January 31, 2013. All things come to an end. Yeah? Including
January. For some reason, NC Art has his doubts about the Rolls in yesterday's
Waffle: I’ll bet you a Canadian penny that the Rolls ragtop pictured
isn’t the original.
Perhaps Art is comparing the way he looks now at 87 with the way he
looked back in 1928. Hehe.
As to cats, feral or otherwise: Cats can be used imaginatively to
reduce income tax. My former daughter-in-law owned a horse and boarded
another for a friend. Horses love oats, and rats love oats, and snakes
love rats which hang around stables because oats are there. So, my son
claimed his cats’ feeding expenses as deductions for pest control. It worked!
No rats, no snakes. Incidentally, he hates horses because they remind him
of his ex-wife.
If feral cats in Oz got rid of introduced rats, that would be cool.
But they also attack our native rats, which are cute little furry critters
that don't live in drains or carry disease, and they don't intrude into
people's houses. We have native cockroaches as well, which also don't invade
homes, and are clean little bugs. AND... we have native bees that don't
sting. On the other hand, we have 10 of the most venomous snakes in the
world hehe. And crocs that eat people.
Traffic jams can be beneficial also. Once caught in a barely moving
line at a crossroad with a broken traffic signal, My son leapt out of the
car, raced across the street to use a service station rest room, and was
back in the car when it was our turn to move on. Good timing, speedy legs
and the urgency of a full bladder.
Have you ever thought about how many public toilets there are in any
given city? Thousands, perhaps millions. Such is our obsession with keeping
certain activities private. You don't find toilets in jungles or, indeed,
even in zoo enclosures. Even if you did, they wouldn't be called rest rooms.
Animals don't need toilets. Therefore humans are not animals. Yeah? At
least, that seems to be the accepted logic.
What flavor smoothie this morning? Chocolate. Mmmmm. I bought some drinking
chocolate yesterday. I figured if I couldn't eat it, at least I could drink
NC Art forwarded those pics of headlines with the subject line: "Why
I still buy the newspaper". Who needs comedy writers when we have "journalists"?
And their copy editors... Here's another couple:
They get a bit tedious after a while so let's have two more, and that'll
Chris the Fence Man (and more recently the wheelchair ramp man) is here
laying a new concrete block in the path and I suggested I get a small wooden
cross with "Here lies...." written on it, and stick it in the cement before
it hardens. "That would attract a bit of attention, dontcha think?" Anyway,
he's volunteered to be here when I'm ready to back the truck under the
camper to join the two units in holy matrimony. Isn't that nice of him?
Ex-cop helps old fogey.
Just saw little Keiran at the front gate and had a chat. He's still
little but getting a tad bigger as well as more Aboriginal looking in his
facial features, and his voice is changing. He's in year 10 now so that
makes him 15. I took photos of him on his 8th birthday. Sheesh... time
Back from Bunnings where I bought 6
of these (with hooks both ends) and 4
of these. The turnbuckles are 8" long closed and the snap hooks are
3" long so that should be plenty to stretch from the camper to the welded
hooks on the truck bed. How much? $168. Oh well... I have spare turnbuckles
that came with the camper but they're eyehooks both ends. Not what I want
but okay for spares. I also have a few spare D-hooks.
The $2500 I got for the old Ute is getting a bit skinny, and I couldn't
add to it today (pay day) because I had a $550 power bill to pay. Drat!
So I think the AGM battery and auto electrician will have to wait for two
weeks. Meanwhile, I'll have the camper brackets and eye hooks on the truck
tray done. That shouldn't be any more than about $200. And a gas fitter
to check the copper fittings, hose and regulator for the fridge and stove.
Less than $200 should see him fixed. Anything else? A few bits and pieces.
Otherwise I'd say the whole kit and kaboodle will be ready to roll by the
end of February. The question remains, will I? That depends on what the
doc in Port Macquarie says on the 11th, and what the doc in Sydney says
on the 18th. And also what sort of schedule Nancy has in mind for mouth
and gum "irrigation".
BUT... no matter what their story is, I expect to manage a couple of
short Odysseys. I was impressed with Crowdy
Head National Park when I called in on the way back from my last visit
to Port Macquarie. Cody would have loved that place. Check
out the rollers. As you can see, the National Park is not
far from Taree, prolly an hour's drive including the dirt access roads.
Yep, I reckon a
few days at Crowdy Head would be veeery noice. It would also give me
a chance to try out my campfire
cooking. Oops! Sorry... that
was the wrong pic.
So, ladies and genitals, one way or another, I'll get a taste of the
real thing before the actual launch date. And it'll be most interesting
to see what my verdict will be. But for now, it's five-ish again. Soup
and telly. Hehe. Never mind... it won't be for too much longer. Gary
January 30, 2013. This month last year I was a patient in the
cancer ward at RPA hospital in Sydney, with tubes stuck in my nose and
arms and bottles of goo hanging off a hatstand. Hardly seems real now.
Like some dreadful nightmare. I've had some pretty horrific experiences
in my time but last year was probably the worst. Maybe that's the way life
is... the lower you go, the higher you go on the rebound. Kinda like the
During the 1990s when I hit rock bottom professionally and personally,
I found Cody. Cody gave me focus. But a cruel act of Fate snatched him
away. Then Steve gave me focus. But he faded after a year or two. I turned
my attention to Green Room and Green Room II but that also was temporary.
Finally, Aussie Odyssey came along. And here I am, impatiently waiting
for Day One.
The difference between the Odyssey and all the other things that have
occupied my attention over the years, is that no one can take it away.
Not even a year of cancer treatment could take my dream away. In fact,
it may be that my dream was the reason I pulled through.
An assortment of berries in my smoothie today, ladies and genitals...
strawberries, raspberries, loganberries, etc. Pretty damn good too.
From the Beeb: Cats are one of the top threats to US wildlife, killing
billions of animals each year, a study suggests. The authors estimate they
are responsible for the deaths of between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds and
6.9-20.7 billion mammals annually. Writing in Nature Communications, the
scientists said stray and feral cats were the worst offenders. We have
a similar problem in Oz with feral cats. And feral everything else... dogs,
foxes, rabbits, camels, buffalo, cane toads, bugs, weeds and whatever else
has been introduced to this once pristine environment by dummies.
This man owned & drove the same car for 82 YEARS. Can you imagine
even having the same car for 82 years? Mr. Allen Swift (Springfield, MA)
received this 1928 Rolls-Royce Piccadilly-P1 Roadster from his father,
brand new - as a graduation gift in 1928. He drove it up until his death
last year ... at the age of 102!!! He was the oldest living owner of a
car that was purchased new. Just thought you'd like to see it. It was donated
to a Springfield museum after his death. It has 1,070,000 miles on it,
still runs like a Swiss watch, dead silent at any speed and is in perfect
cosmetic condition. (82 years). That's approximately 13,048 miles per year
(1087 per month)... 1,070,000 that's miles not kilometres!! That's
British engineering of a bygone era. I don't think they make them like
this any more.
Thanks to NC Art for sending that little gem. I note that the old bloke
is still wearing braces and a pocket watch.
I printed all those measurements I worked on yesterday, and made a simple
drawing of the 3-sided frame I want Peter the metal bender to fabricate
(if he agrees with my thinking). I also used a wrench to remove one of
the brackets from the channel rail at the back of the camper (to see what
it looks like and how it's attached). Peter will be back at his office
in about an hour.
Meanwhile, you know those things boats use to buffer their sides against
wharf poles? Sometimes they use old tires. Well, that gave me an idea for
a buffer between the upright at the back of the truck cab and the front
of the camper, to lessen impact when I'm reversing the tray between the
camper jacks to load it. Just get a rubber mat about 4' wide, roll it up
like a sleeping bag, tie it at each end, and use the ties to attach it
to the uprights. Boom boom. The rubber cushion will also act as a brake
to stop the camper from colliding with the cab under sudden deceleration.
Are you with me? Probably not. Dozen madder. It'll all come out in the
Well, it was a funny old show at Peter's engineering place. He had no
idea what I was talking about hehe. At least not at first. But he eventually
got my drift and then suggested a better alternative, which I suspected
he would. After all, he's an engineer. He's also got an idea for anchor
points welded to each corner of the tray for the turnbuckles. "Don't worry,"
he kept saying, "it won't fall off." Anyway, I appreciate him going to
a fair bit of trouble to sort out a problem that most engineering companies
of that size wouldn't bother with.
BTW, Peter's toys are off-road racers... those skeleton cars made of
welded pipe on a chassis that holds an engine and a driver's seat. In other
words, he's a maniac.
Soooo, I'll get all those things sorted, and the camper on the tray,
before I spend money on other stuff... AGM battery, auto electrician, gas
bottle and new connection hose with regulator, etc. And that should be
about it! Scary, huh?
From the Beeb: The Russian capital is blighted by traffic jams -
the total time drivers spend at a standstill each day equals about two
and a half centuries. But when their cars grind to a halt, Moscow's commuters
get creative to pass the time. I
wish I'd read this article when I lived in Sydney.
The conflict in Syria has reached "unprecedented levels of horror",
UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi says, hours after evidence of another massacre
emerges in Aleppo. Meanwhile, each side continues to blame the other.
I wonder if the reason so much madness exists in the world is because
people don't commune with nature often enough. How could anyone be crazy
in a place such as this?
Image source Destination NSW - Blue Mountains
Such a place is one of many I'll experience on the Odyssey. I'm sure
the world's troubles will make even less sense to me as I sit there and
contemplate the wonders of nature. And I won't be surprised if the Odyssey
changes me as a person; if it makes me appreciate certain things more than
I have in the past.
Time will tell. But now it's 5-ish again and time for the usual ho-hum.
January 29, 2013. The remnants of The Big Wet are lingering around
Taree at the mo but should clear by midday-ish. We were lucky here in that
the wind and rain weren't all that bad. QLD and some parts of northern
NSW are a mess. Some places copped a meter of rain in 24 hours. Can you
imagine a rain gauge 3' tall? Sea swells were huge along the east coast,
some up to 12 meters. Meanwhile, in Victoria they've been battling bushfires.
Here are some
photos on the Beeb of flooding in QLD.
In one tragic incident, a pregnant mother and her young son were watching
a creek rising when a large tree fell on them, pinning them both. The boy
later died in hospital and the mother is in a critical condition.
I watched an item on the news last night about Aussies and their booze,
with ads for beer and other alcoholic drinks associating the celebration
of Australia Day with drinking, often to excess. The Aussie tradition.
At one gathering, it was so hot, the guys got a bit creative with their
ute. They had no pool - not even a wading pool - so they placed a large
sheet of plastic inside the tub of the ute, filled it with water, and sat
in it while they consumed their beers. How inventive.
Shortly, I'm off to the dentist for my routine check and clean. Later
this afternoon, Rod the tooth fairy will take a mold of my gums. I'm hoping
that by the end of the week I'll be munching on PROPER food. I am
soooo looking forward to that, I can't begin to tell you.
Thanks to NC Art for passing that pic along... and these...
And you thought you had compy probs?
BACK from Nancy and her irrigation trick. She says my gums are looking
pretty good. "The dead bone is looking about as good as dead bone can look,
if you know what I mean." Hehe.
From the Beeb: A bipartisan group of US senators unveils a plan to
pass sweeping reform of the immigration system by the middle of this year.
Nice word that... bipartisan.
The Australian radio show that made the hoax call to the hospital
treating the Duchess of Cambridge in December has been cancelled. 2Day
FM's Hot 30 programme had been taken off air following the death of nurse
Jacintha Saldanha, who was found hanged after forwarding the call. The
broadcaster said a new show, hosted by a different DJ, would fill the slot.
Michael Christian and Mel Greig, the DJs who made the call, were still
employed by the station, it added. The pair have been on leave since the
incident and a music-based show without a host DJ has been broadcast in
their show's place. "We look forward to Mel and MC returning to work when
the time is right, in roles that make full use of their talents," said
Rhys Holleran of Southern Cross Austereo, owner of 2Day FM. That place
is a helluva lot different to the way it was when I worked there almost
30 years ago
The Boys Scouts of America has said it may overturn its ban on gay
members and leaders, and allow local units to choose their own policies
on the issue. The policy reversal could come once the national board meets
next week. Only last year, the Boys Scouts of America (BSA) reaffirmed
its ban on gay members, after a two-year review. "Be Prepared" will
take on a whole new meaning.
Bill, the other bloke with a Courier/Freeway combo, answered another
question of mine. I asked about reversing cameras and if he had one. He
said he does have one fitted but never uses it. He relies on the rear-view
exterior mirrors and "being careful". He says his main problem is avoiding
trees in a 2.7 meter high vehicle. Well, mine's closer to 3 meters because
of the extra storage box under the camper. So that's something I'll need
to get used to quickly... avoiding branches as well as shop awnings.
BACK from the tooth fairy. He says the dentures won't be temp but permanent.
He suggests leaving them out except when eating to allow things to settle
for a while. Maybe in a month or so I can start leaving them in for longer
periods. But my hope of getting them before the weekend was dashed. I don't
see him again until Thursday 7th. Boo hoo...
Anyway, I've spent a lotta time today measuring trays and campers and
whatnots in anticipation of taking all the info to the metal bender next
time I see him to discuss what I have in mind. It's all soooo fiddly! I'm
glad I don't do this kinda thing for a living. So time has beaten me and
it's now time for a wrap. Checkyaz on the morrow. Gary
January 28, 2013. Yep, the Big Wait for the Big Wet is over.
QLD is experiencing major flooding at the mo, and the wind and rain is
headed down the east coast all the way to Tasmania. Areas
around Bundaberg in QLD were hit by several mini tornados.
Hopefully, I won't be caught in bad weather on the Odyssey but ya never
know. I'll insure TC anyway, probably for about 10 grand. I'll also keep
a watch on the weather forecasts and hightail it out of areas that look
ominous. That's one advantage wheels have over foundations.
Oregon Richie has a romantic view of the Odyssey: The day you open
the door, sit and settle in, strap on the belt, notch the ol' girl in gear
and just head on down the highway..... woah !! Fantastic !!!
A long held dream coming together and a whole new blank canvas to fill
with the paint of pictures and prose and charting your very own course.
Richie's take is a bit different to mine: Yep, I've driven out the
drive of many places in my time to head off to another town and another
job. The last time was leaving Sydney for Taree. Next time it'll be who
knows where? And there'll be no turning back. My first stop will be home
for the night - or two or three nights. It's a very weird feeling to think
I'll be headed nowhere in particular, with no destination other than a
convenient camp site, vagabonding my way around the largest inhabited island
continent in the world. Remember that song "No particular place to go..."
A blank canvas, as you put it. The first page of a yet unwritten
novel. A new life. Imagine that... 68 years left behind as TC heads off
down the road to begin Day One, with all my worldly possessions crammed
into a 14' x 7' space. Now THAT'S gonna be something worth writing about.
A bloke my age should have more sense. Hehe.
Heard of Voodoo Mama Hot Sauce? NC
Art sent this link to an ad on Youchewb. Don't expect to see it on
normal telly anytime soon.
Art also writes: Food fads come and go … thank God! I’ve eaten raw
eel, squid, fried rattlesnake and shark steaks, so I’m not rigid about
experimenting. A couscous wave hit several years ago, so I tried it. Eeyuccht.
This muesli sounds like it could be just as unappetizing. Truth about pancakes
is that so many toppings can be used and enjoyed. The traditional butter
and maple syrup is just fine. So is strawberry or blueberry jam or damn
near anything you like. A slice of crispy bacon on each side make a lovely
presentation if you’re an esthete or something.
Mmmm. I'm having my smoothie at the mo, with pureed apple. Very noice.
Your professed atheism is certainly rational, but humans
can’t leave well enough alone and never could. Primitives were damned sure
that volcano was out to get them, so they sacrificed young virgins to quiet
its murderous wrath. Most ancient tribal stories include a great flood
and include it in religious beliefs. Scientists who would never admit to
any religious inclinations spend their lives seek-ing a reason for being;
a quest for the Cause if it All. Old Greek, Roman, and Semites quite reasonably
concluded that it was a good idea to worship Venus and Astarte as life
giving. Rites of Spring were high old festivals and faithfully attended
by everyone looking for sex with no holds barred. And music played its
part: Young David soothed the rages of King Saul, then went to the sheep
pasture and met Jonathon for gay roll in the hay. Curiously, it might
have reminded you of Wingnut’s deflowering in his all night rumble featuring
mixed and matched and any-styled coupling.
Mysteries beg to be explored and explained. How dull
an existence otherwise. In the Spring a young man’s fancy often turns to
thoughts…..and all that rot. Hehe.
I'm all for exploring and explaining mysteries, Art. No problem with
that at all. Just as long as the explanations are not based on superstition.
Have you ever thought about horror movies and why they're so popular? People
love to be horrified and scared out of their wits. That's why religion
includes things like armageddon, fire and brimstone, the devil, eternal
damnation, evil spirits, the wrath of God, etc. They appeal in a masochistic
way to the human condition, as well as Southern Baptist Ministers who love
to pound the pulpit. And another thing, can you imagine fairie stories
without wicked witches and wolves?
Yesterday, I asked TX Greg his opinion of a particular brand of AGM
battery used by the US military. He
wrote to say there's also one called Odyssey. My question came about
because I'd been reading about different types of batteries and how some
are fine for occasional use, such as a couple of vacations a year, while
others are better suited to constant daily use. Ah ha! Something else I've
learned. Greg also took the opportunity to remind me And with that thought,
that's why I still strongly recommend that dual battery solenoid :)
After today, the last day of the long Australia Day weekend, things
will be back to normal. Dentist and also the tooth fairy tomorrow for a
fitting. With a bit of luck, I might have my temp dentures by the end of
the week! PIZZA! I'll also visit the metal fabricator to check the cost
of what I have in mind for the truck before I spend any more on other things.
The power bill is due during the week, bleh. That'll be the last one! Future
power bills will be $20 every 2 or 3 weeks for a bottle of propane.
I was just searching Youchewb for a dance performed by native Americans
in Brazil. I saw it on a documentary by Michael Palin and I've been fascinated
ever since. It keeps entering my brain like a song that won't leave. It
was a barefoot shuffle by a group of men weaving their way around the village
square, swaying from side to side as they shuffled. There was something
hypnotic about the movement of the group in unison... even erotic. Anyway,
I couldn't find it but I found these Africans
doing a traditional dance instead, and enjoyed it.
Been listening to radio and reports of wind and rain damage up and down
the coast. It's been fairly severe north of here, and worse in SW QLD.
But the system is moving south which means Taree will cop it sooner or
later. Not too bad now though. People north have been talking about howling
winds but the wind here is yet to howl. We've had plenty of rain. One bloke
at Old Bar, which is about 17kms east of here, said the seas are rough
and rising. He's expecting the situation to worsen as the storm moves south.
Earlier, I checked TC and she's as dry as a bone inside. No leaks in
the cab-over either and the mattress is dry. She's an old girl so I'm delighted
she's in such good nick. A few external dings don't worry me. Adds character.
Just perusing the grey nomads forum and saw a question about Lightning
Ridge and whether it was worth visiting: We have been to lightning
Ridge twice and have loved it both times. It is so pioneering living
for some there that I find so incredible. It is not rough getting
into Lightning Ridge - sealed all the way. However, it is quite rough
to go to a place called Glengarry - but it is worth every bump just to
see the working mines and living quarters out in the field. The "Hilton"
out there (which I might add is held together with a coat of paint!) serves
best hamburgers ever. Before leaving, ask for directions as it
is extremely outback. We saw several sedans manage the road well.
As far as the caravan parks, there is a new one of around 2 years old and
extremely good. Called the Opal Caravan Park and not too far out
of town. Showers have sliding glass doors and hair dryers near wash
basins. Just great. Wonderfully clean. Cost was $27.00
per night for 2 people.
It's great to read stuff like that - salivates the travel buds if ya
know what I mean. I think TC could handle a few rough roads provided I
take it easy, and it's dry. In case you're not aware, Lightning
Ridge is famous for its opals. This is what opal
looks like in its rough state. And let's not forget the
As to oldies travelling alone: Hi there, A big welcome. I'm 73 years
young and have an almost identical travelling companion these days called
Cody - Terrier/Chitzu cross. I too have hitch-hiked around the world on
my own in years past and never had a bad moment. I tell a lie. There was
that one time with the East German border guards. I've been travelling
in my little van for five years now and love it. Check
out my blog for some of my travels if you're interested.
And here's another: Hey there, I'm 63 yrs young and travelling with
a little maltese/terrier dog. I back packed around the world on my
own in 2003 and I reckon I was completely lost in every country I visited,
scared a couple of times when no one spoke english and I had no idea where
I was or which way to go. I reckon travelling in Australia will be
a breeze after that, at least everyone speaks the same language and if
I get lost I still know I'm still in Australia. It sounds to me like
there are heaps of single female travellers going about Aus. I haven't
heard any horror stories, yet. Mind you I know that it is wise to
be security aware and meeting up with different solo people along the way
especially when free camping or out of the way places. Be safe and
So if little old ladies can do it, why can't I? Actually, those posts
have seriously deflated my ego. For a while there I was thinking I deserve
some kinda bravery award.
And there goes another day, ladies and genitals. Another day closer
to You Know What. Gary
January 27, 2013. It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is
snoring. Well, I'm pretty sure I don't snore. But it is raining, and it's
been raining all night. The "Big Wet" has finally arrived. In fact, lots
of places in QLD are flooded, and Northern NSW is in for a bucketing as
well. By the time I depart on the Odyssey, the landscape will be green
FL Josh sent a few links to caravan and camping thingies. There's a
caravan dealer in Port Macquarie (where I'll be in about two weeks to see
the oncologist). Josh suggests I should visit them for tips on how to mount
a camper. But my cynicism tells me they're more interested in selling things.
Actually, I phoned them one time for a bit of advice and the bloke couldn't
wait to get rid of me when I told him I had an old Freeway.
There's a Caravan
and Camping Expo in Newcastle early next month. There may be a wealth
of ideas you could pick up that could be adapted to your situation like
an electricity generator that uses roadkill for fuel. You might want
to start driving off road just to hit roos for electricity!!!
Roo power. Yep, I like that. Waste not, want not.
One thing that becomes obvious to you when you're a pensioner living
on $400 a week is how many people are not the least bit interested in you.
Hehe. Like people who sell stuff you can't afford. When I walked into that
engineering place the other day to ask about my piddly problem regarding
the fitting of a camper to my truck, the bloke was very polite and even
friendly. Judging by the size of the yard and sheds out back, they're into
serious stuff like the erection of large buildings, bridges, etc. And there
I was asking about a job worth a hundred bucks. I'll go back and annoy
him again though because I don't know who else to ask. Besides, I've already
figured out the solution to the prob.
Banks and credit card companies don't wanna know about pensioners (as
distinct from self-funded retirees with substantial incomes and assets).
Neither do loan companies. Nor retailers of "big ticket" items. So I've
resigned myself to saving and buying stuff for cash... used stuff that's
cheap but not necessarily nasty.
Caravan parks are always bitching about free campers like me, and about
councils that spend public money on camping facilities in national parks
and on other public land. The caravan parks complain that they invest hundreds
of thousands of dollars in their businesses and pay taxes and other overheads,
while people like me camp for free! Well, people like me wouldn't be camping
at all if it weren't free, and local shops and retail businesses would
miss out on the little bucks people like me spend on food, fuel and other
necessities. Enough little bucks become big bucks, ya know.
The bloke who was here a week ago quoting on fitting solar panels and
batteries to the camper was talking around $2500. He was trying to rip
me off. The next bloke I phoned for a quote said he'd be here but hasn't
turned up. I figure it's because without teeth I sound like a mental deficient.
People tend not to take me seriously. Well, bugger 'em. I've come this
far and I'll finish the job. Once the camper is on board the truck, I'll
buy an AGM battery on eBay, have it delivered, and take it to an auto electrician
to be fitted.
Bill, the bloke with the Freeway/Courier combo, answered a few more
questions: He says fuel consumption with the camper aboard is 8 kms per
liter (23mpg) compared to 10 or 12 without. It all depends on how you
push the block of flats through the air. One American bloke who commented
on another forum said with his slide-on aboard he was down to just 2 mpg.
I find that hard to believe. He had a lot of nasty things to say about
slide-ons, actually. But you get that. Bill also said the Ironman LoadPlus
helper springs made the rig a lot more stable, and is great for a 2.7m
high vehicle. I cruise at anything from 80kph to 100kph. So there ya
go... straight from the horse's mouth. Bill's Courier is a diesel with
only 65 kW. Mine is petrol with 85kW so it should perform a bit better.
Matter of bloody fact, now that TX Greg has mentioned welding, I might
get eye hooks welded to each corner the tray frame to hold the turnbuckles
rather than use the hitching rails that run along the underside. The rail
doesn't look to be all that strong. Good for hanging the laundry on though.
I've also thought more about the solar panel. If running the fridge
on solar is out of the question without installing a zillion watts and
a huge bank of batteries or whatever, then I'll settle for 1 panel and
1 battery. My current panel will do for the time being. Later I'll upgrade
to maybe 120/140W. I'm not worried about microwaves or toasters or any
of that other stuff. I can get by quite well without any of that. If I
ever decide that the a/c is worth using, I can get a small generator that
runs on roo poo. The only time the fridge will be run on electricity is
when I'm travelling. Sound cool to you?
From the Beeb: Thousands of people have rallied in Washington DC
calling for stricter gun controls as they marched from the Capitol to the
Washington Monument. Yep, I think if Obama is gonna be successful in
his battle with the NRA he's gonna have to
rally public support. And lots of it.
NC Art forwarded a message the other day with photos of very pretty,
colorful birds with the title: "What fun God must've had the day he designed
these..." At the bottom of the message was a quote from Abe Lincoln: I
can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth
and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the
heavens and say there is no God.
Well, that may have been the case in the 19th century but since then
man has taken a pretty good look at the heavens, and even been "out there".
We have a robot running around Mars at the mo, and telescopes hurtling
through the far reaches of space. I don't see the logic of believing in
a Supreme Being or Creator just because something can't be otherwise explained,
or because certain things are beyond our comprehension. I'm absolutely
sure I'll be overwhelmed on a starry night in the Aussie Outback gazing
at the heavens through a pristine, crystal clear atmosphere. I'll be in
awe, of course, and feel a connection with the universe. Why wouldn't I?
I'm made of the same stuff. Everything that exists is related somehow.
But unless there's a booming voice from the heavens that says "G'day,"
I won't be tempted to change my mind about being an athiest. Nonetheless,
I'll have a roll of toilet paper handy.
I'm not religious, but I do appreciate how religion (Christian, pagan
or otherwise) has inspired great art and architecture and, indeed, music
over the centuries. It lifts the human spirit to a higher plane, and gives
it a higher purpose. I suppose it's fair to say we wouldn't be what we
are today if it weren't for religion and "the glory of God" - and you can
include both the good and bad aspects of human nature in that. But I'm
still an athiest. I also believe it's a copout to say you're agnostic.
Sooooo, if we were all athiests, would we have painted great paintings,
erected great buildings and written great music? I think so. A belief in
the Almighty is not the only way to inspire greatness. Belief in one's
fellow man can inspire greatness. The longing for approval. An obsession
with perfection. A desire to be remembered in death. The pyramids were
more than just a method of arranging stones in a neat pile ya know.
I suggested to Oregon Richie this morning that the combination of the
camper and the Courier, Le Chateau, may well end up an Australian icon,
preserved for posterity in some museum hehe. But I forgot to mention the
Porta Potti. It may also become an icon on display somewhere. I mean, if
it's good enough for Ned Kelly to have his tin hat on exhibition, why not
my Porta Potti?
In all seriousness, dear Breth, it may be that, after spending some
years together travelling Oz, sharing numerous experiences and adventures,
my Chateau and I will have become inseparable companions; a thing of immeasurable
sentimental value. Actually, I don't know what to call the pair. Le Chateau
is a bit over the top. I used to call my Valiants 'Big Val'. My Holden
was 'TT'. My old house in Glebe was always '15 Hegarty'. So what should
I call the motorhome? I can't call it the Freeway cos the Courier will
feel left out. How about something like TC? That could stand for The Camper
or The Courier. Or even The Codeman. Actually, I quite like TC. Roite,
TC it is... unless one of you geniuses comes up with something better.
I still haven't tried out my new 55-200mm Nikon lens ya know. Been too
hot and humid, and now it's too wet. Hehe. But I really must give it a
workout, even if it's just down by the river with the pelicans.
I watched another foodie show on telly last night, with a Brit doing
all kinds of things with breakfast. Do you like muesli? It originated in
Switzerland, created by a doctor to assist his patients in eating healthier
foods. Traditionally, it's not served with milk and sugar. It's mixed with
a large dollop of plain yoghurt and freshly squeezed orange juice. Then
it's refrigerated overnight to allow the flavors to meld, and eaten next
morning topped with golden syrup. Sounds very nice, actually.
He also did nice things with pancakes, including leaving the batter
mixture overnight in the fridge to make lighter, fluffier pancakes for
breakfast. His fav topping is lemon and sugar (mine too) but he also used
fruit such as strawberries and bananas.
A great little trick of his is to remove fatty bacon rinds, lay them
in a baking dish, and pop them in a moderate oven for 10 minutes where
they crisp to perfection, and add a crispy crunch to fried bacon and eggs.
YUM! Can't wait for my TEETH!
Oh well, here I go with soup again (which is pretty good but gets a
bit monotonous) and flavored yoghurt for dessert. Woe is me. Gary
January 26, 2013. Australia Day! I watched the Australian of
the Year Awards last night. Young Australian of the Year was a surprise...
Afghan refugee Akram Azimi who arrive in Oz with his mother and brother
when he was 11. Despite cultural and language differences and difficulties,
he went on to become Dux of his school. Then he was invited to become a
social worker with Aborigines living in Kimberley country at the top end.
He learned to see Australia through indigenous eyes, and fell in love "with
the red dirt and the people", so much so, he's adopted the people there
as his family. When you see news footage of Afghans on TV, in a war-torn
environment, you don't think of them as intellectuals with an ability to
study a triple major in law, science and arts at the University of Western
Australian of the Year is Ita Buttrose, also a refugee, but from Nazi
occupied Europe during WWII.
After a long absence, FL Josh wrote: For God's sake, Gary, go to
a dealer who sells slide on campers and find out the correct way to mount
your camper onto your ute before you kill yourself.
Now why didn't I think of that? Actually, I did, but there are no dealers
around here. There was an RV place that sold caravans but he went broke
about a year ago. My old Freeway was originally designed to fit a tub ute
like my ex-Ford. So that's no good. It was modified by a previous owner
so that it's now suitable only for a flat tray. The modifications are fairly
old so I'd say it's been sitting on flat trays for at least a decade, and
maybe two. It's in pretty good nick so I assume it's never fallen off.
The last owner, the one who sold it to me, hauled it around on the back
of a flat-tray ute through some pretty wild mountainous country not far
from here, with narrow winding roads, and all he used was 4 turnbuckles,
which are still with the camper.
Since there are no slide-on dealers around here, I checked out a few
forums on the web and found a bloke who, luckily for me, bought the same
combo I have... an old Freeway and a Courier flat-tray truck. (He reckons
we'll have to start our own club hehe). So I asked him how he secured his
camper to the tray and he told me. He also took some pics. So my method
pretty much follows his... 6 turnbuckles and 4 bolts, plus the installation
of Ironman LoadPlus helper springs. He's since driven around Fraser Island
and some rough country in Far North Queensland and had no problems. He
says the camper is rock solid.
So, Josh, while I appreciate your concern, I don't see what else I could
have done under the circumstances to ensure the stability and safety of
the camper. If I see another slide-on in town, you can rest assured I'll
be asking questions about how it's mounted. But until that happens, I've
done all I can.
One web site I visited had a list of do's and dont's about mounting
a slide-on. But when it came to HOW to secure it to the tray, it advised
that "you should follow the manufacturer's instructions". Thanks very much.
Bit late in the day for that in my case.
You know what actually worries me most? Remembering not to swerve suddenly
if a kangaroo hops out of the bushes in front of the truck. Ditto little
old ladies at pedestrian crossings.
One thing I didn't mention yesterday because I thought my inadeqate
description was getting too complicated, is how the 3-sided bracket (I
don't know if that's the right word for it but it'll do) will be made to
fit. You know those twists they do in flat metal bars used in decorative
ironwork? Well, the bracket will be flat against the floor of the tray
where it bolts to the rails, while the uprights will be twisted so that
they are also flat against the U-channel rail that runs across the width
of the camper under the door. Yeah? The bracket needs to made of pretty
thick steel plate, and braced at each corner, so that the uprights don't
As to welding aluminium, which I questioned yesterday, TX
Greg says it can be welded. Now that I think of it, my alloy bull bar
is welded. So there ya go. Something else I've learned.
Just reading more forums. One person asked what they would need to power
TV, 8 LED lights, two laptops and 2 phones for about 4 hours a day and
the answer was one 80 watt solar panel and one 100ah battery. So that answers
my query about using my existing 70 watter and one 120ah battery. If the
weather happens to be cloudy or whatever, too bad. Grab the camera and
go for a walk. Fold-out, stand-alone solar panels are relatively cheap
and need no installation. You can also place them in the sun while the
camper is parked in the shade, and move them at regular intervals to catch
more direct sun. BUT, I'd hate to arrive back at the camper after being
away to discover they'd been nicked.
And another thing, you can't use fold-out, stand-alone panels while
you're driving, or parked in town having a beer in a pub or wandering around
taking photos. If I'm gonna see as much of Oz as I can (and I ain't gettin'
any younger), I won't be spending too much time at any one spot.
In the magazine section of the Grey Nomads web site there's a story
about Queensland unveiling a plan to lure more Grey Nomads. Not surprising,
really, because nomads spend money. It's in the interests of all areas,
and particularly rural towns, to provide decent facilities for travellers.
Travellers talk. They have forums and blogs, and they recommend places.
Just got a brilliant idea! I was visualizing the two bolts that secure
the bracket to the tray rails as being the normal way up... that is, with
the nuts under the tray. BUT... what if the bolts are put in upside down,
with the nut thread protruding 3/4" above the tray, and held in place so
they don't drop out when unbolted? (Remember, the camper will be sitting
on a timber pallet that's 1" high). That way, the camper can be loaded
or unloaded BEFORE the bracket is bolted to the exposed threads, with all
the spanner work being done above floor level rather than buggerizing around
underneath the tray. The bracket will be easy to attach/unattach as needed,
and stored away when not in use. And don't worry about the pallet... it's
the same length as the camper base so it won't get in the way of the bolts
That's one thing I can do... visualize stuff. Pity I'm no good at tech
drawing or I'd whip up something y'all can SEE! Anyway, 'tis time to vamoose
and attend to tummy and telly matters. Gary
January 25, 2013. Pureed apple in my smoothie this morning. Very
nice. The bloke who drove me back from Ford this morning is a country boy:
"G'day, I'm Don," he said as he shook my hand, and then told me he's from
Moree in NW NSW, hot and dry sheep and cattle country. His father was a
shearing contractor. Don worked for him as a wool gatherer in the shearing
sheds, and then became a wool presser. Don's your typical outback country
boy, happy to say g'day, shake your hand and have a bit of a chat. I'll
be meeting lots of Dons on the Odyssey, to be sure, to be sure.
Roite, let's start the Waffle with something wonderful posted on Justin's
blog this morning. Two
dogs having breakfast at the kitchen table.
NC Art wrote: Man, are you full of it today!
Y’know, humans waste 50% of foodstuffs produced globally.
So, if early man was also profligate, it’s no wonder dogs hung around camps
and settlements. Eating free garbage is helluva easier than hunting and
fighting over a single rabbit. Hoomins and canines just got used to each
The electric car was a model of silent cruising, but
on a street full of clanking old Fords the effect was eerie. Two old maids
owned an electric in my home town when I was a grommet. The ladies would
take a ride once a week, and then have their yard man bring the thing to
my brother’s service station for charging. The entire boot was floored
with batteries which took 12 hours to charge up ready for their next pleasure
drive. It was black and polished to a high shine by their faithful manservant.
The photo of Little
River has meaning for me. For years I was a contributor to a committee
dedicated to keeping the river a protected wilderness. The group was headed
by my former dentist, who blackmailed me into becoming a contributing member
of the committee. Developers wanted to sell river lots and power companies
wanted to dam the river. The preservationists had good success on some
stretches, but some battles were lost. The river runs through a part of
North Carolina and into Tennessee and is indeed wild and beautiful.
I’ll end with my fervent condemnation of Stayin’ Alive.
For too long it permeated every minute of every day and every venue where
ears could pick up a sound. Blasted from radios, TV’s, honky tonk beer
joints with that infernal thump thump thump thump … STAYIN’ ALIVE!
STAYIN’ ALIVE! Arggh.
Hehe. I was a disco addict back then and spent a goodly amount of time
gyrating on dance floors. Stayin' Alive is still one of my favs despite
having heard it a million times. But I can understand why some radio stations
in the US featured Bee Gee Free Weekends. Enough is enough, I guess. Even
the Bee Gees themselves must have cringed every time they turned on the
radio. It was just before they released Stayin' Alive that the brothers
needed a scream in a song... something like Paul McCartney did on some
songs... so Barry volunteered and discovered his falsetto voice which he
used quite often after that, and which extended their harmony range. Here's
a clip of their very first TV appearance in 1960.
TX Greg wrote: Well since you've said you're going to do a few short
test runs first, that should give you a chance to see if that (existing
solar panel and 1 AGM battery) is going to be enough power. Getting the
sparky to get that spaghetti wiring fixed is the main thing.
Yes, sir! It worries me too... and shocked the sparkie who saw all the
spaghetti when he quoted on the job the other day.
And Gary, I'm more concerned here with the tie downs. That is absolutely
not going to work using those sliding brackets you showed in that picture.
The second you try to tighten up with the turn buckle it is going to either
pull down on that bent up bracket or it will pull completely out of that
U channel aluminum track. And you still have to fasten the front down.
Yep, well it's a steel track, not aluminium. But I've changed the plan
anyway. Kind of. Now my plan is this: See (below) those two rails on the
inside of the rear lights of the truck to which the tray is bolted? They
run the length of the floor up to the cab, and are bolted to the chassis.
Once the camper is sitting on the tray, with the front up against the back
of the uprights, there'll be a 6" gap between the rear of the camper and
the rear of the tray. I plan to use a heavy-duty, 3-sided bar (one horizontal,
two verticals |__| ) that measures the same width as the rails, and bolt
it to the rails directly below the steel U-channel track. Each of the upturned
ends of the bar will be tall enough to reach the channel track and be bolted
thereto (as are the current angle brackets). That should be sufficient
to stop the camper lifting or sliding sideways.
went back and noticed something I saw in that jack photo you sent... See
the hole at the bottom of that bracket? All four jacks should have that
same hole, as all four corners must be tie downed to the bed. I take it
that is where a turn buckle should be fastened. So using four turnbuckles
those should go straight from the jack to a hole drilled in the bed side
rail. So the question is with that box added to the bottom can you find
a long enough turn buckle to reach. If not a local welding shop could easily
fab up a proper bracket coming off the bed corners and also make sure that
the jack bracket hole is ok to use too.
Dunno about welding... the tray is aluminium. But yes, the turnbuckles
open sufficiently to reach from the hole in the bracket to the hitching
rail that runs along the sides of the tray. See photo.
I figured I'd use the hitching rail (or whatever the damn thing is called)
rather than drill holes in the tray sides. Naturally, all three tray sides
will be removed before the camper goes on. And yep, all four brackets at
each corner will be tied down with turnbuckles. Moreover, there are two
extra brackets at the front, mounted higher up the jacks. Those will be
used to tie the front end of the camper to the outer uprights behind the
cab with chains in combination with two more turnbuckles.
So how does all that sound? Six turnbuckles plus four bolts. Secure
BR João wrote: Every day I read the description of your mini-odyssey
search for parts to the ute and the camper. As my knowledge of mechanics
tends toward zero all my contribution to this chat will be to suggest a
new and very simple Chinese
model of mobile house. It has an advantage: engine’s fuel and
owner’s food are the same so the bill is just one. And you can enjoy the
luxury of a bathtub.
Thanks for the suggestion, João, but I think you're about 30
or 40 years too late.
It's very difficult for a bloke like me - non-techinically and non-mechanically
minded - to describe the kinds of things I plan to do with the truck, particularly
when I don't know the names of all the bits and pieces involved. I imagine
readers' eyes have often glazed over these past few weeks. Hehe. Oregon
Richie often says "well, you seem to have all the details of such and such
well sorted" probably because he doesn't have a clue what I'm talking about.
And that makes two of us. But I'm sure when I chat again with that engineering
bloke I saw this week, we'll work something out.
This weekend is a long weekend. Tomorrow is Australia Day and Monday
is a holiday. Vacationers won't like it much cos it's raining. The top
end monsoon has arrived (late) and northern Queensland copped a dunking
yesterday. Now the north coast of NSW is copping it, although it's not
too bad here... showery mostly. Hopefully, the arrival of the monsoon will
ease the dust and dry conditions inland which have caused heatwaves and
terrible bushfires over several weeks.
From the Beeb: US Senator John Kerry warns a failure of a Middle
East two-state solution would be "disastrous", at his confirmation hearing
as secretary of state. Disastrous for whom? Anyway, I wish him
luck. Many others have tried to convince the Israelis and Palestinians
to compromise without success.
An underwater camera has captured the moment a dolphin that became
entangled in a fishing line was freed by a diver in Hawaii. Martina Wing,
who filmed the footage, said that the dolphin seemed to "communicate" with
the diver to ask for help. Great
video footage and well worth watching.
Guess what I've got?
Not a bad look, perfect fit, and it's color coordinated! It has brackets
for driving lights too if I ever decide to get them. Ford fitted the Ironman
helper springs as well, and did a job they forgot last time...removed and
resealed gearshift housing. $170 for everything. So there ya go, the old
girl's in tip top shape and ready to rock and roll. What was NC Art saying?
go shake your old bones all to hell in an underpowered olden Ford rattler.
Actually, she does ride a bit rough but that's cos she's empty. Once
the camper is mounted it'll be a different story.
Chris and his mate, the blokes who built the front fence back in 09,
are here today demolishing the old wheelchair ramp at the front of the
house and constructing a new one. So it's been a noisy day with power tools,
hammering, and lots of swearing. BTW, it was a Ford salesman who volunteered
to be my chauffeur this afternoon. He picked me up in a brand new Ghia.
What a lovely car! He says business is tough these days because people
shop around on the internet and get prices from dealers as far away as
Sydney, Newcastle, Coffs Harbor, etc, before heading to the Taree dealership
armed with quotes from all over.
Anyway, time to shoot through as they say in Aussie lingo. Cyaz. And
thanks for your answers, Greg. Gary
January 24, 2013. Things were much different a hundred years
ago, when ladies had to look their best in "complete social attire".
Little did they realize in 1915 that three decades later the Beetle
would rule the roads. Human beings are sooooo vain, aren't they? Look at
those women with their silly hats, rouge cheeks, painted lips and plucked
eyebrows. No wonder they thought Darwin was a lunatic.
Anyway, I discovered something about those 4" square plates bolted to
the floor of the truck tray. One is loose, so I squirted the bolts with
WD40 last night in an attempt to loosen the nuts. Turns out the whole thing
is loose, and comes away from the tray because that's all it's bolted to...
just the skin of the tray and nothing substantial. Obviously, at some stage,
the thing was strained by too much weight which pulled the bolts away from
the skin. Sooooo, I'm gonna have to talk to the fabricator about attaching
something to the rails that support the tray. I've got a few ideas that
will make the camper more secure. Better safe than sorry, I say.
However, all this buggerizing around is eating into the budget. I'm
thinking that if I stick with the current 70W solar panel and install one
120a/h AGM battery for the time being, that will be enough to run the TV,
laptop, lights, and charge camera batteries, etc. I'll use gas to run the
fridge. One battery plus installation will cost about $500 I reckon. Upgrading
can wait till I've got the dough. What do you think of that idea, TX Greg?
I also discovered yesterday that the electrics plug near the tow bar
(hitch) is cactus. I'll need that for the camper brake lights and indicators.
So when I get the auto electrician to install the AGM, I'll also get him
to install a new electrics plug and fit a reversing video camera. Money,
money, money, money.
What's a haboob? Americans should know because they're quite common
in the deserts of southwest US but not so off the West Australian coast.
sent this link to an article and pics from the NY Daily News. Being
a boatie, Francois is very interested in weather conditions. He even had
a crows nest installed on his boat so he can climb up there to keep an
eye on things. Hehe.
I watched a doco about the Bee Gees called In Our Own Time last
night on telly. Most interesting. Maurice had already died when the doco
was made so Barry and Robin did the main narration with clips from a previous
interview with Maurice to complete the picture. Robin died last year (2012).
The brothers had released a few records in Oz which didn't take off. Then,
just before emmigrating to England to try their luck in 1967, they released
Spicks and Specks. They were one week into their 5-week sea voyage to England
when they received the news that Spicks and Specks had gone to No.1 in
Australia, but it was too late to return. In England, they were greeted
by an industry that insisted groups were dead, and solo acts were now the
only way to go. They were broke but not discouraged. After some months
submitting tapes to record companies and management, they finally got the
chance to meet Robert Stigwood. That was the turning point, and New York
Mining Disaster became a hit. However there were many ups and downs during
their career; periods when things just weren't happening for them - when
record companies and management just didn't want to know them. There was
also a 3-year period when the boys separated due to jealousies and an inability
to communicate. When they did manage to reconcile their differences and
work together again, they wrote, appropriately, "How Do You Mend A Broken
Heart". Then they went on to unimaginable success with the music for Saturday
Night Fever (Stayin' Alive and Jive Talkin' are still two of my favs).
They had 5 hits simultaneously in the US Top Ten. Ironically, they were
so successful, radio stations started promoting "Bee Gee Free Weekends".
That was a worry, so they branched out into writing songs for other artists,
such as Barbara Streisand and Celine Dion. Barry, Robin and Maurice became
independent composers and did very well. But when they were finally inducted
into the Music Hall of Fame, it was as the Bee Gees. Next month, Barry,
the only surviving brother, will
be in Oz to unveil a tribute to the group in Redcliffe Brisbane where
it all began back in 1958.
As Barry said, most groups are associated with a particular generation
or decade. But they managed to transcend that image and maintain their
popularity through several decades. Even today, their music is still played
on radio and is as fresh as ever. As to 'disco' being a dirty word, "We
were the group that created it, so we like the word 'disco'." So do I.
And you know where Maurice got the idea for Jive Talkin'? Driving across
a bridge with his brothers at 35mph, and hearing the sound of the railings.
Barry was in the back making che-cha noises to the rhythm.
Just back from looking at the truck tray and camper again. Smartie pants
here has figured out how to attach the camper to the tray rails. I've just
made the fabricator's job easy... all he has to do is make the thing. It
will prevent both lateral and vertical movement. It's also adjustable and
easy to undo when the camper needs to be removed from the truck.
Aren't brains wonderful things? You just make observations and let the
cogs do their thing until they spit out an answer. That kind of mental
problem-solving activity often occurs during sleep.
From the Beeb: US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta is to lift the military's
ban on women serving in combat, a senior Pentagon official says. I
hope they don't look like the girls in the pic of the electric car hehe.
The US House passes a bill to extend the country's debt limit until
May, deferring a budget debate with the White House. Getting an extension
on the loan. Consolidation of debt. I'm familiar with all that stuff.
Anyone who owns a dog knows that it will rummage around in the kitchen
bin looking for food, given half a chance. But this annoying behaviour
may have a more profound undercurrent than we realise, according to scientists.
A new study of dog genetics reveals numerous genes involved in starch metabolism,
compared with wolves. It backs an idea that some dogs emerged from wolves
that were able to scavenge and digest the food waste of early farmers,
the team tells Nature journal. No-one knows precisely when or how our ancestors
became so intimately connected with dogs, but the archaeological evidence
indicates it was many thousands of years ago. One suggestion is that the
modern mutt emerged from ancient hunter-gatherers' use of wolves as hunting
companions or guards. No
other animal enjoys such a symbiotic relationship with mankind.
Two blokes walking a
white husky went by this house the other day and I commented on its
good looks. A bewdiful thang.
Speaking of beautiful, I favorited a pic on Red Bubble the other day
of an autumn
scene in Tennessee. It's gorgeous.
The other day I said I wished there were things like a handcuff rather
than a clevis. Well,
well, well, lookie, lookie. Those will fit around the bar under the
truck tray no worries, and then hook to the turnbuckle. We have a Bunnings
Superstore in Taree so I'll shop there. 6 x hook/hook turnbuckles + 4 x
snap hooks = $168. Sheesh. I already have 4 eye/eye turnbuckles plus a
few clevis so I'll keep those as spares.
Oh, and my molded dash mat arrived today. Very nice. Fits as snug as
I meant to mention yesterday my convo with Denise, the woman from Ford
who picked me up from home and drove me to the dealership the other day.
She had to collect another customer on the way so we got talking about
stuff and I mentioned my cancer and the gum thing. She's also been through
cancer only worse... she had a breast removed and then the whole radiation/chemo
routine. She's in remission, and has been for 4 years, but is still on
the danger list. So there ya go. We're all like ten pins in a bowling alley.
I've been on a few trips as a passenger in the Ford courtesy car where
there have been other customers to collect or deliver, and it's surprising
how big Taree really is. I've lived here over 11 years and probably seen
less than 10% of it. Most of it is like any suburb of any city... lots
and lots of streets with lots and lots of houses. I saw a pic the other
day on the grey nomad forum's "show us your rig" section of a woman sitting
on a recliner camp chair outside her caravan in a caravan park SURROUNDED
by dozens of other caravans hehe. That's like swapping one suburban situation
for another. This
is more my kinda scene... without the bushfires though. Warrumbungle
National Park, Coonabarrabran, was reduced to ashes a few weeks ago. Here's
another happy group of campers.
And here we are again, ladies and genitals, femmes and hommes, time
to gain a bit of weight and watch a bit of telly. Gary
January 23, 2013. My dad's truck when I was a knee high to a
joey was a Chevrolet, of which I have a vague recollection. I often wondered
if it was a pre or post war model because I was unsure as to whether or
not my dad was working for Marchants Printers during the war years. So
I wrote my older bro and sent a pic of what I thought was a Chevy similar
to what my dad drove, but it was a later model... post war. Dad's was a
38/39. Oz went to war with the Brits in 39 so no more vehicles were imported
into Oz for assembly.
So there's the kinda truck my dad drove when I was a sprout. Same color
too. His had Marchants Printers painted along the side. My bro said dad
thought it was the best truck he ever had. And because of petrol rationing
during and after the war, there was a large black bag mounted to the roof
that he filled with gas from the meter in our front yard. My bro said it
was ugly. Not only that, as it deflated, it wobbled from side to side.
My dad was a smoker so it's lucky he never did a Hindenburg. Now I know
where the expression "gas bag" (to describe a talkative person) came from.
My Ironman springs just arrived so that's cool. The truck's booked in
for Friday to have them fitted along with the bull bar. Actually, Lindsay
spotted the bull bar in the laundry this morning and was most impressed.
Back from seeing a steel fabricator. I showed him a printed pic of the
rear of the camper and then he checked out the truck tray. There are two
4" square steel plates with a 1" square hole in the center bolted to each
rear corner of the tray floor, intended to house an elevated crossbar that
matches the one behind the cab, used to carry long ladders, long timber,
pipes, etc. I figure they'd make useful anchor points for the camper to
prevent lateral movement. So the guy's gonna come up with something. Beats
me trying to figure it out.
Well, I buttered a couple of slices of bread while still frozen, heated
a couple of cocktail franks while they were defrosting, whipped out the
tamaaaaata sauce, and looked forward to a frankie sarmie. Forget it. Doesn't
work. At least the gums don't work. I got a taste though before I had to
spit out a mouthful. Now I feel cheated! Damn it. I'll just have to wait
till I get the temp dentures before I can try anything like that again.
I did try something wonderful last night, though. Dairy Farmers thick
banana caramel pie yoghurt. It tasted like cheesecake. Yummy!
From the Beeb: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vows to
form "as broad a government as possible" after his bloc narrowly wins general
elections. Note: ... "as possible".
North Korea reacts angrily to a UN resolution condemning its rocket
launch and expanding sanctions, pledging to strengthen nuclear capabilities.
There's one in every crowd, yeah?
Most parents tells lies to their children as a tactic to change their
behaviour, suggests a study of families in the United States and China.
You mean they needed a study to find that out? Anyway, kids are nasty little
things. Every time you ask them to do something they wanna know why. Why,
why, why. No wonder parents tell whoppers.
More than 100 aid organisations have come together to launch a campaign
against hunger to coincide with the UK's role heading the G8 this year.The
Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign is the UK agencies' biggest joint
mobilisation since Make Poverty History in 2005. It's possible. But
food is like money. Once you're committed to paying off the mortgage on
the mansion and the Ferraris, it's not easy to find a bit of spare cash
to help the poor.
A magistrate in Australia has dismissed charges against a man fined
after his goat ate flowers outside the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.
goat's name is Gary.
A new venture is joining the effort to extract mineral resources
on asteroids. The announcement of plans by Deep Space Industries to exploit
the rare metals present in the space rocks turns asteroid mining into a
two-horse race. The other venture, Planetary Resources, went public with
its proposals last year. Advocates of asteroid mining hope it could turn
into a trillion-dollar business, but some scientists are highly sceptical
of the idea. Trillions,
huh? Sounds like it's worth a shot. And who cares about environmental issues
on an asteroid?
Well, 5-ish and time for the usual routine. I won't be saying that on
the Odyssey. There will be no routine. Oh... before I go, a mate from Red
Bubble who's travelled the world as well as most of Oz, made
a comment on the AO guestbook. Gary
January 22, 2013. I think I'm getting a handle on this business
of securing the camper to the truck. Sometimes you need to be a bit creative
ya know, and use your own noggin to solve problems. Often, we learn by
DOING, and I've done that countless times in my life, embracing new challenges
with little or no experience.
Popeye the Sailor Man Francois answered my querie about U thingies yesterday:
one is galvanized but you can find a stainless steel one as yours.
Last night on IQ the contestants were given colored pencils and a notepad
and asked to draw
a wigwam. They all drew tipis. Tsk, tsk. The question was also asked:
how many buffalo did Buffalo Bill kill? And the answer was none. There
are no buffalo in North America, only bison. So he should have been called
We have buffalo
in Oz, up north. They were imported from Indonesia for some reason...
beasts of burden perhaps. But now they're a bloody nuisance, churning up
swamps and damaging the environment.
NC Art has my sympathy: A childhood buddy found out about masturbating
at around 11 years of age. He thought the word … and the act … highly
interesting. Trouble was, he kept getting it confused with masticating
and used those two terms interchangeably. It could get some great laughs,
or some shocked reactions depending on his audience. I guess he outgrew
it or figured out why he was getting peculiar looks.
Which reminds me to ask my dentist how he plans to make
a living after I run out of teeth to extract. I will be facing his forceps
and needles two hours from now. Guess my next meal or two will be Gary
Software Specials. Argh.
Thank god I never have to undergo that invasion again! I've had some
pretty horrendous experiences in dental surgeries but those recent extractions
take the cake. Just the sheer brutality of it all still blows my mind.
Meanwhile, BR João comments on Ned: I read the news about
Ned Kelly’s new burial. It’s very interesting to see how he still polarizes
opinions. It’s also very interesting what you said about Australians and
their lack of reverence for political leaders. It’s the same in Brazil.
If someone makes here a Hollywood style movie showing our president as
a big hero – like “Independence Day” – it will be considered the comedy
of the year. And the aliens will laugh too.
If you wanna be a superstar in Oz, and treated accordingly, you need
to play cricket or football... preferably the former. Tennis and swimming
are up there too.
From the Beeb: Barack Obama has told the American people to "seize
the moment", in a speech in Washington DC inaugurating his second term
as US president. He issued a plea for political unity while embracing liberal
causes such as immigration reform, gay rights and the fight against climate
change. Hundreds of thousands of people crammed the ceremony on the National
Gillard could conduct hers in a telephone box.
Prince Harry shot at Taliban insurgents during his time as an Army
helicopter pilot in Afghanistan, he says. The prince, whose five-month
deployment to the country has just ended, spoke about his role as an Apache
co-pilot gunner, and whether he had killed. "Yeah, so lots of people have.
The squadron's been out here. Everyone's fired a certain amount," he said.
"If there's people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we'll take
them out of the game." He's
no ponce our Prince.
And now to cars, and the way many of us began our love affair with wheels.
The one in front is based on the Austin A40 Devon from 1950, and the
one at the back is based on a 1930 Citroen.
A picture's worth a thousand words, roite? This is the back of the camper.
Note the grooved rail that runs along the bottom, above the lower storage
bin. There are six hooks (one out of sight at the far end), each with two
holes. The two under the door are those I use to hook the entry ladder
onto. Anyway, they're moveable by loosening the bolt and sliding the hooks
to wherever you want them. I hadn't realized it till now but they're ideal
for securing the camper to the truck tray. Bill (the forum bloke with the
same combo I have) has used similar angle irons to bolt his camper direct
to the tray, but his doesn't have an extra foot of storage bin between
the angle irons and tray like I have. No worries, I'll figure something
out. The storage bin is divided into three sections. The one in the middle
is for the camper jacks, poles, plug for brake lights and indicators, hoses,
etc. Access to the two outside bins is by full-length drop-down doors.
In the far right, lower corner, you can just see a welded anchor point
with a hole. Each lower corner has one of those, and there are another
two half way up the front corners, which I'll use to attach to the tray
uprights behind the cab. So, dear Breth, after much observation and deliberation,
I think I've got the problem of securing the camper to the truck sorted.
One habit I'll need to develop is checking all the tie downs each time
I return to the truck after an absence in case some asshole has pinched
The beef soup? Wonderful! But some of the veg was a bit of a stuggle
to munch on, so just now I strained off the liquid, and used a potato masher
to mash all the solids, including the diced steak. Much better than blitzing.
Instead of a puree with unrecognizable contents, the individual veg and
meat are mashed but not obliterated, and still retain their texture. Then
I put the liquid back in, ladled the soup into containers, and stored them
in the refrigerator. Yes, blitzing is okay for some things but not all
things. The mash idea was a real winner.
How many languages are there in the world? Before you start counting,
there were between 250 and 300 in Australia alone at the beginning of colonization.
About 150 are still spoken while others are being revived. If
you're into language, here's an interesting article on the Beeb.
While I appreciate the cultural and historical significance of languages,
and the need to preserve them, I still think it's important to have a language
common to all mankind for the sake of communication and the exchange of
ideas. That's what the internet is all about... the great information revolution.
Besides, my French ce n'est pas terrible.
Truck's ready to be picked up at Ford... but Denise is comin' to git
me in a flash new Falcon. I get the royal treatment there ya know.
BACK! Whoa! I better slow down the spending. I expected something like
$200 but the bill was almost double that at $374. Gasket head cover, tie
rod end assembly x 2, wheel stud, nut. The labor alone was $200. Anyway,
it's running well and sounds quieter. But I think this solar/batteries
thing might have to wait a few weeks. The power bill arrived this week...
$550. Sheesh. Hopefully, that's the last power bill I'll be paying here.
Or anywhere else for a very long time!
And speaking of time, it's that time. Cya! Gary
January 21, 2013. Well, that's the dentist taken care of, and
the truck which is at Ford getting gaskets and rubber boot thingies done.
I've also booked the truck in for next Friday to have the bull bar and
Ironman springs fitted. The dash mat should arrive this week as well. I'm
smart enough to fit that one myself. :)
Roite, anyone know what that U thingy is called? I asked yesterday and
was almost trampled in the stampede of answers. Yeah, right. Anyway, it
attaches to the eye of the turnbuckle but it's too small to fit the metal
rod that runs along the sides of the truck tray. The pic is about twice
the size of the real one. If that were the real one, it would be perfect.
Actually, what would be perfect is a circular shape that opens and closes
like a handcuff.
The bull bar arrived this morning. Looks pretty good - silver colored
alloy - two uprights and 3 cross bars, full width, 4 bolt-on points. I'm
sure it'll make my little truck look more like a REAL truck!
BR João's Christmas card arrived today, more than a month after
it was posted! The card shows a map of the island on which he lives - Florianopolis,
Ilha de Santa Catarina. Very nice, lots of tropical vegetation and, of
course, beaches all around. João lives at one end, right on the
beach. Lots of tanned peeps right outside his door. :)
Ah! That was Rod calling... the tooth fairy. I have an appointment Tuesday
29 for a fitting. So that's one week. It'll probably take another week
before I get the temp dentures. Actually, I think the teeth will be permanent
but the "gum" part won't. It'll be made of a soft pliable material that
won't hurt my own gums or exposed bone, but will be sufficient to help
me eat properly... and MASTICATE! I'll only use them for eating. When my
own gums have finally healed (which may take more surgery), the dentures
will be made permanent. Isn't that exciting?
Soup's on the simmer. Lots of diced beef, onions, carrots, celery, garlic,
potato, tomato puree, beef stock, water, parsley, salt, pepper, sugar.
Smells good already!
Oops! One of the parts ordered for the truck turned out to be the wrong
one. They phoned around looking for the right part somewhere else in Taree
with no luck. No worries. I told them to keep the truck overnight and attend
to it tomorrow.
Now I'm checking out tie-downs and straps... some with ratchets for
tightening... things called transom tie-down straps for boats. It's all
so confusing. But I think those things go over the top of a load, and I
don't think I want straps over the top of the camper. Ah! Now I know what
that U thingy is called... a clevis (or Jaw). There's a pic on a web page.
But I think what would work best for me is a hook and hook turnbuckle...
that's if there's a straight clear line of sight between the two hook-up
points. Anything that's gotta go around corners needs a strap. See what
I mean? There's no one to ask about these things. I've gotta figure it
all out myself BEFORE I put the camper on the truck. One page I read said
I gotta get four people to stand at each corner of the camper when it's
lowered on to the tray. Yeah, right. Where am I gonna get another three
people from? Maybe one other person so that the thing is lowered equally
at each end... 3 inches at a time. Anyway, it seems you can buy clevis
and clevis, clevis and eye, eye and eye, stub and stub, and hook and eye.
But no hook and hook. Why not? Don't ask me. Here's
one on eBay, but it's only about a foot long. I need something about
18" long. Oh well, I'll keep looking and reading and learning.
Lots of buggerizing around today without making much headway. And now
the soup's ready. Gary
January 20, 2013. Remember the pics of Radiance of the Seas I
took in Sydney? Here's
a bird's eye view I found on Red Bubble this morning. The photographer,
a Polish woman touring the world, climbed the stairs of the Harbor Bridge's
southern pylon to get this view. I'll be there again next month but there's
no way I could climb all those stairs in my current state of health, so
I'll opt for a ferry ride from Circular Quay, under the bridge, and around
to Darling Harbor on the western side of the city. I'll shoot a vid as
well as take stills.
NC Art wrote to give me some free advice on nutritious foods to chew,
like peanut butter sandwiches. I'm a big fan of peanut butter, which also
works well with honey. I watched a Brit cook on telly last night doing
all kinds of interesting things with fruit, including convincing kids to
prefer it over manufactured sweets and drinks. The trick was how the fruit
was displayed: skewered like a kebab, peeled, sliced, cut into chunks,
etc. He put slices of banana, apple and something else in a bowl and squeezed
fresh lemon juice all over them, which not only prevented them turning
brown but also gave them a bit of a tang. Once the group of kids saw the
colorful presentation, they ate the bloody lot! He also convinced one grumpy
old fart who hated cooked apple to try them by being creative and innovative.
Fried apple slices in a hot dog? Try it. (He used fried sausages instead
of frankfurts - and then fried the apple slices in the sausage fat). He
cored whole Granny Smith apples, filled the centers with a mix of raisins,
sultanas and prunes marinated in alcohol (brandy, I think) and baked them,
then topped them with custard.
Art closed with a word about nutritionists: A nutritionist should
know other diet tricks for invalids off their feed. So don’t knock it if
you haven’t tried it. Half of Europe survived on turnips during famines.
I still don’t like the things, but will eat them in a pinch. Try extra
salt in some foods to stimulate saliva. Just don’t overdo it. All these
suggestions made without warranty, but what the hell. Desperate times call
for desperate measures, what? Hehe.
TX pointed out that those expensive RV fridges I linked to yesterday
were not compressor type, but absorption type. I had a feeling he might
say that. What the hell would I know? And yes a
"built-in" RV style dual 240V/12V compressor unit is just as expensive
as an absorption unit... That is why most people opt to modify a home unit
to fit the opening at the lower price. The only problem is they are stuck
with only being able to run it on the 240V.
Anyway, the thing is RV fridges are expensive and since I already have
one, I'll keep it. Dozen madder if it's not 12V. I have a 240V inverter.
Another thing that's occurred to me is that absorption doesn't use machinery
so, theoretically, it should last forever! Our first fridge when I was
a kid was a "Silent Knight" which ran on gas. I think there were kerosene
fridges around in those days as well. Before that we had an ice chest.
I had a good look at the turnbuckles on the camper and now I understand
them. The previous owner had a short length of chain attached to one end
which confused me a bit. There's a U shaped link with a threaded pin that
screws through the two open ends, and attaches to each eye of the turnbuckle
but they're not big enough to straddle the steel pipe that runs along each
side of the ute tray. The pipe has a 1" (25mm) diameter so I'll have get
new U thingies to fit. What are they called, and where could I buy them?
From the Beeb: Syria's foreign minister has invited the "nationalistic
opposition" to lay down its weapons and join talks to form a new government.
Walid Muallem said any opposition group could join a new cabinet as long
as they reject foreign intervention. He said any discussion of President
Bashar al-Assad's future was "unacceptable". The
opposition would agree with that last statement.
More than 130 years after he was hanged, Australia's most notorious
outlaw is being buried, as old tensions resurface about what he really
means to the country. Criminal
or folk hero? Both, probably. It all happened back in the days when cops
and bureaucrats weren't exactly saints either. As one commentator said
the other night, "He wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed because his suit
of armor left his legs exposed, and that's how the cops brought him down."
Like every other tourist, I'll be visiting the museum and taking pics
in Victoria, the town where Ned Kelly made his famous "last stand".
I'm not a fan but I do find the history interesting. There were many bushrangers
back then. After all, this joint was a dumping ground for British and Irish
convicts. Not far from here is a road called Thunderbolt's Way, named after
another notorious bushranger. Even our national song, Waltzing Matilda,
is about a thief who stole a sheep and had "the troopers, one, two and
three" after him. Hehe. And what about Jack Doolan, the
Wild Colonial Boy?
They say that's why Aussies are not overly enamored by politicians,
even Prime Ministers and Premiers. We certainly don't treat them with the
same reverence as Americans treat their Presidents - not even remotely.
However, 50% of us are big fans of the Royal Family. Aussies are generally
a pretty rough and ready lot, with a streak of larrikinism. There's no
equivalent to Hollywood in Oz. Our famous stars live in regular suburbs
(or even country towns) where they mix with the locals and are treated
the same as anyone else. The worst thing you can do in Oz is behave like
you're better than the next bloke.
Short and sweet today, ladies and genitals. I bought a bunch of stuff
today to make a hearty beef and veg soup tomorrow. Bought bread too for
sangers, and some frankfurts. Love frankfurts on fresh bread and butter,
with a dollop of tamaaaaaata sauce. And now it's time for a bit of telly.
January 19, 2013. Satdeeeee! TX Greg wrote: Ohhhh Gary...
And where did you get that $1700 price yesterday for the fridge. I thought
we looked that up and it is about $900 to replace your current model with
another RV absorption fridge. Back then, before solar panels, the absorption
fridge was the way to go because you could run the unit on gas. But if
you're going to have the power to spare, the
compressor models to fit that opening are way under $300..... And like
I've said, I really think that old fridge is going to give you a ton of
grief. Hmmm you should go ahead pull it out of the camper and put it on
here's a fridge like mine (except it also has 12V - mine's only 2-way,
240V and propane). It's used, and the bidding starts at $500. No bids at
the time of writing this though. As to domestic compressor fridges, I have
three of them so I'm aware of what they cost. The smallest is a bar fridge
that cost $120 new. I bought it for the bedroom cos Sue kept nicking my
plonk. New absorption type, 3-way caravan fridges are between $600 and
a grand, but when you start talking compressor fridges for motorhomes,
start talking big bikkies. Here's another
one. Anyway, it was the bloke who quoted on the solar installation
yesterday who said he saw the price of a new one at $1700.
I don't think my current Electrolux will give me grief. I can't afford
to update at the mo, anyway, so I'm stuck with it. If it uses the same
(or similar) amount of gas to run as the newies, 1kg lasts 3 days. So a
9kg bottle of propane should take care of the fridge and the cooking for
a couple of weeks before I need to refill. Maybe even longer. If the solar
system I instal means I can't run the fridge using electricity, except
occasionally, then so be it. At least I'll have enough to run the laptop,
water pump, exhaust fan, TV, lights, recharge batteries, etc. The system
includes a digital readout so I can keep an eye on usage and the amount
of charge remaining.
Oregon Richie, wrote: Most refrigerator units here run on LPG / LNG
or "propane" and merely provide a burner heat source which activates a
rather ancient but effective refrigeration cycle called the absorption
cycle. The "electric" mode merely turns on a resistance heater element
to replace the propane burner for heat and is actually less efficient,
and a 12 volt mode is the least efficient but serves to help maintain temperature
ONCE the refrigerator unit has already been pulled down to temperature.
Yes, I've read it's a good idea to fill the fridge with cold stuff before
turning it on. A bag of ice maybe. Anyway, solar power is cheaper than
gas, which is why I'd prefer to run the fridge on 240V. But if it can't
be done, it can't be done. No biggie.
FL Bill must've missed the story I referred to yesterday about the bloke
with a metal detector finding a gold nugget at Bendigo in Oz. He
sent this report from Huffington Post.
I'm having a sandwich. Yep, a genuine sandwich. I boiled an egg, mashed
it with mayo, spread it on bread (with butter), added a slice of soft cheese
and shredded lettuce, removed the crusts, cut the sandwich into small cubes,
and voila. One cube has already found its way down the screech. Now I'm
chewing another. Do you have any idea what it's like trying to chew without
teeth? It's kinda like screwing up a sheet of paper with your elbows. It's
possible but not easy. However, I can feel REAL food entering my tummy,
and it feels good. My dentist Nancy recommended I give this a shot. My
body is too skinny and weak to assist the healing process of the gums so
I need to BULK UP. Even three sandwiches a week would be useful. Anyway,
the more cubes I eat, the easier it gets. More saliva is being stimulated,
and I'm using water to assist the swallowing. Nancy says water is good
for stimulating saliva. I'm by no means a fan of water but I can handle
Tellya what. The gums are practically useless, so I'm relying on the
enzymes in the saliva to partially digest the food before swallowing. It
means taking forever to eat just one sandwich but it's worth the trouble.
AND... it's nice to taste things like mayo, egg and cheese again... and
feel the texture of the bread.
I remember a story on telly about a Chinese woman who ran a restaurant
in Sydney. She would ban people who refused to obey her instructions about
wasting food and failing to chew the food properly before swallowing. She
would not collect plates from a table if they still had food on them. Hehe.
She obviously wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed because she drove most
of her customers away and went broke. But she did have a point about chewing
and using saliva to partially digest food before it enters the digestive
system. It saves the body a lot of work and, according to her, promotes
So there ya go.... halfway through the sandwich already hehe. Good thing
I'm not in a hurry. Actually, half a sanger will do for now. I'll eat the
rest later. My stomach has shrunk and isn't used to it.
Hot and oppressive yesterday. Warm and wet today. Sydney had its highest
temp on record yesterday at 45.8C (114.4F), beating the previous hottest
day in 1939. Bushfires are running rampant all over NSW and Victoria, destroying
tens of thousands of hectares of bushland, stock, and some homes. One person
was found dead in a car. Residents of one small town were given 5 minutes
to pack their cars and run. Can you imagine that? 5 minutes to choose what
to take? There was another story of kangaroos hopping down the middle of
a road with fire on both sides. They were cooked alive in their tracks.
One old bloke who was most upset about losing his house was also devastated
by the loss of his two vintage cars... a Morris Mini Cooper and an MGB...
both burnt to a shell. By some miracle, his motorhome (a large one) parked
nearby managed to escape unscathed. And it started first go. He was interstate
when the fire started and arrived home to see the aftermath.
From the Beeb: The US Federal Reserve may have underestimated the
extent of the looming global financial crisis in 2007, released transcripts
from that year show. Read
the story here.
I wrote Bill (the bloke who has the same kinda rig as mine) a private
note on the forum yesterday and he answered thus: I have reinforced
the bottom of the camper with steel angle and it doesn't move at all now.
I have done some fairly rough dirt roads (Cape Trib To Cooktown coast road,
etc) and it seems to work well. I have some small bits of angle iron teq
screwed to the tray which also helps stop it moving. I will take some pics
if you want. Bill.
Bill's is a bit different to mine though. It's the original Freeway
designed for a tub ute, so it doesn't have the storage boxes on each side.
I'm not sure the angle iron idea will work for mine, but I've asked him
to post pics anyway. In any case, he's obviously not relying solely on
the turnbuckles to secure the camper. That's cool. I'll figure something
Back from the dentist to see Liam, the bloke who removed all my teeth.
He says they've gone about as far as dentistry can take my situation. He
wants me to talk to the head and neck specialist in Sydney next month about
surgery to remove all exposed (dead) bone so that blood can flow to the
gums. Meanwhile, the prosthetist will make a special set of dentures with
a soft fit to use for eating so that I can improve my diet. Liam says my
immune system needs more 'ammunition' to aid the healing process. He also
wants me to see a nutritionist. Bleh.
Liam also admitted that had my teeth been extracted when they were supposed
to be, shortly after the radiation treatment, everything would have been
fine. But while Nancy was adamant they could be saved, she didn't realize
that radiation was continuing to have a detrimental effect even though
the treatment had ceased, and damage to my jaw was still in progress. By
the time Liam got involved, it was too late to prevent the problems I'm
having now. And that's why they're continuing to look after me at no charge.
They've got the guilts.
But the issue runs deeper than that. When I told the oncologist in Port
Macquarie that Nancy was trying to save my remaining teeth he said, "That's
her call." And that's despite recommending extraction in the first place.
The head/neck doc in Sydney said something similar. In other words, they
were both reluctant to criticize a colleague in the medical profession.
So much for getting a second opinion. That's tantamount to dereliction
of duty if you ask me.
Anyway, orders are to "eat anything and everything", even naughty stuff
like burgers and chips. Mastication is the main obstacle at the mo but
that might improve when I'm fitted with temp dentures. I'm below 50kgs
right now... maybe 47 or so. Not good. So there's a couple of hurdles to
jump before this kid is fit enough to depart permanently on the Odyssey.
Depending on what happens, I might have to settle for a few weekends away
for a while. A "trial run". That might not be such a bad idea, actually.
There's no shortage of camping places around these parts... beach, forest,
lakes, mountains, you name it.
Just spent half an hour on the phone bringing Averil up to speed, and
now it's time to flee. Gary
January 18, 2013. Here we go again. Got a call from the electrician/solar
bloke this morning at 8:30 and he'll be here shortly to check out the camper
and discuss what I'll be needing in hardware. That'll be interesting.
As I wrote Richie this morning: "Yep, amazing innit. You spend years
buggerizing around in circles, seemingly making little or no headway, and
all of a sudden things start to fall into place. It's kinda scary actually...
like it's all happening a bit too fast! Anyway, the thing is, you get so
used to being frustrated by constant obstacles being placed in your path,
you lose sight of just where you are, and how close you are to realizing
your dream. And then it happens. And you're in shock. Hehe."
NC Art wrote: Well, it sounds like a HOORAY FOR GARY is in order.
The pieces are clicking into place and nearing your blast-off into the
wild excursion of wherever. I feel your enthusiasm way up and around to
my little corner of the globe. Now, if you can find a set of Ironman jaw
replacements on e-bay for your mouth you will be super ready!
Thanks, Art. I really appreciate your encouragement. I remember old
Kev next door saying one time, "You wouldn't last 5 minutes in the bush!"
And a techie who was here fixing my compy: "You're not going anywhere!"
I used my pig skin gloves for the first time this morning, to stack
the timber I bought yesterday along the garage wall. No splinters! The
blokes at the timber yard had hands like leather so they didn't worry about
handling rough timber. Not Goldilocks here! I bought the gloves for gathering
firewood at camping spots but they've come in handy already.
Here's a story about an elderly Swiss couple who got bogged in the outback.
were very lucky to survive.
Well, the bloke from Mackies arrived and checked out the camper. He
reckons I can keep some of the gear, like the inverter and regulator, but
most of the stuff will be new, including the solar panels. Yes, two. The
old one is a BP, 60/70 watt that's about 10 years old. So it'll get the
flick. He's recommending 2 x 140 watt panels (higher wattage single panels
run on 24 volt and it's all too hard) and 2 x AGM 120a/h batteries. He
said if the fridge was a compressor type, I'd have oodles of power to run
it as well as everything else - TV, laptop, lights, etc. But because mine's
a non-compressor type, it sucks more power. BUT, a new camper fridge is
about $1700 so that's out of the question. He says I can run the fridge
using electricity but sparingly. Maybe during the day then switch over
to gas at night or something like that.
Mark just phoned with the quote. $1500 for hardware and about $600 for
labor. More if I want the batteries connected to the truck's alternator
with an isolator switch. Sounds a bit high to me so I'll get another quote
or two. From what I've seen on eBay, the hardware is more like $1000 which
is a $500 saving to begin with. AGMs are about the $300 each mark but solar
panels are $200 each.
Well, whaddaya know. I just phoned another company but they deal in
grid stuff. It was worth phoning though because the bloke asked if I'd
checked with any auto electricians. I never thought of that! So the first
one I phoned said, "Yeah, we install solar panels and batteries on campers,
no worries." He'll pop around here sometime next week and check out the
camper. If I can get the hardware and installation down to about the 1
1/2K mark, I'll be happy. Otherwise I might have to settle for 1 panel
and 1 AGM for the time being. We'll, see.
From the Beeb: Lance Armstrong admits using performance-enhancing
drugs during all seven of his Tour de France wins. Full
story here. I haven't bothered to read it. I'm not really interested.
Mick Hucknall and The Stereophonics are among artists attempting
to re-record The Beatles' Please Please Me at Abbey Road on the album's
50th anniversary. The musicians will have just 12 hours to complete the
work, mirroring the marathon single session that resulted in the Beatles'
debut album. They will use the same studio, with all the tracks recorded
in order. The event, which takes place on 11 February, will be broadcast
live on BBC Radio 2. Jeez, 50 years ago and I'm still here!
An amateur prospector in the Australian state of Victoria has astonished
experts by unearthing a gold nugget weighing 5.5kg (177 ounces). The unidentified
man, using a handheld metal detector, found the nugget on Wednesday, lying
60cm underground near the town of Ballarat. Its value has been estimated
at more than A$300,000 ($315,000: £197,000). Oh
yes, that's another thing I need... a metal detector. :)
A security check on a US company has reportedly revealed one of its
staff was outsourcing his work to China. The software developer, in his
40s, is thought to have spent his workdays surfing the web, watching cat
videos on YouTube and browsing Reddit and eBay. He reportedly paid just
a fifth of his six-figure salary to a company based in Shenyang to do his
job. What a
All of Boeing's 50 flagship 787 Dreamliners have been temporarily
taken out of service amid safety concerns. The US and European aviation
agencies said planes should be grounded while safety checks are carried
out on their lithium ion batteries. They are worried that the batteries
could leak, corroding vital equipment and potentially causing fires. Boeing
said it stood by the integrity of the Dreamliner, which has been in service
since October 2011. Grounding aircraft on this scale over safety concerns
is rare. The last time the FAA ordered a general grounding of an aircraft
model was in 1979, when McDonnell Douglas DC-10s were grounded following
a fatal crash. Oregon Richie commented: Hope it does not become a "libeled"
airplane but they usually do, and tends to freak people out. At times
the B 727 had those problems which really was not deserved and turned out
to be mostly related to pilot skills and differences in handling jet aircraft
over piston-engined airliners, as did the early versions of the DC-10,
which DID have core design problems eventually fixed but did not fix the
attitude towards it.
I suppose you've seen the NRA's TV ad about Obama's kids being protected
by armed guards while "our" kids are exposed to danger in gun free zones.
Just goes to prove how lopsided the NRA's thinking is. When I saw the ad
I couldn't believe those people could be so dumb! On the other hand, maybe
they're not so dumb... maybe they're just trying to appeal to those who
ARE dumb enough to believe that message.
I heard someone say on telly that before the '70s, the NRA was an organization
whose charter was to promote recreational sport shooting in the US. There
was nothing about arming the populace to protect itself from a possible
dictatorship within its own borders. The NRA was all about target shooting
and hunting. But then the organization was taken over by right wingers
and paranoid fanatics. The NRA is now nothing more than a lobby group for
small arms manufacturers. It uses the second amendment and the right to
personal self-defense as excuses to sell more guns, including assault weapons.
Remember the arms race during the Cold War? Now they're trying to downsize
the arsenals and limit nuclear weapons. So it's already been demonstrated
on a global scale that more guns don't equal more peace. If Obama succeeds
with his gun reforms, it'll mean small arms manufacturers will lose customers;
lots and lots of customers. And they don't like that one bit. This is not
about the second amendment or the infringement of personal liberty, this
is about money and power.
It's like a furnace outside, so I put the a/c on. What a difference!
But not for too long. Too damned expensive. However, the next 7 days will
be high 20s and low 30s so that'll be okay.
I'm convinced that having no teeth, and finding it difficult to speak
properly, encourages people to think you're not the full quid. They automatically
associate no teeth with being intellectually challenged. It happened the
other day when that off road bloke tried to flog air bags. Incidentally,
the solar bloke today warned me against air bags. He said all his company's
trucks had air bags fitted and they were nothing but trouble. Now they
have extra leaf springs. But even he gave me a quote that I feel is over
the top. I know what the hardware costs and it ain't $1500.
And finally, folks, here's what happens when you're in the auto design
business and a war comes along between models:
January 17, 2013. Well, I got me a bull bar. It's the type that
bolts to the chassis under the existing bumper rather than the bar/bumper
combo (which I'd prefer) but the bloke says he's got a bolt-on one that's
done the kangaroo test many times without damage. He says if I use high
tensile bolts to secure it, it should be fine. His has an impact rating
of 14 tonnes. So there ya go... $250. I could have driven to Kempsey to
pick it up but with petrol and time I opted for delivery at an extra $60.
TX Greg wrote: Those Ironman springs look pretty cool and should
do the job you want just fine. I've install and repaired many of the Firestone
RideRite airbags on motorhomes and yes they are very pricey. The big disadvantage
is they are made of rubber and like tires break down and crack open over
time. The only real advantage was they do give a softer plush ride versus
the helper springs, but I don't think you're trying to make the camper
ride like a Cadillac, hehe.
And Oregon Richie wrote: Your email about the Ironman springs did
not feature the link so I looked it over this morning and essentially do
think that THAT is the way to go. It's a proven system used on millions
of various types of vehicles all over the world, essentially quite simple,
and far less costly. No complicated installation, no rubber parts,
no fittings and hoses and connections to leak, no fussy or electrically
driven compressors to go punky, so... that is absolutely the way I would
go with it. Saving some $ will help too because it can be directed
to other AO requirements. OK, perhaps not as "elegant" in some ways
and since your additional load factors will not be severe, such as pickup
trucks with 3 thousand LB campers on them, it will work fine. Go
for it, I say !!
I feel better now, confident about having made the right choices. I'm
also confident about the rig itself and its ability to handle the trip.
figure if Bill, the bloke with Ironman LoadPlus springs on his Courier/Freeway
combo, can handle places like Fraser Island and the rugged Gulf country,
then the kind of places I intend to go should be a piece of cake.
So what's next? I'll order an Ironman kit on eBay, then have Ford fit
both the springs and bull bar when they arrive. Meanwhile, I'll go to a
timber yard to get 5 or 6 slats of timber to fit between the side rails
of the ute tray. Once the camper is on board, I can take it to an electrician
to have AGM batteries fitted and a new solar panel installed. Then to the
gas bloke to check the fridge and stove fittings and instal a 9kg bottle.
It's all coming together so damn fast I'm getting nervous! I'm used to
things taking FOREVER.
Okay, that's the Ironman LoadPlus taken care of. Should arrive next
week. Lindsay said this morning that there are government subsidies available
for him and Sue which will increase their disability pensions in light
of Sue's condition. That means "we can stay here instead of finding a new
flat". He's been looking in estate agent windows and realizing that this
house represents damn good value. It always has. So I'll leave some of
my stuff here for them to use, and sell what they don't need. There's a
lotta junk here as well which I'll happily let them worry about. Hehe.
Once I'm gone, I'm G O N E.
BR João wrote: I didn't know Australians were so good with
a football. Very
impressive. Also interesting that Bonds make undies with a soccer
ball pocket. Or should that be 'pouch'? Cody always called it a pouch.
Well, on the one hand you get some smartass who wants to sell you an
expensive air bag kit, and then you get a bloke like the one I just spoke
to at a local
timber yard who says he can do me 6 timber slats for the truck tray
for $20 - cut to size. How's that for cool? I explained what I want to
use them for so he's gonna fix me up with rough hewn timber to prevent
any slip. The turnbuckles will keep the camper glued to the tray anyway.
Yes, it's the same timber yard I photographed back in '08 but under new
Back from the timber yard. Pity I didn't bring the camera because I
got a ride in a little diesel truck - a kind of cross between a forklift
and a golf buggy. The guys were great. Trimmed six off-cuts of 4"x1" to
6ft lengths with a chain saw, plonked 'em in the back of my truck, and
charged me $20. Not sure what kind of timber it is but it's HEAVY (probably
ironbark), and rough hewn. When I arrived I sat in the air conditioned
office with the boss and told him about the pics I'd taken back in '08,
so he checked 'em out on his comp and was quite impressed. The place has
changed a fair bit since he bought it 18 months ago. So there's another
Amazing innit. All that timber didn't exist before a little seed germinated
and grew out of nothing.
So lemme see. The truck goes to Ford on Monday to have tie rod boots
and gaskets fitted. Then it goes back in about a week to have the Ironman
springs and bull bar fitted. Then it'll be ready to mount the camper on
the tray, which means it'll be ready for the AGMs and solar panel early
in Feb. A solar bloke will phone tomorrow to discuss doing the job. He
wasn't available when I called. But Feb will be a tad busy. I have an appointment
with the doc at Port Macquarie on the 11th, and another with the doc in
Sydney on the 18th. And then? Well, we'll see. I think both docs are gonna
freak when they see how skinny I am.
So that's the current progress report, ladies and genitals. It's all
January 16, 2013. Air bags, springs, boing, boing, boing. Everyone
has a different story/opinion so it's a little confusing for a novice like
me. The bloke on the Gray Nomad forum answered someone else's query about
his rig looking top heavy and unstable. Here's what he had to say: Actually,
it's not. I have Ironman loadplus override springs on the back and it's
quite stable. A lower tray would be a great help in loading and unloading,
but its not that bad. I have done Fraser
island, and the Bloomfield
track in it, so it seems to be ok. I went close to buying a Mazda BT50
2wd ute, but you lose the 4wd system, so I will keep the Courier. You can't
go very quick with the power availiable, so I take my time, and it's reliable
as the day is long, and easy to fix. See you on the track, Bill.
Bill's a bit more adventurous than I am... I'll be sticking to less
hazardous situations. But, in response to my mention of Polyair Springs
yesterday, Oregon Richie wrote: Oh, and I
sent you that article because there are a number of options for your
vehicle suspension. Helper leaf springs, spring adjustable load-leveler
shocks, and I am not personally NOT a fan of airbag systems at all.
Consider those things and maybe chat with others about it. Maybe
the biz just makes more money on it. Dunno.
Well, I have discovered one thing... helper springs are about a quarter
of the cost of air bags. That's tempting! So I'll do a bit more checking
before I make a decision.
Meanwhile, NC Art wrote The Tooth, the Whole Tooth: I go to my dentist
Monday for a couple of extractions. Pretty soon I’ll be chewing like a
chipmunk with front teeth only. Your situation reminds me of the old dentist
joke. "Well, what did the dentist tell you?" "Oh, he said my teeth are
perfect, but the gums need to come out."
That steering wheel in that nifty car picture reminds
me of designers trying to make classy wheels from exotic materials. Fine
woods inlaid and spliced, burnished and polished. Oops, some of the joints
came apart when the glue dried out. Same thing with early plastics, in
which case hot sun and time caused the stuff to crack and fall off
the metal rim in pieces. Somewhat disconcerting to have the wheel disintegrate
in your hand while cornering.
Ah, yes, like my '51 Morris Oxford. By the time I sold it, the steering
wheel had begun to crack and flake, leaving my hands full of plastic splinters
each time the wheel returned to center after turning a corner. You also
remind me of the day I took delivery of my second Beetle. I parked the
thing outside my house and the steering wheel came off! Someone had forgotten
to attach the center nut. Oh dear...
From the Beeb: US President Barack Obama is expected on Wednesday
to unveil wide-ranging measures aimed at curbing gun violence. The proposals
could echo measures, considered the toughest in the nation, passed in New
York state on Tuesday. Mr Obama has said he favours bans on assault weapons
and high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as broader background checks.
The nation's top gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA) says it
will fight any attempts to limit access to guns or ammunition.
The US National Rifle Association has launched a target range game
for the iPhone and iPad, a month after the Sandy Hook Elementary School
tragedy. The game, which simulates a shooting practice, has been approved
for children as young as four.
A Boeing 787 aircraft operated by All Nippon Airways makes an emergency
landing at Takamatsu airport after a battery malfunction. The airline
has grounded its whole fleet of dreamliners. Teething
problems are not what you want at 32,000 feet.
Well, that was a waste of time. Turns out Old Man Emu (suspension) is
the same Off Road place I went to yesterday! So why did the bloke zero
in on Polyairs and not mention alternatives like helper springs? I don't
like that, and I won't be shopping there for anything at all. Actually,
it occurred to me at the time that it was a bit of a rush job.
So now I'm thinking of buying Ironman
LoadPlus and having them fitted by the Ford dealer. I just checked
a seller on eBay... less than $150 for the kit including postage for my
model Courier. Add $100 max for fitting and I'm up for a quarter of the
cost of Polyairs. Boom boom. I'll wait till Oregon Richie comments on my
plan before I go ahead with it. But I'm already impressed by what Bill
said about the performance of his Courier with the Freeway on board.
All's well that ends well, yes? And that's $750 I get to spend on something
NC Art reckons it's important to learn something new every day, so here
NOW THIS IS A REAL EDUCATION...
Where did "Piss Poor" come from? Interesting history. They used to
use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot. And
then once it was full it was taken and sold to the tannery... if you had
to do this to survive you were "Piss Poor". But worse than that were the
really poor folk who couldn't even afford to buy a pot... They "didn't
have a pot to piss in" and were the lowest of the low.
The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the
water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used
to be. Here are some facts about the 1500's. Most people got married in
June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled
pretty good by June.. However, since they were starting to smell, brides
carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today
of carrying a bouquet when getting married.
Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the
house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons
and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies.
By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence
the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!"
Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath.
It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other
small animal (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery
and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof.
Hence the saying, "It's raining cats and dogs." There was nothing
to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in
the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean
bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded
some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.
The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt.
Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would
get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the
floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more
thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside.
A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.
(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)
In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that
always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things
to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They
would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold
overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in
it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: “Peas porridge
hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."
Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special.
When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It
was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon." They would
cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew
Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content
caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning
death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years
or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom
of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would
sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking
along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They
were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family
would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake
up. Hence the custom; “holding a wake."
England is old and small and the local folks started running out
of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the
bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins,
1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and
they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string
on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the
ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard
all night (the graveyard shift) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could
be, “saved by the bell" or was "considered a dead ringer."
And that's the truth. Now, whoever said history was boring!!!
Speaking of wit and wisdom, as I shaved and showered today I listened
to Michael Kirby, former Chief Justice of the high court in Oz, making
a speech at his latest book launch. Talk about a funny, entertaining and
witty man. He also talks quite frankly about being gay. Anyway, I became
an instant fan. He has his own web site on which he posts articles and
video clips. If you're sitting around one day needing a bit of mental stimulus,
highly recommend this man. My kinda dude.
And that, ladies and genitals, is it for today. I think I've made a
bit of progress with the camper, and I've learned a few things! Gary
January 15, 2013. One of the things I loved as a kid about cars
from the late '30s and early '40s was the art deco style. Interiors were
sumptuous and inviting:
See that old Ford truck in the top left hand corner of the first pic?
I fell in love with those things during the '50s and am still besotted.
But back to being a kid of 4 feet something, I would always be relegated
to the rear of our rello's cars whenever they took us for a drive, and
I remember being swallowed up by huge, plump seats and intoxicated by the
smell of leather. Compared to my dad's truck, riding in a car was like
going for a magic carpet ride.
Stella, my dad's sister, had the good sense to marry a builder who was
quite wealthy and lived at Collaroy on Sydney's northern peninsula. He
also owned a large cruiser as well as a flash Chevrolet.
Back from the dentist. Nancy's worried about my lack of weight gain.
She says my body needs more food to heal itself. So we agreed to start
with sandwiches... something simple like mashed egg, maybe a bit of ham
and shredded lettuce, cut into bite-size squares and more or less allowed
to dissolve in the mouth with a minimum of chewing aka gumming. The first
will be on Saturday morning shortly before the next appointment so she
can flush out any food residue. And we'll go from there. Bread appeals
to me... something that will stick to my bones.
From the Beeb: President Obama says the US is not "a deadbeat nation",
as he warns Republicans not to play politics over the soon-to-expire federal
borrowing limit. I watched an interview with Speilberg last night talking
about his movie Lincoln. He said that back in Lincoln's time, the Republicans
were the left wingers and the Democrats were the conservatives. How times
(and ideologies) have changed.
Australia experienced a wave of migration from India about 4,000
years ago, a genetic study suggests. It was thought the continent had been
largely isolated after the first humans arrived about 40,000 years ago
until the Europeans moved in in the 1800s. But DNA from Aboriginal Australians
revealed there had been some
movement from India during this period.
Volkswagen says its group sales hit a record high last year despite
slowing sales in Western Europe. The German carmaker sold 9.07 million
cars last year, up 11% from 2011. Sales in North America and Asia-Pacific
rose 26.2% and 23.3% respectively, helping to offset a 6.5% drop in sales
in Western Europe, excluding Germany where sales were up 1.9%. The
success of the Beetle was obviously no fluke in that case.
The Queen's Bentley failed to start following a Sandringham church
service - until a bishop blessed the motor. As her chauffeur got nothing
more than "throaty rasping" noises from the engine, the Queen laughed and
pointed at the stricken limo. The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Reverend
Stephen Cottrell, stepped forward and gave a blessing. At
that point the car burst into life and the Queen commented: "Don't let
it stop." Cynics will say it's coincidence but I bet the Bishop
dines out on that story as long as he lives.
On Saturday more than 100 homes were on an emergency alert at Upper
Lansdowne on the mid-north coast while homes were threatened by two bushfires
at Georges Junction near Armidale. Those threats have now passed and fire
crews will continue to monitor the blazes overnight. Upper Lansdowne is
only half an hour's drive from here. But
homes in the north west of NSW didn't fare so well yesterday.
Did you hear about the woman who asked her husband, "Would you please
go to the shop for me, darling, and buy one carton of milk, and if they
have avocados, get six." When the husband returned with six cartons of
milk, his wife asked why. He said, "they had avocados." NC Art sent that
one. According to him, if you need to read that twice, you're a woman.
Back from Taree Off Road and chatting with the boss. He didn't dilly
dally. He recommends Polyair Springs...
air bag suspension bellows to you and me. They're not very big, which surprised
me. Anyway, installation and fitting will set me back a grand, which ain't
cheap. But the bloke reckons it'll be a grand well spent in terms of handling,
ride comfort, stability and safety. He says once the camper is fully loaded,
it'll be around the 800+ kg mark which is pretty close to full capacity.
An after-market stabilizer bar would be available, he says, "But that won't
solve your weight problem. The Polyairs will take care of both weight and
So there ya go, a grand for the Polyairs, another grand for two AGMs
and solar panel, maybe a few hundred for the jobs next Monday at Ford,
and maybe $200-$300 for a used bull bar. In April, 3rd party and comprehensive
insurance plus registration will be due. Sheesh. I'm also expecting the
quarterly power bill to arrive any time as well. Hehe. Never mind, ladies
and genitals, I'll manage.
Just now, my authorization to post on the Grey Nomad forum(s) arrived,
so I posted a message on the newbies page hoping the bloke who owns the
Freeway/Courier combo (whose pic I posted the other day) will get in touch
with me. I have a few questions to ask him before I make a decision about
I'm not sure I like the Grey Nomad tag, but I had to laugh at a couple
on the web site who said they've been travelling Oz for 12 years and fully
intend to become "Geriatric Gypsies". They said when they're too old to
travel anymore, they'll stay at a caravan park somewhere and "wait for
God". Like me, they don't have a house to go back to.
Anyway, that's it for today, folks. Gary
January 14, 2013. Two weeks into the new year already and it's
becoming routine. How quickly we adapt.
The topic of "destiny" was raised by Oregon Richie this morning in terms
of the Odyssey, and I found myself doing a Waffle type reply, so I think
it's worth pasting here:
I dunno about destiny. I don't think I ever thought I was destined
to be a radio announcer, or in the media/advertising biz. It just seemed
like a more interesting way to make a quid than sitting behind a desk in
a government office. The Odyssey is the same in a way. I could spend my
retirement playing lawn bowls or whatever but I suspect there aren't too
many thrills and challenges attached to that. The Odyssey is simply something
I've chosen because I can do it... it ain't rocket science or a matter
of destiny. It'll provide variety and interest, and a great outlet for
the two things I love to do; write and take photographs. And chat. I do
love a chat ya know, and I'm confident there'll be plenty of chatees out
If I am destined to accomplish anything, it's being associated with
something unusual. People who don't "live an ordinary life" are mostly
associated with unusual things or lifestyles. If you're gonna write your
memoir, it has more chance of being interesting if you're a Winston Churchill
than a successful accountant. Hehe. One of these days, I wanna sit back
in my rocking chair and reminisce about all the places I've been, people
I've met, and adventures I've had. That's a memoir worth writing. And when
I'm long gone, I'd like to think that there are people interested in reading
about the life and times of yours truly. I don't want to spend a lifetime
on this planet that doesn't amount to a hill of beans. If that's a destiny,
then that's the one I have... to use my time here to good effect by doing
something a bit different.
Sometimes I watch a show on telly about peeps who delve into their
family tree, and discover all kinds of interesting ancestors. Invariably,
they're delighted to find an ancestor who did something of note. Actually,
I watched a show last night about Brits who buy historic houses in a sad
state of disrepair and then go about restoring them to their former glory,
paying particular attention to replicating materials and fashions of the
period. It can be a daunting task, not to mention expensive. But one of
the first things they do is research the history of the place, to learn
about its builder and first owner in order to understand what the building
represented not only to its original occupants but also the local village
or town. Which reminds me of another type of program I like to watch...
shows about antiques. Antiques with a story attached to them - like who
owned it, etc - are worth much more than those whose history is either
vague or been forgotten.
So there ya go. Obviously, that's what motivated me to write and
publish the Scrapbook on AO, and what is now motivating me to write the
Odyssey Journal. I never knew my grandfathers and barely knew my grandmothers,
so it would have been nice if they'd recorded a diary during their lifetimes,
with references to previous generations about whom I have no knowledge
It's like the way it is with artists... as soon as they fall off
the perch, the value of their paintings skyrockets. Hehe. I remember one
artist I saw interviewed who referred to his paintings as "my children".
I suppose the Odyssey is mine.
As to your feelings about the LR, I have similar feelings about my
old Benz. It would be nice to still have it. On the other hand, what would
I do with it? What would be the point of the Odyssey if I stayed in the
one place? As they say, life is a journey, not a destination. And what's
the point of a journey if you don't keep a journal?
Yep, I think that sums up what the Odyssey is all about... a desire
to be associated with something meaningful. That's what DJs do. If you
can't sing or play an instrument, but you wanna be a celeb, play records
on the radio. In my case, all I wanted to do was have a party in the studio
out of sight of everybody, and then return to reality after the show. Hehe.
When listeners began to treat me as a celeb off air, I was terrified. It
was all very well to be a star, acting out my fantasy during show time,
but off air I was glad to be back in the real world as myself. Plain ol'
Actually, I dread the thought of being "recognized" as the author of
Aussie Odyssey by people who expect me to be a performer of some kind.
I much prefer people to meet me not knowing of my association with AO,
and then be pleasantly surprised by the fact that, "Oh, so you're really
not all that boring after all!" Hehe.
You see, ladies and genitals, when you write it's the same as acting.
You can project a persona that's a tad contrived in order to appear a little
larger than life. You got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the
negative... as the song goes.
So how did the chicken soup go? Not bad... certainly better than the
canned variety. But I had trouble consuming the solids so I'm gonna separate
the solids from the soup and blitz them before putting them back. I suspect
cooking them as finely chopped is still important to retain their integrity
and individual flavors, but also that it's okay to blitz them afterwards.
Anyway, we'll see. Incidentally, when I removed the chicken legs last night,
the meat just fell off the bones. Bewdiful!
NC Art donated a bit more blog filler: It IS difficult to buy the
right amount of herbs and seasonings. I hunted fresh cilantro for months
before I found a store which had it. A bundle of the piquant herb was sufficient
to use in every way imaginable for weeks until I tossed out 90% because
it was a wilted brown mess. I noticed yesterday that I must replenish my
ground black pepper. The box I bought seven years ago is depleted, thanks
to the gods on Mt. Olympus; it lost its zest years ago.
There ya go. I buy black pepper whole and use a grinder... one of those
tall wooden ones that makes me look as if I know what I'm doing.
BTW, there was a show on telly recently about food, and how much of
it is wasted. Supermarkets demand fruit and veg of a particular standard
so anything on the farms that doesn't measure up is ploughed back into
the ground. Supermarkets themselves throw out a stack of stuff that doesn't
sell by a certain time or date. Consumers often don't know the difference
between "use by" and "best before". And, to top it all off, about a third
of household waste is food that goes into landfill. Rotting food produces
methane, which is a greenhouse gas. One bloke on the show told the story
of his grandmother who wasted nothing. She could use leftovers to make
a meal that was totally different to that served the night before. People
don't have those skills anymore, and many use pre-packaged foods.
From the Beeb: Indian police arrest six men after they allegedly
gang-raped a woman on a bus in Punjab, just weeks after a similar attack
in Delhi shocked the nation. Monkey see, monkey do. Pathetic, isn't
The governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, has declared a public
health emergency because of the severity of this year's influenza season.
The order makes vaccinations more accessible and allows pharmacists to
administer vaccines to children.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of
Paris over plans to give gay couples in France the right to marry and adopt
children. Three big marches converged on the Champs de Mars, a large park
next to the Eiffel Tower. France's Socialist government is planning to
change the law this year. But
the demonstrators, backed by the Catholic Church and the right-wing opposition,
argue it would undermine an essential building block of society.
I can understand where the protesters are coming from. If I were superstitious
I'd be worried about same-sex marriage too... as well as ladders and black
cats and Friday the 13th, etc.
A bloke from Aged Care was here earlier assessing Sue's condition. I
heard him explain to Sue that he was going to ask her a few questions in
relation to her "memory problem". The first question was what year it was.
She had no idea. Then he asked her what season it was. Again, she had no
idea but was determined to figure it out. She couldn't. She didn't even
know what month it was. From what I gathered listening to the wine glass
held against the wall (no, that's not true), she's going to spend a couple
of weeks at some local institution being clinically assessed over an extended
period. I've been doing that for the past 12 years. She has a lot in common
with a box of fruit loops if you ask me. And a husband to match.
Back from the dentist! Wrong day. The appointment is for tomorrow. What
was I saying about dementia? Oh well...
I'm beginning to quite like the truck. This ute and the previous are
chalk and cheese, but this one has a certain rugged charm about it. The
short-throw gears are kinda sporty, and the high torque at low revs gets
me around corners and roundabouts in third with no dramas. Lack of power
steering is less of a worry than it was, especially with more air in the
front tires. The cab is surprisingly roomy and comfortable. And it's certainly
a lot easier to drive than the old Kombi with its long-throw gears and
truck steering. Kombis have character but they sure weren't designed for
comfort (at least the early ones weren't). The Courier's previous owner,
Alex, was quite attached to it but his wife made him sell it. Good for
BTW, the Courier is booked in for next Monday to have those other bits
and pieces done. I took the opportunity on the phone to ask about having
a stabilizer fitted by Ford and the bloke in charge of service said it
would be more trouble than it's worth. For starters, there are probably
no attachment points. So they recommended I see the local off road specialist
to hear what he has to say. I plan to take dirt roads, yes, but not go
OFF road. I won't be going anywhere a regular car can't go. Meanwhile,
I still haven't received my authorization to post on the Grey Nomad forum
yet, and I'm desperate to ask that bloke who has a rig like mine about
his experience. Maybe all those forum comments about air bags, stabilizers,
and whatever were written by worry warts. After all, the Courier was built
to carry a tonne. Should it really matter what the tonne (less in my case)
About 5 or 6 years ago, there was a newspaper story about a fatal accident
involving a rented Toyota Hilux ute carrying a camper. Witnesses said it
got the wobbles on the highway and the driver lost control. Authorities
have since commented that no action has been taken to tighten legislation
governing such vehicles because no similar accidents have occurred.
I'm beginning to thnk if I stick to moderate speeds and avoid driving
on windy days, I'll be sweet as a nut. Anyway, time for a bit of telly
and my blitzed soup. Over and out. Ten Four and all that truckie stuff.
January 13, 2013. Sundee, and a good deal cooler. The temp reached
43C yesterday before the storm brought a cool change. That's pretty warm
Posting those pics yesterday was good therapy. I'm itching to get "out
there" to see it all for myself. I thought those pics of the Nullarbor
on the Spirit website were stunning, especially those cliffs along the
Great Australian Bite. On a TV shoot in Port Lincoln SA one time, we hired
a little chopper owned and operated by a middle age woman to take our cameraman
out over the cliffs, and then to fly directly at them before doing a steep
climb "at the last moment" over the top. The woman was cool about it. No
biggie. And the shots were amazing. Our cameraman Willie was a mad Irishman
so he wasn't concerned at all, even though he had no idea how experienced
the woman pilot was or how proficient. Willie was used to danger though.
He had sailed many a time on racing yachts in the Sydney to Hobart across
treacherous Bass Strait (as the official cinematographer). Hanging out
of a chopper was a piece of cake.
I hope you're not expecting any dare-devil stunts from me, dear Breth.
Although, I do admit to getting a little more adventurous with a camera
than without. Getting the shot takes precedence over personal safety.
Back from a bit of bargain hunting at a Homewares store having a stocktake
sale. Vegie chopper $12 down to $6, and a lap desk with gooseneck light
(battery operated), cup and pen holder, bead-filled fabric underside, $40
down to $10. I know Stan the Lawn Man made a lap desk for me but it's heavy
and a bit unwieldy.
NC Art wrote: You’re supposed to have flies this time of year. I
am not, but I do. Temps here running in the mid-seventies (F). Thirty or
forty normal in the Southeast U. S. Global warming or freak streak? I know
about dropping like flies ok. A barn and cattle and cow dung make for good
time for the little buggers. A spray gun with foul smelling oily pesticide
can fill the barn with choking mist in a few minutes. Then watch flies
falling gently to the floor. So gratifying except for the choking oily
mess in your nose.
Flies are bad enough, but noseeums and giant mosquitos
are worse. Noseeums are hard to see, but they can eat your ankles raw in
minutes. In Alaska I saw caribou immersed in a river with only a nose visible
to evade monster mosquitos. The blood sucking winged beasts can literally
drive animals insane—including humans.
Incidentally, the rest of the world will thank you for
not exporting your snakes on Qantas air liners. I have read that the snakes
imported to control rabbits learned to climb trees and devastated the avian
population in some Aussie locations. Right?
Not sure we have any imported snakes, but pythons certainly know how
to climb trees. The snake catcher on telly the other night caught two pythons
(on the show). One was still digesting a possum, and the other a rat. Pythons
are not venomous and usually don't hurt people. But as the catcher warned
while he handled one with his bare hands, reveal even the slightest fear
and he's gotcha. At a guess, I'd say the biggest danger to our avian population
is feral cats. And probably cane toads when it comes to small birds.
As to noseeums, they remind me of sand flies. Those little nasties are
notorious for biting ankles which itch like buggery for hours afterwards.
Insecticides are more sophisticated these days, and less harmful to sensitive
noses. I remember the old pump-action, re-fillable sprayer my mother used
and the smell of Mortein. But my roll-on Aerogard actually smells very
nice. Whatever its active ingredients are, they don't kill the insect,
just repel it. I think it's some kinda plant extract. On gardening shows
I've seen programs about plants that repel flies. Very useful to have a
few cuttings on the outdoor dining table, yes?
I dunno about "falling like flies" either. When ever I spray a fly,
it does the ol' kamikazi routine for a while, crashing headlong into walls,
ceilings, windows and anything else that gets in the way of its frenzied
flight. Then, once exhausted, it settles into a corner and buzzes, spinning
on its back until it finally expires. But spray is usually a last resort
for me. I'm pretty lethal with a swatter. That shuts 'em up quick smart.
The only prob I remember having with flies was when I camped at Kangaroo
Valley back in the late '80s. In the next paddock were horses. Go figure.
Oh yes... one other time. I stopped on the western side of the Blue Mountains
to admire the view and crack a tinnie (beer). There were those sticky little
bush flies everwhere for some reason. But I didn't have any probs with
flies for the rest of the trip.
Well, the chicken soup turned out to be a bit of an adventure. I couldn't
get thigh cutlets (whatever the hell they are) so I bought legs. Then I
discovered I had 500g instead of the recommended 900g. So I substituted
a third of the water for chicken stock. Hehe. Oh well... maybe it'll turn
out okay. How come when you buy fresh herbs ya gotta buy enough to last
6 months? I was lucky with the carrot and celery... one carrot and one
stick of celery. I already had onions and garlic. And the vegie chopper?
Useless. I mean USELESS. It wouldn't chop corn flakes. So I went back to
the knife, rocking it backwards and forwards over the various vegies and
herbs. It's a fairly large kitchen knife which is good for the job.
A shortie today, folks. Would've been even shorter if Art hadn't commented
on flies and mozzies. Gary
January 12, 2013. NC Art wrote: Yep, reliable tie rods are
right important. As a lad of 12 I was hanging around a service station
on the road near my home when I heard a long screeching and squalling which
sounded like a yell from hell. A truck had lost both tie rods, the wheels
flipped outward, tires flew off and the rims were tearing grooves in the
pavement with sparks flying. The station owner, all 300 pound of him, was
scared spitless that gasoline would catch fire and blow up his business.
In my case, I think the tie rods are okay... it's the rubber boots that
have perished (apparently). My guess is they're there to stop dust and
dirt getting into the moving parts.
And the seat air cooling sounds right. You know Mama Nature built
the gonads to hang outside and stay cool and virile. She didn’t know we
were going to invent cars and nest on our balls like chickens hatching
And the crossing of one's legs when seated. I wonder what that's all
about? Anyway, you can't do it while driving or playing the piano... or
sitting on the loo for that matter.
And now to BR João and flies: Oregon Richie said people in
US are dropping like flies cause the flu. Fortunately it’s just a metaphor.
But why we use to say this? (There’s a similar expression in Portuguese.)
I never saw those irritant insects drop in any way. Brazilian northeast
warm coast has magnificent beaches but if you stop by a seaside open air
bar or restaurant in a minute your table and everything on it are covered
by flies. It always makes me mad and I never eat outside there. Flies always
win. Maybe this was one reason to go south instead of north when I left
Rio. So, Gary, be sure to have an insecticide can when you hit the road
or you’ll drop like humans.
"Don't forget the Aeroguard... and avagood weekend." That advertising
slogan has been around for donkey's years in Oz. Bush flies are so bad
here, especially in areas where there are cattle and lots of dung, we call
brushing them away "The Great Australian Salute". It's the little black
flies in summer that are really pesky... you can "salute" all you like
but they refuse to move. You often see bushwalkers or campers carrying
a small branch with leaves intact to use as a swat. The expert advice is,
if they're on your back, don't disturb them.
Anyway, you can be sure I'll have a good supply of Aeroguard at all
times. The flies disappear at dusk, and peace reigns until dark when the
mozzies emerge. Fortunately, the camper is fully screened.
I watched another news story last night about snakes in SE Queensland,
even in the suburbs. Seems the heat and recent rain have brought them out
in droves, which is keeping the snake catchers busy. One snake was coiled
up in a bloke's shoe! And once it was unraveled, it was a couple of feet
long! The catcher said he finds them everywhere... even in people's beds.
Eeek! And what does he do with them when they're "in the bag"? He drives
out to the bush and releases them. Snakes are protected wildlife in Oz.
One of the snakes he caught was a juvenile eastern brown. He said it was
still capable of killing "just under a dozen elephants". Hello? I can tell
you, I'll be using a walking cane to lift the porta potti lid when it's
installed in the shower tent. In fact, I'll carry a walking cane everywhere
I go that looks a bit suspicious. *THWACK!*
And if it's a crocodile? No worries. I'll signal a passing hot air balloon.
From what I've read on Grey Nomad forums, confrontations with wildlife
are rare. I guess they happen but I've not read of any. Seems Grey Nomads
are full of praise for their new life of adventure, making new friends,
swapping stories, being free to roam wherever and whenever they like. I
hope I never get invited to a singalong around a campfire, though. Puh-leeeease!
Smoothie time. I look forward to my morning smoothie with all the goodies.
It's about the only "proper" meal I have each day. Well, 41C forecast for
today, with the possibility of it going even higher, so I reckon the ol'
a/c might get a bit of a run. So will a cold shower. Come to think of it,
if flies are gonna drop (like
flies), today will be the day. Fortunately, today's high temp is an
abberation. Tomorrow, it'll be 32, Monday 25 and then back to the high
20s and low 30s, which ain't too bad.
From the Beeb: US troops in Afghanistan will end "most" combat operations
and switch to a support role this spring, President Obama and his Afghan
counterpart say. It'll be fascinating in years to come to look back
on Obama's presidency and gauge in retrospect how it stacks up in comparision
to "the greats".
Police detail 50 years of abuse by presenter Jimmy Savile, whose
victims included a boy aged eight and patients in 13 hospitals and a hospice.
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Imagine that... 50
years of child abuse without so much as a single complaint.
This year in Oz (and probably for some years to come), a Royal Commission
has been set up to investigate institutionalized child abuse, particularly
in the catholic church. Horrific stories are emerging from victims of bashings,
rapes and various forms of molestation from clergy and brothers, some of
it going back to the '60s and '70s. The church is being accused of protecting
its members from prosecution by police and other authorities. Cardinal
George Pell, Australia's most senior catholic, needs to get real and stop
referring to pedophiles within the church as "errant clergy". They're criminals,
and nothing less. I attended a De La Salle Brothers school where nothing
happened to me. It's a different story with the Christian Brothers though,
so it's alleged.
The only thing at my school I remember being a bit strange was having
to change into our Speedos in the classroom on sports day instead of at
the pool change rooms. Kinky. I remember checking out the kid's bum in
front and being distinctly unimpressed. Anyway, even if anything did happen,
my mother wouldn't have believed me. The brothers could do no wrong. If
I complained about corporal punishment, like getting the cane or rubber
strap across the hands (usually for talking in class), her response was
"you must have deserved it". If she were alive now to hear about the Royal
Commission and rampant child abuse in her precious church, she'd be utterly
Ah! I can hear thunder in the distance which means a cool change is
on the way! That'll be nice. Mind you, it also means lightning which is
often responsible for starting bushfires. And there's Richie in Oregon
talking about snow and ice and chopping firewood.
Well, I'm really tired of canned soups. Some are so awful I've thrown
them out. So yesterday I Googled a chicken soup recipe made with chicken
thighs, vegies and herbs. But the thing about soups for me is the LUMPS!
No lumps, please. So I remembered those vegie choppers I've seen in shops...
manual ones with blades that chop stuff with a vertical action. You can
do it with a large kitchen knife but it takes too long to get the stuff
finely chopped. I prefer chopped to pureed. Chopped stuff retains its individuality
and substance. Pureed stuff becomes one big homogeneous blob. So you throw
everything into a pot, add water, bring to boil, simmer for an hour or
so, remove thighs, discard bones, chop meat, return to pot, voila. I could
probably make 4 good servings for less than ten bucks.
Beef soup is a bit too complicated and time consuming... more like making
stock. So I think I'll cheat and make a mushroom soup using ready-made
beef stock instead of vegetable.
Not much of a storm but at least it cooled things down substantially,
and sent a bit of much-needed rain. I sat on the veranda for a while smelling
the rain and watching it fall. That's how long it's been since we've had
any. It's quite a novelty! However it didn't last long so the lawns and
plants will only get a brief taste.
I need my camping fix. I wanna be somewhere else.
That's Barrington Tops, not far from here. I
was there in October 2007 in ol' Tough Titties.
Here's a camper meeting one of the locals + joey at Camden Haven. I
was there a couple of years ago as well. Yep, been a few places but NEVER
CAMPED OVERNIGHT! That's about to change, folks.
Here's one place I'm looking forward to visiting...
And if you think the Nullarbor looks boring, check
out this site with pics of the Nullarbor taken at various locations.
It's a real eye-opener.
Time for me to flee. Seeya tomorrow. Gary
January 11, 2013. ZYX wrote and asked if I'd ever heard
Mountain in far north QLD, near Cooktown. No, I hadn't. He also asked
if I was familiar with the legends and spooky tales of Black Mountain.
Nope. But it's on my to-do list and I'll write all about it once I get
there. You sound like you're getting along better now, health-wise.
Sure hope so. Francois??? Is he still navigating the ocean waters
(HaHa). Yep, I'm improving healthwise, albeit slowly. A bit of extra
weight wouldn't hurt. I'm all skin and bone at the mo. And Francois? Yes,
he's like those legends of Black Mountain... ever persistent.
Speak of the devil: João is right on 2 points:- frenchies
are the worst people in learning foreign languages: after 7 years of english
(between 11 and 18y/o: 3h a week...) 95 % are unable to write or read english,
don't think to speak or listen... Same on the other taught languages! -
frenchies are always thinking they're superior to other peoples: "ces imbéciles
d'anglais" is a very current locution in France. But frenchies useto think
the same on the other european peoples... 1h to arrive to type the ã
in João name on my french keyboard: it's just a sample to show you
how much let down are the other languages for frenchies: I'd to type Alt-0227
Me? I'm bad in english, I know it... But from 1965 to 1982 I forgot
everything I learned at school, never speaking or reading a word in english.
Then computers, and then internet arrived and I'd to learn again:
the chats (funtb) in the nineties were difficult. And 20 years after, I
know I'm a little less bad than I was then... Italian is an other case:
my grand-parents were italian and often spoke in italian (between them)
at home. And being a preteen then a young teen, I passed one month a year
during 8 years in Tuscania at my grand aunt's, often alone with the italian
family. So even after 20 years without going in Italia, I've still a not
so bad italian.
Here in NC? Kanaks are speaking a bad french and yet their native
language is not understandable for the neighbor tribe at 30 km: don't think
to english! Caldoches (all the other ones native of NC) are a bad copy
of frenchies... and they seem to think NC is the center of France hehehe
Alt-0227? I just copy and paste. :)
Back from taking the Courier to the Ford dealer for a service and inspection,
and getting a ride back home in a flash new Falcon. The driver was the
bloke in charge of service, so I took the opportunity to ask him about
after-market power steering. Can be done but all too hard. So I'll have
to develop Popeye arms. As to air con, I think I'll invest in one of those
Waeco air-con seat covers. Sooooo, later today I'll know what condition
the truck is in. It seems okay but ya never know.
The new Nikkor lens is pretty cool, and quite light. It's not much bigger
than the 18-55mm zoom even though it's 55-200mm. Now all I need is an opportunity
to use it!
From the Beeb: A teacher at a high school in California has been
praised by police for averting a serious shooting incident. The teacher
and a campus supervisor talked a gunman into putting down his weapon after
he had shot and injured one pupil at Taft Union High School. Police said
the gunman had enough ammunition to kill many people. Anyone wanna
guess at what the gun lobby will say?
For excitement it may not have matched the Samuel L Jackson film,
Snakes On A Plane, but passengers on a Qantas flight watched with fascination
as one snake fought out its own drama. A 10-foot (3m) scrub python was
battling to retain its grip on the wing as a plane made its way between
the Australian town of Cairns and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. It
held on the whole 1hr 50 min flight.
The US is grappling with a major flu outbreak, as 29 states report
high levels of influenza-like illness, a US health agency says. On Wednesday,
the mayor of Boston declared a public health emergency in the wake of four
flu-related deaths. Oregon
Richie said they're dropping like flies where he is.
The truck's back and it looks like I bought a goodie. Cost just under
$300 for a full service and check over. I also had the wiper arms and blades
renewed... the old ones were rusty. The fault list is minor: tie-rod end
boots need replacing, rocker cover has leak at rear, gear shifter gasket
at top of transmission has leak. So there ya go... no major probs with
the machine. As soon as the parts arrive, I'll have those things attended
to. I reckon there's a lotta miles left in that little truck. Actually,
I'm more concerned with the miles left in ME!
So what's next on the list? Suspension, I reckon. Air shocks and stabilizer.
But first I'd like to chat with the guy who bought a rig similar to mine...
the one whose pic I posted late yesterday. I'd like to know if his suspension
is standard, and I have a few questions about those tie downs. I joined
the forum but I don't have my authorization to post yet.
After that, I'll get the AGM batteries and solar sorted. Then the gas.
And then? A toilet brush for the porta potti. Actually, the motorhome should
be ready before I am. I still have gums to heal and dentures to get...
and both docs to see next month, in Port Macquarie and Sydney.
I was just talking to Lindsay. The people from Aged Care will be here
on Monday to assess Sue. She has advanced dementia and is destined for
a nursing home. Lindsay says he'll get his own flat somewhere. He's in
for a shock. His share of the rent here is only $50 a week. But with him
gone, I can sell everything... fridges, bookcases, comp desk, filing cabinet,
stereo, and assorted bits and pieces. That might bring in a grand or two.
And that's it for this Fridee. Not a bad day... no dramas. Hot as hell,
though. And after all that buggerizing around last year looking for a camper
and a suitable truck, it's all fallen into place for 2013. Not only that,
the camper's been refurbished and rewired, and the truck's in good nick.
What more can a bloke ask for? Yeah... teeth. Seeyaz l8rs, allig8rs. Gary
January 10, 2013. BR João commented on Aussies "eating"
their words: You can tell François that French people eat their
words too (who doesn’t?) he he. During one of my rare travels I was in
London’s tube when my attention was attracted by bunch of young boys and
girls talking a language vaguely familiar to me. After some time I concluded
it was French but I still didn’t understand much what they’re saying. They’re
probably in a school excursion and were led by a middle aged lady that
held (and sometimes waved) a little French flag!
Two of the boys were leaning on the car door. A conscientious English
lad warned the lady that it could be dangerous. She just waved her head
and said: “Je ne comprends pas…” I couldn’t believe. An educated lady,
maybe a teacher, leading a school excursion in England and not speaking
a single word in English? She’s probably mocking ces anglais imbéciles.
By then everybody was paying attention to the scene. I was becoming
nervous. So I translated into French what the lad was saying and the lady
called the two boys from the door. It was a mistake. All the car applauded.
My face became more red than the rouge strip of the lady’s French drapeau.
All I wanted to do was disappear. I was grateful when my destination place
I can always detect a person speaking French, not by the words so much
as the nasal sounds. Not so easy with other European languages, like German,
Swiss, Dutch, etc. I can't pick the difference between various Asian languages
either. Italian and Greek sound much the same to me too.
There was a French chef on a cooking show I watched last night (hosted
by Poh, also a chef but born in Malaysia). He said there is a pronounced
Russian influence in French cooking. During Napoleon's period, the Czar
of Russia was a keen foodie and hired French chefs for his palace kitchen.
When the French chefs returned to France, they brought with them lots of
Russian recipes. Napoleon was also interested in food, and often imported
culinary ideas from Russia.
I don't think Australia has a national dish, unless you count witchetty
grubs and meat pies. "Meat and 3 veg" was the staple when I was a kid.
Even Pizza and bolognaise were unheard of. The fish 'n chip shop up the
road, despite being run by Chinese, sold basic Aussie fare. Basic indeed.
It wasn't until the '70s that Aussie cuisine underwent a revolution. Meat
and 3 veg gave way to an explosion of cuisines from all over the world.
The White Australia Policy had been abolished during the '60s which meant
an influx of people from practically every nationality. Restaurants mushroomed,
catering for every taste imaginable, and the Australian public loved it.
Aussie pies and fish 'n' chips still have their place, of course, and even
witchetty grubs! In fact, there are now restaurants in Oz catering for
lovers of Australian indigenous foods.
From the Beeb: Apophis asteroid: Large space rock flies past Earth.
interesting article about asteroids and the potential danger they pose
Cooler weather brings relief to fire-ravaged Australia. Yes,
today is quite comfortable. But
it ain't gonna last long.
President Barack Obama is "determined" to curb gun violence, US Vice-President
Joe Biden has said, opening high-profile talks on the issue. Mr Biden,
leading the White House effort on gun control policy, said
the president could use executive orders. There was a discussion
on last night's Drum about the cultural divide between Australian and American
attitudes towards gun ownership. They agreed that what happened in Oz after
the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre in Tasmania when PM Howard ordered a buy-back
of all automatic and semi-automatic weapons in Oz is something that simply
could never happen in the US. Howard, by the way, was a conservative. In
American politics he would have been a Republican. He and GWB were great
mates. GWB referred to Howard as "a man of steel". Anyway, whatever Obama
manages to do in terms of gun control in the US will seem like a non-event
compared to what was done in Oz. Americans went to war over independence
and federation. We did it with pen and ink.
Oregon Richie was a little surprised at my need to have a bull bar this
soon. Well, finding a used one to fit my model Courier will probably take
a while. If I were just doing occasional weekend camping trips I probably
wouldn't bother with one. But being on the road every day, and covering
lots of territory including the outback, is a different story. Roadkill
is a major problem in Oz on country roads. 'Roos are the main victims.
I've heard that road trains collide with camels quite often across the
Nullarbor. But even on my trips to Port Macquarie up the Pacific Hwy, which
is only an hour in each direction, it's common to see a 'roo or two on
the side of the road. As Richie pointed out, most 4WD owners fit a bull
bar for looks (they do here too, even in Sydney to pick up the kids from
school each day hehe) but looks are not my motive. A collision with a 'roo
could put my truck out of action, which is not something I wish to happen
out in the middle of nowhere. For me, a bull bar is insurance against being
Jeremy Clarkson was a guest on QI last night and told the story of giant
black birds in Oz feeding on roadkill overnight. He said they gorged themselves
to a point where they became so full and heavy, they had to run into the
wind in order to take off... straight into the path of oncoming road trains
"at windscreen height". Then he described the broken windscreen, the driver
covered in a mass of entrails from the exploding bird, etc. Yeah, right.
Some people will believe anything. It's true that crows make short work
of roadkill though.
Stephen Fry told the story of a roadside diner in the US called Roadkill.
They invite people to bring their roadkill to the restaurant to have it
cooked. Their slogan is "From Your Grill To Ours".
At one stage the subject was about ventriloquists and one guest said
he was watching a female ventriloquist performing naked from the waist
up, with large, firm rounded breasts, "and I didn't see her lips move once".
NC Art is reminiscing again. He sent this
link to a vid about living in the '50s, and says I missed out by a
few years. No, I didn't! Oz was a bit behind the US then. I remember Bill
Haley and the Comets, Bandstand, Elvis, drive-in restaurants, drive-in
movies, the Mickey Mouse Club, The Big Bopper, Hula Hoops, Yo Yos, The
Big O, jukeboxes, Buddy Holly, Dragnet, The Three Stooges, cars with fins,
pin ball, and all that '50s stuff. Even my first car was a '51 Morris,
and the next was a '59 Wolseley.
Not sure if I have a fav decade. The '60s was cool with Beatlemania,
The Beach Boys, surfing and Apollo 11. The '70s was fun with flares, hippies
and flower power. The '80s was groovy with disco. The '90s was... well
best forgotten by me. It was a tough decade. The Noughties wasn't too flash
either. And the teens? Well, stand by for the Odyssey.
Just back from visiting a local wrecker. I wasn't expecting him to have
a bull bar but he did have something a bit better than a nudge bar... one
that extends to the fenders over the headlights. It's off a Mazda Bravo
(same thing) but bolts under the existing bumper, so it's not very strong,
and wouldn't stop a 'roo even at moderate speed. Oh well... I parked next
to a Holden Rodeo and noted its tray didn't have a lip along each side
like mine so a slide-on could slide on with no problem.
Thinking aloud here: what if, instead of shaving a few millimeters off
the outer skid boards under the camper, I bought 5 lengths of timber, say
1" x 2" x 6', and laid them across the tray between the rails at intervals
of 18". The skid boards under the camper run lengthwise. Then I could lower
the camper onto the lengths of timber without having to worry about the
camper base fitting exactly between the rails. In fact the lengths of timber
would effectively raise the level of the tray to the same height as the
tops of the rails. My original plan was to have a completely flat tray
And now for the tie down bit: each corner of the camper base is fitted
with a heavy chain coupled to a turnbuckle. One end of the turnbuckle is
secured to a hook welded to the camper frame (the frame that holds the
jacks in place). I'm assuming that the length of metal tubing that runs
along the underside of the tray (used for ropes to secure a normal load)
are strong enough to hold the other end of each turnbuckle so that the
camper can't and won't move. Alternatively, the front of the camper can
be attached to the upright frame behind the truck cab to prevent rearward
movment, and the rear can be attached to the underside tubing to prevent
forward movement. Hopefully, the tie downs will prevent sideways movement
as well, but this is something of which I have no experience. I want a
slide-on, not a slide-off. I guess I'll check out a few forums to see what
other travellers are doing.
When Dan delivered the camper last year, he used a box trailer with
two 2 x 4" pieces of timber placed across the top of the trailer sides
and tied the whole thing down with two straps that went from one side,
over the top, and down the other. Not recommended.
5-ish again. BTW, my new Nikkor lens arrived today. Pretty speedy service
from Hong Kong! I'll play with it later.
It's evening now and I found a pic of a slide-on mounted on a Ford Courier
on a camper forum. You can see the tie downs attached to the tubing under
the tray. I have just bought myself a s/hand slideon and ute and must
say I am happy with my purchase. I had to fly to Brisbane from NQ to pick
it up , and the trip back was a breeze. Its a Ford courier diesel 4wd with
a Winnabago freeway slide on. Its well fitted out and more comfortable
than the last home made box. It all depends on how much you want to pay.
I payed $6800 for the whole thing, and was lucky , because both the truck
and the van are in G/C. When I looked at all the Northstar, and up market
slideons , I was put off by the price, which was beyond my budget. They
were lovely, but too expensive for me, so I bought what I could afford,
and am happy with the purchase.
I paid $400 more for my combo than he did for his but mine has a few
more goodies, like 2 side storage boxes, awnings, etc. Notice the tie downs?
Apart from holding the camper down, they don't appear to be doing much
in terms of lateral support. But he says his trip was a breeze. So maybe
I worry too much. BTW, that's the kind of bull bar I want. Gary
January 9, 2013. Francois responded to my comment about communication
between Frenchies and Aussies: You're right on my difficulties to communicate
with my aussie friends, listening and understanding is really a pain! Why
everyone don't speak french? hehehe. Anyway, happily Tessa is brazilian,
so she speaks english with a latin accent and she is more understandable
(for me) than Mike. She also uses to force Mike to repete slowly in good
english without eating the words... So I arrive to understand, sometimes
And in more portuguese and italian are near so, sometimes, I speak italian
and she understands...
Just an anecdote, arrived in october 2011: I was with them at the
butcher's in a small village of the North. I wanted to cook for them some
meat and I saw some pieces of duck. And I didn't remember the word "duck":
so at the middle of the customers I tried to imitate a yelling duck.. Everyone
had to laugh at me, but Mike and Tessa understood hehehe. And imagine the
sailing words... port and starboard, tack, windlass, jib, moorings, hawser
and... yes often signs are faster to understand!
could you forget "duck"?
No doubt I will have the same experience on the Odyssey, meeting tourists
from Europe and Asia. But it should be lots of fun trying to decipher what
the other is saying. 20 years ago I got to know a couple of young Japanese
surfers holidaying in Sydney and we had a great time communicating. One
night they cooked a Japanese vegetarian dish for me and it was delicious.
One of the boys told me they worked for a company that makes "bootons".
Bootons? What the hell are bootons? It took quite a while to figure out
he meant buttons.
Always, when travellers talk about their adventures they mention "the
people you meet" as being one of the highlights. I expect it'll be the
same on my Odyssey. Remembering all the names will be my problem. BTW,
Francios is right about Aussies "eating" their words. They mumble. I just
hope I have teeth by the time I hit the road or no one will understand
anything I say!
One thing I learned when I recorded voice overs for radio was to gesticulate
as I read the script. For example, if the word "big" was in the script,
I would stretch my arms like a fisherman describing a fish he caught. Lots
of gesticulation helps to animate the voice, which explains why recorded
messages always sound different to "live" reads.
I just phoned an auto wrecker (salvage) company. When I had Bluey, they
were very helpful at getting various spares by searching the network, so
I'm hoping they'll be able to find a used bull bar for my Courier. Problem
with bull bars is most collisions happen at the front end. Anyway, we'll
see how they go. Saves me a lot of buggerizing around searching.
NSW managed to get through yesterday's catastrophic fire alert without
loss of life or property (although one house was destroyed and thousands
of stock lost in the ACT overnight). The firefighters and other organizations
are well drilled and vigilant. They've been doing a sterling job. 130 fires
are burning in various parts of NSW, about 30 of them out of control. But
the fire season ain't over yet... there are still 2 months of summer to
go. Here's a video
report from the Beeb.
The US sweltered under its hottest year on record in 2012, breaking
the previous yearly average by 0.6C (1F), the US government has said.
the story here.
I watched an interview last night with a spokesman from the Bureau of
Meteorology. The interviewer tried to get the spokesman to link the record
temps in Tasmania (and elsewhere in Oz) to global warming but the spokesman
was careful to avoid such a connection. Instead, he said the measuring
and information gathering systems used these days are highly sophisticated
compared to even a few decades ago, so it's difficult to say conclusively
that the conditions we're experiencing now are unique. Nonetheless, the
bureau has now introduced two new color gradations to its maps that show
degrees of heat. Red was previously the highest. Now they've added purple
and black to denote temps up to and beyond 50C.
There's a huge area of hot, dry air over central Oz that is influencing
our weather at the mo. Monsoonal moisture and cloud from the northern tropics
is late in arriving. Normally it travels over inland desert areas and cools
the earth (and in turn the air). But it hasn't arrived yet. Imagine temps
in the high 40s or low 50s. Sheesh! It was 39C in Taree yesterday... 42C
in Sydney. That's over the ton in F. Today is better with a bit of a cool
breeze. However, it'll be back to heatwave conditions next week and the
firefighters are saying the worst is yet to come.
Would more guns save more American lives? The mass shooting at a
US school which left 20 children and six teachers dead has provoked a national
conversation about guns. But
in Illinois that debate was already under way.
The pro-gun lobby says guns don't kill people, people kill people. They
mean people with guns kill people, right? Doesn't it follow that people
without guns kill less people? As to gun-free zones don't work,
another claim by the pro-gun lobby, check out Oz. If gun-free zones don't
work in America, then the reason must be that there are 300 million guns
already in circulation over there. That's like declaring a mosquito-free
zone in the middle of a swamp. Get rid of the guns, get rid of the problem.
Oregon Richie read the review of the Nikkor 55-200mm zoom and was quite
impressed with the technology. Yep, it's amazing what's available today
compared to just a decade ago when such equipment would have cost thousands.
Mind you, if you start checking out fast lenses with apertures like f1.4
you're still looking at big bucks. I'm pretty keen but not that
And that's it, ladies and genitals. Time for me to toddle off to stage
left and plant the buns somewhere softer. Gary
January 8, 2013. NC Art sent me an email with a number of pics
attached of kids getting up to all kinds of mischief entitled "How could
anyone NOT want children?" So I saved all the pics and
made an album.
You knew as soon as I was flush with funds I'd spend a bit, didn't you?
You knew I couldn't resist a new Nikon lens, right? I read a review
of the Nikkor 55-200mm zoom which was glowing to say the least, with
features usually found on much more expensive lenses. The reviewer said
it was cheap at $250 but I bought one from Hong Kong for $154. The 55-200mm
using Nikon's DX technology is equivalent to 70-300 on the old film SLRs,
so it'll be great for portraits, action, wildlife, sport, etc. My present
18-55mm takes care of land/seascapes and regular shots. One day I'll get
a 10-24mm for panoramic stuff, and that'll be it.
It's gonna be a sizzler today and I'm not looking forward to walking
back home from the tire/battery place after leaving my truck there for
a wheel alignment and tire rotation, even though it's only a block down
the road. I'm still too skinny and weak for physical excesses.
Pill time! Good ol' oxpentifylline. And a banana smoothie to wash it
down. Nancy commented yesterday that she could see a blood vessel in a
gum area near the exposed bone so it appears that the medication to stimulate
blood flow and extend the network of vessels is working. Pizza, here I
From the Beeb: President Obama names Chuck Hagel to head the Pentagon
and terrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the CIA, but Republicans question
the nominations. Have you ever known an opposition to agree on everything
the government does?
The Tasmanian bushfires are still raging. Here's
footage of one bloke filming his brother's house on fire.
Here's the latest report on the
search for a hoard of Spitfires buried in Burma.
Coincidentally, a Spitfire's
undercarriage collapsed as it landed at East Midlands Airport.
Now here's an idea for a car like mine without air con. Waeco makes
cover that's air conditioned! You just plug it into the cigarette lighter
(which in the truck is just in front of the driver) and presto, air conditioning!
They're about $90.
Jeez, only $55 for a wheel alignment and balance. I told the bloke he
must be living on Vegemite sandwiches if that's all he charges. Too hot
to walk back home and down again so I stayed in the air conditioned office
@ 23C. I could see him working through the sliding glass door though. A
tool for absolutely everything. Hoists, wheel balancing machines, spanners
galore, you name it, and it looked to me like the alignment equipment uses
a laser beam. Anyway, it's all done. Next, a full service and condition
report on Friday. The tire bloke noted the absence of power steering and
when I told him the truck will be carrying a camper, he said, "You'll notice
it even more then!"
Francois wrote about surviving the recent cyclone, and also sent a few
pics of his new friends, Aussies from Perth: This Freda cyclone was
forecast to arrive on NC for New Year Eve. And it arrived only the 2nd
at night... Before we'd one whole week of very hot weather: more than 38c
on my sheltered terrace : quiet before the storm, not a light breeze. We'd
a big luck: Freda was a cyclone in category 4 at 350km in the north of
NC and then was cut off by big winds in altitude. Its average winds lowed
from 350km/h to 120 in some hours. Then it went on us very slowly (7km/h).
We're placed in prealert on Monday morning, waiting.
It arrived here in category 1 in the evening of wenesday and the
whole night we'd winds at 130km/h maximum: big noise in the dark yard...
Much rain too during 24h (til 330 mm). Nomore electricity during
12h in the night: a little frightening alone in the dark, far of everyone...
Nothing is damaged neither for my barracks, nor in the Ouenghi port. I
was confined here by the creek which had flooded the road on 2km til friday
evening. The boats in the port were tied at 2m of the warfs on the big
mother chains in the depth of the sea: here, the ports are very well prepared
for this events. The East coast of NC has many damages, above all by the
rain (400mm in 24h). 2 dead young men by their imprudence: one playing
in the waves (more than 4m) the other in going through a river.
Til saturday, the meteo was frightening Freda'd return tmrw reinforced:
it's now gone towards SE . You can see the uncertainty of the forecast
here (fidji meteo) and the real path there (NC meteo). Very big luck! Til
next one... Old peoples use to say: " year with lychees, year with cyclones"
and we'd tons of lychees in November... (2 pics).
I join too some pics from my aussie friends Tessa and Mike (from
Perth) who are now sailing on your coast between Coffs harbour, Trial Bay,
Hat Head, Port Macquarie... this pics were taken last weekend.
I can't help wondering how Francois and the Aussies communicated hehe.
Sign language? Anyway, it's good news that Francois survived the cyclone
without damage to himself, his boat or his "barracks".
And now, ladies and genitals, it's wrap time after a very hot day. No
doubt there'll be bushfire reports on the 7 o'clock news. Gary
January 7, 2013. Well, Paul didn't arrive at 10. He arrived early...
couldn't wait to get his hands on the Ute. When he handed over the cash
he said, "You wouldn't take $2000, would you?" NOOOOOOOOOOO! He was joking.
So now my wallet is so fat I can't fold it. Just did all the insurance
and roadside assistance changeover by phone. Later I'll take the rego papers
to the roads and traffic authority. It'll cost some bucks to pay tax on
the purchase price of the truck, dammit. Then the dentist, bank, petrol
and air for the ute, and that's it.
Back from the dentist. Nancy says I'm continuing to improve, albeit
slowly, so that's good. I'm used to doing everything the long way around,
Francois says I shouldn't be too optimistic about solar power: Just
to give you an advice on the current given by a solar panel of 200W: I've
experiences on solar panels with my boats (currently I've a brand new one
of 150W and it gives me 10A at the maximum). Don't expect to have more
than an average 12A even with a bright sun, even if you can calculate I=
200W / 12V = 16.6 A. This is theory but the panel, the wires, the regulator
have some resistance and you lose always some current. With 12A during
10h (don't count the 1h30 after the dawn and the 1h30 before the sunset:
the sun is not really efficient during this hours), you'll have 120Ah and
that's optimistic... not enough to have 2 x 100Ah full. And for the cloudy
days you can't expect more 30Ah a day. I use mine only for the computer
and the fridge and often in winter and cloudy days, I've to run the motors
during 2 or 3 hours to charge the batteries.
Well, whatever happens, I'll just have to learn to use power according
to what's available. Most of my habits will change, anyway. Less TV, less
time on the comp, etc. I'll be too busy doing other things. BTW, I've read
that AGMs charge more quickly than regular deep cycle batteries. They're
more expensive but also far more efficient (not to mention spillproof and
TX Greg wrote to wish me luck on the sale, and sent this link to The
Gall Boys, dad and his 5 sons doing 4WD adventures around Australia's
top end. When you get to the web site, click on Cape York to see the video
of a creek crossing, towing a caravan, and using a bridge made of logs.
It's real heart-in-the-mouth stuff. You won't be seeing me doing anything
like that. The Gall Boys is a real business, though... sponsorship, DVD
Nice to see all that money in the bank. I hate carrying large sums of
cash. Now I can fold my wallet again. Back from a few chores... petrol
and air (extra pressure in the front tires makes the steering a bit easier)
and transferring the rego (cost me $105). And despite the large wing mirrors,
the truck fits in the garage. Next Friday she gets the full service and
condition report. Tomorrow, wheel alignment and tire rotation.
You know that bloke from Ohio? The bloke in charge of the Odyssey wardrobe?
Sean? He sent me another T which arrived today, together with a note plus
a lovely Christmas card from Jace and June. Isn't that sweet? The card
says, "Because you're so wonderful... At Christmastime, I think of all
the people who have given me reasons to feel grateful and have truly made
a difference in my life - You're one of those special people. Wishing you
a season of peace filled with love and happiness. June and Jace". Jeez,
are they talking about me? Hehe. I never know how to react to such compliments
except to say thanks.
Sean's been having a great time touring Europe with his big bro... visiting
as many "clothing optional" beaches as possible. Tsk, tsk. He loves museums
too, but I'm afraid optional clothing is not a feature of those places.
Otherwise I'd visit them more often. And this year, as an addition to my
already extensive Odyssey wardrobe of Ts, he bought this one:
How am I supposed to project a respectable image with a bloke like Sean
in charge of wardrobe? Anyway, thanks again Sean, Jace and June. You're
a lovely bunch of Ohioans.
From the Beeb: A speech by Syria's Bashar al-Assad denouncing opponents
as "puppets of the West" is dismissed by the US, which calls it "detached
from reality". You can say that again!
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is visiting wildfire-hit
regions in Tasmania, amid warnings of more searing weather across the country.
I'm not sure if it's the worst fire season on record for Tasmania but if
it isn't it must be pretty close. Here
it is in pictures.
Speaking of fire danger, for much of New South Wales tomorrow, the danger
is rated as "catastrophic". The state premier warned today that we'll be
lucky to get through the day without loss of life. Taree is not on the
catastrophic list, but it's gonna be 38C, which is damned hot.
A 17-year-old student has been arrested on suspicion of plotting
to bomb his classmates at Russell County High School in Alabama. Police
detained Derek Shrout after a teacher read his diary.
Well, it's been a busy day with a lot accomplished, and it's 5-ish already.
One small prob, though. I think the tray width is a few millimeters short
of the width of the skid boards under the camper. Dangit. I thought I could
remove the side rails on the tray to make it perfectly flat but they are
what holds the tray together (like a sandwich) so they'll have to stay,
which means the skid boards need to fit between the rails. I suppose there's
a machine that can shave off a few millimeters off the skid board on one
side. Oh well... that's a job for another day. Gary
January 6, 2013. $2500 is not a lotta money to some peeps, but
to me it's not just money. It's a bull bar, air shocks, stabilizer bar,
AGM batteries, an extra solar panel and a gas bottle, plus a few bits and
pieces like a fire extinguisher and blanket. I might even have enough for
a 70-300mm lens! Before Paul arrived on the scene yesterday, I was thinking
$2000 was probably the max I could expect for the Ute... IF I could sell
it. I feel like I've won the lottery!
Lotter-eeeeee, spending spreeeeee, heheheeeeee. Once the camper is on
the back of the truck with all the goodies, and becomes officially a motorhome,
it'll be like a dream come true. The key to travelling Oz. My Home Sweet
Home! With a ladder at the back door just like the one in pics of the little
old lady who lived in a shoe. No chimney, though. Nope. Can't have a chimney.
That would be going too far.
Now here's something I was unaware of: the Nikon 70-300mm zoom is the
equivalent of 105-450mm when used with a DX-format D-SLR camera like mine.
Yes, yes, yes, I know what you're thinking. By Monday morning, Paul
might have changed his mind. True, but highly unlikely. He was paranoid
yesterday about being gazumped (someone else making a better offer). He
asked me to remove all the for sale signs and take the car off the street.
"And don't let anyone steal it!" In fact, one of the first things he said
was "and it's a good price too". No haggling. He'd made up his mind to
buy it the moment he first saw it. First to see will buy, yeah?
He said yesterday that the sides of the truck tray are easy to remove
but the rails will be a different story. They're screwed on at 10" intervals
and the screw tops are rusty. Better give 'em a spray of WD40. That tray
needs to be dead flat.
Well, this is a major moment in the build-up to the Odyssey, ladies
and genitals. All things are now possible.
NC Art commented on the trouble I was having the other day uploading
the Forster vid to Youtube: And…if you could imagine the physical infrastructure
necessary to get your stuff uploaded and on its way, it would boggle your
brain. Google, Facebook, and a zillion of other sites have billions of
$$ invested in points scattered all over hell. I mean Internet Exchange.
Exchange may be dedicated to one user, or huge companies which rent or
lease space for many users to set up a router and connect to massive cable
conduits under city streets or across open farmland and under oceans.
Then there are the data storage facilities. Buildings the
size of a federal prison chock full of hard drives packed with data. Google
security is near paranoid. Almost no one ever gets past the lunchroom and
into the working areas, and unofficial folks never get through the security
fences surrounding the whole mess. The data stored comprises damned near
everything about you and me—what you wear, eat, screw, drive, hat size
and dick length I suspect. Scary huh?
Facebook is much friendlier … until you start asking
nosy questions. Then it gets chilly and you get the bum’s rush.
No, I don't think it's scary. I'm an open book. The availability to
all and sundry of data relating to me would only be of concern if I were
worried about what others might think of me, which I'm not. Ya know, the
main reason teens go through such a torrid period is because they allow
peer pressure to dominate their lives. Even older people who should know
better are obsessed with keeping up with the Joneses. Well, bugger the
Joneses. When someone who disagrees with me begins a sentence with "If
I were you..." I stop them dead in their tracks. People I annoy most are
control freaks. If people enjoy the things I do, that's great. If not,
I'm reminded of a couple of things Mark said to Cody: "Under what rock
did I find you?" "The only time I can take you somewhere a second time
is to apologize for the first."
Well, it had to happen... bullet-proof vests for American school children.
a report from the Beeb.
Meanwhile, there's been another
shooting in Colorado.
Better to admire 'em than ride 'em I said yesterday about boats and
planes, which stirred a few memories for NC Art: Your aversion to big
boats and sea swells reminded me of my voyage to UK on the
Queen Elizabeth courtesy the English Crown. A complement of 14,000
Americans of all services crammed tightly aboard, plus the ship’s crew.
A fast trip across the North Atlantic to outrun U-Boats…maybe.
First morning out of New York everyone was mustered
on deck to hear the rules of the sea as laid out by our crusty captain.
The ship was just entering late autumn swells and rose giddily and yawed
nastily. As the dismiss was announced, it seemed that half the deck contingent
broke for the port rail, the other toward the starboard rail where they
spent some time disposing of their greasy breakfast of bangers, biscuits
and something faintly resembling eggs.
I have wondered if the captain hadn’t caged the gyro
stabilizers for the occasion. I didn’t hear them groaning as usual.
Us flyboys were somewhat amused. Most of us had conquered
the airsickness drill by hedgehopping over superheated deserts at low altitude.
That’ll unsettle a cast iron belly! At one point our joker pilot called
back to ask how we were doing. I advised him to just crash the damned plane
and put us all out of misery. He chuckled and yanked the plane up and down
a few times just for fun.
Ah, boys will be boys, even big boys. I expect to have a few stories
to tell when I'm doing the big tour but hopefully nothing as dramatic as
Art's war stories. I never want to experience sea sickness again. 'Misery'
is right. I used to suffer regular migrains too but haven't for decades.
Don't wanna go back there either. No... my Odyssey stories will all be
cheerful and jolly, with happy endings. Ho, ho, ho.
I organized all my keys today. What a nightmare! Now there are two sets
(one spare) for Paul. Two sets for me. One set of house keys. I also organized
all the paperwork in readiness for tomorrow morning, and transferred a
stack of stuff from the Falcon glovebox to the truck's. Later tomorrow,
I'll update the insurance company, roadside assistance company and the
Roads and Traffic Authority and that'll be it... apart from a dental appointment
and banking the cash. Oh, and booking the truck in for a complete service
and condition report. No nasty surprises, please.
Jeez, solar panels have come down in price dramatically. 200 watts for
200 bucks. So I'm thinking why get a second solar panel when I can toss
the old one (I think it's 60 watt) and replace it with a 200. That way,
the old mount can be used without drilling more holes in the roof. The
current holes don't leak and that's the way I want it to stay. 200 watts
will charge 2 x 150a/h AGMs in a day... every day (with sun). Panel
+ batteries would cost about a grand all up, which ain't bad. $1000 divided
by 4 years = $250 a year for power. I'm assuming the batteries will need
replacing by then but the solar panel has a life expectancy of 25 years.
Will that leave enough dough for all the other stuff? Stay tuned.
Hmmm, lots to think about. Meanwhile, 5-ish again - soup de jour and
creamed rice AGAIN! Never mind. It's not forever. Gary
January 5, 2013. Doesn't take long before 2013 becomes the norm.
How quickly we adjust and adapt. Maybe that's the way it will be on the
Odyssey. A couple of days on the road and my "past" life will have become
nothing more than a memory as I quickly adapt to dealing with the reality
of the present. Most people who go on trips return to the place from whence
they came. Not me.
So it's a good thing there's nothing about my present circumstances
I hold near and dear (except those things that will come with me). My home
will be wherever I happen to be, and my future will be the never-ending
As to the concept that everyone needs roots, my roots will be set in
cyber space where my permanent address will be Aussie Odyssey. Who said
no one can be in two places at the same time?
Oregon Richie watched the Forster-Tuncurry vid and commented: Glad
you got the vid sorted out and it looked pretty nice, all in all.
I think you may secretly like boats and yachting or just plain sailing-away
( symbolically and otherwise ). Sailing away in a metaphorical sense,
yes. Boating for me is best done on calm waters. Leaning precariously beneath
a billowing sail is not my cuppa, nor is climbing a wave at 45 degrees
or plummeting headlong into a trough on the other side. Boats are beautiful
things, in my view. Sleek and gracious. Polished and gleaming. Poetry in
motion. But I am a confirmed landlubber, to be sure, to be sure.
I feel the same way about aircraft... better to admire them than fly
in them. My feet were designed to be planted on terra firma.
From the Beeb: The Church of England drops its prohibition on gay
clergy in civil partnerships becoming bishops, so long as they promise
to be celibate. Yes, we can't have the clergy involved in all that
sweaty humping and pumping business. It's unbecoming.
You know that expression 'behind closed doors'? That's where all the
ikky things happen, right? Activities we humans find undignified; unacceptable
human behavior. Animals don't have phobias about such things but we're
not animals. We were created in the image of God. And if he doesn't do
ikky stuff, neither should we. Right?
I have a feeling I mentioned this before, but last night's Poh's Kitchen
was a repeat. She did a most interesting thing with spuds before baking
them. She boiled them till fairly soft but not mushy, and allowed them
to cool. Next, she greased a baking dish and broke the spuds into rough
chunky, bite-size pieces, arranging them in a single layer. Then she scattered
knobs of butter over the top. (I think I'd probably spray them with cooking
oil and leave it at that). Can't remember how long in the oven (conventional)
- probably 20 to 30 mins at moderate heat, but they emerged golden brown
and crispy, and looked delicious! It's the rough edges that make them go
Well, the Falcon is all washed and sparkling, and sitting out on the
nature strip with a For Sale sign. Hardly a car is passing, though. It's
holiday season and the town is dead quiet. Speaking of car sales... sales
of new cars in Oz jumped 10% last year. Imports were the big sellers because
of the high Australian dollar ($1.05 US). I guess that means there's a
glut of used cars going cheap.
Today is one of those hot days that makes you feel lethargic. Not much
inspiration, I'm afraid. Lots of staring into space but no brain activity.
Of all places this summer, it's Tasmania that's suffering damage from major
bushfires. Hobart had a record 41C yesterday. First time ever. Last I heard,
there were 3 large bushfires including one in the south east where several
structures were destroyed. I thought Tasmania was the obvious place to
go during high summer in Oz. Seems not. Not this year, anyway. Here in
Taree at the mo it's 30C with northerly winds (the hot ones) but it'll
drop down to 19 tonight. Took
a while for the Beeb to publish the Tasmania story but here it is.
One thing's for sure, wherever I happen to be during summer on the Odyssey,
be around the coastal areas. Inland roasts. At least the coast has
a seabreeze to cool things down a bit, especially at night.
I'm afraid that's all I have for you today, dear Breth. No it's not.
Here's another story from the Beeb about a hoard
of brand new WWII Spitfires buried in crates near Burma at the end
of the war as "surplus to requirements".
6:45pm. About half an hour ago, a bloke came to the door asking about
the Falcon. He's a retired mechanic. He had a look, checked the exhaust
when I started it, took it for a test drive and said, "It's mine." He even
made me remove the for sale signs when we got back. He'll be here Monday
morning at 10am with $2500 cash. That's $10 more than I asked for hehe.
So there ya go... been on Gumtree for a week or two with no takers, and
then sold on the street in about half a day to the first looker. His name
is Paul, and he lives just around the corner. Gary
January 4, 2013. Strange indeed. I tried uploading the Forster
vid to Youtube last night and it took hours before being rejected. Something
to do with cookies and Google. This morning I couldn't even access the
upload page. Cookies again. I was using Firefox. So now I'm using Explorer
and it seems to be working okay. So what's with the cookies thing? I dunno.
NC Art, among other things, is a sore bum expert: Get a piece of
2” thick foam rubber, put-on chair. Throw towel over it and sit in comfort!
Art also knows a thing or two about photography, having been in the
printing trade for yonks: Yep, that photo from Red Bubble is terrific.
The man has an eye for light and shadow like an old master painter. Actually,
what I thought was, “hey that pic looks like a painting!”
As to the restored Lancaster bomber, Art spent time in Britain during
the latter stages of WWII: And the link to the Lancaster bomber did
stir me. That machine was absolutely amazing, as well as the guys who flew
it on bombing missions. A bridge that we hit repeatedly with B-24s still
wouldn’t die. A night raid by three Lancs put the thing out of business
permanently by taking out the center span in a low…very low level pass.
They flew straight at the bridge, released bombs and yanked up over the
target just as the bombs went off. Crazy buggers could have blown themselves
to hell along with the bridge. When your entire country is in peril I guess
extreme measures are acceptable.
Oregon Richie is also a plane buff: Good picture and fascinating
vid about the ancient British Lancaster. Those were pretty awesome
machines all right and it's really great when one of them can get flying
again. Not an easy task by any means !
TX Greg also wrote: Can't remember if you've seen this photo. Yeah
nowhere the quality of the Red Bubble pic yesterday and probably part Photo
Shopped, but keep looking at it and you will finally see the neat hidden
Took a few minutes to see it, but once you've figured it out, you can't
miss it. What did it for me was the peculiar shape of the lower branch
on the right.
Jeez, this uploading biz is frustrating. Everything was going along
okay when it stalled at 84%. And there's nothing you can do. No retry button.
No what's the problem button. It's like waiting for a train with no announcement
to explain what the delay is. Will it arrive in a few minutes or will I
be here forever? I just took a risk, disconnected and then reconnected.
Will that help? Nothin' yet. Ah! Up to 86%. And to make matters worse,
Sue took a fall in the loo. Lots of wailing and weeping, so I woke Lindsay
(he sleeps most of the day) but he had trouble getting in because Sue was
on the floor blocking the door. WHY ME?
Which reminds me of something I heard on QI. How intelligent are ants?
The collective intelligence of a nest... not quite sure how big but I suppose
pretty big... equals the intelligence of one human brain. Must be a Lindsay
brain cos they don't have TV or microwaves.
And when was the last time you saw a pigeon at the movies? Pigeons don't
like movies cos they're too slow. Humans only need 24 frames per second
to see normal action, but pigeons need something like 200 frames a second.
So for a pigeon it's like watching a very slow slide show. Boring! Hehe.
They also don't like popcorn. One of the guests on the show said where
he came from, pigeons that ate popcorn exploded. Methinks he was kidding.
How are we doing? 97%. Cool.
And what animal in Africa kills more people than any other? The hippopotamus.
They're fast swimmers, and also very fleet of foot on land. One of their
main weapons is severe halitosis. Their breath is unbelievably diabolical.
What put me off hippos (not that I was ever a big fan) was seeing one defecating
undigested vegetable matter while swimming underwater, which was being
eagerly consumed by a school of fish following close behind. Ew! Fresh
fish for supper? No thanks.
COMPLETE! Well, there ya go. I've learned something new. Use Explorer
and disconnect/reconnect if the upload stalls.
That bloke from the Central Coast who phoned the other day about the
Falcon hasn't called again so I guess he's gone cold. Oh well... just checked
the ad and there are 4 lookers on the page at the mo. All tire kickers,
From the Beeb, here
are the images of 2012 that were chosen by the White House for its
official family album.
A city in the Indonesian province of Aceh which follows Sharia has
ordered female passengers not to straddle motorbikes behind male drivers.
Suaidi Yahya, mayor of Lhokseumawe, says it aims to save people's "morals
and behaviours". What about toilet seats? Do they have to sit side-saddle
If you're not religious but describe yourself as spiritual, what
does it mean?
I don't think I'm spiritual. I don't believe in spirits, for one thing,
unless you're talking about Johnny Walker on the rocks. I enjoy sunrises
and sunsets, but I know why they occur, and that it has nothing to do with
anything mystical. Ditto lightning and thunder. Trees. I like trees. I
even like rocks. Big ones like Uluru. But I wouldn't go so far as to declare
them sacred. Babies? Babies mean nappies (diapers). Ew! Nothing spiritual
about poo if you ask me. Or snot. No, I think I'll pass on spiritual. Sure,
I'm sensitive, sweet and adorable, but not spiritual.
I do however believe in a oneness with Nature and the Universe. I've
yet to experience it, but I'm looking forward to being under a desert sky
with stars that sparkle in 3D, as if you could reach out and touch them.
There's a special feeling about gardens and forests too. Some people, like
Cody, have that same feeling about the sea and all its creatures. The decision
to sprinkle his ashes there was most appropriate. I can well understand
and appreciate the expression 'Mother Nature'.
I often think that humankind gives itself too much credit for its intelligence,
imagination and creativity. We are simply the product of Nature, so it's
Nature that deserves all the credit.
Back from shopping and guess who was hovering around in the garage when
I parked? Mrs Hornet. So I quickly got back into the car and in my haste,
lost a flip flop. Anyway, it wasn't the old nest that continues to be a
prob, they're building a new one! Next time I'm there, that'll get the
heave-ho as well. So there I sat, watching Mrs H do her thing before I
could finally emerge and carry the groceries inside. I bought free range
eggs this time cos I'm not impressed by chooks being kept in cages. Ducks
too. They lead horrible lives.
Do you get pissed off when someone talks loudly on a mobile/cell phone
in confined public spaces like restaurants, theaters, trains, etc? NC Art
sent this little gem:
After a tiring day, a commuter settled down in her seat and closed
her eyes. As the train rolled out of the station, the guy sitting next
to her pulled out his cell phone and started talking in a loud voice: "Hi
sweetheart. It's Eric. I'm on the train."
"Yes, I know it's the six thirty and not the four thirty, but I had
a long meeting."
"No, honey, not with that blonde from the accounts office. It was
with the boss."
"No sweetheart, you're the only one in my life."
"Yes, I'm sure, cross my heart."
Fifteen minutes later, he was still talking loudly.
When the young woman sitting next to him had enough, she leaned over
and said into the phone, "For God's sake, Eric, hang up and come back to
One of my pet hates is being with someone, chatting away, when their
phone rings and they answer it. None of this "I'm sorry but I'm with someone
at the moment. I'll call you back." Oh no. They keep talking. And talking.
You no longer matter. You're not important. Relegated to the back of the
queue. So, as the minutes crawl by, you sit there like a dummy wishing
the person on the phone would drop dead. Averil does that. But now as soon
as her phone rings, I'm up out of the chair and gone. "Byeeeee!"
I thought about Waffle today. Once I'm on the road, I'll archive it
and use the Journal instead. Waffle is all about fillling in time, pulling
stuff outta the air and waffling on about nothing in particular. The Journal
will be different. Its content will be mainly about where I am, what I'm
doing, who I'm meeting and what I'm photographing. There'll be some waffle,
of course, on days when not much is happening. Or it's raining. Contributions
from Waffle regulars will still be welcome. L&S, hornets and Rodneys
will be redundant though. Instead it'll be roos, goannas, koalas, emus
and camels. And possibly the occasional snake hiding behind the porta potti.
Eeek! During periods when I'm outta phone/internet range, the Journal will
still be written, and then posted when I'm back on line. A daily diary
of being on the road in Oz with lotsa piccies.
One purchase I hope to make before I leave is a 70-200mm Nikon telephoto
lens. I already have an 18-55mm. The 70-200 is mucho cheaperer than the
70-300 or the 18-200. Anyway, I need more than 55 because there are things
I'd prefer to photograph from a safe distance hehe. Mind you, my two Fujis
are capable of long focal lengths but I prefer the quality of the Nikon.
Anyway, time to scoot. Gary
January 3, 2013. Here's a photograph I spotted on Red Bubble
this morning that sums up what photography is all about. Take an ordinary
scene, compose it with skill, add elements such as reflections,
framing, lighting, exposure, depth, symmetry and
this is what you get. I love the side-lit trunk of the tree. What a
great image! Wallis Lake, by the way, is just down the coast from here.
Whoosh day today - pay day/bills day. My fiscal cliff is still reeling
from the purchase of the truck, so the sooner I sell the Falcon the better.
Although, that money is also ear-marked to disappear in a hurry. Never
mind. I'll get back on my feet soon enough. And when I do, I'll have a
If I hadn't made so many mistakes over the years with Bluey, Das Busse,
etc, the Odyssey could have become a reality a lot sooner. But, that's
not the way it happened. And maybe it's just as well cos 2012 wasn't exactly
my best year. The most crucial thing I did back in late 2011 was to have
my local doc check a patch of rough skin on the floor of my mouth. Would
I have bothered to have it checked if I'd been on the Odyssey? For one
thing, I wouldn't have had a "local doc". So I guess we'll never know.
I'm not a believer in Fate but, by the same token, I'm not willing to discount
the idea that "everything happens for a reason".
Pink smoothie this morning... strawberry. I ran outta eggs though, so
no added protein. I know what Daniel would have suggested but I'm not Daniel.
I remembered this morning that I did a shoot of Forster-Tuncurry back
in late 2007 so I delved into my archives and found the pics, a few of
which will supplement the footage I shot last October. Good. That saves
me from doing another shoot, so I'll start working on the vid tomorrow
(or maybe later today). I also grabbed a couple of beach shots and aerials
from the web.
From the Beeb: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is discharged
from a New York hospital after treatment on a blood clot between her skull
and brain. Anyone betting she'll lay low for a while and resurface
in a few years seeking nomination to run for President?
American singer Patti Page, one of the most popular artists of the
1950s with hits including Tennessee Waltz, dies at the age of 85. Singers
like Patti were all the rage when I first started in radio.
Markets in Europe gain after a short-term deal to stave off the so-called
US fiscal cliff was reached, averting spending cuts and tax increases worth
£370bn. Yep, even the Aussie stock market went up.
Two pensioners from Lincolnshire have restored a rare WWII Lancaster
bomber. Art will get
a kick outta this one.
Roite, I spent most of the day editing the Forster-Tuncurry vid. I was
hoping to post it to Youtube before updating Waffle but I need to add music.
Vision alone won't carry the thing. It was a windy shoot so I've had to
mute most of the vision. In fact, it was so windy that day I didn't shoot
much footage at all. Not many people about either which was a shame. People
moving about always improves a shoot. At the start, I used a couple of
shots I nicked from the web, otherwise all the stuff is mine (including
the stills from 2007). I'll finish it off later and post it tomorrow.
5-ish already but it's been a fruitful day. I feel useful when I do
stuff like editing a vid. It means a sore bum after sitting so long on
this typist's chair with no natural cushioning but it's worth it. Now I
can search the web for a bit of appropriate music, catch a bit of telly,
and throw a bit of food down the screech. Gary
January 2, 2013. Back from the dentist! Nancy says the healing
is coming along quite well. The front is doing particularly well. The sides
will take a "long time" but overall I'm doing okay. I told her I'm Googling
pics of pizza and burgers so she said she'll check to see if a set of temporary
dentures is possible, just for eating. Hmmm.
The bookmark in the Digital Camera book fell out last night. It's the
Amazon receipt and the name of the bloke who sent it to me is Chuck from
Kentucky. He bought himself a copy and decided to send another to me. Aussie
Odyssey wasn't around then so he must have known me from MrB. I read a
bit more of the book last night... oodles of info (easy to understand)
but the best way to learn and improve is to DO IT. Portraiture is something
I'm interested in... capturing close ups of interesting faces using natural
light. Hopefully, I'll have some willing participants on my travels.
The main trap with cameras is believing they see what we see. WRONG!
Our eyes map a scene or object and build up a 3 dimensional panoramic image
in our brain. Cameras see a 2 dimensional image for a very brief time as
the shutter is released. So we need to use various tricks and techniques
to give an image interest and depth.
NC Art wrote Happy Noo Yeah: An old saying predicted that what you
did on new year’s day you would continue all year. I took encouragement
from that. After all I did wake up, get up and eat breakfast. So far so
good! I did watch the ball drop at midnight (on the telly of course) in
New York’s Times Square, or at least a glimpse of it. Most of the descent
was obscured by gross and garish advertisements by Pepsi and Sony. Pffft.
So HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL YEAR 2013 TO YOU, MY MATE!
Thanks, Art, and may your prunes and contributions to Waffle continue
for a long, long time.
TX Greg thinks I'm suffering dementia: Don't forget to update the
link on the main index page for "2013" the next time you add something
in the journal :)
Yes, I've been a bit slack in the journal department lately. You know
those little balloon markers Google maps use? On my visitors/stats page
with a map of the world, I noticed someone from Alice Springs visiting
AO the other day. There are several markers across the US, quite a few
in Western Europe, a couple in Eastern Europe, one in Brazil (g'day Joao),
one on the east coast of Oz... but none in Africa, New Zealand, the sub
continent, or Asia. I figure that'll change in time after I do the big
launch and start building a portfolio of pics, vids and journal entries.
In a couple of years I hope to have sufficient good material to publish
a pitcha book.
Malcolm, a fellow Red Bubbler, knows a thing or two about photography.
Here's a pic of the last
dawn of 2012 on Sydney Harbor, taken from the western side of the bridge.
Love the stillness of the water, the light, and the boats in the foreground.
From the Beeb: A US Senate-backed deal to stave off a "fiscal cliff"
of taxation and spending goes to the House, but Republican opposition casts
doubt on its passage. Meanwhile, issues such as immigration and gun
reform take a back seat.
AZ 17 AV. Roite. I need to commit that to memory cos that's the truck's
license number. Pity it wasn't AO 00 AO. Zed Vee is no good but the American
pronunciation of Zee Vee works. A Zee A Vee. And Cody was 17 when he met
Mark. Actually, I just checked. AO 00 AO is not available. BUT... AOAOAO
is. :) How-bloody-ever... the cheapest personalized plates are $160 + $99
annual fee. Bleh. Maybe another time.
I did discover on the web site a way to pay for bridge and road tolls
electronically on line without needing a pass or cash. That'll be handy
when I visit Sydney or other cities with toll roads. Just drive through
the toll gates without stopping, no worries. A camera photographs the license
plate and debits your credit card. I was hoping for an annual pass to National
Parks but they're controlled by state governments so there's no pass that
covers all parks in Oz. State passes would be okay if I were touring NSW
for a year and then QLD for a year, etc, but that's not the way it's gonna
work. I'll be criss-crossing borders all the time.
The trick when visiting cities will be to find cheap or free camp sites.
They're usually on the fringes or even further afield. Maybe I'll pick
up a few tips from fellow travellers. There's undoubtedly a wealth of knowledge
out there I can tap into.
Meanwhile, there are two hornets now... mister and missus, I presume.
Apparently, knocking down the mud nest wasn't enough to deter them... they're
still using it cos it's intact. So I'll have to wait till the coast is
clear and toss it to buggery away.
Weeeeell, time to call it a day and plant the buns (what's left of them)
on the easy chair for a bit of telly. Not a lot of excitement around here
lately, I'm afraid. I suppose I could put that Forster-Tuncurry video together.
I was hoping for better shots on the day but the ones I got weren't tooooo
bad. It was a very quiet day and there wasn't a lot of boat activity. I
didn't get any surfing/beach shots either. Hmmm... I'll think about it.
January 1, 2013. Last NYE I had chicken crackles and chips for
dinner. Last night I had SOUP and creamed rice. Sheesh. What a year. No
New Year resolution, though. There are things I hope and plan to do but
as to making a solemn promise, nope. You know what they say about mice
and men. So I'll just follow my nose and see where it takes me.
The local fireworks were clearly audible from my bedroom last night
but I didn't bother to watch. Seen one seen 'em all. Sydney
is the exception, of course, with a local audience of 1.5 million lining
the harbor foreshores, and a television audience of hundreds of millions.
So I slept through the whole thing - like a log - and woke at 6:30am.
Oregon Richie was bitching about it being 15F over there. Hehe. Not
sure what it is here but I'm shirtless and barefoot, and it's sunny outside.
On last night's news, there was footage of the crowds in Sydney claiming
their patch of foreshore for the big show at midnight. A sea of people
covering every spare inch of ground around the harbor. The lucky ones were
on their boats
moored at the best vantage spots, or watching from thousands of homes
and apartments that line the foreshores.
SF Bill saw the pic of the Triumph Spitfire yesterday and reminisced:
glad some people still remember the old Triumphs (means you must be old!);
I had a great time in them. I went through a TR 3, 3 TR 4's and a
Spitfire in an almost forgotten past as a kid. This was in addition
to American muscle cars of the period. I loved the Triumphs, but
they needed a lot of maintenance to keep them going right. My personal
belief is the English believed in having motor cars to tinker with on the
week ends, not to drive. I had more pure fun in that Spitfire than
anything else I can think of. The Spitfire was kinky, cheap to purchase,
and with a few suspension modifications, cornered like a scalded cat.
I think I had more fun and scares in that thing than any of the more plush
and powerful cars I've had since. Oh, to be 24 again!
Yes, 24. That's when I inflicted my dulcet tones on the radio waves.
Meanwhile, TX Greg sent a graphic of two snowmen doing unspeakable things
with their carrots, so I'm afraid I can't publish it. Hehe. Greg is incorrigible,
NC Art, on the other hand, has this to say about taxis: That ’54
Oxford reminded me of the old Checker cabs. For generations they were so
standardized that a couple of fenders could be replaced in a matter of
an hour or so. Body segments were simply bolted on. With low-slung, wide
and deep passenger compartment, plus two folding jump seats, the
car could carry a large family in reasonable comfort. Reasonable in that
the suspension was stiff and not well cushioned. And it was not unusual
for the car to rock up 300,000 miles in city traffic. My own driving record
has been damned lucky. I never managed to crash into anything breakable;
all my bent or broken vehicles got that way from others crashing into me!
Same here. My old Benz was rear-ended one time, which coincidentally
demonstrated the worth of Benz's new crumple-zone technology. My most bizarre
accident occurred at a railway level crossing. The bloke in front went
too far and ended up stopping beneath the boom gate. He panicked, threw
it into reverse, and planted his foot on the accelerator, causing his car
to crash into mine. He insisted I'd crashed into him, so I dragged him
by the elbow to the truck driver behind me and got the truck driver to
explain what happened. In fact, I'd already anticipated what would happen
and stopped well back from the boom gate to give him room to reverse. Ungrateful
Oh, before I fergit, I saw an Italian bloke on a cooking show last night.
If you like lamb cutlets, try this. It's easy. Cut off excess fat and separate
cutlets into 1" thick individual portions. Cut a pocket into the meat horizontally.
Fill with prosciutto and thinly sliced soft cheese. Salt each side of the
cutlets. Dip in lightly beaten egg and then in fresh breadcrumbs. Shallow
fry until golden. I have a feeling that would go very nicely with steamed,
crispy snow peas in their pods.
Now where was I? Oh yes, BR João wrote: I’ve tried to watch
the video of the airplane crash in Russia but gave up when I saw that poor
woman with the head covered with blood. Here’s another fall of a flying
machine. Yesterday, in Copacabana beach, Rio, a helicopter used to rescue
people needed rescue itself, when landed on the water. Fortunately there
was no victims. A
tourist from Minas Gerais (a Brazilian state far from the sea) captured
the all scene.
From the Beeb: The US will head over the "fiscal cliff", at least
temporarily, after the House of Representatives said it would not vote
before a midnight deadline. Here's what McCain has to say: Republican
Senator John McCain has described President Obama's statement on the so-called
fiscal cliff of tax rises and spending cuts, as a "cheerleading, ridiculing
of Republicans exercise". Speaking on the Senate floor, Mr McCain questioned
President Obama's commitment to finding a resolution and said the president
had sent a clear message of confrontation to Republicans. Oh... well
there ya go. I thought it was the other way around. Here's
Roite, banana and malt smoothie today. Variety is the spice of life,
ya know. *Sigh*
Still no response to my ad for the ute, so I think I might put it out
front with a 4 Sale sign. Once the holiday is over, the street will be
busy with traffic again. I've noticed dealer ads on Gumtree that stay there
for weeks, probably because dealers ask a premium price. But even Alex
who sold me the truck had been trying to sell it for quite some time before
I came along. I'm not desperate to sell the Falcon but it would be nice
to have the cash to spend on the truck.
Hello? Just had a nibble from a bloke about buying the Falcon. He lives
on the Central Coast so he reckons if he can't con one of his mates into
driving him up here, he'll catch a train. But he's talking $2000. He went
down to $1800 at first and I said no. He said he'll phone back in a day
or two when he organizes transport. He reckons the Falcon would be good
for carting hay around to his horses. If he owns horses he ain't short
of a quid.
Just back from opening the truck windows. Bloody hot out there! So I
checked... 32C (90F) now and headed for 36C (possibly 38). I reckon the
local beaches will be popular. Not crowded though. There are endless stretches
of beach around this area that are impossible to fill. The
circumference of Oz is virtually a 16,000 mile beach. Even the Gold
Coast in Queensland never gets crowded. Bondi Beach in Sydney, on the
other hand, is often crowded because it's "the
place to be seen". It's also quite small compared to most beaches.
Apparently the longest beach in Oz is 90
Mile Beach in Victoria.
My kinda beach has grass, trees and shade, thank you very much. And
the perfect time to stroll along the shoreline as the breakers wash over
your feet is very early morning or dusk. I'll leave the in-between time
to the lunatics. And that's another thing... exercise. I don't get much
at the mo, so I'm looking forward to getting fitter by walking around taking
photos, strolling along the beach, checking out country towns, bush walking,
and maybe even throwing a leg over the bicycle saddle. A few months of
that every day and I'll be fit as a fiddle... which I'll need to be if
I'm gonna climb up to lighthouses, lookouts and long flights of stairs.
Back in 2002 when I bought my first digital camera, some kind person
"out there" sent me a book called Digital Camera (How to do everything
with your...). It's quite a large and thick book... most comprehensive.
And now, 11 years later, I'm reading it. Hehe. Don't rush me, roite? Can't
remember who sent it, but I thank you belatedly. I need to get seriously
serious if I'm gonna make the most of the Nikon on the Odyssey (and even
make a few bucks from the images). Digital technology has come a long way
in the last decade, but the book remains relevant. Photographic techniques
and rules don't change.
5-ish again and time to rustle up a bit of this and that. Anything on
telly? Poh's Kitchen, Food Safari, Best of Landline, ABC News, 7:30 (current
affairs). That'll do. With a bit of luck, I might sell the Falcon this
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