September 30, 2012. There ya go, another month bites the dust.
Another day older and deeper in debt, as the old song goes. I woke
to a nice email from the Veteran & Vintage Chevrolet Association of
Australia this morning: What a great production you have made and is
already bringing back memories! I will ensure that it is circulated to
as many members as possible to enjoy - thank you. Russell Linfoot. VVCAA.
It's nice to get a bit of feedback like that. Although I enjoy making vids,
I also put a fair bit of effort into the things so I appreciate the comments.
BTW, did you notice the bigger Fuji is not bothered by the glare from
glass and chrome? No flare.
TX Greg also commented: Love the car show vid :) And guess what,
you caught a pic in there of similar old one that I have in my garage.
Can you guess which one??? It was a situation when I got ready to trade
it in I didn't get offered crap for it, so I just kept it and said someday
I'll tinker with it and fix it up. Yeah that someday still hasn't happened,
so there she sets, cob webs and all.
Well, that could be any one of a number of later models. I'm guessing
it's a '70s vintage or thereabouts, maybe one of the sporty coupes. Then
again I've never thought of you as a rev head. But I really don't know.
It's interesting about cars and other things. They start out costing a
bomb, then their value decreases with age until it plateaus for a while,
and then it begins to increase again, more so if the model is considered
a collector's item.
Greg also answered my query about the camper level: As far as leveling
the camper for the fridge, if you feel level inside that's good enough.
I used a simple bubble level (see pic) and used the rule that the bubble
should be at least more than half way inside the center circle. Yes,
spirit level, bubble level, all the same thing... except these days they
also have digital levels. Anyway, I figured pretty much the way Greg does...
close enough is good enough. As long as you don't have to stand on the
fridge door and lift it open, it should be fine. My level is 10" long with
two bubbles, one for horizontal and one for vertical (which should come
in handy after I've had a few drinks).
There was an interesting story on Land Line last night about an American
bloke who emigrated to Oz many years ago and bought 600 acres on the Liverpool
Plains at Quirindi. He needed water, so he bored down into the ground until
he reached the aquifier. He had also invented a way to extract the water
without clogging the pipes. The water was then distributed via an irrigation
system he built himself. "That's what I needed, water. So I figured out
how to get it and use it for irrigation. It was like manner from Heaven!
I didn't have to wait for rain... I could have good quality water any time
I wanted it." Irrigation was unheard of in the area at the time. But other
farmers soon cottoned on to the idea and started to copy it.
His first crop was kikuyu grass, used for lawns, pastures, playing fields,
etc. The Eykamps have been producing Kikuyu seed in Quirindi NSW since
Roy Eykamp developed the business several decades ago. He was offered
$8000 for his crop at a time when an acre of land was worth $10. "I didn't
wait for them to make an offer, I told them what I wanted." He also figured
out how to harvest the seeds, which are very small. He got a bunch of used
machinery including an old Kombi engine and built the thing himself. "Machinery
is alive, and if you treat it right it'll treat you right. I don't care
if people say I'm crazy... I love machinery. And if I want a machine to
do something in particular, I design it and build it myself." The machine
he built to harvest the kikuyu seeds is a giant vacuum cleaner that sucks
up the small seeds without damaging them. It's still used by his sons decades
later. The family has made millions of dollars from the farm. "I never
wanted to expand. If I couldn't make a good living from 600 acres then
I'd give up. I have the money to buy this whole area but what for? Then
the farm would own me instead of the other way around, and I'd have no
time for relaxation and vacations. I often visit my relatives back in the
What a remarkable man - farmer, inventor, engineer. He's old and in
a wheelchair now but his family continues the farming tradition. One son
said he's glad to be living in Australia in a civilized and peaceful society.
"I wouldn't want to live in America. No way."
BTW, I know now why Lindsay was a bit hesitant last night to accept
my offer of bangers and mash @ $1.50 each. He thought I meant $1.50 for
each sausage! Bloody dickhead. I meant $1.50 each PERSON! They were good
too... pan fried to perfection, then put aside, fat tipped out and then
the sliced onions cooked in the remaining fat, also to perfection. Add
creamy mash, lots of gravy, and there ya go.
Back from Old Bar and the Kombi Fest which was well attended. Nothing
else there, though... no ultralights or helicopters... nothing on the beach...
just a few carnival rides. There were some kids at the skateboard rink
riding bikes so I started videoing them and what should happen? One kid
had a nasty fall. He didn't move for a while and everybody rushed over.
But he was apparently okay... shaken and bruised but otherwise fine. KIDS!
I'd finished shooting the Kombis when I waddled over to the carnival
area. It was then that I discovered the larger Fuji had gone bung. The
same zoom problem I had some months ago on the way back from Port Macquarie.
It fixed itself eventually and I'm hoping the same thing will happen again.
Meanwhile, I used the smaller Fuji to finish the shoot.
Some of the Kombis were really cool, especially the older split-screen
ones, so I had a good time shooting exteriors and interiors, plus crowd
shots (and there was no shortage of people). The weather was fantastic...
sunny but not too hot. Bit windy though, particularly on the beach. Not
a surfboard rider in sight.
One young bloke at the Kombi Fest (the only good looking bloke at the
entire event apart from me) noticed a Kombi sitting on a trailer and remarked
to his friends: "They're doing it up... it's not finished yet." So I said,
"That must be the reason for the empty hole at the back where the engine's
supposed to be." "Yeah," he agreed. "They haven't finished it yet." Yeah
well, I didn't say he was smart.
Bit late now to start editing the vid so I'll get stuck into it tomorrow.
I think I'm gonna have to dump the natural sound (or most of it) because
of the wind noise. Oh well...
Anyway, it's time to call it day. And a month as it happens. Seeya in
September 29, 2012. Clever little me! I started editing the Chevy
Show and Shine this morning and had it finished by midday, which was a
lot faster than I expected. So now it's uploading to Youtube. No music
this time, just natural sound to capture the voices and the sound of the
engines (as well as crunching gears). It's a pretty good movie with lots
of cars driving about and parking. One of them reversed as I sat on a park
bench and nearly flattened me!
Meanwhile, TX Greg wrote: Had a busy day and just got to watch the
vid. Youre getting more crafty all the time! I like the soundtrack,
relaxing just like the places youre visiting :) I've notice something
you keep doing, everything is at eye level. Like it would have been cool
if you had set the camera right on the railroad tracks.
Yeah, dummy me! That would have been cool. The monopod leads me astray
because it makes me think in terms of eye level. You don't get that when
shooting stills because you can move freely.
Yeah! I've also seen photographers using balloons and kites and camera
remotes to get aerial shots. It's a bit hit and miss but well worth the
trouble apparently. What about a long pole?
BR João wrote: 33° C in Taree? Here in Floripa we had
three days of unexpected cold for the beginning of spring, yesterday night
snow fell over the inland hills of the state. At this moment, the beginning
of morning, the thermometer shows 15° C here where I am. Weather is
crazy everywhere, maybe the Mayas are right about the end of the world
:-). Taree is 32° South, Floripa is 28° South, theoretically Taree
must be colder. I only hope next summer could be regularly warm so the
beaches could be full of beautiful young people. If we have a next summer…
he, he, he. Tchau.
Well, it's not 33 today but it's warm. Also cloudy, so I'll do the Kombi
shoot tomorrow at Old Bar... and maybe some beach stuff. Remember last
year when the ultralight hit the Ferris Wheel? No Ferris Wheel this year.
But there will be small planes and a chopper for joy flights. Maybe even
some sky divers. So that'll be good to shoot.
NC Art wrote: So American lingo is degrading the purity of Britspeak.
Tough. In hill country of the American South, until recently, Elizabethan
English was still heard. These folks got here early, followed Indian trails
and rivers north and west, settled down in coves and hollows and got along
right well. Fished, trapped, grew corn and apples to make whiskey and hard
cider...and minded their own business for 300 years or more. But, er, some
of them were right peculiar; inbreeding y’know. I knew a family named Beddingfield—pronounced
Biddyfield. Jiggs and Toad were brothers and believed the world was flat
because the Bible say the “four corners of the world.” And round things
got no corners, Toad reasoned. He also would go running all night occasionally,
howling like an animal. That kind of aberration likely was the basis of
old werewolf stories, dontcha think?
I'm sure we got 'em here too, Art, and I suspect I'll meet a few on
the Odyssey. Meanwhile, Art questions the wisdom of having pet pythons
to keep the rat population in check: Why not merely keep cats to eat
the rats which make snake dinners? Four cats on these premises, but nary
a rat or snake.
As to reptiles, Steve W writes: You may need to change your thoughts
about Brown Snakes, they are far from timid. I had heard of browns chasing
people and I didn't believe it until I lived on a farm for a few years.
Trust me they know no fear and will turn to attack you. Another "neat trick"
they have is even if they are heading away from you, can suddenly raise
up, balance on 30 cm of their tail and attack you backwards (from their
perspective). Don't mess with those suckers. The Red Belly Black snake
on the other hand is pretty timid and only around 1/50th as venomous as
the Brown. And there is the King Brown………now there is a nasty bastard!
Now that you mention it, Steve, I met a woman here in Taree who has
a farm where she runs and breeds horses. She mentioned brown snakes one
time and said they're pretty brazen, traversing the lawn at the back of
the house like they own the joint. She also mentioned that they're likely
to attack if provoked (or feel threatened). So she shoots them with her
rifle to keep them from bothering the horses. I have a couple of walking
canes (for bush walking). They're handy for eliminating spider webs as
you walk narrow trails through dense bush, and also for climbing rugged
inclines. I've seen the way snake handlers use a stick to subdue and lift
snakes before lowering them into a hessian bag. Pretty neat trick which
I might try if necessary hehe. In any case, I always feel a lot safer with
a walking cane in the bush. You can also hold it upside down and use the
handle to practice your golf swings with kangaroo poo. FOUR! "Say what?"
Mr and Mrs Richie are back from getting married and sailing around the
place on a cruise ship. They also spent time wandering around San Francisco
checking out the sights. It all went fine... and Sunday turned out way
better than predicted with the weather and was nearly perfect. It's
all pretty amazing, and all sort of still settling in !! I have a
WIFE.... good grief !! Incredible. And they reckon you can't
teach an old dog new tricks? Wow !! Becky was embracing me in
the living room last night... still pretty overwhelmed, but... "After all
these years I am married to the boy I always wanted to be with....", although
she rarely calls me "boy" any longer. I can understand that. I've never
called you boy.
From the Beeb: Pope Benedict XVI's former butler, Paolo Gabriele,
is to go on trial over the theft of sensitive papers exposing alleged corruption
in the Vatican. Would I be correct in suggesting that the fat lady
ain't sung yet?
US network Fox News apologises for showing live pictures of a man
fatally shooting himself in the head after a high-speed chase in Arizona.
Reality imitating the movies.
Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell, it's getting late. But I just took the spirit
level down to the camper, and tested it. The van feels and looks level
but it's not. The bubble is just off center. So how level does it have
to be for the fridge? Maybe TX Greg can tell me. Lots of camp sites look
level but are probably out by a few degrees. Is it that critical to be
absolutely horizontal? BTW, there's a bunch of dents in one side of the
van that look like they've been made by hail at some point in the old girl's
life. Must've been coming down at an angle cos the other side, front and
rear are okay. I guess after being on the road for 30-ish years it's not
I bought some bangers today... tomato and onion flavored... so I asked
Lindsay if he and Sue wanted bangers and mash and onions and gravy tonight.
$1.50 each. He carried on like I was asking him for his life savings. But
he relented. Sheesh. I'm in the mood for a banger or two.
So that's about it. Kombi shoot tomorrow - sunny and mild at 21C. Gary
September 28, 2012. I spent this morning editing the final part
of Villages of
the Manning Valley and uploading it to Youtube (which took ages). I'm
tired of looking at the damn thing. I used music this time... rather bland
stuff. Not sure if it's appropriate but what the hell. It makes a noise
and fills in the silences.
Meanwhile, NC Art figured out what postphone means: A bloke sitting
on a fence post while using a cell phone is—obviously--making a postphone
call. Simple. Works for other kinds of posts too. Hehe. But everything does not always work. Like my
bank. It has my credit card account screwed up like Hogan’s goat and has
been off-line most of today. Navigating from account links has my skinny
old arse screwed up so tight it could pinch a needle in half. Better sleep
on it and have another go after regaining my sunny disposition and calm
outlook when dealing with complete damphools. The woods are chock full
of them these days.
Yep, I find "sleeping on it" works pretty well too, and saves a lotta
frustration and anxiety. Certain tasks are better left to the subconscious.
You know what temperature it is today... in spring? Try 33C. That's
about 90F. It was warm yesterday too but mid 20s, otherwise I probably
would have expired doing all that shooting in the sun.
Guess who's now an expert pancake flipper? The new non-stick pan I bought
for 10 bucks has a circular upward-sloping edge which means when you send
the pancake to the edge, it turns upwards. A flick of the wrist sends it
into the air where it flips over and lands back in the pan. How's that
for cool? I've always wanted to be able to do that but ordinary frypans
are not designed for it. Maybe I'll do a short vid of me doing my pancake
flipping trick. My stomach's been bothering me for the past few hours saying
WHAT ABOUT LUNCH? so I had to relent despite being BUSY.
I hate being interrupted. At about 10am, the estate agent bloke arrived
to check a plumbing leak and organize someone to fix it. Then at 11.30,
meals on wheels arrived (Lindsay was at the pub). Shortly afterwards, Averil
phoned for a chat. Sheesh. And then on top of all that my stomach started
bitching. How the hell is a bloke supposed to cope?
From the Beeb: A man linked to an anti-Islam video that sparked riots
across the Muslim world is being held without bond in Los Angeles, for
violating probation terms. Interesting comment from Youtube about refusing
to delete the video..."The answer to free speech is more speech, not less."
Yeah, makes sense to me. Meanwhile, the loonies jumped the gun rather than
wait for justice to take its course, and caused the deaths of many people
in the process.
In response to the Israeli prime minister's calls for a "clear red
line" to be drawn over Iran's nuclear programme, Iran says it will defend
itself if attacked. That's if anything is left over after the smoke
There is little that irks British defenders of the English language
more than Americanisms, which they see creeping insidiously into newspaper
columns and everyday conversation. But bit by bit British English is invading
America too. Interesting
article and one that should interest NC Art. I say old boy, rather
I heard on the radio today that a man has been charged with the rape
and murder of a missing woman in Melbourne. She
was from Ireland and worked for the ABC here, where she was very well
respected and liked. She went for a night out with her work colleagues
and decided to walk home in the early hours because her flat (where she
lived with her husband) was only a few blocks away. She went missing for
a few days until police discovered her body in a shallow grave. How dreadfully
sad. How inexplicable. One of her relatives in Ireland said there were
no words to describe their grief. Her work colleagues are speechless and
devastated as well. And you can imagine how her young husband feels.
And the evil asshole who committed the crime? He's 41. You have to wonder
how on earth he could live all those years with friends, family, workmates,
and various associates without having been spotted as a potential monster.
Maybe it has something to do with the word "potential". You can't jail
someone for thinking evil thoughts. It's just such a shame that dreadful
things have to happen before anything can be done. What an unspeakably
horrible thing to happen to that poor woman in the prime of her life.
BR João wrote: I read today on BBC the news about an Australian
teenager who was bitten by an Inland Taipan near Sydney (what is uncommon)
and survived (what is much more uncommon). Every time I read something
about those extremely dangerous Australian animals (that I love, by the
way, my favorite is irukandji)
I think of your Aussie Odyssey – it will be an adventure, for sure. If
you saw any Taipan, or Tiger Snake, or Brown Snake, in your way please
take a photo, with zoom, of course, from a secure distance :-). On local
news of my State I read about another young man who faced a 82 wagons train
with his car. The car was destroyed but the guy escaped with minor injuries.
I think I will introduce those two teenagers so they can found a Club of
Improbable Survivors. In an article you linked another day someone says
that traffic in São Paulo is like hell; well, everything in São
Paulo is like hell, at least this is what all cariocas think (carioca is
who was born in Rio de Janeiro, like me). Tchau
Yep, those box jelly fish can kill in minutes. As to snakes, I could
see a few I suppose, more likely pythons (carpet snakes) which are pretty
common and relatively harmless. Farmers keep them as pets to kill rats
and mice in the barns. But snakes like browns and tigers tend to be pretty
shy, and avoid human contact. Goannas,
on the other hand, are as cheeky as buggery and often invade camp sites
looking for handouts. I'm more the wombat type, or 'roos and wallabies
- things that don't bite people. But I'll keep your request in mind, João.
Incidentally, the Odyssey fundraiser got another 10 pledges today, bringing
the total to 150 or $750, for which I am most certainly grateful.
But now it's THAT time again, dear Breth. Planet America is on in 20
minutes so I'll be able to catch up on the Obama versus Romney race for
the white house. After that I'll rustle up some vittles. I hope you enjoy
the Villages vid. Gary
September 27, 2012. Steve W wrote: The Pedantic Bastard again:
I have an absolute fear of dentists, however having bowel cancer years
ago, this fear has been overtaken by proctologists. Enough said,
I do question from todays Waffle "iis now postphoned" is that a phone
call after the event? Sorry can't help myself.
If Steve hadn't brought the 'h' in postponed to everyone's attention,
the Yanks would have thought that's how we spell it in Oz. Now you know
how I get away with grammatical errors. Or did. In any case, there are
certain words I have trouble remembering how to spell. Is there an 'h'
in postponed or not? Usually I check but not this time. Meanwhile, I think
we have a case here of the pot calling the kettle black. Hmmm?
TX Greg commented on the guestbook entries: Those two guest book
entries appear to be just spam. You're right, mate. I clicked on the
URLs and found a Jewish publication and some kinda forum. Typical me. No
wonder I've been ripped off so many times in my life. I just don't think
like a crook, and rarely suspect peeps of having an ulterior motive. Anyway,
thanks for the alert, Greg. I've deleted them.
Beautiful day, and perfect for the shoots at Wingham and Mt George.
I'll leave here about 11.30. BTW, the vids I've already posted on Youchewb
are beginning to creep up in the number of viewings from one or two a day
to three and four or more. Maybe personal recommendations are beginning
to kick in. It pays to be patient, yes? Anyway, I'm content for things
to take their course. No-rush Gazza they call me.
From the Beeb: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls on the
UN Security Council to make a renewed effort to tackle the crisis in Syria.
How many different religions are there in Oz? How many in the US and Britain?
Do we have the kinda probs they have in Syria or other Middle Eastern countries?
What's wrong with those people? How come there are no boatloads of Australian
refugees heading to Middle Eastern shores?
US President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney
are campaigning in Ohio, as polls show the incumbent pulling ahead there.
Maybe the republicans should invite Clint Eastwood back for another shot
at rescuing the party's failing fortunes.
Moon River singer Andy Williams dies at his home in Branson, Missouri,
a year after being diagnosed with bladder cancer. Oh, dear. Ole Andy's
gone. He was cool, I thought.
Iran's president has accused the West of nuclear "intimidation" in
a UN General Assembly address boycotted by the United States and Israel.
It was using a nuclear arms race to threaten other nations to accept the
status quo, said Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He does have a point, of course.
On the other hand, so do we. Hehe.
A Norwegian family has won the country's national lottery three times
in six years, taking home a total of more than 3m euros ($3.9m; £2.4m).
Last week, 19-year-old Tord became the latest member of the Oksnes family
to hit the jackpot, following his sister Hege Jeanette and father Leif.
Yep, that's how crazy the chances of winning are. Quite a few times I've
heard of winners being people who bought a ticket on the spur of the moment
(perhaps their first ever ticket) and then forgotten about it. Other people
religiously buy tickets every week for years and never win. I've got a
ticket in tonight's $30m draw but I ain't holding my breath.
Isn't God wonderful? Of all the billions of galaxies in the known universe
and who knows how many solar systems to choose from, he chose ours on which
to spend six days creating all that we see today. Bloody marvelous if you
ask me. I suspect he uses some kind of Sat Nav device to remember which
miniscule dot we're on. Pretty easy to get lost out there, ya know.
NC Art wrote: What’s Steve W on about and wot the hell is the October
Long Weekend anyway? And, who cares besides Steve? Ah well.
Nothing to worry about, Art. It's just our Aussie sense of humor. Er,
humour. And the long weekend is our Labour Day Weekend, Monday being a
holiday to celebrate the introduction of the 40-hour working week or 8-hour
day (less morning tea, 1-hour lunch, afternoon tea, 4 weeks annual leave,
2 weeks sick leave, maternity leave, time and a half for overtime, double
time for weekends, a number of public holidays of which Labour Day is yet
another, etc, etc, etc). Incidentally, the party in government federally,
at the mo, is the Labor Party hehe. Dunno why they omitted the 'u'. Dozen
While you were exposing your bone to a female
dentist, I spent some time renewing my driver’s license. At 87, half blind
and a quarter deaf, and not to mention shuffling along with a walking cane
there was some doubt I would be turned loose on the hapless public for
another five years. Turns out, I passed enough of the vision and sign rec
tests, but did not escape a road test. The nice examiner was suspicious
of my reflexes I think. That worked out well; he didn’t seem too frightened
by my maneuvers and even got a bit relaxed when I took him back to the
station with no damage to his health. One delay occurred while I had to
suspend the process to fix a brake light which I didn’t know was inoperative.
Hell, you can’t keep your hoof on the brake while walking around the rear
of a vehicle. Sooo, I’ll be only 92 on my next renewal. Look out pedestrians! There’s a TV commercial featuring a lady in parked
car which lost a door when she threw it open in front of a passing vehicle.
I saw a real one exactly like that once, except the door-bereft driver
was one stunned male. In a span of 74 years behind steering wheels, one
can see some real funny/scary stuff. A flatbed truck of pine logs on fire
on a mountain road one night and throwing off a dense and acrid smoke cloud.
A beautiful new boat which shifted on its trailer and burned a long gash
in one side as it rested against the trailer tire. Poor bloke finally noticed,
stopped and looked about to cry as I passed the rig. I’ve been in some
scary situations, but enough for today.
Memories of riding my bicycle as a kid and slamming into a car door
flung open unexpectedly. I ended up on the road but the driver didn't bother
to help. Meanwhile, congrats on reaching the ROA of 87. You're my oldest
groupie, ya know. Hehe. As well as a respected and admired contributor
to the Daily Waffle for the amusement and edification of millions.
My bright yellow spirit level just arrived, and a dandy one it is. You
can read vertical and horizonal levels simultaneously. It's not boxed,
and doesn't say where it's made, but at $20 who's complaining?
Back from Wingham and Mt George with lots of footage of old Chevies
and some of Mt George. I arrived fairly early at the Chevy show which meant
I was able to shoot them entering the park and driving to their parking
spot. Mucho betterer than static shots. Two blokes arrived in an old '20s
Chevy rag-top. Turned out to be father and son. The old bloke was about
to get out of the vehicle so I asked who was the oldest, the car or him?
It was him. The car is approaching ninety but he's already been there.
"You don't look a day over 89," I said. And not only has he seen 90 but
also much of Australia in a Chevy one year younger than the one he was
in. His son related a story of a modern 4WD that got stuck in mud, so they
asked the old bloke if he'd tow them outta of the bog in his old Chev hehe.
So he did, no worries. What a classic! His son also talked about their
trip to Wingham. "Thirty to thirty five miles per hour," he said, "if it
gets up to 50 you've really gotta hang on (to the wheel)." Then he showed
me why... semi elliptic springs and no shock absorbers. The old fella,
by the way, credited his longevity to being a farmer all his life... dairy
farm. Nice old bloke he was too... all smiles.
Anyway, it was a fruitful couple of hours. At Mt George, a couple of
kids walked down the main street as I was shooting. One was a bit older,
probably 16 or so, and shirtless. He had pecs even Arnie would have been
proud of. So I hit the zoom. What? Batteries are low? So the bloody zoom
wouldn't work. I had spares in the car but it was all over by then. God
does these things on purpose, ya know. He hates me.
Later, I'll copy all the stuff from the cameras to the comp and finish
editing the Villages of the Manning tomorrow. Then I'll start the Chevy
show and also shoot the Kombi fest on the weekend. Sheesh. Everything happens
all at once, yeah?
I just had a quick snack to easy the tummy rumblings and then checked
the Mt George footage. Yes, the kids are walking down the main (and only)
street but the older one ducked off to the side and into the general store
to buy something. When he emerged, I was busy shooting the scene on the
other side. I didn't realize I was in this shot at the time... but only
just. One of these days I should try that shot again and do a better job.
Time to shoot through again, Ls and Gs. Been a busy day. Gary
September 26, 2012. Steve W wrote: I don't wish to point out
the bleeding obvious but (I will) …………this upcoming, next, soon approaching
is in fact the October Long Weekend…….Monday being the 1st of October.
Pedantic bastard aren't I?
Oh... roite... yes... well, there ya go. Put it down to dementia or
By the way, a couple of nice peeps signed the AO guestbook, which is
cool... peeps I don't even know. The peeps I do know take me for granted.
Sooooo, today is Nancy the Dentist day. When she told me over the phone
that I had an exposed bone I was tempted to crack a Cody joke, but decided
not to hehe. Looks like the tooth next to it is due for extraction, in
which case I hope it solves the exposed bone prob because it irritates
my tongue and makes it uncomfortable to chew food.
I almost didn't watch a show last night featuring Poh, an Australian/Malaysian
chef, who volunteered to help out at St Vinnies preparing food for the
homeless in Sydney. It was a very interesting as well as poignant story,
and I'm glad I stayed the course. Poh joined a number of volunteers in
the kitchen and then traveled in Fred's Van to the spot where the food
is delivered at 7pm every day, and where the regulars wait. One of the
volunteers used to be a street person until fairly recently. With a bit
of help from the Vinnies people, he got back on his feet and decided to
give something back in return. He had a serious gambling problem and ended
up dead broke. He wanted to end it all but lacked the courage to do an
injury to himself, so he drove his car out to a deserted spot and sat in
it for 8 days without food or water, hoping to waste away and expire. He
was eventually discovered by two passers by and taken to hospital.
Anyway, when Poh started talking to the homeless she began to realize
they were pretty tired of sausages day after day after day. So she asked
the Vinnies boss if she could whip up something more nutritious, with lots
of vitamins and vegies. She ended up making burgers with the lot, plus
a chocolate dessert... enough to feed a small army. The change in menu
was met with great enthusiasm by the homeless peeps who enjoyed every last
morsel and the promise of more variety after Poh shared her recipes with
the volunteers. Nonetheless, in a modern and wealthy society like we have
in Oz, it's perplexing that such misery and hopelessness exists, and you
have to wonder how much of the blame rests with the people themselves.
It's especially perplexing when you consider that some of the homeless
include former professionals such as accountants, medicos, lawyers and
the most unlikely of candidates. I was almost one of them just over a dozen
years ago when I was booted out of my flat with nowhere to go except the
street. That's when Lindsay, my neighbor at the time, knocked on my door
on the final day and asked if I'd like to share a house he found with him
and Sue. There but for the grace of God, yes?
The downside is that I missed out on all those free sausages and burgers.
Ray Rumble, the bloke who was supposed to phone yesterday phoned just
now. Silly me told him I was pissed off with him because he didn't phone
yesterday and had me waiting at home all day for no reason. So - typical
radio announcer - he spent the next umpteen minutes explaining the reason
he didn't call, which included finding an abandoned toy on the roadside
which he took home and repaired for his grandson. Did I need to know all
that? He's due here at 11 and we'll go for a beer. What's the bet I hardly
get a word in? My appointment with the dentist is not until 12.45. I won't
get a word in then either because my mouth will be jammed with all kinds
of instruments and one of those horrible suction thingies.
From the Beeb: US President Barack Obama condemns violence and extremism
as he addresses the UN General Assembly in New York. A lotta good that'll
do. Preaching to the converted doesn't make one iota of difference to the
ratbags. There's only one way to deal with extremists, and that's to be
bigger, tougher, smarter, better armed and intolerant of their dumb ideology.
Last night on the news there was a story of how the Taliban managed to
sneak up on a British base in Afghanistan and destroy 6 Harrier fighter
jets. The Brits were caught unawares. The allied forces there seem confident
that the Afghan army and police will be able to maintain order and stability
after the allied withdrawal in 2014 but I'm not.
An Egyptian newspaper launches a campaign against the obscene cartoons
of the Prophet Muhammad published by the French magazine, Charlie Hebdo.
An Australian political cartoonist the other day gave the French cartoons
the thumbs down - corny, trashy, unnecessary, unfunny, and a blatant attempt
to incite trouble. She said they had no redeeming intellectual value at
all, and that any magazine editor worth his salt would have not allowed
them to be published. Freedom of speech may be the cornerstone of democracy,
but so too is common sense.
Back from a couple of beers with Ray and my appointment with the dentist.
Did I say I wouldn't get a word in at the dental surgery because my mouth
would be full of instruments? I was kidding when I said that but it turned
out to be the case. Nancy had to take a couple of photographs of the "exposed
bone" and the offending tooth so I had two nurses holding the corners of
my mouth open while various implements invaded my mouth and Nancy positioned
her Nikon for the pics. "Can I have a pic of all you people holding me
down like this?" I asked. "That would be a classic!" But I didn't get one.
Meanwhile, the tooth pulling exercise or whatever is now postponed until
some specialist in Sydney checks out the photos.
As to Ray telling me about all his successes and everything else he
could think of, including how his mother died and also his son of a severe
epileptic fit, I did manage to get a word or two in edgewise, albeit with
some difficulty. When he arrived out front, I walked to the car and said,
"Is this a Ford?" Silly me. We sat in the car for 10 minutes while he told
me the history of his Fords and how he bought them at auction. I was itching
to say, "Jeez, the engine's quiet", but he didn't pause to let me crack
the joke. By the time I did get the chance, it kinda fizzled. "I haven't
started the engine yet," he finally said, and missed the point. I was beginning
to worry that the pub would have sold outta beer by the time we got there.
He's a nice bloke, really, but one of those peeps who needs to tell
you every damn detail of every story he relates. Still and all, I can't
complain. He insisted on buying all the beers because he was "flush with
funds" after being paid in cash by his client. He put his hand in his pocket
and showed me a fistful of fifties. "I don't have a problem with money
any more," he said. "Neither do I," I agreed. Hehe. "But for a different
So there ya go... a blast from the past, 1976/7 to be precise. Not quite
as far back as Steve W but pretty close. Steve goes back to '71.
Earlier, I mentioned being on the bones of my ass when Lindsay knocked
on my door to ask if I'd like to share a house. I was a minute away from
being on the street. After talking to Ray today, I'm wondering why it never
entered my head to phone him and ask if he had a job going somewhere. He
had all his fingers in a stack of pies at the time, and I'm sure he would
have found something. I suppose I was so down at the time, I thought everyone
had deserted me. Had I gone back into radio, things would have been very
different now. And there's another thing I wonder about... would I have
been better off if I had? I rather like the idea of the Odyssey, which
I suspect would never have eventuated if I'd followed another path. Maybe
there's something to be said for the old expression, everything turns out
for the best.
Ray and his missus were into traveling Oz towing a caravan... not the
whole kit and kaboodle but extensive trips to the outback and red center.
He was telling me about an incident where he was driving towards Alice
Springs, towing a caravan and driving fairly sedately, when the caravan
started to sway. Then it jackknifed and ended up alongside the car before
it toppled, taking the car with it which ended up on its roof. Luckily
there was no traffic. In fact the place was deserted. They crawled from
the wreckage and waited half an hour before an Aboriginal bloke came along.
He had a satellite phone and called the cops in Alice Springs. Ray is not
too keen on caravans any more, understandably. But I can't help wondering
what really happened because there are thousands of caravans being towed
by ordinary drivers all over Oz and it's pretty rare to hear of such an
incident. I've heard a few reports of slide-ons getting the sways too.
Maybe it's excessive speed or exceeding the gross vehicle mass (carrying
capacity) or whatever, but it's something that concerns me. I've read quite
a few comments on caravanning forums that recommend fitting air-bag suspension
kits to the existing setup on utes carrying slide-ons. One thing's for
sure, whatever ute I get must be capable of carrying a full ton.
And that's it for today, ladies and genitals. Tomorrow, I'll do a shoot
of the vintage and veteran Chevrolet display at Wingham, and then toddle
out to Mt George for another shoot. On the weekend, I'll shoot the Old
Bar festival and Kombi show. Busy, busy, busy. Gary
September 25, 2012. I forgot to include a link NC Art sent to
a NY Times article about Kevin McClatchy, a mover and shaker in major league
baseball, coming out at age 50. However, I
did send the link to Justin's Blog, which has attracted quite a few
interesting comments, including one I just finished writing. It's a bit
controversial and I'm wondering if Justin will publish it... it's a tad
critical of people who choose to come out when they have little or nothing
to lose. (As it happened, Justin posted it).
Meanwhile, TX Greg wrote: "strange men. Especially from Texas." hahahaha
Perhaps I shouldn't be doing math this early, hehe. Ok you said your
wage is $1,161, which would be $13,932 a year. But then you say your a
"bit over twenty grand" So where am I losing the plot and the extra 6 grand?
Weeeeeell, Greggie poo, the BBC converter thingy converts Oz (and all
other) dollars to its version of international dollars so that it can compare
my income with the rest of the world's on the same basis... or something
like that. My pension looks pretty flash compared to the international
average (78%) but my problem is I live in Oz where my spending power is
restricted to 44% of the national average income. When I go to McDonalds,
I order half a Big Mac and 13 fries. When I hail a taxi I only travel half
way to my destination. When I buy milk at the supermarket I tip half of
it out before I take it to the checkout. Hehe.
And now to something completely different... a lily from my garden.
Each spring they pop up from a bulb to say g'day:
How's the traffic in your town? Here's an article from the Beeb: Next
time you complain about being stuck in traffic, spare a thought for the
drivers in Brazil's biggest city, which has some of the worst congestion
problems in the world. Friday evenings are a
commuter's worst nightmare in Sao Paulo.
Strange as it may seem, we don't get that kinda thing in Taree. Sometimes
at around 5 in the afternoon, I see traffic banked back about a block,
but that's it. And it takes about 5 minutes to clear.
I hadn't realized the extent to which Australians back in the 30s supported
Nazi ideals and Hitler. While I was showering and shaving, I listened to
a program called Conversations with Richard Fidler who spoke with the author
new book called Nazi Dreamtime. It's fascinating. The conversations
are archived here
on the ABC website but it's probably a bit early for the Nazi one...
it only aired today. Well worth checking out the site though.
Good evening and welcome to the show. I couldn't think of anything else
to write so I wrote that. But I'm reminded of back when I was a breakfast
announcer on radio... I used to say good evening just to confuse people,
and refer to them as viewers.
How come people say things like "I'll phone you when I arrive in Taree"
but fail to say what time. It means I can't go to the loo or whatever because
the phone could ring any time. Call a plumber and the same thing happens.
The nearest to a particular time of arrival is either AM or PM. Even when
you do get a specific time, like a doctor's appointment, you arrive on
time and then sit in the waiting room for an hour twiddling your thumbs.
Every now and then, the doc appears to call the next patient, and it's
I just splurged $20
on a spirit level on eBay. Some of those damn things are worth a fortune!
I just need a simple one for the camper to check the level when I park.
According to the Electrolux fridge manual, a spirit level was supplied.
Yeah, right. That was 30 years ago.
While chatting to Stan the Lawn Man earlier, quite a few vintage cars
drove past... like the one I saw the other day towing a caravan. So just
now I checked the events calendar at Taree City Council. The show and shine
was on last Sunday in Taree, dammit! But not to worry. The cars are touring
much of the area and will be at Wingham Central Park on Thursday from noon.
That's the day I set aside for the Mt George shoot, and Wingham is on the
way there, so it all fits together nicely. Two vids for the price of one!
The old Chevrolets date from the 1920s through to the 1980s so it should
be a good show. I'll use the bigger Fuji with a lens hood for the cars
because the smaller Fuji (which I'll use for Mt George) has a problem with
flare from shiny chrome, paint and glass.
Good job I checked the calendar because I thought the Old Bar Festival
and Kombi show was on the October long weekend but it's not... it's on
this weekend, September 29/30. Gazza's gonna be a busy boy!
And what's the forecast for the weekend? Rain Saturday, mostly sunny
Sunday. Oh well, nuthin's poifect.
And what's happened to my mate from Sydney? Buggered if I know. It's
after 4pm and he hasn't called yet... and I've been stuck here all day.
I HATE THAT! My old radio mate who bought the Sony camera was the same.
He emailed to say he'd be here "Thursday or Friday" of last week. Sheesh.
Actually, the phone rang just now. It was the dentist reminding me of my
appointment tomorrow, so I told her I could hardly wait. "I can't even
begin to tell you how thrilled I am," I said. Yeah, right.
Well, bugger Rumble, the bloke who was supposed to call today. Shop's
closed. And it's time once again for me to say hooroo for another day and
attend to matters domestic. Gary
September 24, 2012. Monday already. I spent part of this morning
editing the Coopernook footage and tacking it onto the end of Tinonee and
Croki. One more to go, Mt George. I was going to whizz out there today
but it's a bit late now. And I have an old radio mate visiting tomorrow.
He's driving up from Sydney. Wednesday is tooth extraction day so that's
out. How's the weather on Thursday looking? Fine and 26C. Hopefully, there'll
be a train passing through for a bit of excitement. The local railway station
asked me to "phone back tomorrow at midday and I'll ask one of the drivers"
for an approximate time hehe. So that leaves Friday to edit the final footage
and upload it to Youtube before September comes to an end.
I also raided the kitchen draws for stuff I can use in the camper. The
gas stove has a grill compartment but no grill tray, so I checked the pots
and pans cupboard to see what lurks therein. Ah ha! A flat tray with 1"
sides. All it needs now is a wire rack that fits inside. They call them
cooling racks for cooling scones, cakes, bread, etc after baking, but they're
also ideal for use as a grilling rack. I've got one already but I need
a slightly smaller one. Grilled cheese and tomato on toast comin' up.
I meant to mention yesterday that I walked outside and saw a late '30s
Oldsmobile towing a similar vintage caravan. And where was the camera?
Inside. Drat! The driver and his wife looked as though they were in their
'70s, and I'll bet they were having the time of their lives.
Back then, in '38, the world was about to go totally nutz, but Mercedes
Benz was more interested in creating something beautiful:
From the Beeb: Voters in Switzerland have rejected a total ban on
smoking in enclosed public places at a referendum. In Oz if you light
up a ciggie, you're likely to be vaporized by a lurking drone.
If you were asked to move all your worldy goods from inside your home
to the outside for a photo, what would it look like? Consumerism in China
hasn't reached the standard of consumerism in western countries - yet -
so it's interesting to see what many Chinese still regard as normal. Check
this story from the Beeb: Chinese
families' worldly goods in Huang Qinqjun's pictures.
How does my monthly age pension rate in the great scheme of things?
wage is $1,161. The world average is $1,480. Your wage is 44% of the Australia
average and 78% of the world average. Hmmm. No wonder I'm not rich.
My figures are calculated by a graph on a Beeb story about "Where are you
on the global pay scale?" You
can try it out here for yourself.
Actually, the average full-time adult total earnings of $1400+ a week
in Oz is not strictly average. It includes people in the top brackets,
earning tens of thousands and more. Only 4.5 per cent of Australian adults
have an income that exceeds $100,000 per year, and only 1.5 per cent have
an income that exceeds $150,000 per year (2006). The mean income of drinkers
in a pub goes through the roof if Bill Gates walks through the door, but
the typical drinker has become no better off. Half of all Australian taxpayers
had taxable incomes below $44 222 in 2008-09.
So, what is the median equivalised disposable income of Australian households?
The median equivalised disposable household income for Australia in 2007-08
was $36 082 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and $35 664
according the Melbourne Institute’s HILDA survey.
This means a single person, living alone, would need around $36 000
in disposable income to sustain the typical Australian’s standard of living.
Following a widely-accepted methodology, each additional adult adds $18
000 to this figure, so a childless couple would need a disposable income
of $54 000 a year to enjoy a median standard of living. Each child adds
$10 800 to this figure. A couple family with two children would therefore
have needed $75 600 disposable income in 2007-08 to have the same standard
of living as the typical Australian.
I heard on telly recently some journo on a news discussion program say
that the "typical" wage for an ordinary Aussie was about $600+ a week.
So where does all this leave me, an age pensioner on a bit over twenty
grand? Well, if I don't go to clubs or pubs or the cinema or restaurants,
or take vacations, rent videos, buy clothes (unless they're on special
or from an op shop), and do my own cooking, I can get by. Hehe.
Well, there I was a while ago thinking I had nothing to say. And now
it's time to think about feeding this skinny old bod to keep it going and
watch a bit of telly. Tomorrow I'll get an earful from my old radio colleague,
telling me how successful he's been hehe. Oh well... Until then, keep your
legs together and don't speak to any strange men. Especially from Texas.
September 23, 2012. Today is the day Oregon Richie and Becky
exchange rings and swap vows (or whatever they're called these days) at
a small ceremony in a park not far from the cruise ship they boarded yesterday.
How romantic! I'll bet Becky is thrilled to see Richie wearing something
other than a tee and a pair of Nikes for a change.
60 years ago, there was a little girl a few doors down from my house
who used to invite me to share tea and scones in her backyard. They weren't
real tea and scones, but little plastic cups of water poured from a plastic
teapot and imaginary scones on a plastic plate... part of her play tea
set. It was fun to play grown ups. But that's as close as I got to the
real thing. I don't remember us playing doctors and nurses. If we did,
it can't have been a memorable experience. Anyway, 6 decades on and here
I am playing with real teapots and kettles and assorted kitchen utensils
in my camper.
Speaking of which, TX Greg wrote: We could always order more (coffee
mugs) if you wanted to give some out to peeps along your travels. I think
they said they keep the original photo copy on file for reorders :)
Or could do something different like A/O hats, shirts, key chains, pens
Sheesh, that sounds like I'm running for President! I suppose it's possible
for AO to become a business enterprise one day but I doubt it. I have no
plans in that direction. I prefer just to do my own thing at my own pace
without the pressure of running a business. I could handle a bit of sponsorship
provided I still call the shots... like back in my Kelly's Copy Shop days
when I often lunched with clients provided they paid the bill. Hehe. I
figured it was me doing them a favor and not the other way around.
BTW> Did you ever figure out or see how to work google street view
from the maps? And if you do get time that google earth is pretty awesome!
Yep, I've used street view quite a few times to check out various places
I used to live as well as those of friends and rellos. Haven't tried Google
Earth though, but I know Ohio Jace is a big fan.
NC Art commented on the Obama and Romney walks: Yes, Art has noticed
Romney’s peculiar stride, or more of a jerky step. It is odd for a fairly
tall guy and causes me to wonder if he is a mechanical creation with metal
legs made for a another model. Seems the Muslim folks in Oz may be less
intimidated by fanatics than in the U.S. of A. Only an occasional quiet
murmur is voiced about anti-West demonstrations and riots. But what else
is odd about this whole thing boggles the mind. Pretty certain we don’t
understand each other, eh? Logic, fact, reason are all useless. And it isn’t
just Islamists. A totally committed Southern Baptist is just as dense.
Once I had a two-hour discussion with a normally reasonable chap about
Biblical writing, translating, word meaning evolution and such. When we
parted he simply claimed that every word in the Bible was clear and true
because it was written by God Himself. He didn’t know a word of Aramaic,
Greek, Latin, or any of the dialects spoken a thousand years ago. Oh, and
of course Mary of Magdala was a wonderful woman...but only after Jesus
turned her from prostitution and forgave her. He was deaf to my suggestion
that it was a bunch of Roman Catholic old men who rigged the scriptures
to defame the name of the Magdalene. Those old farts couldn’t abide women
meddling in affairs of state. And we wonder why nuttiness is the rule instead
of the exception!
We do? I'm not sure I do. The average IQ is not called average cos it's
high, ya know. Which reminds me of an interview I saw with a piano tuner
last night on telly. The ranks are thinning and there's a program in place
to recruit more apprentices before the old guys conk out. The tuner - who
has been tuning old pianos for 40 years - says you can take a bunch of
youngsters and train them to be reasonable plumbers or carpenters or mechanics,
but not so piano tuners.
There was also a story about a glass blower from Tasmania who does the
most amazing things with blobs of molten glass, and creates the most exquisite
works of art. He's an old bloke now and there's a worry that there's no
one to replace him when he retires.
Another story that was interesting was about cocoa grown in Oz. Cadbury
initiated the idea back in the '80s to grow our own and got the financial
support of several state governments. But the area where cocoa trees grew
best was North Queensland. Cadbury eventually lost interest because the
industry could never support a large business, so they left it to the small
farmers to carry on. And carry on they did. Australian grown chocolate
is now a thriving industry in Oz, albeit it small. We produce about 10
tons annually at the mo, with plans to increase the output. But it will
always be a niche market compared to the thousands of tons produced by
the rest of the world's cocoa growers. Nonetheless, the Oz producers have
plans to export their product to Europe, America and Asia. High labor costs
in Oz mean that the producers keep everything in house... the growing,
harvesting (by hand), manufacturing, packaging and distribution. The brand
is Daintree Estates.
So here we are plagiarizing something that is not indigenous to Oz.
We also did that with wool, and now beef and wine. But it also goes the
other way, ya know. Macadamia nuts are indigenous to Oz but China has plans
to increase production and become the biggest in the world! And there's
nothing we can do about it.
From the Beeb: A Pakistani government minister who offered a $100,000
reward for the death of the maker of an anti-Islamic film is condemned
by the prime minister's spokesman. And so he should be. Like so many
fanatics, the Pakistani government minister is an advocate of closed minds.
In my book, open minds have nothing to dear. Closed minds do.
Back from Coopernook and a bit of camera pointing. It's one of a number
of villages in the Manning Valley by-passed by the Pacific Hwy and left
to die. But many of the villages, such as Coopernook, are proving to be
quite resilient with new houses being built and lots of people at the riverside
Coopernook pub for Sunday lunch. Since I was there a few years ago, the
river frontage has been improved with a new wharf and grassed area on the
bank, and the old wharf is now preserved as a monument to the town's past.
On the way back, I took another pano of the Croki riverfront park and
swimming pool and got it right this time. However, just as I took the 3rd
frame (far right) a duck took off and flew towards the boat shed. Dammit,
I missed it by a second.
It's been a lovely Sunday, warm and sunny, so I'm glad I made good use
of it and did the Coopernook shoot. Sometime during the week I'll do Mt
George and that'll be enough for this vid. I might do another one of more
villages and small towns on the Manning next month as well as the VW Kombi
Fest on the October long weekend.
Meanwhile, it's that time again. Remember those little pork/veal
meatballs I made a while back? I froze half the mixture so I'll make some
more and add condensed mushroom soup and chopped tomatoes with ginger and
corianda (Moroccan style) in foil packages... have one tonight and freeze
the rest. Hooroo for now! Gary
September 22, 2012. Am I the only one who's noticed the way Romney
walks? Is he trying to do a Bette Midler with those short steps? By contrast,
Obama takes long strides. And what does NC Art think about it all? As
I was reading today’s blog a portly political shaker blathered on about
Obama’s class warfare. I was almost frightened by the prospect of stevedores
and grease monkeys expecting single malt scotch at road houses and honky
tonk bars. Oh the horror! But he made his point. The warfare has gone on
quite awhile with wealth flowing up and up from the bottom, but nothing
much manages to flow downhill! Not even clean water to dilute the scotch
Yes, indeed, we need our Borowitzs to maintain balance, otherwise everything
would be taken too seriously. Political cartoonists, satirists, comedians,
critics and all people involved in taking the mickey out of society's sacred
cows is vital to maintaining a balanced view. Moderates don't mind being
the butt of jokes; they're happy to accept it in good humor. It's those
on the far right and far left who are ultra sensitive to criticism, whether
in jest or otherwise. Ya know, I can't help wondering if extremist Muslims
are, deep down, skeptical of their own beliefs. I mean, if they seriously
believe in all they claim to believe, then why carry on like lunatics when
some dickhead criticises Mohammed? Why the ultra sensitivity? Isn't that
a sign of insecurity? When a person truly believes in something, criticism
is water off a duck's back. It's when they harbor secret doubts about the
validity of their cause, that criticism becomes offensive.
One placard carried by a fist-waving Muslim protester at the riot in
Sydney last weekend read, Our Dead are in Paradise, Your Dead are in Hell.
Oh really? How does he know? Has he been there? No wonder people who make
such idiotic and irrational claims are insecure. And if they're not basically
insecure, then there's only one other explanation. Hehe.
How much for a 16cm stainless-steel saucepan with glass lid and steam
vent? $7.50 sound reasonable to you? It was part of a bunch of stuff on
a trolley going out at special prices. I saved about 15 bucks on that little
gem. They don't call me Hawk Eye for nuthin' ya know. I also bought a 1.8ltr
s/s whistling kettle, a set of 4 plastic tea/coffee mugs, a set of 4 plastic
tumblers (drinking glasses), a set of cotton tea towels, an oven mitt,
and a 16-piece s/s patterned cutlery set all for $43, making a total of
$50-ish. I figure if I buy a bit here and there, it won't rock the budget
as much as buying everything I need all at once.
BTW, Greg, the Aussie Odyssey mugs you so graciously donated to the
cause some time ago are strictly for show. I don't want them stained by
tea or coffee.
I also bought a few groceries, so that takes care of the shopping for
a while. And now it's time for a wrap. Gary
Friday 21, 2012. There's nothing unusual about seeing people
hanging their washing on the line to dry, right? Unless it's in a caravan
park. People stay at caravan parks to get away from all that domestic chore
stuff. To take a break from the hum drum. To relax and laze about, sunbaking
or throwing a line into the water. But doing the laundry? That's what a
couple was doing at the Croki caravan park the other day.
Perhaps it's not so much about what you're doing as where you're
doing it. The thing I remember most about the first camping holiday I had
with my folks and younger bro at a resort called Blue Lagoon, an hour north
of Sydney on the Central Coast, is that everywhere you walked you walked
on sand - barefoot, of course. We were right on the beach. It was as different
to our normal suburban environment as it was possible to get. A tent instead
of a house, sandy tracks instead of concrete footpaths, lots of gum trees
and tall palms instead of neat lawns and garden, no school, and a beach
right outside our door. Blue Lagoon is still there 60 years later, albeit
more sophisticated these days, but still there.
So what happens if I camp somewhere on the Odyssey and think, "Oh, this
is nice. I'll stay here for a while." And that while turns out to be a
couple of years hehe. Nah. I don't think that will happen. Possible, but
From the Beeb: Pakistani TV channels are airing an advert showing
news clips of US President Barack Obama condemning an anti-Islam film made
in the US. The advert also features a statement from Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton at a news conference rejecting the amateur film's message.
The adverts seek to emphasise the message reiterated by US officials throughout
the crisis: that the "disgusting" film was not made by the US government,
but that there is never any justification for violence. State department
spokeswoman Victoria Nuland confirmed the US spent $70,000 (£43,220)
to air the 30-second clip on seven Pakistani TV stations.
Dammit. Just as the fundamentalists are starting to have fun, the US
posts a disclaimer that ruins everything. Actually, here in Oz the vast
majority of Muslim leaders denounced the actions of fundamentalists last
weekend and warned that if it happens again, they will support Australian
police in having the perpetrators arrested and jailed. On the other hand,
white supremacists in Oz are threatening to confront Islamic radicals in
an all-out brawl that will make the Cronulla riots of a few years ago look
like a picnic. I'm afraid Islam doesn't have a monopoly on dickheads.
Speaking of dickheads: Members of an Amish breakaway group are found
guilty of hate crimes for forcibly cutting the beards and hair of community
members last year in Ohio.
When you read about all the crap that goes on in the world on a daily
basis, dear Breth, you need to remember that ordinary, sane people like
you and me who make up the vast majority of humanity, don't make the news.
Our dull lives are not considered newsworthy.
Meanwhile, In Oz, the Senate has joined the House of Representatives
in voting down legislation aimed at allowing same-sex couples to marry.
On Wednesday, just 42 MPs in the Lower House supported a private members
bill put forward by Labor backbencher Stephen Jones while 98 MPs voted
against. I keep hearing opponents of marriage equality saying that marriage
is between a man and a woman exclusively. And why is that, do you think?
Mainly because bigots refuse to change it! This is a democracy with a secular
government. It's not a theocracy. And yet religious views seem to dominate
the marriage equality agenda. If churches wish to discriminate, that's
their business. But it's not the government's business to discriminate.
The government's business is to adhere to the wishes of the majority of
its constituents. Only 30% of Australians are opposed to marriage equality.
50% approve and the rest couldn't give a damn.
Yesterday, the NSW state government made a formal apology to all women
who had their babies forcibly removed for adoption back in 50s, 60s and
70s. It also apologized to the adoptees. The reason those women were deprived
of their basic human right to keep their babies was because, shock, horror,
they became pregnant out of wedlock. They were considered to be unfit mothers,
and their babies were stolen. It was unacceptable that babies should be
born out of wedlock. Decades on, the government is now apologizing for
the "shameful" conduct of previous governments. And yet they can't see
the same thing happening in another decade or two when a future government
has to apologize for disallowing same-sex couples to marry. IT'S THE SAME
THING. DISCRIMINATION. But the dickheads can't see it.
And now we have the head of The Australian Christian Lobby, Jim Wallace,
declaring that homosexuality is unhealthier than smoking. Can you believe
it? He's supposed to be an intelligent man! And last night on telly he
said that homosexuality is a sin. He's insulting not only all Australian
gays and lesbians but also their parents, siblings, lovers and friends.
He was sitting at his boardroom table with a bunch of his cohorts leading
them in prayer to God. Is it the same God that gays pray to? The same God
that non-bigoted people pray to? Apparently not. The God that Jim Wallace
prays to agrees with Jim's views. How convenient to have such an obliging
Well, there ya go. My spleen feels much better now. The guy who bought
my Sony camera and accessories phoned to say he's on his way here. He lives
in Bondi but travels around the place a bit. Anyway, he's the same bloke
I used to work with at 2DAY FM in Sydney back in the mid '80s. I've also
met him a few times at the Taree mall. Small world, huh? He said he was
in the States some years ago and bought a Sony like the one I have for
$2200 duty free. Somebody's kid knocked it off a table and broke it, so
he's been looking for a replacement ever since. He said he bid up to $150
but the bidding didn't get that high, so he ended up getting mine for $90.
Sheesh. Oh well...
Well, he's been and gone. The only reason he's in Bondi is because he
cares for his mother who's blind. He also has a house not far out of Taree
on 4 acres...lots of birds, trees and peace and quiet. He says Sydney is
a horrible place now, too much traffic, way too frantic. I suppose it is
in certain places but I didn't find that when I was there during the cancer
op and checkups with the doc. I stayed away from the burbs and spent most
of my time wandering around the harbor foreshore. He says Bondi has changed
for the worse. It's full of Russians. "Hardly anybody speaks English! All
the old art deco buildings are being demolished in favor of high-rise apartments,"
he laments. "My mother lives in a block of 40 and there are only two of
us (residents) who speak English!" Jeez, fancy that... of all places Bondi,
once the quintessential embodiment of all things Aussie.
I figured out something today... how to stop stuff in the camper cupboards
from banging about during transit. A while back, a bloke gave me a boxed
set of 2 stainless steel mugs and a vacuum flask. They're in the camper
now, still in the box, except the lid's underneath (upside down) with the
open box sitting neatly therein. And guess what the box does? Stops the
contents from rattling around. Yeah? So all the cups and plates and various
kitchen utensils I buy will be boxed. Ya with me? Loose stuff will go into
those cheap boxes you buy from the Post Office. I've already got a couple
that were used to ship various items I bought on eBay. Just the right size
for cans, herbs, small bottles, etc... and also loose items in the fridge.
Vanishing time again, Ls and Gs. Planet America is on tonight so that'll
be interesting to watch, and for dinner I think I'll rustle up some scrambled
eggs with cheese on toast. Not exactly T-bone territory but it'll do. Gary
Thursday 20, 2012. Another lovely spring day! In a few days from
now, Oregon Richie and his bride will be saying their 'I do's' and September
23rd will never be the same again. He wrote this morning to say he's having
difficulty concentrating on things at work. I'm not surprised! For they
are jolly good fellows, for they are jolly good fellows, for they are jolly
good feeee-heeee-loooooooooooows.... aaaaaaaand so say all of us!
Yes, marriage and Odysseys. They have something in common ya know, as
in a definitive separation of past and future. The question I keep asking
myself is: Will it feel like home in the camper? I suppose it will eventually
but I can imagine being camped somewhere as a newbie traveler and thinking
as the sun begins to set, I better make tracks and get home before dark.
Hehe. It's gonna be soooo strange to realize that I'm already home and
that I can stay there as long as I like. That, for all intents and purposes,
the little patch of land I currently occupy is MINE for as long as I choose
to stay there. Know what I mean? We spend our entire lives leaving and
returning home - from work, from visiting rellos and friends, from vacation,
from shopping, from wherever. Pretty soon I'm gonna know what it's like
to be a tortoise... except a tortoise doesn't have a fridge and cooker.
Did you see that story on telly the other day about those two high-wire
people who broke the world record for walking a wire stretched across two
impossibly high points above a valley, with no safety net? Keeeerazy! But
the Odyssey will be a bit like that in terms of reaching the point of no
Well, that's Croki edited. Didn't take long. I think Coopernook and
Mt George will be enough. Most of the other places around the Manning are
towns rather than villages. The vid is 5 minutes so far (Tinonee and Croki),
which surprises me because they're only tiny places.
You know those tricky little toolkits for the kitchen... a screwdriver
handle with several bits and a fitting to hold them, a bunch of allen keys,
mini screwdrivers for really fiddly things, pliers (regular and longnose),
etc? I bought a set ages ago for a few bucks and just put it in the camper
kitchen draw. I like doing that because each time I put something in the
camper it becomes more "me"... a place with my things in it. Then
I sat there for a while and buggerized around, figuring out where stuff
would go. I separated the main door from the screen door and thought how
cool it would be to lock all the bugs outside while I'm cooking or eating
or sleeping - enjoying the fresh air without the bzzzz. All the door and
window screens are in good nick. All the window winders work fine as well
as the roof hatch winder.
From the Beeb: A US actress who appeared in an amateur anti-Islam
video that sparked protests across the Muslim world is suing the film's
suspected director. Cindy Lee Garcia accused Nakoula Basseley Nakoula of
duping her into a "hateful" film that she was led to believe was a desert
adventure movie. She is also asking a judge to order YouTube to remove
the film. A clip dubbed into Arabic provoked widespread anger for its mocking
portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad. According to Ms Garcia, the script she
received had made no mention of the Prophet Muhammad or made references
to religion. She claims she has received death threats since the video
was posted to YouTube, and says her association with the film has harmed
her reputation. In a court filing lodged with Los Angeles Superior Court
on Wednesday, Ms Garcia alleged fraud, slander and intentional infliction
of emotional distress.
Harmed her reputation, huh? Yeah, right.
On QI last night (repeat episode), a question was asked about corn flakes
and what their original purpose was. One guest said they were used to fill
the mattresses of monks to stop them masturbating because of all the noise
hehe. He was wrong about the monks but right about masturbation. The original
Mr Kellogg was obsessed with preventing masturbation, which he believed
caused acne, a variety of serious ailments and even death.. He also believed
that a diet of corn, wheat and other grains played a role in reducing the
urge to commit acts of self abuse. When, by accident, he discovered the
process that turned corn into flakes, he hit upon the idea of creating
a breakfast cereal that was not only nutritious but also eliminated the
impulse to masturbate. It obviously wasn't a problem for Cody because he
had a habit of "sorting himself out" before breakfast.
Speaking of corn, here's a Beeb story about popcorn: A US man has
been awarded $7.2m (£4.4m) in damages after claiming he developed
"popcorn lung" from inhaling the artificial butter in microwave popcorn.
A Colorado jury agreed with Wayne Watson that a popcorn manufacturer should
have had warning labels that the bag's fumes were dangerous to inhale.
"Popcorn lung" is a form of irreversible obstructive lung disease that
scars the lung and makes it difficult for air to flow out.
Also from the Beeb: An ancient scrap of papyrus makes explicit reference
to Jesus having a wife, according to a renowned expert in Christian history.
Harvard divinity professor Karen King unveiled the 4th-Century Coptic script
at a conference in Rome. She said researchers had identified the words
"Jesus said to them, 'my wife'", which might refer to Mary Magdalene. Christian
tradition holds that Jesus did not marry - but Ms King said in early years
it was subject to debate. The provocative find could spark debate over
celibacy and the role of women within Christianity, she added. But the
announcement sparked scepticism from some theologians.
Jim West, a professor and Baptist pastor in Tennessee, said: "A statement
on a papyrus fragment isn't proof of anything. It's nothing more than a
statement 'in thin air', without substantial context." Wolf-Peter Funk,
a noted Coptic linguist attending the same conference as Ms King, said
there were "thousands of scraps of papyrus where you find crazy things,"
and many questions remained about the fragment.
I see. Many questions about those particular fragments but not about
the fragments upon which the Bible itself is based. How do you figure that?
Seems like selective questioning to me.
Guess what? Another day is about to slip into the abyss of time. Funny
about time isn't it. Now is now, yesterday was now, and all the yesterdays
that ever existed were now, just as tomorrow will be now, and all the tomorrows
after that. I was thinking about that as I gazed out the window of the
camper today and saw what is there now. But one day, I'll be sitting on
the same seat in the same camper, gazing out the same window but the view
will be very much different. And yet it will still be now. I can remember
being in English class at school and intrigued by expressions such as "will
have been". Weird, huh? Gary
Wednesday 19, 2012. A perfect spring day! And I'm glad to be
alive. Which is probably a dumb thing to say because I have no idea how
I'd feel about the alternative.
I found some interesting stuff on an auto newsgroup this morning, including
this newspaper/magazine article about the release of the 1946 "People's
19 years later in 1965 I bought mine brand new off the showroom floor
for 950 pounds ($1900). By then they'd already sold millions around the
I also found this wonderful example of a tricked up 1960 Ford Econovan
fitted out with a genuine timber-lined cargo area for camping. Very nicely
From the Beeb: US President Barack Obama has rebuked Republican rival
Mitt Romney, saying that anyone seeking to be president needs to work for
all Americans. Mr Obama told chat show host David Letterman said Mr Romney
was wrong to describe 47% of Americans as "victims". Here's
the video clip.
And this: The highest-resolution camera ever built has begun its
quest to pin down the mysterious stuff that makes up nearly three-quarters
of our Universe. The Dark Energy Survey's 570-million-pixel camera will
scan some 300 million galaxies in the coming five years. The goal is to
discover the nature of dark energy, which is theorised to be responsible
for the ever-faster expansion of the Universe. What's the bet there'll
be no photograph of the "Kingdom of God?" Lack of evidence won't stop the
believers, though. They don't need evidence.
NC Art wrote in response to tall vehicles: Right you are about whizzing
around corners with that rig. Here’s one I witnessed. A top down convertible
was stopped at a corner signal light. A Jeep pulling a flat 2-wheel trailer
cut the corner to turn into street where car was halted. A wheel
of trailer hit the kerb [curb] bounced the trailer skyward. As driver
accelerated the trailer did a fancy upward spin and over, falling smack
on the stopped convertible. That driver did what came naturally and flopped
to the floor. Unhurt but scared shitless and in a rage horrid to behold.
An accident in Oz recently involved a 33 y/o bloke stopped at an intersection
traffic light on his way to work one morning. A truck carrying a large
shipping container turned the corner too fast causing the container to
topple over onto the stationary car, killing the driver instantly. He was
married with a child. You just never know... Meanwhile, there's been a
government crackdown on shipping containers with unsecured loads in danger
of shifting under stress.
Years ago, I was traveling behind a car towing a box trailer on a narrow
road when the outside wheel suddenly separated from the trailer. The trailer
dipped while the wheel bounced and spun all over the road as I began to
catch up to it quite quickly. Pretty scary there for a minute or two until
the wheel lost momentum and came to rest at the side of the road. It took
a while for the driver of the car to realize what had happened before he
finally pulled over. Good thing there was no oncoming traffic. Always expect
the unexpected, yes?
A big yellow parcel arrived at the front door. Now what could that possibly
be? My sleeping bag? Yes! One more small step...
BACK from the Croki (croak-eye) shoot. Nice day but a tad windy, which
plays havoc with the microphone. The village was the center of growth in
the Manning Valley between 1830 and 1930 but declined with the introduction
of rail, better roads and better modes of transport. Now it's a tiny village
of maybe 30 or 40 residents and no shop. But it does have a caravan park!
I had intended to travel a little further up the highway to a few other
"abandoned" villages but the wind was too strong and it was getting a bit
late. Another day.
Not a lot to shoot in Croki so I'll edit the footage tomorrow and tack
it on the end of Tinonee (Tin-oh-knee). The giant Moreton Bay fig above
is one of several around the river-front picnic area and wharf. They provide
abundant shade on hot summer days. There's also a netted swimming pool
in the river. The old timber wharf is still there, kept as a memento of
the past, but access is not permitted due to its dilapidated condition.
I'll have to do that pano again cos I didn't quite match the top of
the pole on the left and the horizon just above the right hand corner of
the old wharf. Dangit. See that little farmouse directly opposite the new
wharf between the two poles? It's not so little. I dunno how wide the Manning
River is at that point but it's a bloody long, long way over there.
Nancy, my dentist, phoned today to say she's had no luck getting in
touch with the Sydney dentist who specializes in teeth affected by radiation
therapy. Anyway, she's gonna press on regardless and see me next Wednesday
for a possible extraction. Apparently there's a bit of exposed bone. Eeek!
I need another filling as well.
And here we are again, ladies and genitals, time to roll the credits.
What's for dinner? All those in favor of pancakes with sliced peaches say
aye. Hmmm, one. All those against? One, two, three, four... hmmmm... fifty
seven. They ayes have it... the motion is carried in favor of the ayes.
And the nays can go to buggery. Gary
September 18, 2012. Chewsdee. And a nice one... sunny and bright.
Later this morning I'll start work on editing the Tinonee footage. The
other vids - Taree, Sydney, Holden show and steam loco - are all over 100
views now, and some are approaching 150. Not many for some people but I'm
happy with the response so far. There are 365 days in a year ya know, and
if they keep getting 1 or 2 new views a day, well go figure.
From the Beeb: Hassan Nasrallah. the leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah
party, denounces an anti-Islam film in a rare public appearance, as protests
continue in many countries. I keep hearing people saying that the film
is amateur trash and a non-event. Apparently, most (if not all) of the
protesters in Sydney on the weekend hadn't even seen it. Seems to me these
fanatics are using the film as an excuse to vent their bigoted spleens.
If they were true to their religion they would preach God's love not God's
hate. Bloody dickheads.
There's a Toyota HiLux tray-back ute parked out front so I measured
the height of the tray - a bit under 3'. The camper with the extra storage
box underneath is about 7' high, so we're looking at the combined height
of the unit at 10' from ground level. Whoa! I don't think I'll be whizzing
around any corners or negotiating rough 4WD tracks. I suspect driving that
rig will take a bit of getting used to.
Maybe I could get some driving lessons from an experienced driver.
Well, that was easy. I spent about 2 hours editing the Tinonee footage
and stills into 2.5 minutes of video and then saved it to .wmv. So when
I shoot the next village I'll just tack it on the end. No wukkers. Wild
footage always looks a bit scruffy in bits and pieces but when it's edited
and given a few nice transitions it all makes sense.
More from the Beeb: A secretly filmed video has emerged showing Mitt
Romney disparaging Barack Obama voters at a private donor dinner. The Republican
nominee is shown saying the 47% of Americans who back the president do
not pay income tax and would never vote for him. "I'll never convince them
they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives," Mr
Romney says. In a late-night appearance, Mr Romney said his remarks were
not "elegantly stated", but did not retract them.
You hear that Richie? You don't pay income tax and you don't take personal
responsibility for your life. That goes for you too, Art and Jace and anyone
else who votes Democratic.
Well, dear Breth, I'm afraid that's all the Waffle I have for you today.
Richie wrote recently to tell me about his day: So today has been quite
the race around the track... out before noon to do some bank work, light
shopping, wash the Jeep, get a hair trim, come home and go for an hour
or so ride on the (Honda) 599 and THEN finish with the Jeep, as well as
doing Becky's LR Freelander, get my portable generator going again, which
was a mess with old fuel, sediment, and what-not but got 'er running finally
and let it run for 90 minutes, while doing a quick mulch mowing of the
yard, a bit of line trimmer grass trimming, service and pump up the bike
tires on Becky's bicycle, chat with her, read a while, drain our small
pool, do some laundry, and... it's still going on !
He's gotta be kidding, right? I wouldn't do that much stuff in a week!
So I wrote back and explained how I've gotten laziness down to a fine art
these days. I'm very good at it. I can imagine myself at the blocks of
a sprint race. I'd be the one sitting in a camp chair doing my nails when
the bloke fires his starter's pistol.
September 17, 2012. Did you check out the link to the story SF
Bill sent of the American in Oz? Coincidentally, I spotted (and favorited)
this shot of the Blue Mountains by a Red Bubbler this morning. The
rays from a sunset hitting the cliff wall make this pic outstanding,
and demonstrate once again that the time of day can make a world of diff
to a photo. As a kid, high in the branches of my tree in the backyard,
I could see the Blue Mountains in the distance. They're part of The Great
Dividing Range which stretches from Victoria in the south all the way up
the eastern seaboard of Oz and beyond to a group of small islands just
north of the mainland. I drove over it on my way to Tamworth a while back
to collect the dreaded Das Busse.
A bloke from New Jersey wrote an entry in Cody's guestbook to say how
much he enjoyed reading the Steve story, and that he had learned a lot
from it. Yep, even 10 years down the track, the story is still having an
effect on people, which pleases me. I've always thought that story is up
there with some of the greatest ever told. Who could ever forget those
scenes in Joburg being greeted by Mark's fist and then turning the relationship
around completely. And those scenes in the boxing ring with Winger as coach
hehe. Great stuff.
TX Greg wrote to say he was tempted to write an entry in the Odyssey
guestbook but could only think of advising me to pack plenty of sugar in
the camper hehe. Yeah, right. He also suggested I test the guestbook after
all those changes yesterday to see if it still works okay. I did, and it
does. It could be vulnerable to spam and nasties so, yes, I also know how
to delete offensive entries.
Greg also mentioned Google maps and other goodies: Now that was the
first time you used the zoom feature in google maps? Have you used the
street view? See above the zoom bar there is a stick person. Zoom down
to where you see street names then left click and hold on the stick person
and drag him out to the map. The streets that the car has been down will
light up in blue and then drop the stick guy on the street and spot you
want to see.
So have you seen
or downloaded Google Earth? That does soooo many things including weather
radar, retime traffic, and even 3D buildings!!! The other cool thing on
google earth is with an account you can actually upload your photos of
places and pin them to the map for others to see!!!
Oregon Richie reminded me that it's only a week before he and Becky
will be hitched. When I first met him over 10 years ago, I figured he was
a dedicated bachelor and would remain that way. Well, well, well... how
times change. He also had this to say about the pic of the Toyota I posted
yesterday: I was a bit amused about the comment regarding the Toyota
"FJ Cruiser" thing, as it's called here in the states. Ugly?
Hmm. It's mostly an American creation retro-rig and I don't regard
it as much of a good looking rig either. For practical use it's considered
damn near a joke in SA and one off-road mag there indicated that they had
to do a LOT to make it a serious contender for serious use. Many
such rigs are more designed for anything BUT the hard-core off-road market,
whether by necessity or the local terrain. If you look at the serious
contenders, you will note a few key things, which are higher ground clearance,
a bit more narrow, and a LOT of glass window-seeing-things and the road-in-front-of-you
( or no road at all ) perspective. I have been in a few of those
FJ things. Terrible !! It's like driving a cave. Most
of them here are either silver, or a bright blue, and a lot are that bright
yellow color. Anyway... I don't fancy them at ALL. If I was
more shy I would not refer to them as a freaking ridiculous joke, but then...
I am not that shy.
I've been putting off the Tinonee shoot for too long, so today's the
day. I'll also whizz out to Croki and maybe one or two other places.
BACK! As it turned out, it's lucky I went today, otherwise I might not
have met this bloke playing peek-a-boo in a bottle brush tree:
I got a bit of footage of the koala but the bigger Fuji doesn't allow
you to use zoom during video recording. Good thing I took a few stills
as well. The bigger Fuji also doesn't have a stabilizer. It's not too bad
with the monopod but not as good as the smaller Fuji. On the other hand,
the smaller Fuji has a few probs with flare and focus in video mode. After
shooting around Tinonee and chatting to a few folks, I was too buggered
to drive on to Croki, so I came home. I'll shoot Croki and a few other
towns/villages later and assemble them all into a montage. Hopefully, the
vid will be finished before the end of September.
While I photographed one of the old churches in Tinonee, I spoke to
a woman who told me it was Presbyterian. Then she told me the story of
her life and 'seeing the light'. She was a very pleasant lady. At one point
she was talking about getting older (she's a year younger than me) and
eventually falling off the perch and I said, "It's alright for you, though!"
And she asked why. I said, "because you'll be getting harp lessons and
I'll get a shovel." They'd left the front door of the church open so I
nicked inside and took a few shots of the interior. Lovely old church that
dates from 1879.
It was difficult to get a clear shot of the koala through all the branches
and twigs of the bottle brush. Here's a crop of a larger pic:
While we're on the subject of pics, I saw this one of a Studebaker coupe
with an extra bit of bling on the front and wondered if NC Art had one
of those on his for a touch of extra zoom. Hehe. Some people! I'm also
wondering if that bloke to the left of the pic is a Native American keeping
a look out for buffalo.
Ohio Jace wrote to keep me up to speed with the Ohio gang. Santa came
early this year for his great nephews with a new laptop, thanks to a most
generous Uncle Jace. Meanwhile, he has this to say about the Presidential
Race: Can't wait to get the election over with. We are being bombarded
with political ads on telly and phone calls all day long (despite being
on a do not call list). So many lies and half truths. I am going to vote
early to beat the long lines at the consolidated polling stations. Used
to be I could walk to the church down the road now I have to drive 8 miles
to vote or 5 miles to the Board of Elections, which is in town so I can
do my usual shopping too.
Now that election season is upon us and with Ohio playing a pivotal
role in the outcome, a little bit of trivia/history: Eight Presidents were
from Ohio seven were native sons. Four Presidents were assassinated two
of those were from Ohio. Eight Presidents died in office four of those
were from Ohio. Two of the Presidents on the U.S. paper (banknotes) currency
were from Ohio. 12 Presidents were generals during their lifetime, five
of those were from Ohio. The President who served the shortest term was
from Ohio, he also gave the longest inaugural speech and that contributed
to his death. He also served the shortest term, just 31 days. Of the the
eight, seven were Republican and one Whig. The last one was elected in
1920. Several peeps have run for office since but none have won the nomination.
Bit of thunder and lightning happening at the mo and rain to go with
it. We haven't had rain for ages so I guess it's needed. The forecast says
we're due for more before the week's out.
And guess who turns 4 in January? My little bloke in Nicaragua, Anyel.
World Vision sent me a birthday card to fill out, and I've got a few 3D
stick-on thingies of fish and birds to go with it. He can stick them on
things in his room, I guess. That's if he's got a room. Probably shares
one with all his siblings. Judging by the content of the letters I get
two or three times a year, the family is doing well and life is improving
with community gardens and a school. So that's all great news.
From the Beeb: The leader of Lebanese Shia Muslim militant movement
Hezbollah calls for fresh protests over a film made in the US deemed insulting
to Islam. I'm beginning to think if there was nothing to insult, there
wouldn't be a film.
A Russian Soyuz space capsule successfully lands in Kazakhstan with
its three-man crew after they spent 123 days at the International Space
Station. Welcome home, chaps. I hope you took lots of piccies!
Weeeeeeell, here we are again, time for a wrap and the usual post-wrap
routine. I think I'll spend time editing the Tinonee video over the next
day or two and then add Croki and the other villages later as I shoot them.
All the villages have one thing in common... they're all on the banks of
the Manning River. Hmmm, I guess that means including places like Harrington
and Old Bar. Meanwhile, gotta think about din dins. Lindsay wants a chicken
omelet cos I've got a stack of leftover chicken from the roast on Saturday.
ME AND MY BIG MOUTH. Gary
September 16, 2012. TX Greg got out his big stick and gave my
butt a few welts this morning hehe. He's rearranged a few things on the
main page cos he reckons I'm making navigation a bit too complicated for
the average dummy. Okay. I'll buy it.
As to sleeping bags and tents wrapped up for years, NC Art comments:
bloke who lifted your sleeping bag and tent probably did you a favor. Those
things don’t keep as well as tinned tomato soup. When my three buds and
I set off for Alaska, we all bought sleeping bags and air mattresses from
an Army Surplus Store. Must have been from the first world war, the 1812
dustup with England or some earlier dispute. My maiden experience with an air mattress was
unsatisfactory; the thing went flat and the ground was cold and lumpy.
Just before dawn, adding insult to injury, some small animal whose hidey-hole
I’d covered wriggled out and gave me a horrid scare. Sleeping bags were
little better. The wool lining was in tatters from dry rot, and the canvas
shell wouldn’t stop a light shower of mouse piss. Otherwise, 21 nights of camping through half
of North America, the Canadian Northwest, and Alaskan bush was a remarkable
Hehe. The things you do when young and foolish. "Camping" for me will
be a matter of where I park the "house"... none of this tent business (except
the pop-up for the porta pottie and shower). I insist on a mini version
of how I live now, in a house... all the comforts (and maybe even a few
extra). I don't expect a sleeping bag will be necessary in most places
I visit. I'll sleep on top. But there are places with high daytime temps
that plummet overnight. "Be prepared," as Lord Baden-Powell wisely said.
On the topic of thieves and assholes generally, it took me a long time
to understand why certain people act in a certain way. "How could anyone
possibly do that?" people ask when they discover their car's been stolen
or their house has been broken into or whatever. It's quite simple, really.
Human brains aren't all the same. Some are missing bits like a conscience
or the ability to empathise. One might as well ask why aren't all people
are 6' tall.
There was some trouble saving Greg's changes to the main and guestbook
pages so we emailed back and forth a few times before he figured it was
easier to upload the pages himself. Then I copied them back to my comp.
He also created a separate window for the map which you can close after
viewing it rather than using the backbutton to return to AO... or you can
swap between the two windows. An interesting thing I just discovered about
the Google map is if you zoom out to the full extent, you get a map of
Oz with the Taree pin as it relates to the whole damn world! If I'm facing
north, Oregon Richie is on my right whereas CT Steve is on my left. Anyway,
those maps are cool. If you zoom right in you get Taree town center and
all the street names.
Yesterday, while I was watching ABC News24, the regular program was
interrupted by a live report from the center of Sydney where Muslim protesters
(against the Youtube vid that denigrates Mohammed) were clashing with regular
and riot police. It
was very nasty with 8 people arrested and a couple of cops landing in hospital.
That kind of behavior is unAustralian and won't be tolerated. If radical
types think they can bring their troubles over here, they've got another
Well, there's another $75 towards the Odyssey target. Just sold 3 Zippo
lighters I bought years ago when I thought I'd start a collection. Silly
moi. I noticed them the other day and decided to flog 'em on eBay. They
cost $90 so I've lost a few bucks but what the hell. I also have a marine
style ice chest that I could get about $100 for. It's 60 liters; too big
to fit the camper or be stored. Posting would be a hassle so I'll sell
it locally. The radio station here has a Buy, Swap and Sell program on
weekends where peeps can advertise free. As the Odyssey gets closer, I'll
use that show to get rid of a lot more things... timber filing cabinet,
bookcases, fridges and other stuff that's too big to post.
Averil was telling me one day that she and Kev moved house quite often
over the years. They always rented. Each time they moved, they sold all
their furniture and everything else that wouldn't fit in their car, then
bought more used stuff when they settled again. Either that or rented furnished
places. Interesting idea. I've spent/wasted thousands of dollars on moving
stuff from one place to another. What a pain in the ass! And not just the
moving, but all that packing and unpacking! Once the Odyssey is over, I'll
either rent a furnished place or buy a bunch of used furniture. I might
even live in a caravan/mobile home. Where? I have absolutely no idea.
Did I say that's another $75 towards the Odyssey target? Oh, well...
let's just say I swapped 3 Zippos for 1
sleeping bag with a bit of change left over. It's not a double, but
close enough at 100cm wide (almost 3.5'), and it's a Coleman brand. Now
all I need is a pair of bunny rabbit socks and a teddy bear.
Well, ladies and genitals, after all that buggerizing around with TX
Greg earlier and bits of this and that, the day went thataway. In fact,
the whole damn weekend did. But I feel I'm accomplishing things... a couple
of new features for the web site, plus a few new bits and pieces for the
camper - tool box, mat, sleeping bag, rose-scented tidy bags, mini vacuum,
padlocks... Slowly but surely. Anyway, 'tis time I attended to the usual
domestics and bid ye farewell 'til the morrow. Oh that new Toyota thing
I photographed outside Mark's Barber Shop. UGLY!
September 15, 2012. TX Greg suggests I should stock up on surfboard
wax. Now there's a great idea! Stock the camper with surf wax, park
at the beach and set up a sales display outside the camper door! You can
sit back in your chair and make sales and gawks, hehe.
WOW, I just about fell out of my chair! You got the script loaded
for the simple guest book. I see it did the same thing as when I tried
using for Cody's guest book. Notice how the fill in boxes don't line up
and then the entries format just looks too plain. Yea it will do for what
you want, but now explain to me why you wouldn't put the journal index
links on the main page, but it's ok to clutter up the main page with the
guest book fill in boxes?
Sheesh! Can you imagine being married to Greg? I dunno why I chose not
to put the Journal index on the main page... too long ago. Besides, I don't
think the guestbook looks out of place. Actually, the boxes line up okay
on a bigger screen. Admittedly, I'd rather it took up less room but it's
not too bad, and there's no other suitable place to put it. Those empty
spaces in the adjacent columns are screaming out to be filled with something
but I haven't figured out what yet. It'll come to me.
How-bloody-ever, I did manage to figure out how to link the
map on the main page to "where I am now". At first I went to Google
maps, typed in Taree and pasted the URL but that didn't work. So then I
went to basic search and typed in Taree. Whammo! The correct URL! So now
all I need do each time I change location is follow that procedure, update
the link to the map, and Bob's yer uncle. I've also linked the "where am
I now?" text on the Update page.
I figured the problem with animating the map on the main page with a
pin is, if I only travel 50 kms every other day or so, the pin will hardly
move. Linking it to a Google map is more informative. Yeah? 68 and still
sharp as a tack hehe. Eat your hearts out, whippersnappers.
Francois also wrote to say that his pics
from the 900 nautical mile trip to the Belep Islands are now on his
web site. I didn't translate from french: I'm very lazzy... btw the
name of the big fish in french is "gosses lèvres" = big lips so
you were very near it in your comment on its mouth!
I haven't checked Francois' site yet because my internet connection
is having probs this morning with a couple of sites... most others work,
though. The vagaries of this cyber world are impossible to fathom sometimes.
I've been meaning to check my sleeping bag and dome tent for ages to
see if they're still in good shape after been packed away for years. In
fact, I haven't used the sleeping bag since my days in Canberra almost
20 years ago. They were stored in the back of the Ute. Hello? Gone! Stolen,
I imagine... probably while the car was parked at the shopping mall. I
rarely lock the rear hatch. The mongrels didn't touch other stuff, like
the beach shade, foot pump, tarp, tool kit, etc. The sleeping bag and tent
was all he/they wanted. Oh well... Good thing I bought all those padlocks
for the storage bins under the camper. I don't want that happening again.
Anyway, the sleeping bag was only a cheapie one-person thing; too restrictive
actually. I'll get a double so I can spread myself around a bit. A sleeping
bag also saves messing around with bedding. All I need is a couple of pillows.
And a teddy bear. *ahem* Do I need a dome tent? Prolly not. It was an impulse
buy back when I had Tough Titties.
I did buy a couple of things today though... apart from the marinated
and stuffed chicken I'll roast tonight. I bought a mat for the wiping of
feet to replace the old tattered carpet mat in the camper, and two pair
of cow-hide garden gloves. Why two? Because they were on spesh, 2 pair
for $3. How cheap was that? They'll be handy when I'm buggerizing around
in the bush looking for firewood or whatever. You never know what's lurking
under those fallen twigs and branches. I also checked out prices of sleeping
bags. Whoa! The doubles ain't cheap so they can wait. It's not like I need
one right now.
I also bought petrol. The tank was almost empty. $72! Sheesh! But it'll
last for a few months. No more trips to Newcastle or Port Macquarie for
a long time yet. And the November Sydney trip is by train.
From the Beeb: The Taliban say they carried out a deadly attack on
a Nato base in Afghanistan in response to a video that has caused outrage
in the Muslim world. I hear that the film on Youtube is an independent
amateur production that's sooooo poorly produced, it's a joke. So it seems
like the Taliban and other Islamic fanatics are using it as an excuse to
carry out their dastardly deeds, which they would have carried out in any
event. Last I heard, the director/producer of the film - who is a nobody
anyway - had gone into hiding.
Also from the Beeb: Pope Benedict XVI has called on Christians, Muslims
and Jews to "root out" religious fundamentalism, on the first day of his
trip to Lebanon. Yeah, right. We've all read our history, Benny, and
we know what it was like in Europe when many countries were ruled by Christian
theocracies. I suspect they still would be if it were not for democracy
and secular authority. However, it's encouraging that Benny is making a
call to the world's leading religions to get their act together and root
out fundamentalism. "Religious fundamentalism seeks to take power for
political ends, at times using violence, over the individual conscience
and over religion," the Pope said. And it was some other bloke who
said, "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the
things that are God's."
So that's it for Satdee. Almost. I just remembered what happened yesterday
at Mark's Barber Shop. I was just about to pay him when he asked if I still
carried my camera with me. "Sure," I answered as I pulled it out of my
pocket. Then one of the other customers told Mark that I'd already taken
a pic of the new Toyota 4WD wagon outside while we were waiting. Anyway,
I noticed a bunch of crap in Mark's sink and said, "Oh, that deserves a
pic... how artistic!" He went to clean the stuff out and I stopped him.
"Leave it all there!" I protested. "This could be a prize-winning photo!"
I should have asked him what a wine cork was doing in the sink. Hello?
The plot thickens. Anyway, time for me to do the kitchen routine and the
telly thing and ride off into the sunset. Gary
September 14, 2012. When SF Bill saw the pic of the fat lady
at the camper doorway, he wrote: I think that might scare me into abandoning
the trip but I would at least move very far away.
That's one of the advantages of having a house on wheels... if the neighbors
are a bit of a worry, you can flee. On the other hand, it might be ME who's
borrowing cups of sugar hehe. Or I could suddenly take an interest in surfboard
When I saw this pic on a newsgroup this morning I thought how cool it
was that all kinds of people are taking an interest in photography... including
very short people.
There was a science program on telly last night that investigated claims
made by manufacturers of cosmetic creams and lotions that their products
reduce or eliminate aging and wrinkles. Some claim to be using stem cell
technology. One said its stem cells are obtained from a particular kind
of apple that has a longer shelf life than regular apples. But when a scientist
investigated the fine print he said the apple was, in fact, a regular apple.
Furthermore, he said stem cells can't survive in a jar of cream - that
they need a very sophisticated controlled environment to remain alive.
The bottom line, he said, was that claims made by these manufacturers were
bogus - that they were blatant false advertising - that the products were
nothing more than moisturizers that had little or no lasting effects on
aging and wrinkles.
So who's policing these outrageous claims? Who's exposing them for fraud?
No one but this program it seems. Meanwhile, millions of people are parting
with their hard earned and the manufacturers are getting rich by lying
to the vulnerable.
Somebody on the program said people are judged by their looks. If that's
the case, then there are lot of shallow people out there who place way
too much emphasis on cosmetic appearance. To me, wrinkles are cool, which
is why I haven't ironed a shirt in years. I figure if you're still depending
on youthful looks in your latter years, then you've lost the plot. I like
to think of myself as no longer a pretty flower but, rather, an interesting
dried arrangement. Hehe.
From the Beeb: Protests against an anti-Islam film made in the US
spread, as angry crowds gather outside US embassies in the Middle East
and North Africa. In my view, anyone who's dumb enough to be obsessive
about religious dogma is also dumb enough to be dangerous. One Middle Eastern
person at the scene of the embassy chaos in Lybia, captured on camera,
shouted defiantly, "Don't upset our people! They will kill!" Go figure.
Actually, all this madness reminds me of a girl named Yvonne in 4th
class who ridiculed me for still believing in Santa Claus. I was devestated
and ran home to my mother to ask her if it was true. So who was to blame?
Yvonne for being brutally honest and hurting my feelings? Me for being
immature and susceptible to fantasy? Or my parents for lying to me in the
"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He's as real as God in Heaven
and everlasting life, and this jar of wrinkle cream."
The Odyssey pledges got another boost today with payment for the Sony
camera, which takes the total so far to 140 ($700). The guy is from Bondi
but he'll be traveling through Taree next Thursday/Friday when he'll collect
Page views skyrocketed yesterday which means peeps are having fun with
the new search facility on AO. And why not? Not only that BUT I just added
a simple guestbook to the bottom of the
main page. If you're tempted to say something wonderfully warm and
fuzzy about me and/or the site, be my guest. And don't be rude.
Jeez, 1pm already, which means Mark the Barber will be at lunch and
won't get back until 2:30. That's how it is in a country town, folks. He
also has Wednesday afternoons off to go surfing. Meanwhile I'm looking
more like an albino Koala every day. I really shouldn't say things like
that cos it only gives TX Greg ideas.
Back from a spot of shopping... a punnet of strawbs for $1.60 and few
other things, including a tool box from Auto Cheap. It's a good sturdy
metal box with a carry handle and latch, and 3 or 4" longer than the plastic
or fabric ones (15"). Pretty cool for $13. I checked to see if my hammer
fitted when I got it home and yes, it does. There's a draw full of loose
tools accumulated over the years so now they have a place of their own
to be stored in one of the bins under the camper. I also got a bit girly
and bought a roll of rose-scented tidy bags for the camper hehe. Oh, and
I was first in line when Mark the Barber returned from lunch.
I asked Mark why his business never suffered as a consequence of his
habit of taking time off to lunch, surf, ski or whatever and he said, "I
have a bad attitude to work. I don't like work. I work because we all have
to work." One of the other two customers remarked earlier as we waited
outside the shop, "It's impossible to offend Mark." He was a few minutes
into cutting my hair when I said, "You never asked me how I wanted it."
And he said, "No, I didn't."
So there ya go... a rather quiet one. When the highlight of your day
is a tool box and/or a haircut, it's not something likely to make the front
page of the Sydney Morning Herald. But Waffle is a different matter. The
toolbox is another small step toward the Odyssey. Each time something finds
its home in the camper, it's a sure sign that preparations are being made
for something pretty special. Yeah? That's the way I look at it. Meanwhile,
it's time to think about what I'll have for dinner. I figure the fish fillet
in lemon and parsley sauce might be the go. Catch you on the morrow. Gary
September 13, 2012. Well, there's another $16 towards the Odyssey.
I won it in Lotto last night hehe. Sheesh. That's barely enough to buy
a cheap bottle of champers. We used to call our sparkling whites Champagne
until the French got a bit miffed and stopped us using the name. We can
use the names of grape varieties but not the names of places in France.
How does the name Boggabilla Bubbly sound? Pretty flash, yes? Not as flash
as Perignon, though. Aussie wines have a great reputation in many parts
of the world. We've had a glut for the past decade or so and the stuff
I buy, although quite quaffable, is cheap as chips... about $2.50 a liter
(even cheaper when it's on spesh).
The number of pages accessed on AO increased dramatically yesterday
so someone must've been trying out the Google search facility. TX Greg
hasn't had a chance to check the reason it appears on Firefox but not on
Internet Explorer yet but he says it's more of Bill Gates' bullshit.
Pay Day! Not that it improves the bank balance much. By the time the
outgoings are taken care of, I get the crumbs. At least I'm surviving.
Today is the last day of the Sony camera auction on eBay. I started
it last Thursday at one dollar. It's up to over $90 now with about 3 hours
to go. It was originally an $1800 camera back in 2002/3. I bought it in
2007/8 for $400. But it's a bit of a dinosaur now in terms of technology
so I wasn't expecting anything more than about $100 (even though I've included
all the accessories with it). Cest la vie. Meanwhile, I'm pretty happy
with what the 3 Fujis are capable of. And I like the fact that they use
Here's a shot I took just now using the smaller Fuji in super macro
of the chicken or egg conundrum.
Not bad, huh? It took 8 shots to get that particular one. BTW, it's
a free range egg. And the feather is one that escaped from my quilt. Natural
My first TV ad was for a carpet retailer in town, back in 1971 when
I worked for an advertising agency. Our offices were on the first floor
of a building in Mann St Gosford. The lower floor was occupied by a fast
food/sandwich shop. In the morning, a colleague and I drove out to a chicken
farm not far from town and got a loan of a hen, which we brought back to
the office. Then we borrowed an egg from the shop proprietor and also borrowed
his spare room at the rear of the shop. We laid out a roll of carpet, placed
the egg on it, sat the hen on the egg, then filmed the hen rising from
the egg (as if having just laid it) and wandering out of shot. It took
a few takes cos the damn chook kept getting up too fast. But at least it
didn't crap on the carpet hehe. The theme of the ad was something like
"we take great care in what we lay". Anyway, it turned out to be a pretty
good ad... and I was quite chuffed about it being my first.
The editor, who worked at a TV station in Newcastle, told me it was
the first time he'd seen a script divided into 3 columns... video, voice
over, and a third column with each scene timed to the second. I'd never
seen a TV script before so I kinda invented that one. Seemed logical to
TX Greg got around to figuring out what went wrong with the Google search
engine and began his email with OH GARRRRRRY !!! , which is Texan
for 'you bloody dickhead'. In other words, I placed Google's script in
the wrong place which is why Internet Explorer couldn't find it. But all
is well now (with all browsers), and the search box is now located at the
bottom of the main AO page as well as the update, journal, and waffle index
pages. Finding anything on the site is a piece of cake... and fast.
At least it was simple. Actually kind of fun to play with. I just
searched "fossil" and got 24 hits and guess what the google ad was, www.fossil.com
Well, that's made a really big diff to my concerns about "how the hell
is anyone gonna find stuff on this site?" Even now it's a gig's worth of
text and pics but I anticipate it being a lot bigger once I'm on the road.
One idea was to list all towns in alphbetical order and then link them
as I visit them, but that would be an horrendous task!
Another idea was to animate the map on the main page to show where I
am at any given stage with a pin or something. But I don't have the software
to put pins and text on graphics. Anyone know of a cheap graphics/photo
editing program? The problem with Google maps is they don't show a
particular place like Taree in relation to the whole of Oz. However,
if you zoom out you can see how Taree relates to major centers like Sydney
The Sony camera sold for $102 plus $20 postage. Oh well... easy come,
easy go. It was just sitting around here gathering dust and not being used.
Anyway, that's another contribution to the Odyssey.
Roite, I just downloaded PhotoScape after trying desperately to avoid
all kinds of freebies from downloading sites. Talk about pushy buggers!
PhotoScape is a graphic/photo editing program that has good reviews, is
simple to use (it'd wanna be for dummy here), and is free. So here comes
another learning curve! It ain't no PhotoShop, of course, but nonetheless
has lots of cool features. I'm looking at the main page now. Hello? Did
I mention learning curve? Sheesh! Why do I keep DOING this to myself? Oh
well... I really need to know something about the basics of photo/graphics
manipulation so I better do the Nike thing and JUST DO IT. It all looks
a bit overwhelming at the mo but there's an online help site that has 'how
to' vids of the various features, so I suppose I'll eventually get the
gist of it.
Terry Everson, my RB mate whom I mentioned yesterday, just saw my egg
photo and commented: sicks munce igo u coodunt evin spel artist now
you R 1.
Watched QI last night with Stephen Fry. He's a funny bloke. He was talking
about mobile phones (cell phones in the US) and how the Germans call them
mein Handy hehe. He camped it up something wonderful... even one of the
panelists (who's a very funny lady) asked him to do it again. Anyway,
I found the clip on Youtube.
It's been a hottie today in Taree... 30C and humid. The forecast was
for thunderstorms later in the day (which is where we're at now). I don't
wanna tempt fate but all we've had so far is a bit of a breeze and a few
drops. Actually, that's one of the disadvantages of the camper... I can't
hide under the bed.
Stephen Fry also mentioned a couple of interesting things about lightning:
If you're caught outdoors during an electrical storm, the best thing to
do is seek refuge in your car. If there's no car, kneel down, put your
head between your knees, hands over your head, and bum in the air. (One
of the panelists - the woman - had the temerity to suggest he does that
all the time anyhow hehe). Fry also said never stand under a tree when
lightning is flashing all around you. The problem is not so much the lightning
itself, but if it strikes the tree, the sap boils instantaneously and causes
the tree to explode.
So wot's for dinner? Can't be bothered cooking much or buggerizing around
soooooo... I think I'll have pancakes. Hehe. WHY NOT? Before I vanish,
let's take a quick look at the Beeb. Oh, yes, the Lybian bombing that killed
the US ambassador. Now who in the world would be crazy enough to make a
movie satirizing Islam and call a donkey Mohammed? I can't believe it.
And now there's some loony US Bible Belt nitwit threatening to promote
the film. Talk about a red rag to a bull. Quite a few million bulls, actually.
Obama is not amused.
And in Europe, pro-Europe parties won the Dutch vote and the far-righters
got their political ass kicked. Good. The last thing the world needs is
more loonies. And that's it, Ls and Gs, time for telly and pancakes. Hehe.
September 12, 2012. I'd love to have seen the expressions on
everyone's faces when they checked out yesterday's Waffle and saw the view
through the camper doorway. What a classic pic.
TX Greg has a point though. I'll be exposed to new and different situations
on a daily basis and ANYTHING could happen. It ain't gonna be dull out
there, and the ol' keyboard's gonna be kept busy. As I mentioned to Oregon
Richie this morning, it's been a pretty rough ride since I went bust back
in the early 90s so it's high time my fortunes changed.
Ohio Jace also sent a pic of something I might see through the camper
doorway hehe, but I better not post it cos there's a wobbly bit. He also
wrote: From Waffle: I know how Richie feels. The closer my wedding got
the more nervous I got and I could not believe June actually said yes (still
can't). It had to be a dream a very pleasant dream that I would wake from.
Wasn't though, we went from friends, to best friends, marriage, back to
friends, and finally very good friends again with two boys somewhere in
there. All in a span of nearly 50 years. I know about microwave dinners
too. I tell everyone if it can't be cooked in a microwave I don't want
it. I do still cook though. Mostly, when company comes calling. Micro's
are for reheating not cooking. It does make nice hot chocolate for the
kiddies on a cold winter morning and my morning cuppa.
I made the scrambled eggs with cheese in the micro last night. Micros
are handy, and the ones that double as a conventional oven can be used
for all kinds of cooking. But I won't be using one on the Odyssey... not
unless they make gas micros. I reckon the jaffle iron and pan will get
the most use... and maybe the campfire and/or camp BBQ. The local hamburger
joint might get a visit or two as well... not to mention the pie shop.
Jace also says the Paralympics weren't covered by his local media...
no medal count and rarely a highlight in the newspaper. Running sixth wouldn't
have stimulated much interest either... but lack of media attention is
not a good thing for the American athletes. There was a report on telly
that fructose (sugar), which is in almost everything, especially, Pepsi
and Coke, prevents the body from taking up calcium, so the body makes up
for it by borrowing calcium from the skeleton, making the bones brittle.
That's interesting because Sue has advanced osteoporosis and she's been
a candy eater all her life. Averil has moderate osteoporosis and loves
her cakes and pastries.
Meanwhile, the Ohio Gang is fine, and Jace's great nephew - the one
who had a motocross accident and broke his leg - is determined to race
again. Oh well... we all know what they say about bois.
The throbbing in my foot from the ant bite yesterday finally subsided
last night, about 10 hours after the nippers did their thing. NC Art reckons
there's a sure fire way to fix insect bites: ...make a small poultice
of chewing tobacco, well chewed, and apply to wound. Sounds nutty, but
it’s powerful. Don’t chew tobacco? keep a bit on hand for the Odyssey;
you never know what you’ll meet up with.
True. If I got bitten by that woman in Greg's pic, for example, a bit
of chewing tobacco could very well be the perfect antidote. Yeah... right.
I'll keep it in mind, Art.
Oregon Richie has this to say about the Dem Convention: Well... yeah,
the political sabre rattling is bound to gear up again soon, and recent
press here indicates that Obama got a larger "convention bounce" than Romney
did. Call it a "commanding lead" ? But it ain't over until...
you know. Most die-hards know exactly who they are going to vote
for... but the so-called independent types are a different story.
I don't they particularly like either party, or are hard-core cynical about
them, and if they choose to vote at all then perhaps they cast their nod
to the one thinks will do the LEAST harm, rather than the most good.
Beyond that... it's to convince folks to just get out and vote... whether
at a polling station, or by mail, as Oregon does. Nobody who gives
a damn can afford one bit of apathy about it; that's for sure. It
I've just spent a while installing the Google search engine on Aussie
Odyssey... top of the main home page, journal-main page, updates page,
thejournal0000 index page and waffle index page. It works pretty well.
Type in anything you remember from previous years and up she comes. It'll
certainly be handy in a few years after I've covered some territory. Thanks
for the tip, Greg.
Hmmm. I just checked those AO pages using Internet Explorer and the
Google search engine is missing. It only appears when I'm using Firefox.
Must be some kinda compatability issue between those two. I've just spent
ages trying to sort it out but can't. No point in having a search engine
that doesn't work with all browsers so if TX Greg doesn't know the answer
then I'll remove it and go for something else.
Using my own search engine would mean having to update it each time
I post something new but I suppose that's not much of a hassle. Greg says
he can whip up a simple CGI script on the weekend when my eyeballs are
Meanwhile I've buggerized around with something that wasted several
hours AND I HATE THAT! Grrrrr!
Well, I cleaned up the old deep fryer today so I can make CHIPPIES tonight.
Luv dem chippies! Luv potato scallops too. Dunno if you have them over
there... thin slices of potato dipped in batter. I usually add granulated
garlic and ground pepper to the batter mix for a bit of zing. On the Odyssey,
I'll restrict deep frying to outdoors... bit too dangerous in the camper.
Actually, it wouldn't be a bad idea to invest in one of those single
burner propane stoves that use gas cartridges. Quicker and easier than
getting a campfire going... and useful as a spare if I run outta gas in
the main bottle. The one pictured is only 20 bucks.
A fellow Red Bubbler, Terry Everson, just commented on a couple of my
pics. He lives in Western Sydney and spends each week (except for his day
off) caring for his mom who turned 100 yesterday. With a name like Everson
I'm not surprised. Anyway, it makes dear Arthur seem like a sprout. When
Terry was a youngster, he and his bro hopped into a
little Hillman Imp (Rootes Group's answer to the Morris Mini) with
a huge pile of camping gear tied to the roof racks, and drove around Oz.
I can't believe that little car handled the distance as well as the rough
roads. But it covered over 60,000 miles without a hitch. Terry's been around
Oz many times since, and also traveled much of the world.
Getting close to telly time and chippies time now, so it's a wrap, dear
Breth. Almost... just checked the Beeb and it seems the Euro crisis is
deepening: Germany's top court is about to deliver its verdict on whether
the ongoing attempts to contain the eurozone crisis breach the country's
constitution. And in the Netherlands: A close race is expected as
voters in the Netherlands go to the polls after a campaign dominated by
concerns about the eurozone crisis.
September 11, 2012. TX Greg wrote: Remember what you said the
other day about camping in Doodle Waddle "and that fat lady who keeps
borrowing cups of sugar.." HAHAHAHA.....
Oh dear.... my worst nightmare! Funny, yes... unless you happen
to be trapped in the camper with nowhere to run! I'll have nightmares about
that for sure. However, the pic does demonstrate how dramatically the view
from the rear door is capable of changing with each day. The camper is
only the means to an end and not the end in itself... or something like
that. Once a regular house sits on its foundations, that's it... end of
story. Not so with a house on wheels.
And that's the thing I'm endeavoring to wrap my head around when I try
to imagine what it will be like. We're not talking a week or two here.
We're talking years on the road. We're talking the whole of Oz, which is
not only the world's largest island but also a continent! It's about 3000
kms from one side to the other, and from top to bottom! How's that for
scary? When Francois recently finished his 900 nautical mile trip around
the Belep Islands, he returned home. What do I return to? Know what I mean?
It's just li'l ole me wandering around this vast land with no roots...
a tumbleweed at the mercy of the winds. Hehe. Sheesh. Try wrapping the
old brain around that lot.
The only "anchor" I have (and have had for the past decade or so) is
you blokes. My cyber friends are my family. My permanent home is this web
site and the Waffle page. It's where I go every day for a chat. Without
it, I'd be truly isolated on the Odyssey, which would be even scarier.
So even when I'm out in the middle of Woop Woop, I can stay in touch with
the peeps I know and with whom I have a sense of belonging. Otherwise,
I don't think I'd have the courage to embark on such a whacky project.
On the other hand (now where have I heard that before?), I'm curious
to know what it's like to be surrounded by nothing except a landscape that
stretches for umpteen miles in all directions, and where I'm not likely
to see another soul for days on end; where there's just me and the universe
and silence... and
maybe one of these guys.
Later today, TX Greg wrote: "Oooooh Gary darling, I'll trade you
some sugars for a cup of sugar!"
I've been laughing my ass off all day at that photo :) Now if you
dream tonight about a fat lady trying to crawl into your camper bed, don't
blame me, you gave me the idea, hehe. The minute I saw that pic this morning
I just had to do it. It's endless all the photos that could go in there
Endless? Knowing you, Greg, that's what worries me.
Buttons and Bows prompted NC Art to comment: Dinah Shore was a good
one, and before her we had Kate Smith, the “Songbird of the South.” Kate
had a full Southern drawl and was, ah, generously endowed and some would
say overly plump. At some society function or other, she crossed swords
Bankhead, chain smoking, gravel voiced, leather skinned actress who
took no crap from anyone. Miss Bankhead took the measure of Miss Smith
and growled, “What a gross tub of shit you are.” An all-out nail &
claw hair-pulling performance was averted when friends hastened them to
opposite sides of the room. Our current crop of outrageous
celebrities are a rather pale lot.
Art also wrote to tell me that: A poll of registered Ohio voters
on who deserves more credit for the removal of Osama bin Laden, Barack
Obama or Mitt Romney, yielded this opinion:
Obama 38% Mitt Romney 15% Undecided 47%
The figures are from memory, but they are close.
In awe, Art
I guess that means 62% of peeps wouldn't have a bloody clue what's going
on, and I'm not sure I find that surprising. Dangerous, perhaps, but not
surprising. Meanwhile, according to Art, Jim Baker and Jimmy Swaggert have
written an impressive new book. It's called .... 'Ministers Do More Than
Earlier, I asked TX Greg about putting a search engine on Aussie Odyssey
to make it easier for peeps to find specific things on the site. There
are ways to create something exclusive to AO or there's a freebie by Google,
which uses all their resources. Okay, so it's free because there are ads
but if peeps find what they want fast and without hassle, what's the prob?
I'll check out the Google freebie tomorrow. They also have an option that's
ad free, but that's $100 a year. I'll try the freebie first.
And here we are on the anniversary of 9/11. I get a little confused
about that cos we place the day before the month. No need for a pic cos
we've all seen them a zillion times before, and remember exactly where
we were and what we were doing at the time. Averil and I spoke about it
briefly when I popped in for a chat earlier today... what a horror it was...
one of those rare events that stuns the world and beggars disbelief. Cody
wrote "has the world gone mad?" He was with Steph at her house, and he
explained to me that they didn't make love because "how could you have
sex after seeing something like that?"
9/11 was one of those tragic reminders that it's impossible to have
a middle without extremes on either side.
Meanwhile, SF Bill, who bobs up now and then, wrote: I really like
the pics of that red MG, but I've got to say it looks much better than
it drives. I've had a couple of TR3's and 4's in my life, and while
they were fun cars, they required constant hands on care. But the
most fun car I've had over all was a '68 TR Spitfire; dinky little thing
with only 90 hp and a top speed of only 110 mph; but the things I did in
that thing; I'm lucky I'm still alive.
The Brits idea of a sports car is to have something to putter with
on the weekends; Crazy Americans like me (sports car types) want the fastest,
best handling car and the twistiest roads to traverse (yeah, my grammar
is atrocious), not to do constant maintenance on a car on weekends.
I'm sort of ashamed to say that while I like Chevy Corvettes, I don't
like their price and expensive maintenance costs. So, taking into
account performance and costs, I traded in my 2008 Nissan 350Z for a 2012
370Z. It's about $20000 less than a comparable Corvette and I'm totally
happy with the speed and handling; it's also more reliable than the Vette;
I've been lucky to have escaped getting ticketed in it so far, but I think
I've gotten the total crazies out of my system for now and will be driving
more sanely now.
SF Bill is one of those quiet blokes who doesn't like to be noticed...
especially by cops.
Did I say I was bitten by an ant? I was bitten by an ant. I was out
in the backyard photographing spring flowers when a black ant - moderately
large - decided I was trespassing and bit me on the foot. Seven hours later,
my foot is still throbbing, and there's a red welt. I tried the home remedy
trick and put damp salt on the wound plus a band aid but it hasn't helped
much. What a bummer!
Anyway, time to flee again for another day. Scrambled eggs tonight with
cheese... easy and edible. Gary
September 10, 2012. Roy and Buck yesterday brought back memories
for NC Art, and so did the MG: The link to music and that ol’ 5 string
gitfiddle took me back aways. Arthur Smith, the “creator” was a fixture
on WBT Radio in Charlotte, NC, just across the Catawba River from my home
town. I listened to Arthur Smith and the Clodhoppers because my father
kept a radio tuned in. So I heard Dueling Banjos early in its music life.
And, much later, I recall a big cussfight over its use in the film Deliverance.
Smith didn’t get his copyright sustained so no residual rights to royalties
sweetened his bank accounts. He died royally pissed over the whole sorry
mess. The snazzy MG is a real beauty. The first one
I saw in the flesh was sitting in our local police parking lot one morning.
My brother, chief of police, told me to take a look before the federal
guys got there to impound it. The driver was in a cell, also waiting for
the feds. Seems he came rolling through our village at 3 a.m. and was stopped
by an alert cop...just out of curiosity. The chap in the vehicle was a
bit high on cocaine, plus he had a big stash hidden in the car. And a supply
of German pistols, a couple of high powered rifles, and well filled boxes
of ammunition. Never heard what happened to driver or car, but
it was an electric blue beauty. I was 30 years old then, but the boy in
me sure wanted to take that set of wheels for a spin. Didn’t happen.
Speaking of music and radios, I can remember as a kid hearing Dinah
Shore singing Buttons and Bows and wondering how the hell she managed
to fit inside that small box. Radio was a wonderful thing; the center of
attention as we sat in the living room or at the dinner table. "The theater
of the mind", it was called. When I was on air at a radio station in Gosford,
I used to introduce the recorded acapella station IDs as the girls. "Okay,
girls, are you ready to sing our song? All together now..." And then I'd
hit the cartridge play button. Hehe. Lots of peeps thought I had a mini
choir live in the studio. I also realized that lamo jokes could work quite
well if there was a reaction to them, so I got all the office girls into
the studio (off air) and asked them to record various negative reactions
such as boos or moans and whatever. I had a bunch of them on cart for variety.
When ever I cracked a corny one-liner, the girls were always ready to express
their disapproval. It worked a treat.
Here's a Youtube clip I discovered... an ABC News clip of a vet talking
to Mitt Romney about marriage equality. Note the body language... the vet
leans back as if intimidated by Romney while Romney looks the man directly
in the eye as he answers his questions. After Romney leaves, the man assumes
a much more aggressive stance. Click
here for the video.
To my way of thinking, using the argument that marriage has always been
between a man and a woman is like saying that black people have always
been considered inferior which makes it okay to treat them as slaves and
force them to the back of the bus. Or that a woman's place is in the kitchen
and/or at home raising the kids, and that a woman has no right to vote.
The pages of history are littered with examples of resistance to change,
and this is just another page.
I took the little Fuji into the camper today and snapped a pic of the
view through the doorway to remind me on the Odyssey of what it was like
to be in the backyard and wonder about the things I might see through that
same doorway in time to come. As you've no doubt noted, the garage floor
needs sweeping and there's a mess of junk stacked at the rear. Bleh. Dozen
So what kinda views can I expect to see over the next whatever months
and years? Name something. Anything. And don't say New York City or Antarctica.
But whatever there is to see in Oz I'll see. It doesn't seem real, does
it. It seems like some weird fantasy dreamed up by a loony suffering hallucinations.
Hehe. Hmmmm. I must admit, when it does happen, I'll need to pinch myself
to believe it. One thing's for sure, the ol' shutter button will get quite
I was just thinking about being parked at a beach or somewhere in a
crowded place and coming back to the camper to find that someone had pinched
my ladder. It's easy enough to alight from the camper, detach the ladder
and slide it along the floor inside but there might be times I either forget
or can't be bothered. The one I have at the mo is actually from a swimming
pool... lightweight plastic but quite strong. But it's rigid and can't
be folded away. Soooo, how about a rope ladder? Much easier to fold away
and store. Yeah... worth the $30+ I reckon.
Anyway, being on permanent holiday and able to arrive at popular places
like Bondi or Manly early in the morning, well before the crowds, means
I can park in a good spot close to the beach and then wander around the
place at my leisure, using the camper as my base for the day. Camping is
not allowed but you can park all day and probably well into the evening
before you have to move on. For example, if I spend a couple of hours photographing
various sights, I can return to base, check out the pics, fart around on
line for a while, grab a quick snooze, and toddle off again for a while.
There I go, dreaming again. I think I know how Oregon Richie feels.
He's due to marry his sweetheart in two weeks from now. He knows it's gonna
happen but it still seems surreal after so many years as a bachelor arriving
home to his microwave.
Five-ish again but still daylight. The days are getting longer and the
temps are on the rise. Meanwhile, placings on the final day of the Paralympics
remained as they have been for the past few days. Just one gold medal kept
the US from pipping Oz for 5th place hehe. You
can see the final tallies here.
So what does a Mississippi clam have to do with South Sea pearls from
Broome in Western Oz (a place I can't wait to visit)? I wrote about Aussie
pearls recently and discovered this story on the Beeb. It's
On that note, ladies and genitals, I'll call it a wrap, post this page
and relax in front of the telly. Gary
September 9, 2012. TX Greg wrote: That's one hell of a shot
of the camelia. I could see that being used as a background pic with a
poem to the side of it :)
I'm pretty sure the camelia is originally from China. It's related to
the tea tree, so that figures. No shortage of tea in China. Tea is as cheap
as chips now, but there was a time in Britain when tea was highly prized
by the aristocracy and very expensive... the exclusive preserve of the
rich. It was transported from the Orient by fast clipper ships so that
it arrived relatively fresh. Aussies of previous generations still refer
to the evening meal as tea. Between-meal snacks are referred to as morning
tea (10am) and afternoon tea (3pm). Even though coffee is mostly drunk
these days, morning and afternoon breaks are still referred to as tea breaks.
And speaking of the Brits, according to many purists, the early MGs
are the only true sports cars... cloth cap, driving gloves and tweed jacket
Incidentally, it'll be the 100th anniversary of Morris Garages next
year. The Morris Club of Australia will gather in Canberra for the 2013
celebrations. My first car was a used 1951 Morris.
NC Art just forwarded some stuff about the sexes: The difference between
men and women according to George Carlin:
Men socialize by insulting each other but they don't really mean it.
Women socialize by complimenting each other but they don't really mean
Funny stuff, yes? Vive la difference! <--- French for owyagoinmatenoworries.
*knock knock* Hang on... there's someone at the front door. Won't be
Roy: Hi, Gary. I'm Roy and this is my friend Buck.
Gary: Roy Clark and Buck Owens?
Buck: That's us!
Gary: Well, come on in! What are you guys doing here in Taree?
Roy: Just passin' through. We recognized your house from the video
Buck: Yeah, thought we'd call in and say hi to your Aussie Odyssey
Gary: Really? Well, that's very kind of you. Take a seat. Care for
Gary: That'll be five bucks each.
Gary: Just kiddin'. I see you brought your instruments.
Buck: Never go anywhere without 'em, Gary. What would you like to hear?
Gary: Oh, well... er... I dunno.
Gary: I saw the movie back back in the early '70s. Scared the daylights outta me.
Buck: Okay, let 'er rip, Roy...
Well, the guys left a few minutes ago. Wasn't that a surprise? Actually,
it was a little experiment just to see if the link would work. Ya never
know what's gonna happen around here. What I don't know yet is whether
clicking the link takes you to another page or allows you to stay on this
one while the music plays. I do now, though... I just tested it on line.
Dangit. (Update, TX Greg fixed it. Now there's a mini player above.)
I also found a site where you can download free background music for
non-commercial vids and presentations. The music is not brilliant but it's
pretty good. The muso is an enthusiast who just likes writing tunes and
playing. All he wants is a credit on the vid. So there ya go, music for
free. And on the subject of vids, mine on Youtube are slowly but surely
getting more views... nothing viral but encouraging. Which reminds me,
one of these days I'm gonna have to put a search thingy on Aussie Odyssey.
So what happened to my shoot of Tinonee? Lindsay went out and I stayed
home. Dozen madder. It'll get done. And now it's THAT time again. Oops!
Almost forgot the Paralympics medal count: Same placings as yesterday:
China 95/231, Russia 35/101, Britain 33/118, Ukraine 32/83, Australia 31/83,
US 30/96. Brazil has snuck up to 7th again with 20/42. Click
here if you wanna check the whole kit and kaboodle.
Also on the Beeb: Two rare tornadoes have hit New York City's borough
of Queens and Brooklyn, damaging homes, causing blackouts and throwing
debris into the air. The first storm, with winds up to 70mph (113km/h),
struck Breezy Point on Queens' Rockaway Peninsula. The second tornado,
with gusts reaching 110mph, hit Brooklyn's Canarsie area just minutes later.
No injuries were reported, but the storms forced the suspension of the
US Open tennis tournament.
And... Sir Paul McCartney has been given France's highest award, the
Legion of Honour, for services to music. The former Beatle was decorated
by President Francois Hollande during a
ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
So that's about it, folks, time to vamoose for another day. Gary
September 8, 2012. Another weekend and my fav Tar Heeler reckons
if his Studebaker
looked like the one I photographed he wouldn't drive it... not even
in the dark. Hehe. Yes, it was a bit radical... chopped they call them.
The reason I know Art is a Tar Heeler is because on Planet America last
night it was North Carolina's turn to be featured in a short bio of each
of the states in the US. Turpentine was (is?) one of its main products
which is interesting because in Oz we call having a drink getting "on the
turps", or being drunk "fulla turps". Hogs are big biz in Tar Heeler country
Art also comments on Bill Clinton's speech at the Dem Convention: Yep,
Bill Clinton delivered a stemwinder speech at Demo Convention. Jon Stewart,
host of a news spoof show on Comedy Central, quipped, “Bill Clinton was
to make a speech for Barack Obama last night [Wednesday]...it ended five
48 minutes well spent, though. One American commentator and former pollie
who worked with Clinton back in the early days said on Planet America that
Bill was a one off, an exception, a skilled orator who could present material
that might otherwise be boring in such a way as to make it compelling as
well as relevant. Another commentator on the show who said he'd heard every
speech made at every convention (on both sides of the aisle) for the last
40 years rated Bill's as the best he'd ever heard from anyone. Michelle's
speech was also rated highly. And Barack's? Competent, reasonably inspirational,
but not his best. I suppose one could argue that after Michelle's and Bill's
speeches, why bother?
One issue in particular that Bill made relevant was Medicaid. The Republicans
ignored it because poor people don't vote. But Bill pointed out that many
people who rely on Medicaid are in nursing homes, and that older people
Moreover, the fact checkers have been busy criticizing Paul Ryan's and
Mitt Romney's speeches for factual errors but, so far, can't find anything
wrong with those made by the Dems. Whether or not that counts in November
remains to be seen. For one thing, according to the Beeb, President Obama's
hope for campaign momentum after his convention speech is stymied by lacklustre
jobs data, pounced on by his Republican rival. All very interesting, yes?
Meanwhile, placings on Day 9 at the Paralympics haven't changed since
yesterday: China 83/206, Britain 32/114, Russia 32/92, Ukraine 30/74, Oz
29/75, US 27/85. It's pretty close with only 5 golds separating 2nd and
6th. China's off the planet, so they don't count.
This Waffle is coming to you from Taree, a pin prick on the world map,
and a speck of dust in the cosmos.
I saw on telly last night that one our most successful and celebrated
Courtenay, was diagnosed with incurable cancer and given 6 months to
live. "We've all got to die sometime," he said philosophically. His book
The Power of One sold 12 million copies. Yes, we've all got to die sometime
but I'm not sure that Nature's timing is always convenient. I mean when
was the last time you woke in the morning and thought, "Nothing to do today,
so this would be a good time to die"? Courtenay's last novel Jack of Diamonds
is due out in November. He said he wants to be buried vertically in a cardboard
box and have a tree planted over him. What a nice idea. Much nicer than
some cold and lifeless headstone...
Hello, friend, this is me. A tall and stately evergreen tree. Alive and flourishing for eternity. Nourished by what remains of me.
Another report from the Beeb: The chairman of a charity providing
music therapy to street children around the world, has been jailed for
30 years for sexually abusing young boys. Simon McCarty, 40, from Surrey,
was sentenced at the US District Court in Honolulu, Hawaii. McCarty earlier
admitted abusing young boys and making videos of child pornography between
2005 and 2007. I've often wondered what causes pedophilia. My theory
is that it has something to do with being emotionally stunted. Obviously,
some pedophiles are capable of forming adult relationships (such as those
who are married with children) but there seems to be something about their
emotional makeup that failed to make liftoff.
Whaddaya think of this shot? I was playing around with the Fuji S1800
macro setting just to see what it could do. It's another windy day so the
damn camelia was going in and out of focus (from just a few centimeters
away) and refused to stay still! As it happened, it was fortuitous because
I took a pic as the flower moved away and allowed a rush of light to flood
into the frame. I think it looks rather artistic.
Here's another macro; this time of the wisteria. It's pretty but also
a bloody weed taking over the joint.
Roite, meatloaf's mixed...kilo (2 pound) ground steak, good pinch mixed
herbs, 2 cloves crushed garlic, what was left of a can of diced tomatoes,
egg, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, cup shredded parmesan, chopped onion, chopped
celery stick, ground pepper... um, did I forget something? I don't think
so. Sometimes I add a teaspoon or two of curry powder but I think that
might compete with the parmesan, so I didn't this time. Anyway, it's sitting
at room temp on the bench allowing the flavors to meld for a few hours
before being plunged mercilessly into a moderate oven for 1 1/4 hours to
roast, together with quartered spuds and some pumpkin quarters (do you
know anyone who pronounces pumpkin 'punkin'?). Before the plunge, the top
of the meatloaf as well the spuds will be sprayed with cooking oil, and
the spuds will get a generous sprinkle of mixed herbs. The finished masterpiece
will be soived with rich brown gravy.
I bought regular ground steak rather than premium cos the extra fat
content is better for roasting and also improves carving (and flavor).
Jeez, I haven't cooked anything like this since last year! Next weekend
I think I'll roast a marinated chicken in a bag. BTW, that fish fillet
in a bag with lemon and parsley sauce, micro'd for 5 minutes the other
night, was quite noice, and I still have one left over. The flesh is flaky
and can be eaten with a fork no wukkers.
My dancing tree has stopped. If it's calm tomorrow I might re-shoot
Tinonee and maybe do Croki as well. We'll see. And I won't forget the monopod!
But for now, dear viewers, it's almost 5pm and getting close to meatloaf
in the oven time, not to mention spud peeling and pumpkin peeling. I wonder
if North Carolina is also famous for pumpkins. We had a state premier's
wife back in the '80s who was just as famous for her pumpkin scones as
her husband was for his politics. Joh Bjelke Don't-You-Worry-About-That
Petersen. What a character he was.
Anyway, time to get cracking in the kitchen. Gary
September 7, 2012. Sometimes a bloke's gotta crack the whip to
keep the boys in line. NC Art wrote: OK OK, that was a flash Buick.
While it was tooling around town I was driving a ‘47 Studebaker! Tough
as nails and given enough time, would wind up to 70 mph and run all day
on one fill up of gasoline [petrol to you I guess]. The poor beast got
caught in two monstrous hailstorms within one hour on a beautiful Sunday
afternoon. Some of the hail pellets were the size of my fist and beat dents
in every part of the car. I couldn’t stand to look at such a grievously
wounded creature and traded it for a used ‘52 Ford, Souped up with ground
cylinder head to increase compression and twin Dynetone mufflers for sound
effects. Got stopped once for improper equipment, so I was forced to drive
sedately where there might be constabulary lurking. The damned car could
hardly make it from one fill up station to the next. What a hog, but fun
while it lasted.
I remember those early Studebakers. My dad said they looked like they
were going backwards because of the rear window design. Here's
a pic of one I took a few years ago at a car show in Taree. I'm also
familiar with the '52 Ford Custom. I got lost as a kid in my own suburb
(can you believe that?) and walked into a tailor's shop. It was almost
closing time so I waited around for a while and then he drove me home.
I remember being sooooo impressed by that car and can still smell the leather.
I was about four feet nothing at the time and it seemed so BIG inside!
TX Greg also got the fingers tapping: Well maybe the Buick just didn't
have the right kind of wobbly parts, hehe :) I got rushed the other day
and forgot to tell you, that story about you in Doodle Waddle got me rolling
on the floor :) It would take days to make a graphic of what you
described in that one!
And guess who's back? Francois has returned from his 900 nautical mile
trip around the Belep
Islands, north of New Caledonia. He says keeping up with two energetic
teens on two boats for 40 days was quite a challenge, and one that caused
his health to suffer a bit. He says he now has to sort through over 4000
photos for his web site.
Do those lips remind you of someone you used to know?
And there's breakfast. I have no idea what kind of fish it is but I
can see that it's less than thrilled with being hauled out of the water.
Francois says: The sea even not very clear, is quiet and beautiful and
the fishes are so big and numerous I didn't imagine it'd exist. If this
islands weren't so far of my daughter's, I'd go and live there, at the
rythm of the sea and sun, far of our stupid civilization...
Well, that's about as far from "our stupid civilization" as you can
get. And I must say it looks very tempting. If I'm not mistaken, that dog
looks like it has a bit of Australian Kelpie in the breed. Francois also
says, Tribes of kanaks are nice and interresting peoples: much more
than many white men! The kids even dragged me in their church for a mass
with their music... once is not bad. Landscapes and villages are unforgetable.
And by the way, here's lunch... (the one on the right, dummy).
Thanks for the pics (with permission to post them) and the update, Francois.
It's also a great insight into what the pages of Aussie Odyssey will look
like when I'm on the road... lots of pics to illustrate the places I'm
currently visiting and what's going on... as well as the usual albums and
videos. However, unlike Francois, I'll have the advantage of updating the
site each day (or two) rather than accumulating 000's of pics over a long
period. Even when I'm in areas where there's no phone or internet connection,
I'll still have everything ready to be uploaded as soon as I'm back on
line again. At least, that's the theory.
Meanwhile, what's happening with the Paralympics? Britain has regained
second placing over Russia but the next three placings remain the same:
China 70/183, Britain 31/108, Russia 31/85, Ukraine 27/68, Australia 25/69,
From the Beeb: US President Barack Obama will use his Democratic
convention speech to tell American voters they face the "choice of a generation".
There was an Aussie "expert" on American politics last night on telly who
was asked how many Aussies are interested in American politics. "Not many,"
he said, "but there are a few." In my case, I've always been interested
in what America does on the world stage, right from the Cold War days when
JFK was assassinated. That event shocked the world. But it wasn't until
Obama was elected that I began to take an interest in American politics
and politicians per se (although I was kinda impressed with Bill Clinton).
I find myself actually barracking for Barack even though I don't have a
vote. Back when GWB was elected the first time around I figured he was
one of two American candidates and it didn't really matter which one ended
up in the White House. In fact, I supported Bush's invasion of Iraq just
after 9/11 which was something Francois and I disagreed upon. One time
I called him a silly man. As it turned out, there were no Weapons of Mass
Destruction and no Bin Laden. I can understand now why Francois would rather
live with the Kanaks on The Belep islands instead of in "our stupid civilization".
By now you would have heard Obama's speech at the Dem Convention. No
razzle-dazzle rhetoric, just plain speaking... the choice of a generation
between two very different ideologies and 'a better place'. I've heard
no one name GWB as the culprit who caused the country to sink into a finanical
mire but it's pretty obvious that he's the one they're pointing the finger
at. I think it's a bit rich of the Republicans to be blaming Obama for
the troubles he inherited. Planet America is on tonight so I'll look forward
to hearing more about the speeches and any difference they might make to
the candidates' electoral chances. One Aussie commentator said last night
that we ain't seen nuthin' yet. The election is still two months away and
the big advertising campaigns are yet to begin.
Guess what I'm doing? Making chips! Last time I popped a chip into the
ole north and south was 9 months ago. It's only a small potato and about
a dozen chips, so it's a trial. Stand by! Salt is not normally something
I add to cooked food but chips are the exception. Mmmm. Oops! Too soon.
They're bloody HOT! But they look good... just right... lightly golden
and a little bit crisp on the outside. Yes! Success! I'm now into my third
chip. I can hear my stomach saying, "Looky looky at what's coming! Yummy,
yummy!" Actually, they're pretty easy to eat... just the right size, and
soft in the center. Chips are definitely back on the menu. For one thing,
I desperately need bulking up. I'm starting to make Lindsay look like Arnie.
Been another hottie today but also windy. Fortunately for us on the
north coast, the gale force winds have been limited to the south coast
of NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. Poor buggers have had to put up with uprooted
trees, power lines down, roofs blown off, and all the usual mayhem. One
unlucky 70 y/o driver slammed into a fallen tree lying across the road
and was killed. That's when you notice just how big a tree can be. I came
across one on a dirt road a few years ago in a national park not far from
here. Fortunately, I saw it well in advance. No way I could get around
or past that thing, so I had to double back. Its girth was as high as the
front of my car. Trees are wonderful things, and I love them dearly...
provided they remain vertical. And don't catch fire.
What was I just saying about the wind? The tree down the road (which
I can see through the window) is dancing around like a drunken ballerina,
and I can hear the howling.
And here we are again, ladies and genitals, on this eve of yet another
Satdee... it's time to say 10 4 (or whatever it is those truckies say on
their CBs)... roger, message received, over and out, and all that yadda
yadda. It's telly time! And dinner? I think I'll pig out on some pasta...
macaroni cheese. Gary
September 6, 2012. Millions, literally millions, of people emailed
me yesterday to say how much they enjoyed the pics of the old Buick. Yeah,
right. It's a good thing I'm not overly sensitive.
However, ONE person, namely NC Art, did comment on the old Tinonee lockup:
jail in Tinonee [whatever] reminds me of the lockup in Dayton, TN. During
the Scopes trial for teaching evolution against state law, since everyone
knew that the earth was 6,000 years old and God made Adam out of dust and
Eve out of Adam’s rib. A big city news reporter was locked up to keep him
from filing stories about the courtroom farce. Temp topped 105F degrees,
so you can imagine how the poor devil sweated and gasped for several hours.
The big story was some big lawyers. Clarence Darrow came from Chicago to
defend poor Scopes, and William Jennings Bryan, the silver tongued orator
and perennial presidential candidate, arrived to assist the prosecution.
What a circus. Scopes was found guilty and fined $100. He didn’t have ten
cents so Darrow paid the fine and the Chicago Tribune had a field day reporting
on a swell comedy. It took place the year I was born—1925—so I had to read
about it later. Footnote: Bryan, the preacher/lawyer/gadabout, ate a whopping
Sunday dinner of fried chicken, potatoes, gravy, beans, and apple pie—and
died of a stroke right after.
At least he had the decency to finish his meal before he left the table.
Anyway, no filluming today... too windy. The tall tree a few doors down
the road is waving about like a drunken sailor. Lindsay is taking advantage
of my being home to "have a drink with the boys" at the pub. Yeah, right.
There's only one "boy". It has lots of buttons and flashing lights and
I watched clips of Michelle Obama making her speech to the Dem Convention
on telly last night. She's a bright lady. Americans love all that stuff
about doing it tough as a youth and struggling through college, etc...
buying suits off the rack. It's all about "humanizing" the President before
he takes center stage. So far, the polls have Obama and Romney neck and
neck, but I have a feeling that'll change as the election draws nearer.
I'll be very surprised if Obama doesn't serve a second term.
The medal tally at the Paralympics on Day 7 continues to be close (with
the exception of China). Britain has slipped to 3rd behind Russia, and
the US is nudging Oz for 5th hehe. China 60/159, Russia 28/73, Britain
25/92, Ukraine 22/59, Oz 22/61, US 21/64.
Well, it's goodbye to the Sony camera. I bought it 4 years ago when
it was already 4/5 years old so it's getting a bit long in the tooth. Might
as well auction it now while it's still worth something. Besides, I never
use it. I still have 3 Fujis. The old Kodak doesn't count. That's already
a museum piece.
30C at the mo (mid afternoon) which is 86F. How's that for a spring
day? It won't last long though... back to normal in a day or two. Lately,
I've been hanging out for a meatloaf with roast spuds and pumpkin. No point
in making one for just li'l ole me, though, so I told L&S I'd make
one on the weekend when Sue doesn't have meals on wheels delivered. There'll
be enough for Sunday as well, with mash, peas and gravy. It cost $19 for
the ground steak, spuds, onions, pumpkin, celery and parmesan. Divide that
by 6 servings and you get a bit over $3 a pop. Tonight, fish is on the
menu for me... steamed in the micro with lemon and parsley sauce. I should
be able to handle that.
Interestingly, I just popped into the camper for something and noticed
that it wasn't hot, not even after a long day in the sun and being locked
up. I guess it must have insulation of some kind. Figures... it has all
new interior lining. So that's a bonus!
It's been a quiet day, dear Breth, and that's putting it mildly. Maybe
things will liven up a little tomorrow. Gary
September 5, 2012. Day six of the Paralympics and Oz has slipped
to 5th. Mind you, there's not much between 2nd and 6th with Brazil knocking
on the door in 7th place. China 53/132, Britain 23/79, Russia 23/62, Ukraine
18/50, Oz 18/52, US 14/47.
Checked out an auto newsgroup this morning and spotted this sweet chariot.
I could very happily be seen trundling around town in this old girl...
a '49 Buick.
If you study the middle pic, it's easy to see where the
first Holden got its styling from. Anyway, I can imagine that Buick
turning plenty of heads in its day, and there it is still turning heads
over 60 years later. In fact, I'm willing to bet that it turns more heads
than many of its younger siblings. What a stunning maaaachine!
Stan the Lawn Man is here and I spoke to him about making me a little
laptop table for the camper. No worries. He also knows a bloke who's selling
his table-top ute but it's too early for me. I ain't got the dough yet.
$5000 for a 2002 Ford Courier with only 130K kms is pretty good value.
It's the local undertaker's ute so you can guess what it was used for.
Hehe. Never mind, mine will arrive when the time is right.
Speaking of trucks, I saw this M&M truck on a newsgroup this morning.
What a cute idea!
From the Beeb: US Democrats launch their national convention to make
the case that the US economy's best chance of revival lies in re-electing
President Obama. Yes, folks, it's party time again! I'll be sure to
watch Planet America this Friday to see all the highlights.
China warns the US not to intervene in regional tensions over the
South China Sea as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in Beijing.
Now there's one lady who's not afraid to speak her mind.
A small grey bungalow sits on a quiet street in Port Hedland, Western
Australia. It's got three bedrooms, one bathroom and a gravel front yard.
The house rents for A$3,000 ($3,097; £1,957) a week - and it is by
no means the most expensive property in town. Four-bed houses cost more
and if you want to buy, you'll need a million. Yep, it's happening
in a lot of small towns in Oz. The mining companies move in, accommodation
becomes scarce and rents go up, real estate prices go up, food goes up,
and everything else goes up. Read
the full story here.
Back from Tinonee, a small village not far from here. But it was a waste
of time. I forgot to bring the monopod so all the video footage is shaky.
The bigger Fuji doesn't have a stabilizer. However, there was no flare
problem because the lens can be fitted with a hood. Soooo, I'll have to
shoot it all over again. There's not a helluva lot that's of any great
interest at Tinonee so I'll shoot a couple of other villages around the
traps as well and edit a collage.
What did I say about the bigger Fuji not having a stabilizer? Just now
I did a test in front of the house of the traffic, using the monopod. Not
bad. Not absolutely perfect but not bad. It'll do.
So all that buggerizing around for nothing means the day's gone with
not much to show for it. Never mind, there's always tomorrow and hopefully
a few more tomorrows after that. Oh.... and another thing I forgot at Tinonee...
the general store. Can't have a vid without the general store! In fact,
that's the only store Tinonee has.
And that's it, ladies and genitals, time to fade to black until we meet
September 4, 2012. Let's fast-forward to sometime in 2013. Well,
ladies and genitals, here I am camped just outside Doodle Waddle, a small
town in South Oz near Bingabungabonga. It's raining cats and dogs and I'm
stuck inside the camper for the third day in a row. One of the rear wheels
is bogged in a hole fulla mud so I dunno how the hell I'm gonna extricate
the Ute from that mess. It's also caused the camper to lean at an angle
so the damn fridge won't work... and it's humid as hell. The solar panel
has stopped working, of course, and the batteries are low. The bloke next
door has decided to amuse himself with hillybilly country music playing
at a zillion decibles so I can hardly think. Otherwise, the Odyssey is
going really well despite the four flat tires so far and that fat lady
who keeps borrowing cups of sugar...
Hmmm. Back to the present, and it's a magnificent spring day in Taree...
sunny, bright and warm. Lindsay has toddled off somewhere and left me in
charge of collecting Sue's dinner from the meals on wheels person and paying
the weekly bill. What's he gonna do when I'm no longer here?
Next on the shopping list is a tool box. At the mo, I have an assortment
of tools in a drawer... a hammer, various screwdrivers, spanners, a pruning
saw, pruning shears, wrench, pliers, allen keys, screws, nails, nuts and
bolts, wire, rope and whatever. It all needs to be neatly packed away and
stored in the camper. I'll need extras as well... axe, spade, crow bar,
yadda yadda. I already have a general purpose tool kit... a cheapie in
a plastic box. Nothing flash but good enough. I also have a foot pump,
a couple of ground sheets, tent, beach shade, pop up shower/loo tent, porta
potti, 3 camp chairs, first aid kit...
I could probably draw up a list of all the things I'll need but I suspect
it'll frighten the daylights outta me, so I better not. I figure buying
a little at a time will lessen the impact. But it is exciting... kinda...
slowly preparing for the big event. Remember when Wingnut's mom helped
him pack for the mountain hike with all the guys and put pajamas in his
backpack? Hehe. He was outraged.
But back to my stuff... The stove has a grill compartment but no tray.
I'm not sure I wanna grill stuff anyway. Too much spitting of fat which
means CLEANING. I think I'll leave that kinda cooking to outdoors except
for simple things like grilled cheese and tomato on toast. Which means
I'll need a grill tray. Okay. Done.
I hope I'm not boring you but it's not every day you pack for a 10 year
Oops! Oz has slipped to 4th in the Paralympics medal tally on day 5.
China's waaaaaay out in front, but it's pretty tight for the next 5 placings:
China 46/112, Britain 19/63, Russia 16/49, Oz 16/48, Ukraine 15/42, US
I see on the Beeb that Obama is doing his rolled-up sleeves and open
neck trick in Louisiana where the floods have caused havoc. I wonder if
he'll be more sartorially splendiferous at the Democratic Convention. I
also hear that Bill Clinton will make the opening address, which reminds
me that George W Bush was conspicuous by his absence at the Republican
Convention. Clint Eastwood wasn't... and went over like a lead balloon.
Oh, the fun and games of it all.
Also from the Beeb: A ban on smoking in enclosed public places has
come into effect in Lebanon, prompting sit-in protests by some restaurant
and cafe owners. Smoking, which is banned in public in much of Europe and
the United States, is very popular in Lebanon. Tell me about it. Oz
has now passed legislation in favor of plain packaging. Light up a smoke
in Oz these days and you're likely to be stoned to death. Meanwhile, the
Australian government continues to profit from the LEGAL sale of tobacco
products: Competing in a highly regulated environment, more than 70
per cent of the retail price of our products is collected by the Australian
government in the form of excise. In 2009/2010 tobacco excise is estimated
to contribute 24% of total excise collected. This amounts to approximately
$6 billion dollars in government revenue from British American Tobacco
Australia alone. BAT has just under half the Australian market, so
the total revenue would be something in the order of $13-$14b. Who'd wanna
ban the sale of tobacco altogether when you're making that kinda loot?
Then there's the booze gig as well.
A Jehovah's Witness just told me he's envious, to which I replied "so
you should be". He knocked at the door and handed me a brochure asking
if I'd like to wake up every morning with happy, positive thoughts. So
I told him I was already positive 'cos I'd just made a pancake with sugar
and lemon juice which I was about to devour. Anyway, according to the brochure,
Jehovah has plans to create new heavens and a new earth (and possibly pancakes),
and if we dummies don't do something about it, like attend "the fascinating
talk" at an upcoming convention, we'll miss out.
It's all in the Bible ya know, along with all the other cool stuff like
Adam and Eve attending Cain's wedding to a gorilla.
There's a lot of talk in Oz about the
new Aussie movie, The Sapphires, a story based on the REAL Sapphires,
a group of Aboriginal girls from a mission who formed a singing group to
entertain American troops in Vietnam during the late '60s. I saw one of
the original Sapphires interviewed and she was very matter of fact about
the reason the band formed in the first place... just to buy food for the
community! Those girls were the most unlikely of candidates for stardom.
The reviews so far are wonderful, so put that in your diary. Australian
Aborigines are becoming increasingly prominent figures in the entertainment
biz, which is a good thing for the community's morale. They need their
heroes and role models, and this film apparently provides them in abundance.
Lookie, lookie, almost 5pm. Where did the day go? Are you sure there
are 24 hours in every day? By the way, do you know why there are 24 hours
in each day? The answer was on a recent episode of QI. It's because 24
is divisible by 2, 3, 4 etc, so it can be segmented into seconds, minutes
and hours. The panelists argued for digital time with 20 hours a day, 10
in the am and 10 in the pm. Hmmm. That would mean 50 seconds in a digital
minute and 50 minutes in a digital hour. Would that work? I dunno... too
late in the day for me to wrap my brain around that one. And I don't even
wanna think about a digital year, with 10 months. Lemme see... 365 days
= 36.5 days a month. Nah, forget it.
I think I might whip up scrambled eggs tonight. I'd love chips with
it but not sure I'm ready for chips just yet. Tempting though. Gary
September 3, 2012. TX Greg wrote to say the size of the panos
yesterday caused him to scroll left and right on his monitor, which means
he'd have to keep scrolling for the rest of this month's Waffle. Soooo,
I altered the size. He also wonders how the larger size looks on smart
phones. You would think sizes would adjust automatically from one screen
to another - like the telecast image on different size TV screens - but
apparently they don't.
I remember when Cinemascope first arrived in theaters and the screens
had to be widened to accommodate the new format. It certainly made the
old 35mm film format look a bit boxy. BTW, I guess that's the reason cameras
at tennis matches are placed at the ends of the court rather than the sides.
It makes following the trajectory of the ball much easier. Tennis balls
can reach speeds of 150mph and more.
Meanwhile, Lindsay reckons the sky's falling in because I bought a mini
vac for the camper. It means I'm leaving, which means he and Sue have to
move out cos they can't afford this big house by themselves. He bitched
this morning about having to drag Sue's old wardrobe (stored in the spare
garage) through the laundry because the camper is blocking the drive. Oh?
How can the camper be blocking the drive if I'm leaving? Hehe. What a dunce.
I don't bother to respond cos it's pointless.
I had a Dust Buster years ago (dunno where the thing went to) with a
really rough electric motor. I expected something similar from the Hoover
but was pleasantly surprised this morning (after it had been on charge
all night) to hear a really smooth motor. Things have improved over the
years! BTW, I bought my regular size Volta about 25 years ago and the thing
is still working like a charm. Before that, I had an old barrel Electrolux
but my cleaning lady refused to use it.
Anyway, I checked the camper and there's not a bug in sight. Also no
sign of any more sawdust. All is quiet on the western front. So I christened
the Hoover and it did a splendid job, all in just seconds. It also fits
neatly into a nook at the side of the gas bottle bin, together with its
bag of attachments.
Day 4 of the Paralympics and Oz has slipped to 3rd behind China and
Britain. Yep, it was a bit too good to be true. But even 3rd for a country
the size of Oz is pretty damn cool. China 35/87, Britain 15/51, Oz 13/36,
Ukraine 13/29, Russia 9/29, US 7/28. Brazil is creeping up at 6/13.
Lots of famous showbiz peeps falling off the perch lately. Max Bygraves
and Hal David yesterday. I suspect younger peeps don't notice because those
names don't mean anything to them. It's only now, in my 60s, that I'm becoming
more aware of the thinning ranks and my own mortality. I watched an interview
with an Aussie "shock jock" the other night - Derryn Hinch. He's had quite
a controversial career, having been jailed for contempt of court. His nickname
is 'The Human Headline'. Last year, his life was saved by a liver transplant.
He's the same age as me, but the interviewer referred to him as "almost
70". Grrrr. She also asked him if he wanted to leave a lasting legacy and
he replied no. As far as he's concerned, you do your best each day and
that's it. When it's all over, it's all over. "We're all just ants", he
said. "Just ants." I'm not sure I agree with that, but I do think that
human beings overestimate their own importance as individuals. It's the
human race as a whole that matters. Individuals come and go, but the race
The only reason I'm keen to do the Odyssey and leave a legacy of observations
in words and images is because I don't see the point of living a life without
purpose. What else would I do?
Finding a place to store the mini vac in the camper was interesting.
It's the first of many things whose place will be in the camper... bedding,
clothes, cooking untensils, eating and drinking ware, a pantry full of
goodies, a fridge full of more goodies, storage boxes packed with camp
furniture, tools and all the things that make life more comfortable. It's
all those things that make a house a home; that provide a sense of belonging.
Many times in my life I've moved house and paused one last time to look
at the place I called home. But once all your "things" are no longer there,
you're looking at an empty shell. The soul has gone. So the theory is,
the more I keeping adding to the camper, the more like home it'll become.
From the Beeb: The White House has released details of one of its
most closely guarded secrets - the recipe for President Barack Obama's
home-brewed honey ale. The beer is believed to be the first-ever made at
the White House. The recipe was kept under wraps until 13,000 people signed
an online petition demanding to know it, and someone even filed a freedom
of information request. Read
Now here's an experiment with a pano of the house in Taree...
Obviously, the fence has no curve... it's straight as a dye... so there
is distortion (exacerbated by a wide-ish 28mm lens). But the photo was
taken from fairly close range just to see what would happen. Interesting,
yes? That's my bedroom on the left. Next to that is the Ute's bedroom and
next to that is the camper. The big green thing in the background is a
tree. Do you have trees over there? Anyway, I thought this might be an
interesting format to use to capture the main street of a small town, for
example. The stitch points are the pillars just to the right of the main
living room, and the left edge of my bedroom window.
Can you see the number 22 just below the second set of pillars? No,
of course not. But I can... at least I can when I view the original at
full size on the comp screen. It measures about 4 screens wide (52"), and
the detail is great for a cheap camera ($200 new). Even the stitch points
are invisible. One Red Bubbler who favorited one of the Manning River panos
said "That's a great camera you got, Gary". That's from a bloke who has
a compact Samsung, a Panasonic Lumix FZ18 and a Nikon D5000. Yep, Fuji
makes good cameras. It also makes high-end pro cameras as well as all kinds
of sophisticated optical equipment for medical and business purposes. I
remember complimenting one Red Bubbler for his impressive shot of a vintage
Beetle and commented that he must have used a pretty awesome camera. But
he answered, "Nope, just a Fuji Finepix." Well, now that I own 3 Fujis,
I know there's no "just" about it.
One shot I'm keen to try is a pano of the Ute from close up. I dunno
if that's possible though... getting in close and maintaining sufficient
height. It might work with the ship when I'm in Sydney though, if I can
find the right vantage point. Ah, the thought of all those possibilities!
Another one I thought of earlier today is a shot similar to the house but
with a (cooperative) pedestrian walking down the street and appearing in
each of the three frames hehe. That'd be fun. Actually, it'd be more fun
if the pedestrian was walking the dog.
4:30 now and the heater's on. It's been a sunny and warm day but once
that sun starts heading west, the temp drops quite sharply. It was pretty
fresh this morning too when I staggered to the loo just after 6am. Once
the pee was over, I staggered right smartly back to bed and slept until
So wot's for din dins? I pulled one of those veal/pork meatball thingies
in foil from the freezer earlier today to defrost. There were no sliced
mushrooms in that one, so I opened the parcel and spooned in a goodly amount
of canned mushrooms in butter sauce. That'll do the trick. Then the usual
telly, which I think will get the flick on the Odyssey. There'll be too
much else to do and investigate to spend time in front of the tube. Radio
and the net will keep me up to date. Goodbye routine, hello adventure.
So I hope I'm right about this sudden and dramatic change of lifestyle
hehe. It all sounds pretty cool in theory, and a helluva lot more exciting
than sitting around doing the same old, same old, every day. But then I've
always been nervous about change despite having had more changes than a
baby with severe diarrhea. I think I've lived in close to 30 different
places over the years. The Odyssey will soon put that to shame though.
The difference this time around will be same house, different location.
L8r, dudes. Gary
September 2, 2012. As the actress said to the Bishop, it looks
better when it's bigger. Sooooooo...
When I worked in North Sydney, I used to frequent a pub where the walls
were decorated with B&W pics of old Sydney - panoramas that stretched
20 feet or so. The photos were taken by a pro photographer in the early
1900s who used a tripod to take a series of stills, being ultra careful
to match each shot to the next so that 3 or 4 shots could be joined back
in the dark room to create a panorama of old Sydney. The quality of the
film was extra fine grain so that each shot could be enlarged substantially
without losing too much detail. To achieve a similar result, I used a hand-held
$200 Fuji where the stitching was done in-camera, on the spot. The images
above were reduced to just 20% of the original size to fit this page. The
originals are 3MB each and the resizes are 64KB each.
I was thinking last night that if I took a series of panos and turned
them into an album for AO, the size of the album frame would be too restrictive.
So instead, I'll post an HTML page with images the same size as you see
above. Yeah? I'm viewing this page on a 13" wide screen so I'm not sure
how it will look on a smaller screen. I guess TX Greg will let me know.
Panos are not something I'll be shooting all the time, but in certain
circumstances they're ideal to reveal the "whole picture" as it were. The
two images on this page were experimental just to see if I could do it.
The alternative to a 3-stitch pano is a fish-eye lens, which is not only
HUGELY expensive but also produces a distorted image. Even a 10-12mm wide
angle lens produces distortion, and they ain't cheap either! The Fuji zoom
starts at 28mm.
NC Art writes: I here shout the praises of your marvelous pano shot!
Well, perhaps it wasn’t a masterpiece, but good enough. And I mentioned
it in an e-mail...unless I meant to but didn’t...or you didn’t read mail...or
the mail didn’t go through. Who knows. Anyway the shot was good and I fancy those kinds
of photographs. Some purists are all hung up on framing the perfect scene
all crammed into a 4x6 or 8x10. But some views cry out for a place in a
visible universe. Look at a replica of a James
Audubon bird painting. His crane or puffin is the center attraction,
but note that the subject is in a settting: Sky, woods, lake, ocean, clouds
or sunshine. No, not pano, but the effect can be similar, and the eye follows
to the larger message and back to the subject. And I ain’t no art critic! Follow your hankering to do more with the format.
Some of your Odyssey fotos caused me to wonder about what’s to the left
or right or even above center stage. In my young days in school, an old
photographer did class pictures with a camera he built. Each class picture
showed an entire class posed on the front steps of the school building,
and everything was in focus with no distortion or parallax. After he died,
no one could ever get the same result so well.
Thanks for the critique, Art.
When the Aussie paralympians rocketed to 2nd place on the first day
of the Paralympics, I figured we got lucky. When they maintained 2nd place
on the second day I thought... no way that can last. And here we are on
the third day and they're STILL holding second place! Our able-bodied Olympians
must be feeling a bit peeved. China 20/56, Oz 11/29, Britain 9/36, Ukraine
9/22, Russia 8/22, US 6/22. Oz was hoping for 5th place at the regular
Olympics but bombed out to 10th. I think we were 17th at one stage so 10th
ain't so bad.
Back from shopping and fiddling. I bought a tidy bin that hooks up to
the inside of a kitchen cupboard... great idea for the camper because it
can't fall over. BUT my cupboard (below the fridge) has a shelf in the
middle. Dammit. So I took the tidy back and got a refund. Now I'll settle
for two hooks screwed (or glued) to the inside of the cupboard on which
to hang a regular plastic bag by the handles. Boom boom. That will cost
me a buck or so instead of $20. I also bought a Hoover rechargable HandiVac,
wet & dry. I didn't really need wet but what the hell. Besides they
didn't have a dry-only one. It wasn't cheap at $70 but I suppose it'll
last forever. I've had an Electrolux and a Volta but never a Hoover, so
now I'll really be able to do the Hoovering.
I also bought a light bulb for $7. $7 for a light bulb??? It has a life
of 8000 hours. And I let off an insecticide bomb in the camper with all
the cupboard doors open, so any little nasties in there are in for a rude
The Ohio boys have pledged $10 each for the Odyssey for which I'm very
grateful. Thanks, boys! You rock! That brings the total pledges so far
to 120 ($600). My policy is not to name names but the Ohio boys are different.
Ohio Jace wrote to fill in the gaps about Stevie weevie's birthday:
Steve was born in 1983 so you were partly right he is 29 (today). Cody
and Mark were born in 1982 so Mark will be 30 (already) on October
8 and the Winger was born in 1987. You need a couple of kids so you can
remember the dates. I don't want to put you in the box with my father,
but he could not remember (or care about) birthdays either. The only way
he remembered the wedding anniversary was Mom reminded him.
Have you heard about that little storm named (hurricane) Issac? Well
we are in the second rain band of the day and still no rain, just lightning
and sprinkles. the main remnant is not due in Ohio until late Sunday or
Monday and this is a holiday weekend. The first band, this morning, barely
wet the pavement. We were on pace to set an all time heat record of high
temperatures. The current record is 49 days above 90 degrees F and we have
hit it 47 times many above 100 degrees F. The forecast midweek was
for 4 to 6 inches of rain it has been downgraded to 1 to 3. Any rain will
be appreciated, the creek has been dry since June the river is low enough
to wade across not that I want to touch that polluted water or eat anything
out of it.
I've heard about the severe drought in parts of the US. Normally, it's
Oz that bitches about droughts but we've had good rain lately and it looks
like we'll be selling stacks of grain to the US. As to summer temps, the
fire service is warning of an abundance of tinder dry grass as tall as
a man in many areas of Oz which is likely to cause havoc next fire season.
I've seen the carnage caused by those terrible fires in Spain lately but
I think Oz is more sparsely populated. Oregon Richie tells me the air around
his neck of the woods has often been thick with smoke in recent weeks.
I can't imagine anything more terrifying than being in the path of a raging
bushfire. If the flames don't git ya, the radiated heat will. Or the flying
embers. I dunno about fires in other parts of the world, but here in Oz
where there are large areas of eucalypts, the evaporating oil in the forest
canopy catches alight and forms a massive fireball that travels at high
speed in whichever direction the wind is blowing. I've heard people say
it's an incredibly frightening phenomenon to witness, particularly if you
happen to be in its path.
Yes, dear Breth, you can rest assured I'll be watching the weather reports
like a hawk on the Odyssey.
One of the best known Aussies of all time, if not THE best known, is
Edward Kelly, aka Ned, the notorious bushranger who was hanged at age 24
for his crimes back on November 11, 1880. His last words were, "Such is
life." But BR Joao has just discovered the Aussie icon: I subscribe
a magazine called Archaeology. Who is in this month number? Your grand-grand-grand-cousin
Ned Kelly. Well, not exactly him, but his remains. Wow, he was the man!
When he was short of money he took more from the Bank of South Wales. I
don’t know if he has an account there, but it doesn’t matter. He used a
beautiful prophetical beard by the time he was arrested and has a home-made
armor he used to face the cops. You
can read the complete article on the net, what makes me ask: why I
pay for the paper edition? Please, don’t answer.
Yes, poor ol' Ned ran outta iron so he didn't fashion armor for his
legs. Or maybe he thought they'd be too unwieldy. And that's how the cops
got him. He was shot in the legs and hit the deck during the Glenrowan
Siege, his final stand against the colony's constabulary. Criminal or folk
hero? Aussies are divided over the issue, but it's probably the latter.
Australia's first feature-length film (and indeed the world's) was The
Story of the Kelly Gang made in 1906 on a budget of USD2250. The remake
in the early 1970s starred Mick Jagger.
There was talk within the family that we were related to Ned but it
appears not. My mother's maiden name was Clampett (Ellen Kathleen). The
Kellys on my dad's side arrived from Ireland by ship in the mid 1800s and
settled in Sydney. Ned was born in Victoria in 1855. There was also talk
that we were related to The Wild Colonial Boy, Jack Doolan, but I suspect
it's wishful thinking. Having outlaw ancestors in Oz is quite the claim
to fame. And then there's me... the square peg. Hehe.
And here we are again, time to unWaffle for another day. Lindsay bought
some lamb chops and wants me to cook them for him and Sue tonight. The
bloody nerve! But I'll do it anyway. Thanks to y'all for your contributions
and for tuning in. Gary
September 1, 2012. Guess whose birthday it is today? Stevie weevie!
I think he's 28. Maybe 29. He was a year younger than Cody... a grommet
when they first met in the surf. I still think his story of coming to terms
with Cody's death, battling drug addiction, resolving his relationship
with Mark and facing the school bully (with Wingnut coaching him) is one
of the classic stories of all time. And on top of that was the challenge
of "getting to know" his father. But there's more! His relationship with
Fingers. What a story! And the kid hadn't even turned 21 yet.
I've known quite a few peeps in my time but those two, Cody and Steve,
would have to be the standouts. BTW, even after all these years, there
are still people visiting Codysworld and leaving messages in the guestbook.
I woke this morning thinking, "Goody! I can read all those thousands
of comments about how exciting the pano pics are." Not one. None. Nonenonenonenonenonenonenone.
Well, you can all get nicked cos I'm excited. So there. Last night, I watched
a reporter doing a standup from Kirribilli wharf with Sydney in the background...
all the way from the Harbor Bridge on the right, across the Quay skyline,
and over to the Opera House. Magic! So I definitely gotta get that shot
when I'm in the Big Smoke. I'll catch the Kirribilli ferry, disembark,
do the pano, wander down to the foreshore under the bridge, get a few more
shots, walk further west for a shot of the Opera House framed by the bridge,
yadda, return to Kirribilli, catch the ferry back to the Quay and then
another to Darling Harbor. I'll be a busy boy! It'll be interesting getting
video of the city from on board a ferry, though.
The tricky thing about shooting a pano of the harbor will be moving
boats. Ya can't have the same ferry twice in the one shot... or half a
ferry. Hehe. So I'll have to watch that.
The Beach Boys are in Oz for their 50th Anniversary Tour... a bunch
of septuagenarians singing classics from the 60s and 70s. One of them was
asked "How do you sing so well at 70?" and he replied, "I've had 50 years
practice." Paul McCartney says his all-time favorite song is 'God
Only Knows'. One of the BBs said, "We knew it was a good song... just
not how good." At the end of the report on telly, the host - who's mid/late
30s or so said, "What a band!" Even young Josh counts the Beach Boys as
one of his favorite bands. I guess if music is good in the first place,
it's good period.
Good heavens again! Second day of the Paralympics and Oz is still second:
China 13/34, Oz 7/19, Ukraine 6/16, Russia 5/11, Britain 4/20, US 4/11.
One commentator on telly last night talking about the 3 Aussie soldiers
killed by an Afghan soldier made an interesting observation; he said the
Afghan army would be just as shocked as we are at the murder, and just
as troubled. The guy was a rogue individual probably with some personal
hangup. But it's a legitimate observation in that it's wrong to blame the
whole Afghan army for the actions of one deranged soldier.
And what about Clint Eastwood yesterday doing his "make my day" routine
with an invisible Obama at the GOP convention in Florida? He attracted
more comment on Facebook and Twitter than Romney. A lot of people thought
Eastwood's performance was rambling and unnecessary, and one commentator
I watched on Planet America thought Romney's speech was "bland". Moreover,
he said Paul Ryan told porkies (pork pies = lies)... blatant distortions
of facts that will soon come back to haunt him.
I had pancakes for lunch AGAIN. This time I had two. I made them smaller
(easier to eat) with just the right amount of crispiness around the edges.
It pays to experiment, yes?
It's officially the first day of spring in Oz, sunny but with a cold
wind blowing. Bleh. But that will abate by late Sunday and the days will
improve. The cancer radiotherapy and stomach tube are behind me now, and
my health is improving sufficiently to get out and about a bit more to
enjoy the sun... and photography, of course.
Late afternoon now and the heater's on. Dunno if it's old age or being
underweight but I find it difficult to handle the cold. Brrrr. Gimme mid
to late 20s C and I'll be a contented camper (late 70s, early 80s F). Speaking
of which, my next item on the shopping list is a rechargable mini-vac for
the camper. It gets a bit dusty inside, and I've noticed sawdust as well.
Not sure if it's the result of the recent renovation (timber cupboards,
linings, etc) or little nasties munching away on the frame. I think letting
off one of those insecticide bombs might be a good idea... just in case.
Meanwhile, watch out for mouse droppings according to a Beeb report:
to 10,000 visitors to Yosemite park may have been exposed this summer to
a rare and deadly virus transmitted by mouse droppings, officials say.
Remember the good old days when thieves used to rob banks? It's different
now: Thieves in Canada have stolen millions of dollars worth of highly
prized maple syrup from a storage facility, Quebec police have said.
My stomach's rumbling. I suspect it's trying to tell me something. So,
Ls and Gs, it's time for me to exit stage left and close the curtains for
yet another day. Not all that thrilling, I'm afraid, but that's the way
it goes sometimes. Gary