bit of a mystery because it's left handed (upside
down), the rear vent looks like it might be from an early Kombi, hubcaps
are VW but the wheels are smaller... anyway, it's cute and a credit to
Ah, that's better... leaning back against a hot water bottle, and drinking
a mug of coffee.
But back to language... sometimes I'll see a Chinese person reading
a Chinese paper up at the Mall. There are often market stalls plonked in
the middle of the main pedestrian area usually run by Chinese. Anyway,
as I walk past I'll glance at the page of the newspaper and wonder how
the hell anyone can understand all those lines and strokes. But they do,
and have for thousands of years. I also wonder about those time capsule
thingies sent into space with a note to aliens letting them know that we
Another interesting thing about humans is the total lack of knowledge
we're born with. Birds don't need to be taught how to build nests (or indeed
where to build them... they're not all in trees), or how to sing their
songs some of which are quite complicated. But human beings need to be
taught virtually everything. Moreover, if it weren't for our forebears
leaving their accumulated knowledge in books, we'd revert instantly to
the stone age. Language in its written form is crucial to the edification
of humans. Australian Aborigines, for example, had no written language.
The only way they passed knowledge from generation to generation was by
paintings, songs and storytelling. They were quite sophisticated in certain
ways, but were still living in the stone age when Europeans arrived. No
Galileos or Shakespeares Down Under hehe. I suppose that says a lot for
cooperation between races and cultures; the exhange of ideas and concepts.
For 40,000+ years, the Aborigines never had that. Even today there are
still pockets of primitive peoples in parts of South America. Probably
a few in North America as well hehe.
So there ya go, cooperation and exchange between cultures. We can already
see the difference those things are making to today's world with the advent
of the Internet. It's been my savior, for sure. G's gone global! Jeez,
imagine life without the web!
Heater's on! And that's something I won't be saying on the Odyssey...
hopefully. But I might during one of my six monthly visits to the head/neck
specialist in Sydney. No more overnight snorer's express though. I'll park
the camper somewhere in the city... maybe overnight in someone's backyard
if I get an offer. Who knows what might happen on the big adventure? But
for now it's the Taree Ritual... a feed, a bit of telly and the hot water
bottle. If it weren't for Waffle I think I'd go nuts. Okay, more nuts.
Catch you on the next revolution. Gary
August 8, 2012. Well, whaddaya know! Oz is back in the fight
with another 2 gold in London (cycling and sailing). Seems like the fat
lady is still waiting in the wings. Now that should shut the Kiwis up!
Oz is now 4/25 (with 12 silver) and ranked 11th. We were 24th the other
Meanwhile, China 34/73, US 30/70, UK 22/48, Korea 12/23, Russia 10/48.
Pru Goward on The Drum last night - when the panel was commenting about
Tasmania going it alone in Oz in terms of legalizing same sex marriage
- said that it's a case of semantics; that the word "marriage" had an established
meaning, which was the legal union of a man and a woman. She said that
she had no objection to same sex unions but that such unions needed a new
word. Seems to me that she's being pedantic about semantics. Meanings change.
Language changes. One glaring example of that is the word 'gay'. To my
way of thinking, the current meaning of marriage denotes the exclusion
of same sex couples, which is a form of discrimination. You don't achieve
equality by having marriage for heteros and marriage by another name for
Marvin Hamlisch has died at 68, which is what I'll be in a couple of
weeks. What a great composer and musician he was; one of the all time greats.
Meanwhile, here's a BBC profile of Wisconsin
Sikh temple shooter Wade Michael Page.
Keep your eyes on the prize, says Oregon Richie. As a young bloke, the
prize was becoming a radio announcer. Once I achieved that, I no longer
knew what the prize was. Hehe. I just drifted all over the place, falling
into various situations because they were there. About 5 years ago, I got
this crazy idea of touring Oz. Not sure why. I'd never had that ambition
before. I suppose my interest in photography and journalism had something
to do with it. But I suspect the main reason was that there were no real
alternatives to doing something constructive with my life, especially at
The other thing I mentoned to Richie was the zig zag path I've taken
so far to get this Odyssey thing happening... Bluey, the HiAce campervan
and then a ute with the wrong kinda tray. But all the while, cancer was
waiting in the wings to pounce, and if it had pounced somewhere out in
the sticks rather than here in Taree, I may never have had that rough patch
of skin in my mouth checked by a GP, in which case there would be no Gary
and no Odyssey. So there ya go... maybe there's some truth in the expression
'everything happens for the best'.
At the mo, though, I'm facing a challenge of a different genus. I was
determined to have a hotdog for lunch. The problem is getting the bread
roll to fit in my mouth, which is now restricted somewhat by the surgery.
To get my lower teeth around the thing, I have to pull my bottom lip down
so that it avoids getting in the way. It's all a bit tricky but if that's
what it takes to have a hotdog for lunch, then that's what's gotta be done.
Most of the bread roll gets the flick though because it's just too hard
to eat it all. The things one does in one's attempt to get back to normal.
Speaking of normal, another thing I mentioned to Richie was that the
vagabond lifestyle may eventually become the status quo to the point where
the thought of settling down somewhere at sometime becomes abhorrent. Variety
versus predictability, yes? Anyway, all shall be revealed in time, dear
Back from the doc who checked the stomach tube wound and replaced the
bandage. There's hardly anything there... just a small scar type thingy.
He wiped some germicidal something or other on it and asked if it was sore.
Not in the least. Anyway, we got talking about the Odyssey and he said
to my surprise, "I think you should go." I'd already mentioned the zig
zag thing and how I might not be here if I'd been out in the sticks when
the cancer raised its ugly head. He's also Sue and Lindsay's GP so he apparently
thinks they're capable of taking care of themselves without me around.
And he's seen my movies and bits of the AO site. He also has one of my
calendars on his surgery wall. So there ya go, I've got the nod from the
doc. Go forth, young man, and tell stories.
That reminds me of SF Jim who used to call my stories parables.
He was referring to Daniel & Co. The Cody story was a biography, although
I did take some poetic license with the Wingnut and Mark stories because
I wrote those by adopting the personas of the lead characters while using
Cody's emails as the main source of info. When I reflect on that period
now, I realize just how unique it was in my life.
I watched an interview with an Aussie author last night, Nigel
Marsh. He was a marketing guy and wrote a book called Fat, Forty and
Fired. He's 50 now and his latest book is Fit, Fifty and Fired Up. Last
night, he was talking about having a purpose in life; about doing things
that are meaningful to you rather than being a yes/no man working for a
boss or corporation. He was worried, like I am, about reaching old age
and thinking, "What the fuck was that all about?" Before I met Cody I could
have written a book called Fifty, Failed and Forgotten. But meeting Cody
changed all that. His life and the lives of his friends became my focus;
my purpose; my reason for existing. Cody is no longer with us so my focus
has changed. As I said once before, the Aussie Odyssey web site is my shed.
It's where I belong, and no matter where I am in Oz, that's the place I
come home to. And perhaps more importantly, it's the place my friends visit
knowing they'll always be welcome there. Cool, huh?
Even Rodney's still there, hiding under the veranda.
The more I contemplate the idea of the Odyssey web site being the place
wherein I reside, the more I like it. It's fabricated from ideas, words
and images rather than bricks and mortar, and it's taken a few years to
construct. In fact, it'll be in a constant state of construction for as
long as I live. TX Greg didn't include a front door in his graphic. Have
you figured out why? No need to make an appointment, no need to knock,
Ding, ding! There goes the telly bell again. It's been another lovely
day weatherwise, and Stan was here earlier to mow what little growth there
was. That'll change soon enough with spring on the way and a bit of rain.
I just hope the weather is fine for the Old Holdens Show the weekend after
next. I'm itching to do another movie... something a bit different this
time with a few revheads doing their thing. Owyagoinmatenoworries. Hehe.
I might have to use sub titles.
ANYWAAAAAAAAY, it's time to flee and become a couch potato (as opposed
to a typists chair potato). Checkyas l8r. Grow up, Gary. Shuddup. Gary
August 7, 2012. There was a story on telly last night about Australia's
performance in London. Just because we've done well in the past, we have
this idea that we deserve to win more medals that we're reasonably entitled
to. Hell's bells, we're only a country of 20-ish million. Back in Montreal
in the early '70s, our team returned home without a single gold. Shortly
afterwards, the federal government established the Institute of Sport in
Canberra, a facility designed to train elite athletes for international
sporting competition. It took a generation for the training to pay off,
and we did exceptionally well in the Sydney Olympics. We were also 5th
at Beijing in 2008. Not only were the athletes at the Institute outstanding,
but so were the sports scientists and trainers. The rest of the world took
notice, so what did our trainers and scientists do after our success in
2000? They went on a world tour happily sharing their techniques with London,
America, China and other countries. Hehe. Bloody dingalings! Not only that,
London and China actually poached some of our top brains to train their
teams! Actually, I remember reading something about that in the lead-up
to the London games but didn't think much of it at the time.
Anyway, many commentators agree that our performance in London is a
timely reminder that we're not automatically entitled to punch above our
weight, that we need to toughen up and work harder. As one London commentator
said, "The Aussies will be back. Make no mistake about that."
So what happened in London overnight as I slept? China 31/64, US 29/63,
UK 18/40, Korea 11/22, France 8/26. And whaddaya know, Oz managed a second
gold - 2/22.
Remember that dud GPS I bought? I bitched after their supplier sent
a lamo email (which was a lie about the availability of old tech memory
cards) and asked for a refund. And they agreed. I have to return the item
but that's okay... the return postage is free. When I do buy one, I'll
go to a local retailer because I want to discuss the features with a "live"
person... features like spoken street names, regularly updated maps, and
a built-in reversing camera.
The local post office sells a lot of computer related stuff as well
as cameras. They have a bundle deal on a new Fuji - an updated version
of the one I have - 14MP camera, bag, 4GB memory card, all for $189. Very
tempting but I'll resist. Mine is 12MP but otherwise much the same. It's
the one I used for the last 3 movies and does a pretty good job. Besides,
I already have cameras I rarely use!
Back from the PO and getting keys cut at Mr Minit. AND THE PIE SHOP.
I feel like a curry pie tonight so that's what I'm having, washed down
with mushroom soup. Anyway, at the key cutting place I got spares made
for the camper (amazed to see blanks still available for those old keys)
and bought color coded key rings for the padlocks. They're circles of pliable
plastic with a hollow interior like a tire so that you pull them over the
top of the key like you pull a tire over a rim. Purple for the top storage
bins, green for the bottom sides, and orange for the bottom back. There
ya go. Now all I gotta do is remember in future which color is which.
I was also at the deli and spotted a nice looking fish cake and a spinach
and riccota thingy. Mmmmm.
In the bathroom, I was listening to an interview with a woman who was
born and raised in Khartoum. Incidentally, if you think the blue and white
Nile is a myth or whatever, think again. She used to picnic on the banks
of the Nile and often saw the different colors where the two Niles merge.
Anyway, her parents brought her up as a Muslim but sent her to a private
Catholic school. Her father remembered as a boy observing the students
of the catholic school being delivered by cars driven by wealthy parents
who spoke a foreign language. So he thought those students must have received
a better education; one that would serve them better in a global world.
He didn't want his children to live their entire lives in Khartoum. He
had 7 kids so educating them at a private school cost him 70% of his income.
Anyway, this woman (now living in Oz with her husband) said she was very
close to her father. Being hot and dry in Khartoum, they often slept in
the backyard under the stars. She would cuddle up to her father and ask
him to tell her stories, which he did... stories of his childhood and the
silly things he did then. She said hearing those stories of his boyhood
adventures made him "more human" in her eyes, and strengthened their bond
even moreso. That struck a chord with me. My father was distant. He never
told stories. In fact, he rarely spoke at all. So there was no bond between
us other than strictly father and son. Certainly nothing even remotely
Another mass shooting in the US with 7 dead in a Wisconsin Temple. Lunatics
and guns, what a combo. Syria's PM Riad Hijab has defected and denounces
the Damascus "terrorist regime". Well, we all know that. And Rover lands
on Mars in a very complex maneuver that worked perfectly. Oz was involved
too with our radio telescope at Tidbinbilla near Canberra. Funny old world
innit... mass murderers, terrorist regimes and scientific triumphs for
the benefit of all mankind. How do you figure all that?
Anyway, it's time for me to think about a curry pie and a bit of telly.
And when I wake tomorrow morning (assuming I do) maybe Oz will have added
another gold to its tally... and shut the NZedders up hehe. Meanwhile,
keep your legs together and hooroo for now. Gary
August 6, 2012. Yesterday Averil mentioned the Australian
involvement in the training of Chinese swimmers.
And I meant to comment on the pill. I watched an interview with Ita
Buttrose the other night. She's been very successful in the publishing
business over the years, and a leading light for women who wished to succeed
in the corporate world. She was talking about the early days of The Pill,
and how it liberated women from the apron strings mentality and allowed
them to pursue a career outside of being a mother. "But in those days,
you couldn't buy the pill over the counter, you had to get a doctor's prescription.
And if you were single, like I was, the doctor wouldn't give you a prescription.
He passed moral judgement, saying in effect that if you weren't married,
you couldn't have the pill. So the only alternative for someone like me
was to get my married friends to get it for me. And that's what happened."
Hehe. How times have changed since the '60s and '70s.
And speaking of marriage, Oregon Richie's plans for his big moment sound
very romantic indeed: So... we're still busy with plans, making arrangements,
and she is working on a very well done and edited sountrack for our ceremony.
That plan? Fly up to Vancouver BC in Canada on Saturday the 22nd, board
the ship, set sail, cross the Columbia River bar early in the morning and
be docked in Astoria Sunday morning. Hop off the ship when friends
Kevin and Carla pick us up, go to a lovely park reserved for the ceremony,
have an "officiant" come up to do the.... "thing!", have lunch, reboard
the ship, and sail out over the horizon. Cool. Very.
Sail into San Francisco after a full day at sea under the legendary Golden
Gate bridge as... a... still rather stunning to say.... a... married couple
! Wow !!
Yes, Richie is still having trouble coming to terms with such a major
change in his life: childhood
sweethearts finally getting hitched in their '50s. Hehe. In a way,
they remind me of my Odyssey... the beginning of a new life. Scary... but
TX Greg sent this pic:
can read the story about the Olympic Moon in London here.
Seems like an appropriate time to check out what happened overnight
with the medal tallies:
Oops! China's back on top: China 30/61, US 28/60, UK 16/37, Korea 10/20,
France 8/25. And Oz? Oh dear... down to 24th and no new medals since yesterday
1/20. Even Ethiopia has 2 gold! Sheesh.
Just had another poke around the camper and checked inside the storage
bins. There's a ton of room in there. When I had the van I used to ponder
how and where the hell I was gonna store stuff. I figured I'd have to load
it all into the van and then unload it all each time I stopped or needed
to access the interior. What a bother! Either that or tow a trailer. Now
there's room for all the gear I'll need without cluttering living space.
Even the porta potti will fit inside one of the bins. Access is not all
that easy at the mo but it will be when the camper is mounted on the back
of the ute tray.
Yep, ya gotta be organized! Everything in its place, and a place for
everything. I remember the first few days after moving into this house,
constantly searching drawers and cupboards for things. Even out there with
the kookaburras and wombats, ya gotta be organized. It's not like a picnic
where someone forgets the mayo, or a weekend camping trip. It's just the
same as being at home except it ain't sitting on a concrete slab. Funny
innit... a house with moving scenery. "What's your address?" "Hang on,
As much as I try to imagine what it will be like, I can't... not really.
I've spent a lifetime going out and returning home, of putting the garbage
out for collection, of checking the mailbox at the front gate, of rummaging
around in the garden searching for the morning paper, of filling out forms
and writing my address. I'm guessing that the novelty of the first few
weeks will be kinda like taking a holiday, and then it will dawn on me
that it's not a holiday... not strictly... that it's a permanent change
of lifestyle. The Never Ending Story.
You know about
ocky straps, right? Well, I just read about how they were invented.
Back in 1952, a bloke was moving house and needed something to secure a
mattress to the roof of his car, so the ol' light bulb lit up and he used
a pair of his old suspenders. There are a few ockies in the back of the
ute, but I'll get more for the Odyssey. Those things have a thousand uses,
especially out in the bush. And rope. You can never have enough rope. And
matches, and sticky tape, and string, and elastic bands, and bags, and
wire, and pens, and and and and and....
In the late '80s when I bought the Kombi campervan, I diligently drew
up a list of all the things I might need on camping trips. I think there
were about 40 items on the checklist. From what I remember, I'd always
return home without having used virtually any. Actually, there's a first
aid kit in the Ute that's probably past its use by date. And don't say
anything about the driver.
Dummy here also tried the Kenwood radio in the camper again the other
day and still no success. But I managed to figure out a few more buttons,
and at least got the search thing happening... except it wouldn't search.
The only sound coming from the twin Altec speakers was hiss, as if there
was no signal. Hello? Did someone say signal? Doh! How do you spell aerial?
Right. Search is really important when you're changing location all the
time. Obviously the previous owner wasn't interested in radio... just tapes
and CDs... but I like radio, especially news, talk and current affairs,
which the national broadcaster ABC does very well. There are two extra
speakers mounted in one of the side storage bins (same side as the awning)
for outside listening.
As to what attractions and places of interest there are in any given
town or locality, a quick Google is all you need... or a visit to the local
pub. Or both. Which reminds me, the Kombi Festival will be on again this
October long weekend at Old Bar. It rained last year, but I was there in
2008. This time I'll shoot a movie rather than lots of stills. Since people
insist on getting in front of the camera and bugging me, I'll feature the
lookers and tire kickers this time and let the Kombis play second fiddle.
Maybe I'll even get a few owners to talk on camera as they show me around
Hmmm, all very exciting. I must say that making movies inspires me far
more than taking stills does. I used not think that way not all that long
ago, but doing the Taree, Steam Loco and Sydney shoots won me over. It's
a great way to tell a story, using motion and human interest. Stills are
great too but for different reasons... framing, calendars, books.
Ding, ding! After 5pm. Teriyaki chicken with veges and noodles tonight,
which sounds pretty cool. And a bit of telly, of course, my personal window
to the world of news and current affairs and information. Gary
August 5, 2012. No problem winning medals for Oz. The total at
the mo is 20, but only 1 of them is gold. 1 - 12 - 7. Back
in 2008 in Beijing, Oz won 14 gold, 15 silver and 17 bronze. And we
were 6th on the list. Hello? They say our team was older and more experienced
back then and now it's a relatively new bunch of athletes still on the
Current London totals are: US 26/54, China 25/53, UK 14/29 (Jeez, what
an improvement from earlier this week), Korea 9/17, France 8/22.
Another gorgeous winter day in Taree, sunshine all the way and about
the same as yesterday with a top of 21C. I checked the council calendar
of events but there's nothing going on that's worth filming... except maybe
a vintage motor rail but I don't know what the timetable is... and I ain't
Meanwhile, the butcher birds outside are singing their awesome songs
and making sure there's a new crop of little chicks ready to take over
in a few weeks from now. Butcher birds are uninspiring to look at but their
musical ability is astonishing. So I went out to the veranda to get a dose
of vitamin D and noticed something interesting. And I photographed it.
The perfect alignment of me, pole and sun.
I posted it on Red Bubble and called it Things Photographers Notice.
Why not? Someone's bound to think it's interesting. Then again, maybe I
should have called it Polar Eclipse. Speaking of interesting, I've seen
plenty of photos of various fruits and veges but never
anything quite as imaginative as this.
Back from checking out the camper again, but this time I ventured into
the sleeping section all the way, and laid down. Hey, it didn't tip forwards!
I have a habit of worrying about silly things ya know. Anyway, it's a full-length
mattress with plenty of room, which is good cos I like to stretch out.
And there's enough head room so as not to feel claustrophobic, plus three
wind-out screened windows around the walls. At the head of the bed there
are two LED reading lamps, and a cooling fan at the other end. All very
comfy. The only trouble I had was lifting myself up with one leg standing
on the step. Seems like the old pins need a bit of exercise. No trouble
climbing the rear entrance ladder though.
Have you ever wondered what happens when a
bulldog and a porcupine have a disagreement? It ain't funny.
Poor Averil had to move out of her chair in the sun when I arrived for
a chat (even though I insisted she stay). Her place gets the afternoon
sun whereas this place doesn't. The two houses are at right angles, with
hers fronting the street that runs along the left side of this house. We're
on a corner block.
Meanwhile, Ohio Jace wrote again to say his great nephew is home from
hospital. He was a bit groggy and did not talk much and when he did
he mumbled so badly he was difficult to understand. They probably doped
him pretty good for the long trip home and he was still feeling the effects.
Not groggy enough to stay off the comp though. Not sure if he has been
told yet, but the doctor said his racing days are over. It will take a
minimum of 18 months for the leg to heal and will never be as strong as
before. He will need a second operation next summer to take the plate out
if he does not rebreak the leg before then and it happens a lot according
to the doc. He was talking about getting back on the bike the day after
the surgery. Last year he was leading the championship and broke his right
arm and now this year the left leg. The only difference last year he had
the trophy in hand and ended up in second this year it was much closer
and will be well down in the standings. It is a shame too, because he was
Well, I suppose it's a shame in one way, but a broken arm and leg would
be sending a pretty clear message to me if I were him. Maybe he could take
up crocheting or something, hehe. He'll be disappointed, of course, but
he'll just have to learn that it's not the end of the world. Actually,
his story kinda reminds me of a story on telly about a footballer who suffered
serious injury in a car accident and became a paraplegic. He loved the
game so much he decided to become a coach. It was amazing to see him whizzing
around the field in his wheelchair during training sessions. The guys in
the team think he rocks.
Jace also mentioned how dry it is in his neck of the woods: We are
under a severe thunderstorm warning at the present time (1 am) so hopefully
the heat and humidity will be broken for a day or two. We desperately need
the rain. Half of the corn is already lost and soybeans are not far behind.
Farmers cannot get enough hay to feed the livestock so groceries will be
going up. $$$$$.
NC Art also hit the keyboard and cleared up the business about councilman/person/alderwhatsit:
Councilmen, Aldermen, Selectmen. We never have agreed on what to call that
crowd. Molly, my wife, settled it for her two terms served on the board
eight years after my time was up. The mayor was about to order her name
sign for the council bench and asked her hesitantly what she wanted to
be called. She told him that she could do the work of any man, so just
‘councilman’ would be fine and gave him my old one to save money. COUNCILMAN
DARWIN it remained. Oh, the aggrandizement in which we love to clothe our
I had an aunty Molly. What a lovely name. I always associate Molly with
someone who can whip up a batch of perfect scones at a moment's notice,
and whose face is permantly etched with a motherly smile.
And daylight saving time? TX Greg is right about time confusion.
Nobody likes daylight saving shifts, but our howls fall on deaf ears. Here’s
one for the books: During WWII, the U.S. changed to DST. South Carolina
went along, the state of Georgia refused—except for Atlanta—and the railroads
do their own thing despite law or pressure. In traveling, my trips nearly
all went through Atlanta for a change to other train routes. Trying to
guess whether you would be one or two hours early or late for the train
departure was a terror because the military expected you to report for
duty or else.
I rather like DST. But here in Oz, not all states conform. There's always
confusion at the border between NSW and QLD. On New Year's Eve, people
celebrate the new year on one side and then rush over to the other side
to celebrate it all over again. The whole strip from Coolangatta to Surfer's
Paradise is pretty much considered one holiday playground. But it's the
end of DST that bugs me... suddenly waking up before sunrise and having
shorter days. Farmers don't like DST period. They reckon cows don't wear
watches so milking time is milking time no matter what the clock says.
The birds ignore it too.
I must admit, certain things about DST are strange... like cooking dinner
and watching the 7 o'clock news in broad daylight.
Just checked email and saw one that looked like it might be spam, so
I read it before downloading it. Nope, not spam:
I've finally finished reading your blog, and thought I'd drop you
a quick email to let you know how much I enjoyed it.
What an incredible life you have had!
I wish I could help you financially, but unfortunately I can't at
However, I wish you all the best and if you're ever in Melbourne,
feel free to make contact.
How about that? I think she's referring to the Scrapbook. How sweet!
Funny how she thinks I've had an incredible life. I don't think so at all.
Weird, yes, scatterbrained, yes, but I wouldn't say incredible. Depends
on what you compare it to, I suppose. If I compare mine to Art's, for example,
then he's the one who's had an incredible life, not me. Anyway, Karen's
email is emmachizet@... Emmachizet is a word I used in an ad (a live read)
on a radio station in Sydney back in the late '70s, and the announcer stopped
half way through and said, "Who the hell wrote this thing?" How embarrassing.
Emmachizet was Oz slang back then for "how much is it?" Hehe. Hmmm... needless
to say I never used it in an ad again... or anywhere else for that matter.
I must answer Karen's email and thank her for being so sweet. And I'll
be sure to make contact when I'm in Melbourne. Maybe she'll whip up a batch
of scones... with cream and jam. I'll tell you what one of my ab favs is,
crepes sprinkled with icing sugar and lemon juice. Oh, yes! Actually, crepes
are perfect for savory fillings and rolled into a tube. I used to make
them a lot when I was in Canberra, including the fillings. They're really
nice when the crepe is a little bit crispy around the edges. I also discovered
papadams in Canberra. Mmmmm, lovely when they're crispy and hot. They're
usually served with curries but they're also great as a snack on their
own or dipped in sauces. Kinda like corn chips but more delicate and subtle.
Well, it's getting close to THAT time again, and after talking about
crepes and papdams and all those goodies, I'm salivating. Actually, that
Biotene toothpaste seems to be working well in that my ability to produce
saliva is improving. At the same time, the gums are aching less. So it
seems Nancy BMedSci BDent knows what she's talking about. Next appointment
in about 10 days is for FILLINGS... but not the ones you roll in crepes.
Lindsay's up and yelling at Sue, so the joint is stirring back into
life hehe. What a pair. Not my prob though. They do their thing and I do
mine. In the interim, while I'm dreaming about unmentionables tonight,
things will be happening in London and maybe, just maybe, Oz will win one
or two more gold. Ya never know. BTW, I forgot to check Safrica and NZ
this morning... nope, no more gold. One cheeky Kiwi said Australia is no
longer the Green and Gold, it's the Green and Silver. The bloody nerve!
And that's it for Sundee. Seeya Mondee. Gary
August 4, 2012. I was right about it being cold yesterday morning.
2C. Today is better. Sunny and 6 at the mo, and headed for 20 (68F).
In ref to London time yesterday at 5pm mine, TX Greg wrote: No, that
would have been AM in London. You're 9 hours ahead of London and 15 hours
ahead of me :) That of course is with the current daylight savings
time crap, hehe. Not sure why google didn't show am/pm. Try and google
"current time in _____" Should pop up at the top. That also works
for temperature/weather, "current temperature in ______" I just checked
and you are at a chilly 48F at 11:15pm
I was stacking up zeds then with my hot water bottle. Anyway, Greg's
right. I just did the Google thing and it's coming up to midnight in London
as it's approaching 9am here. But it shows 24-hour time and not AM/PM.
That's cool. Isn't Google a wonderful tool? To get 68F from 20C I just
typed in 20 centigrade.
I mentioned Ohio Jace last night. His great nephew took another tumble
on his motocross bike and broke his left femur near the femoral artery.
It was his second accident, and happened at the track during practice.
The races hadn't even started yet. He was in a lot of pain, and the break's
proximity to the artery prompted the medics to fly him by chopper to Cleveland.
When asked how much pain he was feeling on a scale of 1 to 10, he said
10x10. But his major concern was the presence of female rellos when he
wanted to pee hehe. He's in early puberty and a bit self-conscious of what's
going on around his jewels. The ladies got chased out of the room each
time the nurses came in to lift his gown and check his leg. Jace reckons
he must have really thrown a fit at bath time when they take everything
off. Meanwhile, the rest of the Ohio gang is fine and the youngsters are
getting ready for school. Sean and his older bro are preparing for their
European trip. So there ya go, no shortage of excitement in Ohio with boys
NC Art sent a pic of himself taken ages ago when he was a city councilman
"and looking like a self-satisfied groundhog". He's wearing a checkered
sports coat and a skinny tie. Hehe. Would you buy a used car from this
man? Incidentally, we call members of council aldermen - although maybe
it's alderperson now with women being on the board. Or maybe they've gone
back to councillor.
So wot's happening at the Olympics? Ooer! The US has taken the lead:
US 21/43, China 20/42, Korea 9/16, UK 8/22, France 8/19. Oz is now 19th
with 1/14. That includes 9 silver which ain't bad. I heard last night that
it's our swimming team's worst performance since the 60s or something.
Oh dear... Safrica picked up a silver which brings their tally to 4 medals
including 3 gold. Bloody hell, check this out! New Zealand now has 3 gold
and 3 bronze. We'll never hear the end of that! Damn Kiwis.
You've heard me mention Red Bubble's Mieke before. Here's
her latest... sand dunes in Western Oz. She's good, isn't she. And
here's an artist I follow, Tom Bradnam, with his interpretation of Goldilocks
and the Three Bears. What a fertile imagination that bloke has!
NC Art sent two more of his short essays... Scary
Old Farm House and Reunions.
One reunion I remember was when a bloke drove an old Morris Oxford down
the street and stopped. We got to chatting and I told him I used to own
one of those old buggies. It was my first car, so he offered to let me
drive it around the block. I couldn't believe how clumsy and slow it was
compared to my current car. Hehe. Maybe something similar happened
to the bloke who first uttered the phrase, let sleeping dogs lie.
But reunions can sure demonstrate how the mind is able to color and manipulate
memory to the point of its having little in common with reality. When I
recall memories of places I've been and jobs I've had and people I've known,
my mind visualizes images of the way it was back then, and I get the impression
that it's possible to just step back in time and nothing will have changed.
I'll be in for a rude shock on the Odyssey, I fear, when I trundle into
towns I called home many years ago. Nonetheless, it'll be an interesting
So, next time you're chatting with an old bloke who begins a sentence
with, "I remember when...", watch out. You're about to be told a few fibs.
Just back from the shops, and what a pleasant day it is, with peeps
running around in loose clothing, some wearing T-shirts. I parked in a
different spot this time, out in the open, and approached the Ute from
front on. It was parked next to a 4WD and looked low and mean by contrast.
Those quad headlights give it a totally different look to the regular Ford
of a similar vintage with rectangular lights. If you happen to be interested
in statistics for new car sales in Oz, here
are the figures for June 2012. The Holden Commodore is outselling the
Ford Falcon by almost 2 to 1. There's been a lot of talk lately about auto
manufacturing disappearing from the Australian scene within a few years...
that the small market and high Australian dollar just can't support it.
GMH tried selling Holdens in the US a year or two ago but GM over there
dropped the Pontiac brand. Now I believe that Holdens are being sold in
the US as Holdens. One GMH exec said there are thousands of GM dealerships
spread across the USA, and if each dealership sold just one Holden per
month, it would be a boon for the company in Oz. The Holden Commodore is
considered a large car here but in America it's probably classed as a compact.
One of Ford Australia's main problems is the lack of an export market.
Anyway, it's the consumer who ultimately determines what works and what
doesn't. Demand is what determines supply. By the same token, pet rocks
weren't on the list of must haves before some genius thought of it and
made a fortune hehe. By the way, one of the other cultural differences
between Merry Cans and Aussies is that MCs are far more enterprising and
willing to take risks. Lots of Australian inventors, for example, complain
of having to go to the US to get investment interest in their ideas. And
then our government bitches about all our best ideas going offshore.
I noted there was more room in the shower stall today and my towel didn't
get so wet. Then I weighed myself. Oops! I've lost about 4 kilos lately.
Scrawny as buggery. I think it's laziness. Lunch is often a cup of coffee
cos I can't be bothered rustling up something. Sooooo, I better do something
about it, like two cans of my supa dupa high nutrition stuff instead of
one a day, and something more substantial for lunch... otherwise I'll disappear.
I suspect I've gone off food during the past whatever months because it's
been such a hassle. Even now, it's less of a hassle but still not the pleasure
it used to be.
It's 5pm again! Ding, ding! I've defrosted a couple of Eddy's gourmet
chicken rissoles which I'll wash down with mushroom soup. That should do
the trick. And Lindsay has conned me into frying a couple of steaks for
him and Sue. With onions.
Just turned on the telly and the latest report from London is that the
crowds are huge and transport is choc a bloc. One American woman approached
the camera and bitched about not being able to get tickets. A bloke holding
a sign was asking for 2 tickets "to anything". So overnight my time looks
like being a big day "over there". Gary
August 3, 2012. This morning will go down in the annals of MrB/Odyssey
history as being the first ever with no email. Not even a spammer! Oh well...
That Aussie swimmer who missed gold by a fingernail yesterday is from
Port Macquarie. The locals erected a big screen in the middle of town to
watch the event but were disappointed, at least to some extent. Silver
is not exactly a measure of poor performance when you're competing against
the rest of the world. And there I was in the hospital lodge not realizing
it was all happening just up the road.
Ah, I can relax now... three spam emails just arrived.
It's bloody cold this morning and I'm really tempted to turn the heater
on. But I better not. It might be a cheapie but the fuel it uses sure ain't.
I need to be somewhere like Broome or Cairns where the temps are summerish
even in winter. Sun power is free! Incidentally, if I'm Odysseying when
I see the doc at Port Macquarie next February, that'll be okay. I'll just
arrange my itinerary to suit. Mind you, February is mid summer in these
parts, and I had intended to be somewhere south, but not to worry. I'll
work something out.
I've also been thinking about the next vid (apart from the Old Holdens
show this month, and the Sydney shoot next November). About half an hour's
drive from Taree is Forster/Tuncurry,
two towns divided by a lake, and a popular holiday destination with lots
of boat harbors and beaches. It's a visually exciting place so I reckon
that should be ideal for a fillum... lots of pretty pics and maybe even
a few pretty people hehe. Gotta be careful I don't invite a knuckle sandwich
a map showing Forster/Tuncurry with Taree to the north.
Well, the UK has picked up triple gold to increase its total to 5, and
I see that Safrica has now won 3. The medal tally (gold/total) is now:
China 18/34, US 18/37 (with Phelps winning his 20th overall), Korea 7/14,
France 6/16, UK 5/15. Oz is 16th with 1/11.
Justin remarked about my "equanimity" and reticence to succumb to negativity
during the cancer episode this year. I responded by saying I've never made
a conscious effort to be positive. The possibility of death was obviously
a consideration but since it's inevitable anyway why worry about it? My
primary focus was and is on accomplishing the things that are important
to me before my time is up. I figured it was the job of the docs and nurses
to worry about the cancer. That's what they get paid for. My job was to
get on with life and utilize the time I have to make it worthwhile. Life
is a gift not to be squandered on worrying about stuff over which you have
little control. Focus on the things you can do. Having a goal is
vitally important; something to make you wanna get outta bed in the mornings;
something to aim for. If your purpose is clear then negativity doesn't
even get a look in.
A good example of that was my last visit to Sydney when I had an appointment
with the head/neck specialist. My main focus was on the logistics of the
video shoot; working out what I had to do to get as much footage as I could
in the six hours I had to spare. My visit to the doc was almost incidental.
Whether or not my attitude played a role in the eventual outcome of
the cancer treatment will remain a moot point. What is known is that going
about my normal business as best I could under the circumstances was far
preferable to falling in a heap and worrying myself stupid about something
best left in the hands of the experts. Anyway, that's the theory.
Just back from getting a dose of vitamin D. There was short program
on telly about the lack of vitamin D in the average diet, and a call to
it include in staples such as milk and bread (which one country has been
doing for decades... I think it's Norway). The drop in adequate levels
of vitamin D in our systems is apparently the result of education programs
advising us to protect ourselves from the sun with hats, long sleeves,
sunscreen, etc. So there ya go, not enough sun means a lack of vitamin
D; too much means skin cancers. I don't remember reading anything about
that in the Bible, do you? Did God tell Adam and Eve about UV rays? I don't
think he told them the earth was round either. Or mentioned gravity.
So what does the future hold for Honda's Asimo (asi = limbs, mo = mobility)?
Will robots eventually be used to re-create themselves as we do? Will human
beings ultimately become redundant? Is the purpose of mankind to create
a likeness of itself (sound familiar?) to populate the universe? Robots
don't need air or water or food, they don't need to kill in order to survive.
They also have no waste product. One day they may be able to permanently
re-charge their batteries by using solar or some other power source, making
them independent of external assistance. Asimo is already 12 years old
and hasn't aged a minute. Not a wrinkle in sight. He could live a thousand
years or more! All he needs now is artifical intelligence that has the
ability to continually evolve and absorb new knowledge... to think. The
human brain, conversely, is just a lump of meat which has a use by date.
Imagine that, Asimo might still be around at the end of the 21st century
entertaining people at Disneyland, and looking exactly as he does now...
except for a few new internal gizmos. Robots already build cars and other
machines. They already do many of the menial tasks in the home - washing,
drying, cooking, cleaning. Robots even fly airplanes! Not all that long
ago, I used to see the garbage truck arrive early on Tuesday mornings accompanied
by 3 or 4 fit blokes heaving bins up to the bloke standing in the back
of the truck, who emptied them and tossed them back to the blokes on the
road. Now there's a robot truck that does all that and is driven by just
This pic is all I could find of manual
garbage collection, but I remember the 70s before wheelie bins and
compactors. The guys referred to themselves as "garbologists" and many
of them were footballers who used the job to maintain their level of fitness...
up early in the mornings, finished by mid morning. They were paid well,
too. The trucks were open at the back and the guy up there emptied
the bins as they were tossed up to him, and then used his feet to stomp
down the garbage. Too bad if there was lots of light stuff and the wind
was a bit breezy hehe. I still vaguely remember "the dunny man". He drove
a horse and cart and collected toilet bins in areas not connected to the
sewer, or from houses without a septic tank. I lived in such a house in
the early '70s... an old weatherboard place that hadn't changed since the
late 1800s. The dunny man would remove the full bin and leave a clean one.
Ew! I heard that's where the expression 'hum dinger' originated. Dunny
carts were equipped with a bell - a dinger - to warn residents of their
approach. Hum in those days meant an offensive odor, hence 'hum dinger'.
But it was a good thing especially if the wind was blowing in your direction.
Come to think of it, the old garbage trucks weren't too olfactory friendly
So there ya go, dear Breth, robots are taking over. I'm using one now.
Not all that long ago I'd press a key attached to a metal arm that flew
up and hit an ink impregnated ribbon which left a letter or number imprinted
on a piece of paper. Most of the time it rebounded in time for the following
arm to imprint the next letter, but not always. Occasionally, two arms
or more would jam. The thing I'm using now is called a word processor.
It's paperless and the result can be transmitted almost instantly through
cyberspace to reach an audience thousands of miles away. Amazing innit.
And now it's 5pm. Not that I have a 9 to 5 mentality. I start my day
at about 7am. It's just that 5pm seems about the right time to post Waffle
and start thinking about the next phase of the day. That will probably
change on the Odyssey because the routine (or lack of it) will be different.
God knows what the hell I'll be doing at this time on any given day. Or
even at 7am for that matter. Dawn and dusk are ideal times for photography,
for one thing.
Anyway, for now it's routine time in Taree, and I admit I do like to
watch certain programs on telly... it's a kind of comfort thing... a bit
like friends popping in to discuss the day's events. Has anything changed
in the Olympics medal tally at this point? No... it's night time over there.
According to Google it's 8:11 in London but I'm not sure if that's am or
pm. If the sun hasn't quite set over here yet, I'm assuming it's pm.
Just checked email and Ohio Jace wrote. His great nephew had another
accident on his racing bike...broke a bone close to the femoral artery.
But he's in hospital and receiving good care. More about that tomorrow.
Kids and bikes! Gary
August 2, 2012. Well, as it turns out, that's not quite it...
the doc at Port Macquarie wants to see me again in 6 months. It was gonna
be 3 but the head/neck doc in Sydney wants to see me in 3. However, all
seems well, and it's a relief to be tubeless. I now have two belly buttons,
as the doc said this morning.
That Italian chicken/asparagus soup with herbs last night was deeeeelish!
Definitely on the shopping list again. A lot of the soup manufacturers
these days use little cubes of chicken/beef that aren't real... they're
artificial, grown in a test tube or something. But the soup I had last
night used REAL shredded chicken. The asparagus was good too... al dente.
I have to say that the staff at PM hospital are terrific. They make
you feel like you're visiting friends at home rather than a hospital. Even
the manager of the Rotary Lodge paused to say her goodbyes this morning.
One of the nurses there is a funny chick. Every time I tried to bitch about
something she'd say, "Oh, shut up." Hehe. She's the one who tried to make
me believe yesterday's catheter was her first attempt.
Speaking of cheeky, one of the guests on QI last night was talking about
an Italian restaurant in London that specializes in rudeness. He said one
night, he and his friends were sitting around a table when a waiter with
a thick Italian accent approached them and told them to take their meals
upstairs. "This-a table is a-booked! You have to move-a upstairs! Now!"
They were half way through eating their meal! But the waiter insisted they
had to move. The QI bloke said he almost pissed himself laughing. I used
to frequent an Italian restaurant in Sydney called No Name. It was cheap
with plenty of pasta and cheap red wine. The service was basic as was everything
else, but there were no insults... and it was immensely popular.
Also as a guest on QI was the Honda robot Asimo, which is an amazing
thing. They say there's still a long way to go with robots mimicking human
behavior but nonetheless it's still pretty damn impressive. One of its
most outstanding tricks is its ability to climb/descend stairs, and being
able to run.
And speaking of London, one of our best Aussie swimmers missed out on
gold by 100th of a second last night. Dammit. Beaten by an American in
the 100 meter freestyle. Our silver and bronze tally is looking good, but
we've only won 1 gold so far, and don't expect another. Medal tally (gold/total):
China 17/30, US 12/29, Korea 6/12, France 5/13. Oz is now 15th with 1/9.
Oh dear... One of our trainers said on radio this morning that part of
our problem is a small population from which to draw an elite team which
then has to be spread across a wide range of sports. We've done well in
the past but this is not our year, obviously. Meanwhile, China continues
to face suspicion of doping.
I see the UK has finally won gold... 2 in fact. Safrica has now won
2 as well.
Oh, did I mention I won $12.70 in Lotto the other day? I won $12.70
in Lotto the other day.
Just back from shopping for a few things. One was a room heater. Lindsay's
got this thing about turning off the a/c too early... about 2 hours before
I hit the sack, and the room gets cold. No point in turning the a/c back
on cos it heats the whole house. Soooo, I have have this little fan heater.
How does $14 sound? Is that cheap or what? It has an auto thermostat, 2
heat settings, an auto cut-off if anything goes wrong, a swirly vent at
the front to direct air in several directions, and a fan-only setting for
cooling. What a tricky little thing it is. It'll be good for the camper
as well. Meanwhile, I'll use the hot water bottle to heat the bed.
NC Art wrote yesterday to wish me well with one of my two "dangling
appendages" and the healing process. Actually, when I cracked my funny
about removing the right one on Wednesday, the young doc didn't get the
joke hehe. But the nurse did. "You're in big trouble if we can't tell the
difference," she said. Art added: A friend once had to maintain what
dignity was possible for a time when he had a colon drain, bladder catheter,
and stomach tube. He bore it stoically. I would have been a raving maniac
Art has also been having trouble with his email: If this message
makes it through the battle lines it will mean I’ve won a victory of sorts.
Finally got some attention from my ISP regarding their server blocking
messages because I had been flagged as a brute force spammer. Why the hell,
I don’t know. Their lamo comment was that mistakes happen, but rarely.
I am encouraged because three messages I sent at midnight Tuesday made
it across the barbed wire fields, tank traps, and enemy battlements.
So did this one: These rules are saved for posterity in the Headstone
of Russell J. Larsen in the Logan City Cemetery , Logan , Utah.
FIVE RULES FOR MEN TO FOLLOW FOR A HAPPILY MARRIED LIFE...
1. It's important to have a woman who helps at home, cooks from time
to time, cleans up, and has a job.
2. It's important to have a woman who can make you laugh.
3. It's important to have a woman who you can trust, and doesn't
lie to you.
4. It's important to have a woman who is good in bed, and likes to
be with you.
5. It's very, very important that none of these four women
know each other.
I was thinking about the Rotary Lodge at Port Macquarie. It's almost
like a second home... familiar. All the rooms are identical except for
the number of beds. Last night, I had one of the 2-bedders. But when I
stay there, it's not like being in a strange place at all. It's kinda homely,
actually. And I suppose that's the way it will be with the camper no matter
where I happen to be. All my stuff will be stored away in cupboards and
drawers, which is a necessary part of the familiarity process... knowing
where all my goodies are and being able to access them without rummaging
through bags and suitcases. That's the downside of foldaway campers...
all that dreary setting up and unpacking every time you stop, and having
to go through the reverse process when you leave. Who the hell needs that?
At the moment, of course, it's all supposition - hypothesis - and I
won't really know until I'm "out there" in the thick of it. I can't wait
to see the words of experience spilling out of my brain and onto the comp
screen. Is it what I hoped it would be? Am I having a ball? Is the Odyssey
my dream come true? Or a nightmare? Well, it's a bit too late now to rustle
up an alternative at this time of life hehe. I either go out with a bang
or a whimper. One thing I am confident of is that the Odyssey will provide
me with endless material for my writings, photography and movies. No shortage
of variety, that's for sure.
And when it's all over? Probably a book based on the highlights. But
I'll attend to that when and/or if the time comes. In the interim, I don't
see the day coming when I'm sitting around with nothing to do. That would
Weeeeeeell, here we are again, time to cease Waffling for a while and
turn my attention to other matters, like a Herbert Adams King Island pastie
filled with tender King Island beef and vegies, washed down with a mug
of potato and leek soup. Yeah, I reckon I can handle that without too much
trouble. And telly, of course... gotta keep up to date with the various
goings on of this third rock. Gary
August 1, 2012. It's after 3pm at the Lodge and I'm tubeless.
The buggers tried to frighten the daylights outta me earlier, telling me
all kinds of terrible stories about removing PIG tubes and what could go
wrong. It was the young doc's first experience with this particular procedure
so the senior doc was giving him instructions, such as wearing a plastic
coat to protect him from my spray while the senior doc and the nurse stood
20 paces away. Hehe. Then they told me I'd let out a scream when the thing
was yanked from my stomach but that I'd be okay shortly thereafter. Earlier,
when the nurse put a catheter in my arm, she said ''this is my first one...
do you bleed much?" Yeah, right, it was the first one for the DAY. So then
they fed some stuff through the catheter that would make me whoopee. Pretty
soon I was nodding off and even snoring. Next thing I knew, they were standing
around the bed and asking me how I was feeling. "It's out," the doc said.
I didn't believe him, so I looked down at my stomach. There was a little
bandage there with a spot of blood. I hadn't felt a thing! Talk about an
anti climax. Then I was offered a sandwich, a creme caramel, a banana flavored
custard and a cup of tea, all of which I demolished with ease. After another
check an hour or so later, they allowed me to leave. But the doc wants
another look before I drive back to Taree in the morning at about 8am,
then they want me to check with my local GP next week. And that's it!
There was a woman in the waiting room who was obviously pretty new to
the whole procedure. She also had a food tube but hers was up her nose,
so she couldn't even have a cuppa. I had one of those for 2 weeks back
in Sydney after the op. What a pain that was! Worse still, was having it
removed. The tube went all the way up the nostril and down into the throat
and there was no anaesthetic when the nurse finally pulled it out. Yow!
I realized how 'yow' when I watched another patient in the same ward have
his removed hehe. His face was contorted like you wouldn't believe. Yes,
dear Breth, it's been a pretty interesting experience.
It's been a nice day weatherwise. This room is quite warm because the
sun has been shining on the front windows all day but it's getting late
so it'll turn cold pretty soon. There's a little blower heater in the closet
so no worries. The forecast is for similar weather tomorrow. Meanwhile,
I'll get to try my Italian chicken and asparagus soup with herbs.
Well, what can I say? It feels good to be able to tuck my shirt in again
hehe... instead of having that damn tube dangling down the outside of my
pants, and swinging to and fro every time I took a step. I'd have to watch
the thing closely all the time to make sure it didn't get tangled up in
something. And in bed, if I didn't remember to check it each time I rolled
over, there was a danger of the cap slipping off and wetting the mattress
and sheet. Ew! One time it caught under my leg as I got into the Ute and
spilled crap all over the seat, which I had to clean with detergent.
Come to think of it, it's a good thing I live in a town with relatively
easy access to the centers I've needed to treat this cancer biz, and the
teeth. The lodge here at PM is a bonus as well. I ain't too crazy about
the train but it's a lot cheaper than air. If I ever need treatment in
a hospital again, the lodge will be the camper! Free accom!
I really have been outta touch in my old age. I watched a show on telly
last night about an Aussie singer whose hit Now You're Just Somebody I
Used To Know went to No. 1 in Britain, America and Oz, and
the video has had almost 300m views on Youtube. Wow. He's not your
typical pop star either. He was quite shy and unassuming during the interview.
The other day I was talking about Winton, the little country town in
the middle of nowhere. Well, a local bloke built a huge "musical instrument"
from old fence posts and barbed wire out in the bush hehe. Anyone who stumbles
across his rather novel creation can play it, and that's exactly what the
bloke in the vid above did. He loves to experiment with new and different
sounds. And why not? Music is everywhere if you look for it.
Anyway, I'll catch a bit of telly and hit the sack. It's been a pretty
tiring day. Gary
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