December 31, 2013. Goodbye #13. Pretty amazing year for the Odyssey,
lots of things achieved, including a little housekeeping this morning adding
some extra pics (interior of saddle bags and converting PJ's table into
double bed) to the saddlebags photo album. You've already seen the extra
pics posted on Waffle so I won't bother to link it. Just tidying things
up a bit before the year ends.
Yep, 2013 has been a pretty productive year with notably fewer boo boos
than previous years. Joining the GN forum has contributed a great deal
to my knowledge of life on the road and what to expect. I think the word
is exponential. Anyway, it just goes to show what's possible if you "keep
your eyes on the prize" to quote OR Richie. Mind you, 2013 is not a year
I would care to revisit hehe, nor its recent predecessors. I'm happy with
the achievements but also happy to move on and leave all those stresses
and worries far behind.
Meanwhile, there's a young bloke giving me a friendly wave as cleverly
expressed in BR João's latest graphic:
Cody once congratulated me on finally achieving sufficient webmastering
skill to get MrB up and running back in the late 1990s. He reckoned I was
the most determined fossil he'd ever met. Hehe. I'm sure he would have
similar comments to make about where I'm at with the Odyssey too. Mind
you, there would have been a few rockets up the ol' clacker along the way
as well. Cody was not shy about giving me a serve when he thought it was
warranted. Thanks a stack for the graphic, João. I really appreciate
the thought you've put into it. It's awesome! And most appropriate.
From the Beeb: The family of German motor-racing champion Michael
Schumacher are at his bedside as he fights for life following a skiing
accident in the French Alps. Schumacher's manager, Sabine Kehm, said his
wife, Corinna, daughter Gina Maria and son Mick are in a state of shock
at the Grenoble hospital. The seven-time Formula 1 champion suffered head
injuries on Sunday in a
fall at the resort of Meribel.
Researchers have revealed how cyber-thieves sliced into cash machines
in order to infect them with malware earlier this year. The criminals cut
the holes in order to plug in USB drives that installed their code onto
the ATMs. Crooks
I tried doing a list of Odyssey highlights for 2013 but it was taking
ages and I hadn't even gotten through a quarter when I became bored and
gave up. Suffice to say that the year started very slowly except for the
selling of my Falcon ute at a good price, but then it was April before
Stan the Lawn Man cleared all the overgrowth to make way for PJ's emergence,
and even then it took another 3 or 4 months for him to offer to load PJ
onto the truck. No one else would touch it. But by then I'd bought the
used bull bar and Ironman springs and had them fitted. By about August
I took PJ for its first wobbly test flight, and then about a month later,
after a trip to Port Macquarie and back, decided on some serious surgery
and organized the bumectomy. After that, the first shakedown took place
in October. Throughout the second half of the year, there was a buying
frenzy going on... AGM battery, extension ladder, gas bits for the fridge
(which I chose to do myself), a bunch of electronics installed by Andrew,
extra gadgets like a shower pump, air compressor and god knows what else
from eBay, then the saddlebags and other jobs completed by Jason. And here
we are, on the last day of the year and PJ is just about finished, at least
as far as all the important stuff is concerned. Whew!
So I'm afraid it's a shortie today, folks, cos I wasted a lot of time
on the highlights thing which didn't happen anyway. My next Waffle will
be next year, yeah? Same piece of string though - New Year is just a mark
that divides one bit from another. Nonetheless, I wish you well for 2014
and trust that it brings you at least some of the things you desire and
none of the things you dislike. Gary
December 30, 2013. Cody loved surfing, as we all know, and probably
saw a few dolphins catching a wave or two, but I bet he never saw anything
FL Josh wrote: I have no idea how good Wintal is but it looks like
a nice little TV, and gets both digital and analog, which is nice.
(Josh attached also the Users Manual in PDF).
Some 4 or 5 years ago before analogue in Oz became obsolete, I bought
the little analogue set I eventually ditched cos it didn't work with a
digital set top box. At that stage I thought my Odyssey was a lot closer
than it turned out to be. So that was $200 down the gurgler. Never mind.
All's well that ends well. And this one has two advantages over the previous
one - it doesn't need a set top box, and it's 12 volt. It can also record
programs onto a USB stick, so I'll be able to record movies, docos, etc,
for viewing when I'm out of range.
I got a kick out of the "feel good story" GN style, especially when
they explained why they leapt into action, "Richard had noticed the attractive
young ladies and was the first to leap into action, closely followed by
me with camera in hand." I think that is a "desire to cop a feel"
Boys will be boys, Josh, even those old enough to know better. Or perhaps
especially those old enough to know better.
Nancy was back this morning so she got stuck into cleaning up the bits
of dead bone which the other girls failed to do when they were looking
after me. Tsk, tsk. It was a little painful but... gotta be done. She also
mentioned contacting the prosthetist about getting an upper plate made.
She's worried about a denture harboring bacteria which raises the potential
of infection but on the other hand she wants to improve my ability to eat
more regular food. She says if I only use the denture for eating, and leave
it soaking in special cleaning fluid otherwise, I should be okay. Physchologically,
it'll improve my outlook and ability to practice speech. Also, hopefully,
a better diet will improve my weight as well as physical condition generally,
which in turn will improve the lower gum. Boom boom. Suck it and see.
Yes, suck it and see. Yesterday, I found places to put the drawer thingies
I bought. Then it occurred to me that it really doesn't matter where I
put them because the best places will become more apparent once I'm on
the road, living the vagabond life for real. BTW, I noticed vacuum bags
at the department store yesterday designed for storing clothing, blankets,
etc. A stack of jumpers/sweaters, for example, can be reduced in size dramatically
by using vacuum packing. What a great idea!
From the Beeb: Michael Schumacher, seven-time Formula 1 world champion,
is in a critical condition after a skiing accident, says the French hospital
treating him. The 44-year-old German suffered serious brain trauma, was
in a coma on arrival and underwent a brain operation. How's
that for irony?
France's highest court has approved a 75% tax on high earners that
is one of President Francois Hollande's signature policies. The initial
proposal to tax individual incomes was ruled unconstitutional by the Constitutional
Council almost exactly one year ago. But the government modified it to
make employers liable for the 75% tax on salaries
exceeding 1m euros (£830,000).
A suicide attack on a train station in Russia's southern city of
Volgograd has killed 16 people, officials say. Initial official claims
that the bomber was a lone woman have been replaced by uncertainty about
carried it out.
Well, I'm in the wrong job. I shoulda been a "spaceologist", a person
who utilizes space efficiently. I dumped the packaging for the organizer
boxes I bought at Bunnings and used one (minus all but two of the little
boxes inside) to house my first-aid kit plus extra loose bandages and bits,
including special bandage scissors. The organizer is now in one of the
wall cupboards (with the other two until I find a use for them). No need
for labeling cos I can see what's inside through the clear plastic lid.
I also stored more stuff in one of the saddlebags - the 10amp-15amp
converter and 15m of caravan power lead.
Split level home with master bedroom and storage upstairs, second double
bedroom with built-ins downstairs. Modern gas kitchen with ample storage
and adjacent combined dining/living. Huge outdoor covered entertaining
area with stunning views of the 7.7m sq km grounds. Does that describe
Well, it's time for me to skedaddle after a day of just fiddling around
and keeping myself amused. I hope I've amused you too! Gary
December 29, 2013. FL Josh sent a 'feel-good' Christmas story
the other day. But here's a real one with
a good ol' Aussie GN flavor.
Here's another goodie... it's
about understanding engineers.
The other night I spotted a 12V
portable digital telly on eBay and did the ol' will I or won't I trick,
finally deciding to put it on my watch list and then forget about it for
the the time being. But yesterday, I concluded that I really wanted to
go the 12V route anyway, and particularly small because of luggage space
in PJ when travelling, especially for something so fragile. At 18", the
TV I use at home is too big to be carted around in a camper. Those in caravans
or large motorhomes are fixed to the wall somewhere and have a permanent
place. But in PJ a fixed 18" TV would be a nuisance. Soooo, I made the
decision to buy it. I have a separate powered antenna with a signal booster,
which plugs into the inverter or powerboard. TV tuners for laptops are
available but watching TV on line is expensive. Getting the signal through
the air is free. I'll keep the packaging and use it to store the TV safely
I also checked the fridge's electric power usage. 240V, 125W. GNs advise
that a cold fridge will stay cold for a couple of hours while travelling
from one camp to the next. But occasionally, when I'm on the road for longer
periods for whatever reason, I figure I can run the fridge off the inverter
while the alternator is charging the AGM battery. Just gotta remember to
turn it off if I stop somewhere for a photo shoot around town.
NC Art wrote: The pic of the Nillionaires bus is right swuft. Bet
it beats flying hands down these days. I haven’t flown much in years, but
my family and friends who do have nothing good to say about the experience.
Airlines have given up any pretense of good service and comfort in favor
of packing more flesh in smaller spaces and charging for everything. Wonder
if there’s a surcharge if you pee more than once on coast-to-coast trips.
But that’s life in the fast lane I ‘spose.
The bus looks comfy, low slung for easy boarding, and probably quiet.
Now if they would just put wings on the thing it could be the best of both
I have no interest in flying either, unless it's for sightseeing and
photography, like ballooning over picturesque countryside, or flying over
spectacular landscapes in the Kimberley. There was an interesting balloon
landing on the news the other night. The pilot decided the winds were getting
a little unpredictable so he chose a spot in a suburban car park and made
a perfect landing there, placing the basket in an allocated parking spot
hehe. The balloon canopy was another matter... it got tangled up in someone's
TV antenna. Residents of the local apartment block and surrounding houses
were bemused to find such a sight as they woke for breakfast. But the balloon
passengers weren't troubled at all - they were bussed off to their champagne
breakfast as scheduled.
From the Beeb: More than a million Americans will lose their unemployment
benefits after an emergency federal programme expires on Saturday. Lawmakers
failed to agree on an extension of the scheme before the US Congress began
its winter recess. Former President George W Bush introduced the assistance
plan in 2008 at the start of the recession. Under the programme, jobless
people received an average monthly stipend of $1,166
for up to 73 weeks.
Not a lot happening on the Beeb. On Boxing Day the headline was Empire
Strikes Back! But it didn't last long. England looked like posing a real
challenge on day one of the 4th Cricket Test but collapsed when the Aussies
rallied on day two. We were chasing about 80 runs when play stopped for
lunch today and, barring something catastrophic, should take the 4th test
with ease. That will leave 1 test to go for Oz to wrap up the series 5-0
if the Empire fails to come good.
One GN posted these interesting Ashes stats on the forum: In the
130 years since 1883, Australia have held the Ashes for approximately 76.5
years, and England for 53.5 years. Australians have made 264 centuries
in Ashes Tests, of which 23 have been scores over 200, while Englishmen
have scored 212 centuries, of which 10 have been over 200. Australians
have taken 10 wickets in a match on 41 occasions, Englishmen 38 times.
Funny how cricket never really took off in North America, but it's huge
in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the West Indies, South Africa, New Zealand
and Oz. Bores the pants off me unless it's a major match between us and
I watched live footage of Wild Oats 11 sailing up the Derwent in Hobart
Tasmania last night to take line honors in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
to the wild cheers of thousands lining the foreshores. It was Wild Oats'
7th line honors win. The voyage took 2 days and 6 hours (I think) which
is almost a day longer than the record set last year by the same boat.
But the real winner will be the yacht that wins on handicap, the result
of which could take 5 days to work out. Much of the smaller and slower
fleet is still at sea. A lot of the old salts say it's the toughest ocean
race in the world. I know one thing... Bass Strait and the Great Southern
Ocean have a pretty fierce reputation.
Back from shopping. This time I decided to splurge on
a kitchen knife I saw the other day with a ceramic blade that will
cut through almost anything, even boot leather, and never dull. Veges like
and onions are a breeze. $29 is a lot for a 6" blade but I think it's worth
it. And while I was there in the kitchen department, guess what? I saw
stackable plastic drawers IN HOUSINGS! Grrrr. The other day I looked in
the storage department and couldn't find any. Anyway, I bought two @ $9
each. They're single drawers about 8" wide, 12" long and 6" deep, ideal
for odds and ends. But being sale time, what would have cost $47 before
Christmas, cost $26 today. Yeah?
Now, what to do with the plastic organizers I bought at Bunnings the
other day. I could go back for a refund or keep them stashed away in PJ
in case they come in handy someday for something. I think the latter. $20
And that's it for Sundee. Gotta hit the kitchen and cook up some vittles!
I'd rather a burger though, dangit. Gary
December 28, 2013. Getting pretty close to the yearometer ticking
over to 4. As a kid, I remember thinking I'd be 56 at the turn of the century.
ANCIENT! Hehe. There was a story a while back on telly about identical
twin brothers who survived the holocaust and emmigrated to Australia after
the war. They were cobblers by trade and set up a little shop in Surry
Hills, inner Sydney. They worked there all their lives, making shoes for
all kinds of people including boots for the Beatles and slippers for the
Queen. They loved their work and stuck to the old fashioned methods. Never
a thought of retirement. They worked right up until one died recently and
the other followed suit a few weeks later. Cobblers to the end.
Well, wot now? My brain's gone into vacation mode. So I think I'll finish
this coffee and start on the fridge flap job... clean the surfaces where
the gasket strips will be attached, make the gaskets and climb the ladder.
I'd like to take a moment to sincerely thank the bloke who invented
the ratchet spanner, the bloke who invented the Stanley knife, the bloke
who invented the steel ruler, and the bloke who invented the cutting board.
I had to make 4 gasket strips - 2 stuck to the body and 2 stuck to the
fridge flap to provide sufficient thickness to weatherproof the gaps. Not
perfect, but not bad. It'll do. And now I'm buggered. Doesn't take much.
There was also only just enough double sided tape to do the job - 1
meter x 20mm. At $7.50 it ain't cheap but it's pro stuff and weatherproof.
From the Beeb: China's top legislature has formally adopted a resolution
easing the country's one-child policy, the state news agency Xinhua reports.
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress passed a resolution
allowing couples to have two children if either parent is an only child.
And then you have countries in Africa with starving populations that keep
out babies willy nilly.
Do we really all live on the same planet or is that just a rumor?
US police have released thousands of documents related to their probe
into the killing of 26 people at a school in the state of Connecticut.
Officials described as "painful" some of the details in the report, which
includes photos and transcripts. It reveals new facts about the life of
gunman Adam Lanza, 20, said to have suffered
from mental health issues.
In Pictures: Some
of the best space images of 2013.
A US federal judge has ruled that mass government surveillance of
the phone network is legal, a week after another court said the opposite.
New York District Judge William Pauley described the snooping as a "counter-punch"
against al-Qaeda. He said the National Security Agency (NSA) programme
might even have prevented
the 9/11 attacks. Last week a Washington DC federal judge ruled the
surveillance was "likely unconstitutional" and "Orwellian".
Year in Design. From battery-powered exoskeletons to buildings
that melt cars, this year was a notable one for design.
Nillionaires... I like that. Nice looking bus, though.
Been another quiet day, with a bit of inner shedness and a grandpa snooze
thrown in for good measure. So, seeyaz tomorrow! Gary
December 27, 2013. After much eBay-ing and Googling last night
I finally found small chests of drawers at Bunnings, which is a
huge hardware warehouse situated on the fringe of Taree's outskirts
- only a few minutes from this house and on the same road (on the way to
Wingham). Cheap too... about $20+. So I'll whizz out there today and get
one as well as a roll of double sided tape. NC Art wrote and suggested:
to a kitchen shop and look for a spice cabinet. Some are made to hang on
wall and have little drawers made for keeping dry, ground spices. Nutmeg,
cloves, cinnamon, etc. The wood material helps keep spice fresh and dry.
Not a bad idea, Art, but a bit small for my needs.
Everyone loves Bunnings. There's a stack of stuff for hobbyists, renovators,
handymen and women, builders, plumbers, electricians, gardeners and who-knows-what-else.
Jason bought the brass piano hinge there. One time I bought six tiny spring
washers (sold individually). They were so small I had to carry them around
in the palm of my hand, and I think they cost about 3 cents each hehe.
I used two to secure the nuts that hold the bicycle license plate to the
bike rack and stop them vibrating loose. The GNs are always talking about
Bunnings for bits and pieces to go with their rigs. One bought a plumber's
plunger with holes in it, attached to a pole, to use as an agitator for
her "bucket washing machine".
Got another tip on the GN forum yesterday... always carry a small pack
of antiseptic wipes in case a public loo seat looks a bit suss, Hehe. Not
so silly. One GN at Greens Lake also reported that a few shower tents blew
over in gusty conditions during the Christmas period. Hmmmm. I'll have
to figure something out to keep mine from doing its own independent Odyssey.
As to No.1s, some blokes use a lidded bucket but on my first shakedown
I used an empty 5 liter radiatior fluid container. It has a screw top,
large capacity, a carry handle, and an opening large enough to accommodate
the whole willie. No worries about splashing. In fact, I used mine in the
dark during the middle of the night.
And speaking of dark, FL Josh found this: I came across this video
on how headlight bulbs dim with age and thought
it was worth passing on.
And that's another thing many GNs recommend - no driving at night, dusk
or dawn. That's when many animals hunt or forage for food and pose a danger
on the roads. One poor bloke in the outback recently hit a wild pig which
seriously damaged his car. So he started walking to the nearest town and
was hit and killed by a road train. If you're gonna walk along the side
of a road, mate, always walk against the traffic.
Roite, back from Bunnings. Got the tape, got the drawers (kinda), and
I also got a 12-pack of Duracell AA alkaline batteries good till 2018 for
five bucks! They'll be handy for the CO alarm and other gadgets.
Now... the drawers. They're not actually drawers as I discovered when I
got home. But they look like drawers hehe. They're about a foot wide and
long with a handle at the front. There are 3 of them, 2" deep, stacked.
Each has a removable lid (lockable at the front). Inside each tray are
a number of smaller trays which are removable to make any size compartments
you want, or none at all. But there's no outer frame or housing from which
the 3 trays can slide in and out independently. So, at some stage, I'll
need a 3 tiered housing. Meanwhile, I'll use the cardboard box they came
in to house the trays. Hey, for twenty bucks I'm not hemorrhaging. You
know those plastic stackable in-trays for the office? I have three but
they're not wide enough, dammit. But something like that a bit over 12"
wide would be good.
I can't begin to tell you how much fun I'm having with my "bits". Actually,
one of those drawers (which they will become) would be ideal for nuts and
bolts and screws and nails and safety pins and paper clips and pencils
and and and... Pretty nifty for twenty bucks, yes? Now I'm wondering if
I could get Jason to slap an aluminium frame together.
The last time I did anything like this was back in Glebe when I would
spend hours and hours and hours measuring things and drawing diagrams of
my envisaged new kitchen, bathroom and living space to replace the original
out back. I really enjoy doing that kinda thing.
From the Beeb: East Africa's leaders are to meet in Kenya to discuss
growing violence in South Sudan, where more than 1,000 people are believed
to have died. The talks come a day after South Sudan's President Salva
Kiir met the prime ministers of Kenya and Ethiopia. Meanwhile, the UN said
the first peacekeeping reinforcements were expected to arrive in 48 hours.
talk it through, talk it through.
US President Barack Obama has signed a two-year bipartisan federal
budget bill, averting the risk of a government shutdown in January. The
hard-fought legislation was passed by both the Senate and the House of
Representatives earlier this month. The bill had been drafted by a cross-party
budget committee set up after October's 16-day government shutdown.
way to go.
When it comes to finding a job, there are few questions candidates
dread more than this: ‘what was your salary in your last position?’. Or
maybe instead of a question, you hear this seemingly insurmountable phrase:
‘you’re overqualified’. Impressing in a job interview — or around the office
day to day — can be tough without facing questions whose answers seem
to only invite more dread.
Soooo, what about the next shakedown? A couple of GNs and others advised
me not to hit the road at this time of year, but to wait till the crowds
begin to dissipate early in the new year. Trouble is, there's a million
places to choose from. One thing's for sure, I'd rather do more camping
than driving so I'll choose somewhere fairly close, maybe an hour or so
away. Beach or bush? Dunno.
Such decisions won't be necessary on the Odyssey itself. I'll already
be on the road. It won't matter where I go, or when. But I'm not entirely
free of the home shackles just yet. Anyway, the first shakedown was October
so I better get my act together.
Meanwhile, it's checkout time! Ding, ding! Gary
December 26, 2013. Back to sanity! Speaking of which, here's
how Billeeeeeee and the Fruit Loops spent Christmas
at Greens Lake.
It didn't occur to me till this morning how my Christmas must seem odd
to most people. Just about everyone places great emphasis on being with
friends and/or family, exchanging gifts, and celebrating with tables threatening
to collapse under the weight of food and drink. But I was having such a
wonderful time fiddling with PJ and discovering new things, I didn't even
think about any of the above. And there was no "bah humbug" involved either.
Takes all kinds, yes?
Ohio Jace wrote after he realized his message failed to stay glued to
the ecard I received on Christmas eve. You mentioned on Waffle we northerners
have snowmen in the front yard. Many probably do, but not us Buckeyes.
Instead we have flood water from the seventh winter storm to cross the
country in seven weeks. It was 70 over the weekend with torrential rains
after a week of snow that started last weekend.
Roite. So much for Bing Crosby. But at least the Ohio Gang is well.
The grandson is 6 months old and growing like a weed. Seems mother's milk
is good for him. The rest of the gang is doing fine as well. Jace also
mentioned Cody and how he and his hero Nelson Mandela have probably had
a pow wow by now. Yep, Cody went out of his way to heap praise on Mandela,
particularly in relation to his time in prison and how it didn't embitter
him. Mandela was smart enough realize that imposing one's point of view
on another just doesn't work. What works is tolerance and compromise through
My issue with sport, for example, is that it's supposed to be a good
teacher of values such as team work and life skills in general. But sport
is about winning - winner takes all. In an ideal world, there would be
no losers, only winners. To be a have would not require someone else to
be a have not.
FL Josh wrote: Here's the latest in the adventures of Alec in WILDerland,
'Let's Go Camping,' and since Alec is in a state park, I thought it might
give you some ideas as to your own adventures to come in government parks,
plus this kid is just so entertaining. His enthusiasm is infectious.
is like a young Steve Irwin.
He forgot to mention bringing a can of kid repellent. But speaking of
chatterbox Texans and camping, TX Greg wrote: They also make a neat
portable folding base flange so you can take the table outside... Sold
a ton of those
Nifty idea, Greg, but I already have a folding camp table which is much
lighter than the one inside. And it won't matter if it gets knocked around
From the Beeb: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is visiting a controversial
shrine to World War Two dead, local media report. The visit to Tokyo's
Yasukuni memorial comes exactly one year after Mr Abe took office. The
move is likely to further inflame already tense relations with neighbouring
China and South Korea. The shrine honours several convicted Japanese war
criminals. Beijing and Seoul see it as a symbol of Tokyo's
Ex-National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has delivered
an "alternative" UK Christmas message, urging an end to mass surveillance.
The broadcast was carried on Channel 4 as an alternative to the Queen's
traditional Christmas message. Mr Snowden focused on privacy, saying: "A
child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all." The
30-year-old has temporary asylum in Russia after leaking details of US
electronic surveillance programmes.
Boxing day in Oz, which means the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht
Race, and the super maxis powering down the harbor at 20 knots under clear
blue skies. It also means the start of the 4th Ashes test with England
desperate to save at least some face after losing the first three tests
and the Ashes to Oz. There are five tests in all.
I listened to the start of the Sydney
to Hobart as I shaved in the bathroom and it seemed like a very exciting
day in good ol' Sydney town, with crowds lining the foreshores and thousands
of private boats on the water for the big occasion, which draws entries
from all over the world. It's one of the major sailing events on the international
yachting calendar. I think this is the 69th anniversary of the race.
I'm getting pretty smart ya know. The hinged flap at the back of the
fridge is only secured by the piano hinge at the top, and three nut-top
screws along the bottom - nothing on the sides, which leaves gaps that
allow wind-assisted rain to penetrate. Sooooo, I went shopping for gasket
material and found some - rubberized cork. Expensive though, and I only
need two narrow strips. So then I saw various stick-on tapes, including
double sided. Too thin, and no ability to mold itself and fill the gaps.
Then I remembered having a leftover roll of non-slip rubberized shelf-matting
in the camper. Cut two narrow strips of the matting and glue them to the
sides of the fridge panel opening? Hmmm. Maybe the matting is too porous.
LIGHT BULB TIME! Are you with me? Get a roll of double sided tape, stick
one side to the strips of matting (cut to the same width as the tape),
then stick the matting to the sides of the panel opening (or even to the
panel itself). Yeah? But I only get 9 outta 10 for that one cos I didn't
think of the double sided tape till I got back home. Hehe.
I also shopped for a small chest of kitchen type drawers. No luck. All
kinds of storage boxes but none with drawers. None at Supercheap Auto either
(only large tool storage boxes for workshops). BUT, I did arrive home with
a few groceries and 2 pair of undies. Anyway, I just checked eBay and there
are stackable drawer boxes there, so I'll check 'em out.
Meanwihle, that's a wrap for Boxing Day. I hope you had an enjoyable
Christmas Day "over there". Gary
December 25, 2013. Check out these cool 2013
Aussie Road Trip stamps!
The weather is the same as yesterday's - cool, cloudy but virtually
no rain. At least it's comfortable. And when I say cool, I don't mean cold.
TX Greg wrote: Hey Gary,
That was so funny yesterday that you said "fat blokes in red suits
and chimneys" because that was sort of the theme for your Christmas card.
PJ looks good with a chimney and we know you're skinny enough to slide
down one, hehe. Ho, ho, ho, I know why you have such a grin there on your
face, looks like someone is sleeping in your bed, hahaha
You're incorrigible, Greg. But you already knew that.
FL Josh, on the other hand, is in the mood to tell us all a Christmas
I really liked this story and wanted to share it with you. It is
not me telling the story but it is really beautiful.
I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma.
I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her
on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she
jeered. "Even dummies know that!"
My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been.
I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I
knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went
down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon
buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to
Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm.
Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?"
she snorted...."Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going
around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat,
and let's go."
"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even
finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be
Kirby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just
about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten
dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said,
"and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car."
Then she turned and walked out of Kirby's.
I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping
with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The
store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their
For a few moments I just stood there, confused,
clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth
to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my
neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church.
I was just about thought out, when I suddenly
thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and
he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's second-grade class. Bobby Decker
didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during
the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he
had a cough, but all of us kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough;
he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing
excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!
I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood
to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.
"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the
lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes,
ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby." The nice lady smiled at me,
as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn't
get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished
me a Merry Christmas.
That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat
(a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible)
in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, "From Santa Claus"
on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove
me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and
forever officially, one of Santa's helpers. Grandma parked down the street
from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly up to the house and
hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All
right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."
I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door,
threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the
safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the
darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.
Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those
moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That
night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what
Grandma said they were -- ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we
were on his team.
I still have the Bible with the coat tag tucked
May you always have LOVE to share, HEALTH to spare
and FRIENDS that care...
And may you always believe in the magic of Santa
Claus! Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.... It's learning
to dance in the rain!
It’s me, Josh, again and I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas
and I hope that 2014 will be a wonderful year for you, playing in the sun
and dancing in the rain, and dozing under PJ's awning.
Yes, I remember Yvonne, a tall girl in 4th grade telling me that Santa
was a load of old codswallop. So I ran home to tell my mother. Can't remember
what she said but I suspect she thought I was old enough at 8 or 9 to face
reality. Pity she didn't tell me grandma's story instead. Anyway, thanks
for the wishes, Josh. Last night, Christmas eve, I checked the journal
entry for May 2012 - the day the Camper arrived, and how I was outbid at
the last possible moment during the auction only to be given a second chance
the next morning after the highest bidder reneged. I was a pretty excited
little Vegemite! $4700 was all I had, and not a penny more. Even then,
I had to pay the bloke in two installments.
Wanna hear my Christmas story? The other day, Lindsay bought two eye
filet steaks and asked me if I would cook them. It was too hot the first
couple of nights so he asked if I could cook one last night, with onions.
I sliced and fried the onion rings first then put them aside. Then I turned
up the heat and sealed one side of the filet before flipping it over sealing
the other side, and then lowering the heat to cook the steak through until
just pink on the inside, turning only once. Then I let the steak rest on
a warmed plate while I heated the onions through. Lindsay said it was noice.
He knows I've not been able to eat anything like that for ages, and that
he drives me crazy every morning when he makes his toast or crumpets and
the aroma drifts through the house. But there he was asking me to cook
his steak and onions, blissfully unaware (not to mention uncaring) of how
I might feel about being so intimately involved with something I would
dearly love to have for myself. But I went ahead and did it as best I could
without a word of complaint. What's more, I'll do it again tomorrow night
with the second filet. How many brownie points do I get for that? Will
St Peter be impressed when I arrive at the Pearlies?
How long ago did I say I bought the camper? May 2012? Jeez, I'm quick.
I was thinking this morning of getting Jason to figure something out about
making PJ's table adjustable so that I can lower it to typing height as
well as all the way down to level with the sofa cushions to turn it into
a double bed. There's a spare cushion just the right length stored in the
cab over, and covered with matching material. So I went down to PJ to measure
the various heights needed and check out the single center table support,
which is a chromed pipe inserted into a metal flange (made in Ohio) bolted
to the floor, and another bolted to the underside of the table top. The
table top can swivel 360 degrees but I've never been able to figure out
how to raise or lower it. After all, it's only been 18 months give or take.
While I was checking the length of the table top, I looked at the underside
and noticed strips of timber running the width of the table top, glued
an inch or so inside each end. What the hell were they for? Then it dawned
on me. Somehow (I've yet to figure it out), the table top can be lifted
off the center support, which can then be removed from the flange bolted
to the floor, and the table top positioned between the storage boxes at
each end of the sofa. The glued bits of timber are to prevent the table
top sliding back and forth once it's in position. Voila! Double bed!
As to lowering the table to typing height, I can do that simply by getting
a second pipe 155mm shorter than the standard one. Yeah, and no expensive
labor involved! Am I really that dumb? For some reason I had the notion
that the pedestal was all one piece instead of the 3 pieces it actually
Having access to a full width bed "downstairs" will be welcome on hot
nights when it's just too hot to sleep in the cabover (that's if I'm not
sleeping outside). So how's that for a revelation? Must be this vascularization
medication and mega doses of Vitamin E that are sending extra blood to
The cushion to fit the space is buried behind a bunch of stuff in the
cab over so I didn't bother to drag it out. Pretty nifty conversion, yes?
It's like getting an unexpected Chrissy prezzie! Took a bit of elbow grease
and grunt to detach the pipe from the flanges cos they hadn't been moved
for long time, which had me wondering there for a while, but it all worked
out just fine.
I remember my younger bro, who started his working life as a mechanic,
saying that the word 'flange' sounded ridiculous hehe. So I was aware of
the word but not of its meaning... until now. I didn't know what to call
those things that connect the pipe to the floor and the underside of the
table until good ol' 'flange' popped in. Did a quick google and there ya
Well, what a great two days it's been... figured out how to pack stuff
so the porta potti is on board, and finally discovered how to turn the
dining area into a double bed! That's progress!
From the Beeb: Large crowds have gathered in the biblical town of
Bethlehem to begin Christmas Eve celebrations. Tourists packed Manger Square
in a party atmosphere, a BBC correspondent says. The nearby Church of the
Nativity sits on the spot where the Bible says Jesus was born. Meanwhile
in St Peter's Basilica in Rome, Pope Francis is celebrating his first Christmas
Eve Mass since
The US government has offered help to anyone who missed the 24 December
deadline to enrol for the new health insurance - known as "Obamacare".
It said anyone who failed to finish their application through a dedicated
website - HealthCare.gov - could still obtain a policy for the new year.
On Monday, the government extended the original deadline by a day amid
demand and technical issues.
For over 30 years, the Boys and Girls Choirs of Harlem produced world
class vocalists from one of New York's toughest neighbourhoods. They toured
the world, singing with everyone from Michael Jackson to Luciano Pavarotti,
and performing at venues like Carnegie Hall and the White House. But the
choir, for grade school children, closed its doors in 2007 amid sexual
scandal and financial ruin. Now, the Boys and Girls Choir of Harlem Alumni
Ensemble, made up of 20 former members, is trying to keep the tradition
of excellence and achievement alive. The
world needs lots of that kinda feel-good stuff.
And that's a wrap for Christmas Day 2013 (although Northern Hemisphericals
are still stuffing themselves with cake). Best wishes for the remainder
of the season and a jolly old twenty fourteen to ya! I feel excited already!
December 24, 2013. Starry skies, sleighs, reindeer, fat blokes
in red suits and chimneys. Yes, it's all happening, folks. The season of
merriment and good will. After that, we can all get back to normal hehe.
My 10 velcro straps arrived yesterday - same ones TX Greg recommended
- so that's good. It's also much cooler today with cloud cover so I'll
spend a bit of time fiddling around with PJ.
Speaking of fiddling, Stan the Lawn Man arrived, happy to see the cooler
weather. He's got a thing about being 70+ and still pushing a lawn mower
around for a living but even he admits that summer heat and humidity is
a killer. However, he couldn't resist doing his strong man act when he
tested the new handle near PJ's back door. He nearly pulled the bloody
back wall out! Macho men are just soooooooo insecure.
It's amazing what cool weather and a cool head can do. I have no idea
what I was thinking a couple of months ago when I removed the porta potti
from the large storage box and put it in the garage. Today I rearranged
a few things and in went the porta potti. Admittedly, half is in one box
and half in the other but what the hell? Not only that, there's still room
in both boxes for more stuff, including a second AGM battery if it comes
to that. It's all a matter of thinking cool and doing a little simple arithmetic
So what's in the saddlebags? Only the four wooden blocks for the camper
jacks so far. However, there will be other things to put in there when
the time comes. The saddlebags are not very deep and space is fairly limited
compared to the cavernous biggies, but they'll be handy for smaller stuff.
One thing's for sure, there's no lack of storage in PJ despite the
There's something else I'm gonna get. I've seen stackable plastic storage
boxes fitted with sliding drawers at the mall. I figure one box slotted
between two shelves in PJ's closet will be handy for all those little things
like spare batteries, string, sticky tape, bandaids, medications, pens
and pencils, notepads, rubber hands and all those other nick nacks you
normally put in a spare kitchen drawer. PJ's kitchen has only one large
drawer, divided into three sections and it's pretty much full of the bigger
I also used two of the velcro straps to tie the hose. Works like a charm!
Hehe. Me and my dog collars. Oh well...
Ohio Jace sent an American Greetings ecard, which is very nice. It features
an old fashioned Christmas scene with the family travelling home in a late
'30s sedan and arriving at a snow-covered house with a snowman on the front
lawn. Through the front window you can see the family in silhouette opening
the prezzies. No snowmen around here I can tell you. But there are a few
houses with decorations and lights in their front yards. Nothing in this
house except a bare Christmas tree in the spare/junk room and a few bits
of tinsel in the living room left over from a previous year. Lindsay thinks
they look noice. Hehe. Anyway, thanks a stack, Jace. I appreciate the thought,
and I hope the whole Ohio Gang has a great festive season.
Australian police have seized drugs with a street value of more than
A$43m ($38m; £23m) during a raid in New South Wales, officials say.
They say officers found a methamphetamine lab at a property 50 miles (80km)
north of Sydney, as well as a South African parrot and a python. Cars,
guns and chemicals were also seized during raids on three
other New South Wales properties, they added.
I watched a show about ice on telly last night, and the devastation
it's causing one NSW regional town, especially to young people. At a community
meeting, one bloke stood and asked the chairperson if there was any correlation
between the introduction of ice to the town and the arrival of a gang of
bikies. There was a long pause which screamed a silent "YES!" but the chairperson
eventually said that he was not qualified to comment on legal matters.
Meanwhile, it's good to see the boys in blue out there giving the crims
A judge who lifted a gay marriage ban in Utah, one of the most conservative
US states, has denied an application by officials to reverse the move.
Judge Robert Shelby's ruling on Friday that Utah's ban on same-sex nuptials
was unconstitutional has dismayed the Republican
governor and Mormon church.
When an “entry-level” luxury sedan houses a 600-horsepower W12 engine,
there is but one brand to discuss. And that brand didn’t exactly wrap its
6-litre W12 in sheep’s clothing. The 2013 Bentley Flying Spur looks hell-bent
on overtaking, especially when its saucer-like outboard headlights bear
down on you in your rear-view mirror. Off-the-line acceleration has the
blunt finality of a sledgehammer blow, but handling (yes, handling from
a 5,400lb parlour on wheels) would flatter the sporting Continental
GT coupes in Bentley’s portfolio.
That thing with all its grunt and weight gets the same mpg as mine!
But mne's got a porta potti, so there. Actually, I'm pretty chuffed with
my organizational skills today.
Before today's wrap, here's
an Airline joke. And here's a divorce joke with
a happy ending. And if you're interested in how the British tax system
a tax joke.
And that's it for Christmas eve in Oz! Gary
December 23, 2013. From the GN forum, 10
things that will disappear in our lifetime.
Back from my last irrigation this morning before Nancy returns on the
30th after a 2-week break. She must have told the other girls that I'm
a wuss and to go easy on me hehe. When Emma saw me she berated me for not
wearing something Christmassy - like a shirt or hat. "Gary's let us all
down again," she said to the others. Bully. I'll miss those cheeky lasses
when all this gum business is over.
Oh, yes. I thought a bit more about my psychological fear of swapping
the known for the unknown on the Odyssey. I think it's exacerbated somewhat
by my having lost my house in Glebe, the time spent in Canberra living
in other people's houses, my time back in Sydney being shuffled from flat
to flat and at one time almost being thrown out into the street, penniless.
The past 12 years in Taree is the first time since Glebe that I've had
any permanency. Hmmm.
But what is permanency? Does it go hand in hand with predictability?
And if the past 4 years hadn't been spent trying to realize my dream of
the Odyssey (mistakes and all), how would it have been spent? That thought
scares me, just as the thought of spending the rest of my life here scares
me. Know what I mean?
The other day, when I visited Averil and we did the howzits, she sat
down and said, "Well, nothing's changed." It sounds horrible but she's
just waiting to die. It's not that she's devoid of choice - there are lots
of things available to add a bit of variety and interest to her life, like
an iPad/iPhone to stay in touch with friends and the world, bus outings
with local community groups, etc. But she's so set in her ways she's become
addicted to her daily routine, and rejects any attempt to have it changed.
I remember my Sundays in Sydney. It was a strict routine in the mornings,
and if for some reason the Sunday papers didn't turn up on the front doorstep
at 7am all hell would break loose. Creatures of habit, yes?
Then you have the procrastinators. One GN said his missus would get
all excited about the idea of travelling Oz until shortly before the planned
departure date and then complain about the van. The first van wasn't big
enough. So the bloke sold it and ordered a new one. The missus was all
excited again until the departure date loomed and then decided the van
needed a shower and toilet. So the bloke sold the second van and ordered
a third. After the fourth van and the missus coming up with yet another
excuse, he sold it, bought a smaller motorhome and took off by himself.
Procrastinators are also called "gunnas" in Oz... gunna do this, and gunna
do that, but never get around to it.
From the Beeb: A UN official in South Sudan has spoken of an atmosphere
of fear and desperation as violence escalates. Humanitarian Co-ordinator
Toby Lanzer told the BBC about summary executions in Bor, in the restive
state of Jonglei that has fallen to rebels. He said that as well as people
seeking refuge at the UN base there were many
more hiding out in the bush.
What frightens me most about such zealotry is all the yelling and arm-waving
people do when demanding whatever it is they're demanding. How the hell
are you supposed to reason with that? Road rage is the same, except it's
multiplied many fold in South Sudan.
US technology giant Apple has signed a deal to bring its iPhone to
China Mobile - the world's largest carrier. The Chinese firm has more than
760 million subscribers and was one of three networks to be awarded China's
first 4G licences earlier this month. Apple has been looking to boost its
sales in China, the world's largest smartphone market, but has struggled
competition from rivals.
Erwin Perzy III knows a thing or two about making it snow - it's
the family business. The 57-year-old Austrian is the grandson of the man
widely acknowledged as the inventor of the snow globe. His grandfather,
the first Erwin Perzy, came up with the idea by accident in 1900. Mass
production started in Vienna in 1905, and 108 years later, the company
- Original Vienna Snow Globes - is
still going strong.
For centuries, the brain was a mystery. Only in the last few decades
have scientists begun to unravel its secrets. In recent years, using the
latest technology and powerful computers further key discoveries have been
made. However, much remains to be understood about how the brain works.
Here are five important areas of study attempting to unlock the
last secrets of the brain.
Yep, pretty amazing bit of machinery, the ol' noggin. And the better
we understand it, the better we can utililze it. But for now, I'm gonna
give mine a little rest (apart from the grandpa nap I had today cos it's
HOT). Not much on telly unless you're into Christmas re-runs and all that
dreary happy-ending, ho ho ho stuff. Hehe. Honestly, if I hear Bing Crosby
one more time I'll explode! Gary
December 22, 2013. From the GN 'Just Joking' forum: The European
Union Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be
the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was
the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, the British Government
conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted
a 5 year phase-in plan that would become known
as "Euro-English" .
FL Josh wrote: You mentioned as to Lindsay, "yes, all that money
he now has is burning a hole in his pocket." Where did Lindsay suddenly
come into money and how much? Sue had about 8 grand in the bank and
he had a couple. He's also now getting the full age pension (for a single
person) instead of his previous disability pension. He's 54. He mentioned
something the other day about being in England and I said, "That's if you
get there. All that money is burning a hole in your pocket." He looked
at me as if to say, 'How did you know?' He doesn't realize I can read him
like a book. Anyway, my comment must have hit a nerve cos he stayed home
all day yesterday. Ditto today. Guilty conscience.
You showed a bare chested guy wearing a bra, but you didn't identify
who he was. Is the guy in the bra one of the guys, Billeeeeeee and
Jules, who are going to come to your house in February? To me, that
would be very unsettling. Hehe. Yes, Billeeeeeee can be a frightening
sight to behold, but he's one of the regulars on the GN fora and chief
organizer of the "fruit loops and nutters" at Greens Lake, a favorite spot
for many GNs. Here's a pic he posted this morning:
I noticed Jason mounted the chains for the saddlebag doors on the
sides rather than on the top. Nah. That's not Jason's work. The saddlebags
arrived that way. As to the "spot welds" on the interior seams, the camera's
flash didn't fire so I suspect if there were any gaps in the exterior welds,
tiny shafts of light would be apparent. In any case, she'll be right, mate.
I won't be dipping the arse end into the drink to launch the QE II.
NC Art was also deeply moved by my reference yesterday to the lack of
email lately, and wrote: Well now Gary...So you’re feeling lonesome
and neglected. So sorry, and here’s a personal e-mail to cure your solitude.
What do I have to say? Damned if I know, except have a joyful Holiday Season
and terrific fun throughout the New Year of 1014!
No, Art. That one's gone. You missed it. It was a while back now...
like a whole millenium ago hehe. But I suppose those numbers can become
a little confusing when you've seen 88 of 'em. Anyway, I appreciate the
sentiments, and may I also wish you the merriest of merries, with many
more to follow.
And guess who else wrote? BR João! Parents always try to convince
us that wait for something is as good as get something. Well, I don’t know...
but I have to admit that wait for the beginning of AO is an interesting
novel, with good parts and other not so good. Too many automotive mechanics
episodes for my taste (all a car have to do is to take us from point A
to point B in a slow and safe speed, period). But a lot of ingenious solutions
and adaptations, like in a show of Discovery Channel. By now I want to
wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – a year full of beautiful
landscapes throughout the Odyssey.
Thank you, João. Yes, it's been quite a saga. I suspect if I
didn't have such a BIG MOUTH as well as a web site constantly carrying
on about my intentions, I might have let go of the dream with all its frustrations
and disappointments and turned my attention elsewhere. I'm afraid to do
all the sums - not just relating to vehicles that didn't make the grade
for one reason or another, but also the money that has gone into PJ. A
few hundred here, a few hundred there... It must be quite a sizeable sum
hehe, but I'd rather not know.
And thanks for the graphic, João! I sincerely hope that bloke
is wearing Aerogard. Aussie flies have no decorum ya know.
I'm looking forward to 2014 for many reasons, not the least of which
is being able to tackle my credit cards now that the "big spend" is basically
over. My intention is to whittle them down to zero by the end of the year.
They're costing me a fortune in interest. Still and all, there was method
in my madness. If I'd simply saved enough money to bypass all the various
aspects of putting PJ together in stages, there would have been nothing
but numbers in the bank account. Boring! By doing it my way, each acquisition
was a milestone - a physical reminder of where my dream was headed. It
was a tangible way of measuring my progress, and each step became its own
story... just like the Odyssey - a series of mini adventures.
So now my only hurdle is to conquer the psychological fear of being
homeless (as it were) and living a life of almost total unpredictability,
drifting from one unknown to the next. I have it on good authority that
such an existence is addictive. Hehe. Then again, so is skydiving.
When you think tarps you think huge, right? So I was glad to see tarps
being sold according to size at Supercheap Auto. What's more they were
in feet as well as metric. So I bought one big enough to cover the bike.
Too easy. I also bought a 5 liter bottle of radiator coolant. Jeez, that
stuff ain't cheap! Also did a bit of shopping at the supermarket where
there were quite a few shoppers despite being Sunday arvo. Tourists, I
guess... although Cherie from the dental clinic is not a tourist hehe.
She was at the next checkout.
Steve W is headed off to exotic climes over Christmas to play with the
pachyderms: Yes it is the extremely silly season and people doing the
usually stuff running around like mad, getting stressed for something that
only lasts a few hours and is then forgotten for another year……..sheer
insanity I say.
I had an opportunity arrive out of the blue (blue what, I'm not sure)
to be in a group for Xmas and New Year at the Anantara
Elephant Camp in the Golden Triangle.
I have never had significant feeling either way about ele's but the
chance to get up close and personal is too good to miss. The purpose of
the Elephant Camp is to try to rescue and get off the streets of Bangkok
the poor things suffering there for the fun of the tourists. At the Camp
they are looked after properly in their natural environment with an onsite
veterinarian. Sounds good to support to me.
So I will be away for a couple of weeks and where available shall
be checking Waffle. Hope you have a good Xmas and that the New Year brings
the start of the trip (no, I'm not going to nominate a date this time).
Chat when I get back…….and no you are not talking to yourself……..you have
many "imaginary" friends and that comes from both of me!
Sounds interesting, Steve! And certainly different! Just don't fall
madly in love with one and drag the bloody thing home. Jeez, imagine the
size of the pooper scooper! As to 2014 being the year of the big departure,
I expect it will be. There's really only one thing holding me back at the
mo but even that is manageable.
Hot, hot, hot today, and it'll be even hotter tomorrow. Then milder
with showers for the following three days, including Christmas day in the
middle. There might be a snowman in your front yard "over there" but there
sure as hell ain't any around here hehe. So, until tomorrow, it's hooroo,
and thanks muchly for all the feedback and wishes. Gary
December 21, 2013. Men's Acapella with Not
Your Typical Christmas Song.
Some months ago, Cherie, a neighbor with whom I was acquainted, died
in her sleep at home. She was in her late 50s, I think. It was a week before
anyone noticed and by then the flat had to be fumigated. Lindsay knew her
better than I but, after asking around the hood, couldn't find anyone who
knew about her funeral - where it would be or when. The other day he was
at the pub (yes, all that money he now has is burning a hole in his pocket)
and mentioned to the bartender that Sue had died, and that he was taking
her ashes back to England. Then he asked about Cherie. The bartender said
that Cherie's family in Sydney didn't want anything to do with her, and
rejected the ashes. So the bartender and her husband, who knew Cherie as
a regular customer, organized a memorial service in the grounds at the
back of the pub, on the north bank of the Manning River, where they scattered
Cherie's ashes. A most honorable and charitable - as well as Christian
- act, if you ask me.
Another hottie... too hot to buggerize around with PJ's new storage
arrangements in the sun. I'd last about 10 minutes out there. However,
on the topic of travelling and camping, here's a great piece from a youngish
GN who's been getting about Oz on two wheels.
From the Beeb: US President Barack Obama has suggested there may
be a review of surveillance by the National Security Agency in the wake
of a series of spying revelations. He said in "light of disclosures that
have taken place" and public concerns about the programmes "there may be
another way of skinning the cat". But Mr Obama said ex-NSA contractor Edward
Snowden had caused "unnecessary damage" by leaking documents. He declined
to say whether or not Mr Snowden could be offered an amnesty. A lawyer
on The Drum last night said there's enough proof now that the NSA acted
illegally and unconstitutionally, and that Snowden was a genuine whistleblower.
If government agencies break the law, they should be held accountable.
Uganda's parliament has passed a bill to toughen the punishment for
homosexual acts to include life imprisonment in some cases. The anti-homosexuality
bill also makes it a crime punishable by a prison sentence not to report
gay people. The prime minister opposed the vote, saying not enough MPs
were present. The bill has been condemned by world leaders since it was
mooted in 2009 - US President Barack Obama called it "odious". Witchdoctors
and superstition are alive and well in Uganda.
US scientists have performed a dramatic reversal of the ageing process
in animal studies. They used a chemical to rejuvenate muscle in mice and
said it was the equivalent of transforming a 60-year-old's muscle to that
of a 20-year-old - but muscle strength did not improve. Their study, in
the journal Cell, identified an entirely new mechanism of ageing and
then reversed it.
Magnetic Bill on the GN forum said he attached a couple of tool boxes
to his previous 4WD and one of them fell off, so he hopes mine have been
attached properly. I used the little Fuji to take a few "blind" shots inside
the saddlebags, cropped them, and here they are. You can see in the first
pic that Jason has used 1/4" steel plate as a support on the ceiling of
the saddlebag and used two bolts with spring washers to secure it to a
rib under the ute tray. The second shot shows the front of the saddlebag,
the sloping wall that fits behind the rear mud flap, with the same steel
plate across the top and an extra bolt below that secures the saddlebag
to the mud flap. Looks pretty secure to me.
Looks like the cheapskate used the same bolt and nut that came off the
old bracket hehe. I also discovered that each box has a set of two keys,
but the locks are not keyed alike, dammit. Oh well...
And that's it for Satdee. It's not only quiet here, seems quiet everywhere.
Been a while since I've had any personal email so I guess everyone's getting
organized for the festive merries and jollies. I think I'm talking to myself
December 20, 2013. Another scrumptious morning on the Mid North
Coast of NSW. Got a PM on the GN forum this morning from Billeeeeeee. He
and Jules will be passing this way in Feb on their way to QLD so they're
gonna call in to say g'day.
Eeek! Say no more.
Jason finished the jobs on PJ late yesterday after having trouble fixing
the saddlebags. It wasn't as simple as we thought to attach the bolts.
But he finally figured it out. He fashioned a grab handle from pipe and
did a great job. Solid as a rock. The flap behind the fridge is now secured
by a piano hinge and 3 bolts at the bottom which makes it quick and easy
to undo and redo with a ratchet spanner. The chains are attached to the
side drop downs and the awning saver wheel is attached to the rear door.
I'll take some pics before I post this page. So it's all good, Ls and Gs.
I was seriously disappointed with the plum pudding and custard last
night... couldn't squeeze it down the screech without a lotta trouble.
So next time I'll give it a whizz with the blender and turn it into a kinda
mousse. Should still taste okay. The pud itself was great... moist, rich
and packed with fruit. I remember when my mother made those (boiled) and
hung them wrapped in calico from the kitchen cupboard to mature.
Those saddlebags look really good - a natural part of the vehicle. It's
amazing how they "shrank" though when attached. They looked quite large
sitting here in the entrance hall. It's like the half-cabin boat sitting
on a trailer yesterday parked outside Averil's house. It was about 16/18
feet or so but looked pretty big compared to the 4WD towing it. Different
story in the water though... hehe. Just another little runabout. So the
size of PJ is quite deceptive. It's bigger than it appears to be.
Most of the motorhomes and caravans pictured on the GN forum are new-ish
and very flash. So I think of PJ, in comparison, as an old beach shack
set amongst a row of posh houses at an upmarket resort. Same view and amenities,
cheaper rent. Hehe. I'm delighted with her, actually. And even more delighted
to have come this far in my quest for the Odyssey.
And another thing. I get great satisfaction from spending money on practical
and useful things, as opposed to rent and power bills. What goes into PJ
is mine to keep and use. And OWN!
Back from paying Jason's account - $405, which I think is fair enough
for a job(s) well done. It was all labor except for the $20 piano hinge.
There are a few more things I have in mind, like a window repair, bigger
solar panel, etc, but they can happen any ol' time. Oh... and I keep forgetting
the spare tire! Too late now. I'll have to wait till early new year.
For the rest of the pics of Jason's efforts, click
From the Beeb: Seventy-six people have been injured, seven seriously,
after part of a ceiling in London's Apollo Theatre collapsed during a show,
police say. The venue in Shaftesbury Avenue was packed for a performance
of The Curious Incident Of The Dog in the Night-Time. Eyewitnesses heard
"a crackling" noise before the collapse at about 20:15 GMT. Theatre-goers
left covered in debris. Not
the sort of thing you expect to happen in London.
Payment details from up to 40 million credit cards could have been
stolen after they were used in the stores of US retail giant Target. The
retailer said it was investigating after discovering that thieves had gained
access to its payment systems. The data breach began around 29 November,
known as Black Friday, one of the
busiest shopping days of the year.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has come to the defence of a reality
TV star suspended for derogatory remarks he made about homosexuality. Phil
Robertson, who appears in the show Duck Dynasty, was asked to describe
sin by a magazine, and said: "Start with homosexual behaviour and just
morph out from there." In
a free society, dickheads have a right to their opinion too.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to visit New Zealand and Australia
next April, Kensington Palace has said. It is thought likely their baby
son, Prince George, will also accompany them but a final decision will
be made nearer the time. If he attends, Prince George will be eight months
old and on his first official overseas tour. That'll
keep the press and telly cameras busy.
The Pope has done it, Barack Obama and David Cameron have done it,
and now a farmer from County Tipperary has become the latest famous subject
of a "selfie". The self-taken photograph of PJ Ryan was submitted by his
daughter Aisling to the Irish Farmers Journal's Selfie on the Farm competition.
"Dad was helping my younger sister with her agricultural science project
when he took the picture with his
salers in the background," she said.
Very hot today. Just 10 minutes in the scorching sun taking pics of
PJ was enough for me. It'll be like this for several days and then over
Christmas, showers! Not too good for the holiday makers and campers but
at least it'll cool things down a bit. So there goes another milestone
in the saga of PJ and the Odyssey. How time flies... it was almost 4 months
ago that I had the bumectomy done (August). And about six months since
the camper and the ute were "married". After that, it was time to get serious
about getting the rig rigged. Yep, a saga indeed. 2013, the year of PJ's
birth and Sue's demise. Gary
December 19, 2013. I'm an authorized person now. Jason invited
me into the "big shed". It's still called Sowters Engineering even though
Peter sold it to Jason... but only the rear section. The office area at
the front and part of the shed still belong to Peter. It's where he stores
all his "shit", according to Jason, and where he escapes from his missus
hehe. Every man needs a shed. Anyway, yes I'm an authorized person, despite
wearing thongs. I was gonna call a cab but he offered me a lift home. Cool!
Soooooo, later this afternoon, PJ will be resplendent in saddlebags,
a flap for the rear of the fridge, an awning saver wheel, chained drop
downs to make two side benches, and a grab handle near the door. Yeah?
That's the beauty of having been grounded with cancer recovery all these
months... plenty of time to think about improvements to PJ. BTW, Jason
is not an engineer, he's a boiler maker. As a kid, I had two neighbors
who were boiler makers. They worked for the railways at nearby Chullora
Marshalling Yards) in the old steam days. Back then, I didn't have
a clue about what boiler makers actually did. Basically, they're fabricators
of steel and iron (and aluminium). Meeting Peter and Jason has taught
me how to think outside the box in terms of having things designed and
made instead of relying on store bought. Problem solving, that's what it's
all about. And being creative.
Funny about life. You spend a lot of time waiting for something to materialize.
And then, lo and behold, the day arrives! But it ain't gonna happen unless
you set your goals and, more importantly, set the wheels in motion. In
other words, if you want things to happen, you need to make them happen.
Wishing alone won't make it happen. If only I'd known all this when I was
in my late teens or early 20s.
And here's something else I wish I'd known. All through my career in
radio and the media, people were drawn to me. I thought it was because
of my irresistible charm and sparking personality hehe. Nah. It wasn't
that. They thought I was someone going somewhere, and figured they'd tag
along for the ride. And then when my ride ended, they vanished into the
ether. Took me a while to realize they were the kind of people referred
to as "fairweather". A few hung around for a while in case I managed to
do a Lazarus but even they dropped off eventually. I'd ceased to be of
any use to their social or corporate climbing. As the song goes, I can
see clearly now. When I analyze those people and others like them, and
their behavior over many years, I can see how they were ingratiating themselves
with anyone who had the potential to be a mover and shaker. It's called
Anyway, I'm not bitter about it. It's just the way life is, and I was
too naive to realize it. Thilly me.
From the Beeb: The US Federal Reserve has announced a slowdown in
its effort to boost the US economy. The central bank said it planned to
scale back its $85bn (£51.8bn) a month bond buying programme by $10bn
a month. Stimulus of this kind is designed to lower interest rates and
boost economic activity. Accordingly,
the Oz dollar is falling to a more realistic level.
A White House panel has recommended significant curbs on the National
Security Agency's sweeping electronic surveillance programmes. Among its
46 recommendations, the five-member panel said the NSA should cease storing
vast amounts of data on calls processed by US phone companies. Details
of the snooping programme were leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden,
now a fugitive in Russia. Nuff
Edna's Last Laughs.
And that's another thing I regret... missing my opportunity to meet
Barry Humphries in person during the mid '80s. I wrote some scripts for
him to promote his upcoming show in Sydney. In my haste to "do" lunch (as
usual), I left it to the sound engineer to produce the scripts with Humphries,
not expecting or even considering for a moment that Humphries would be
impressed enough to ask to meet me. They were just scripts. I wrote scripts
all the time. No biggie. A few weeks later, I received a letter from him
thanking me for the scripts and congratulating me on being so talented.
And where is that letter? I have no idea. It managed to disappear somewhere
along the line. Oh well...
It was that kind of self-effacing attitude that finally got me into
trouble. I had no idea what I was worth... or, more to the point, what
my creativity was worth. Artists such as painters and musicians can let
the market decide their worth. But I wasn't dealing with the general public,
I was dealing with advertisers - sales and marketing managers or owners
of businesses. I came from a background where a bloke was paid for his
labor, not his ideas.
Did a little more research on motorized bicycles and found this disclaimer
at the end of an ad for a Melbourne based assembler. As you probably
know, Gumtree require me to remind you VicRoads is currently advising all
49cc 50cc 66cc 69cc 70cc and 80cc Motorised bikes are for off road use
only so you are wise to check this in your local jurisdiction before purchase.
So, what a bloke's gonna have to do is a little pedaling a day to keep
the aches and pains away. If I can build up a decent level of fitness,
riding the bike around camping areas and short distances into town shouldn't
be a problem. Not all that many years ago I was whizzing around Taree without
any trouble at all.
And now for some Christmassy stuff from one of the GNs: The
Pearly Gates. Christmas
Still waiting for Jason to phone about PJ, and it's getting late, so
I better post this Waffle before I have to head out. Gary
December 18, 2013. While using the stick blender to whizz my
smoothie this morning, it occurred to me that it was using 250 watts of
power. Before I started making the smoothie, I'd been reading up about
small petrol motors fitted to bicycles and their associated legal requirements.
For a bicycle to remain legally a bicycle in New South Wales, a motor must
not exceed 200 watts. Hello? That's when I realized my stick mixer has
more power than that! If a "power-assist" motor exceeds 200 watts (or 250
for an electric motor) it is deemed a moped which requires registration,
insurance and a motorcycle rider's license. In Queensland, attaching a
motor to a bicycle automatically deems it a motorcycle which means it has
to comply with all the rules and regulations that apply to motorcycles.
In fact, it's illegal to ride a power assisted bicycle in QLD because bicycles
are not built to comply with the Australian Design Rules applicable to
Note: The cylinder of a petrol motor specifically designed to produce
no more than 200 watts (equal to 0.268 horsepower) will have a capacity
of approximately 4 or 5 cc, which is about the size of a standard medical
syringe. It is virtually impossible for a bicycle fitted with an internal
combustion motor (eg fuelled by petrol) limited to 200 watts to produce
enough torque to propel a bicycle independent of pedal power.
So there ya go, the bureaucrats are at it again, denying old blokes
like me the opportunity to get around cheaply and efficiently... up hills.
A small "postie" bike or scooter would be cool but too heavy to carry on
the back of PJ.
TX Greg found the awnings in the rain topic interesting: Delta18
on the GN's forum made the most important remark about leaving the awnings
out in the rain... "Just a hint, if your awning is out and it is raining,
lower one end leg so the rain can run off that end rather than allowing
it to 'pool' in the middle which will stretch and possibly tear the fabric."
That's very critical to keep one end lower. I have seen on the larger
awnings where the rain will collect in the center and stretch the vinyl
canvas down several feet. The weight of the water will actually bend the
roller tube into a slight U shape. We had that happen to one at the dealer.
The salesmen were joking that model comes with a swimming pool. The water
was so deep we had to poke a hole in the bottom to let it out.
Both my awnings are on a forward slope so I think I'm safe.
From the Beeb: America's new Irish immigrants: Ireland may no longer
need bailout money as its economy emerges from recession, but a wave of
emigration that began in 2008 is continuing. And echoing the last Irish
slump in the 1980s, many thousands of those moving to the US may be becoming
Russia has given Ukraine a discount of almost a third on Russian
gas and said it would buy billions of dollars' worth of Ukrainian government
bonds. The moves come amid Russian attempts to stop Ukraine
moving towards the EU.
Nothing on the Beeb about England being trounced in the Ashes cricket
test by Oz. Hehe. So here's a report by the ABC: Australia has regained
the Ashes in emphatic fashion with a 150-run win against England at the
WACA on Tuesday. The win gives Australia an unbeatable 3-0 series lead,
still to play in Melbourne and Sydney.
Australia will now try for a 5-0 victory just to rub salt into the wound
but in cricket nothing should ever be taken for granted.
Roite! Both tool boxes are now in PJ for attachment tomorrow. There's
a surprising amount of room inside PJ - both boxes went in with tons of
room to spare! While I was there, I heard a chirp. Then another in 30 seconds.
Checked the carbon monoxide alarm and the power was low. Hmmm. Those batteries
were installed only 3 or 4 months ago - 3 AAs. Anyway, there's a new set
now. The smoke alarm has a 9V.
My new chopping board is now in its permanent travelling spot as well.
Another thing I noticed is an old sticker on PJ's rear window of Brunswick
Heads, north of here near the NSW/QLD border. I'd say ol' PJ has seen
quite a bit of Oz since she was hatched back in the mid '70s. And she ain't
Back from Albert St Dental Practice, where the girls fussed over me
to the point of embarrassment. That's to be expected, of course, when you're
the star of the show, albeit a skinny one. I've had to crop my arms in
case y'all started calling 000 emergency or something. I'm okay, okay?
So don't worry. It's nothing a few pies and sausage rolls can't fix. Oh
yes... the appointments are usually in the mornings but I was elevated
to PM today cos of the Christmas rush.
I was tempted to open my mouth but thought better of it. Hehe.
Well, that's enough excitement for one day, folks. I'm looking forward
to tomorrow and PJ's saddle bags being fitted, along with the other small
jobs. Isn't life grand? I better call it a wrap cos all the girls at the
clinic are gonna check out this page after work to see the pic. Hehe. Told
ya I was famous. Gary
December 17, 2013. What I wanna know is this, is it okay to leave
PJ's awnings out when it's raining? The Fiamma brochure says they're meant
for shade, not for rain. So do I ask the bloke camping next door? Nope.
Cos I'm not camping. Sooooo, I posted the question on
the GN forum. Oodles of campers there. So far, it appears that awnings
are fine in the rain provided they're rolled up when dry (or opened again
to dry as soon as poss). However, they do need to be rolled up if the wind
gets a bit too breezy - unless you like paragliding.
Speaking of the internet, I watched a program on telly last night about
"electronic swagman", an ex roadie for a couple of famous Aussie bands
from the '80s, who has kitted out a Toyota bus and hit the highways and
byways of Straya with his faithful dog to take pics and write a journal
of his travels. Sound familiar? It's also how he makes his living, selling
prints and calendars and books. He says he's built up an international
audience of 10,000 over the years. Well, let's see what yours truly can
do when he finally hits the road.
I have no specific plan though. I'll figure it out as I go along. I'm
not interested in becoming too commercial, or becoming a slave to the clock.
Been there. Next!
What will my attitude be when on the road? Will it be about where I'm
going or where I am? I think the latter. In other words, when I've set
up camp somewhere nice, the last thing I wanna do is worry about some kind
of timetable. I just wanna relax and enjoy where I'm at until I feel like
moving on. There was a post on the GN forum the other day from a GN who'd
been camped at the same place for 4 months! Hehe. That might be a bit extreme
but what the heck? If you're enjoying it, why move? Other GNs are different.
They're amped to see as much as poss. Some spend hours driving from one
place to another, camp overnight, and hit the road again next day. How
boring! No pressure. That's my style.
I've been under similar kind of pressure for the past few years. When
is it gonna happen? When will the gums be healed? Why don't you set a departure
date? Stop procrastinating! Well, bugger that. It'll happen when it happens.
Actually, I can say that now with a clear conscience cos I believe I've
accomplished quite a bit in 2013.
From the Beeb: A US judge has ruled the National Security Agency's
mass collection of telephone data unconstitutional. Federal District Judge
Richard Leon said the electronic spy agency's practice was an "arbitrary
invasion". The agency's collection of "metadata" including telephone numbers
and times and dates of calls was brought exposed by ex-NSA
contractor Edward Snowden.
Nelson Mandela was often described as the "world's elder statesman",
a father figure tackling global problems. His moral authority made him,
in some people's eyes, a successor to Gandhi. Who might play a similar
role now? Good question. No one readily comes to my mind, with
the possible exception of Bill Clinton.
European countries bordering Russia's territory of Kaliningrad say
they are worried at reports that Moscow has put nuclear-capable missiles
there. Lithuania and Poland both issued statements of concern. Russia has
not confirmed the report but insists it has every right to station missiles
in its western-most region. Moscow has long threatened to move Iskander
short-range missile systems to Kaliningrad in response to the United States'
own European missile shield. It's
like a game of chess, but the chess pieces are armed to the teeth.
Cycling through the City of London to work on a dark morning recently,
I was overtaken by a man in a black coat with no helmet, no lights, and
listening to music through headphones, writes
Back from shopping. For a long time, I've admired chopping boards made
of bamboo and wanted one for PJ. But where to put it while travelling?
After yesterday's little experiment with the storage box under the sofa
cushion, that little problem is solved. As with all the stuff in there,
it'll be stored vertically (rather than flat-packed) which makes it easy
to to get what I want without emptying the box. $15 ain't all that cheap
but I like it... I like the grainy look.
Vertical storage also suits long kitchen utensils like tongs, spaghetti
lifters, wooden spoons, potato mashers, rolling pins, etc, sooooooo, guess
what's also going in the box? Then I'll have more room in the kitchen drawer
for other stuff. Remember those publicity stunts like fitting the biggest
number of students into a Mini Minor? It's a bit like that only not as
Just phoned the local bicycle shop to ask about fitting 2-stroke motors.
Nope. Not qualified. Not their thing. So that got me to thinking about
Andrew - ex motor mechanic, auto electrician, farmer, bicycle rider, all
round handyman. So I phoned him and he's quite agreeable, but he'd like
to check out the motors on eBay first to see what they're all about, and
what kind of fittings they need. I'm in no hurry and he's busy over Christmas/New
Year, so maybe early-ish 2014 I can organize something. The other day I
mentioned a 4-stroke but, after thinking about it being mounted over the
top of the rear wheel behind the saddle, it struck me that I wouldn't be
able to swing a leg over it. I got rid of a luggage basket mounted behind
the saddle because that.
FL Josh has been busy lately and is catching up with Waffle. In the
meantime, he sent this link to a fox hunting under snow in an incredible
way. I've seen this before, and I have a feeling I've posted it before,
it's worth posting again.
Now I'm gonna hit the kitchen and make an old fashioned savory mince
- ground beef, onion, garlic, parsley, gravy powder, chopped tomatoes,
Worchestershire sauce, tamaaaaata sauce, S&P, mushrooms, peas and corn.
The landlady at a boarding house where I lived back in '69 used to stuff
me with it after I finished the breakfast shift at the local radio station
in an attempt to fatten me up. Gary
December 16, 2013. Off to the dentist in a few. Nancy's away
for 2 weeks over Christmas so it'll be just an irrigation without the tweezer
routine "You're tensing your bottom lip lately," Emma observed last time
hehe. And that's another thing I've been meaning to mention... dentures
harbor bacteria which, at the mo, is dangerous. It's crucial that my mouth
is guarded from any potential infection which is why I rinse with special
mouthwash three times a day, and salt water at other times. I've got the
cleanest gob in Straya.
BACK! They're all running behind schedule - Christmas rush and understaffed.
In fact, the two receptionists, Cherie and Emma did the irrigation hehe.
They're both dental nurses, and Emma's studying to become a fully-fledged
dentist. She's also getting married in October 2014. I'm almost part of
the furniture in that place. Oh... and today, under the bright light on
the reclining chair, they gave me sunglasses with star-shaped frames hehe.
Bright red! I'll bring the little Fuji next time. That'll be a great shot
for the family album.
Just got an email from Chris, husband of Heather, Sue's sister, with
suitable dates for Lindsay's visit to England. We are happy to have
Lindsey here from Feb 2nd. From March 3rd I am producing a play in London
at the Charing Cross Theatre and will be in London most of each week for
7 weeks. Can you imagine Lindsay hob nobbing with people like that?
Sheesh! Talk about chalk and cheese. Heather is seriously into show horses
and dressage, as was Sue as a youngster. Then Sue toddled off to La La
land and ruined her life.
The GN mag has as its cover story today a report of a snake-bite victim
in WA. He was returning to his van after his evening shower when he accidentally
on a death adder in the dark. His mates bandaged the wound and he was
rushed to hospital but released the next day. Frightened the bloody daylights
out of him, though. Seems that if a snake bites out of fear or retaliation
- or as a warning - it can choose not to release venom, which it prefers
to reserve for prey. That's interesting. But, of course, there's no way
of knowing until the victim has undergone a medical check. This bloke was
over 100kms away from a hospital at the time of the attack. According to
the death adder, it was all the bloke's fault.
During my dose of inner shedness a little while ago, I utilized one
of the storage boxes under each end the sofa to store things I won't use
all that often - bulky items that took up space in the wardrobe/cuboard.
It's amazing just how much space there is in those boxes under the sofa
ends. The long center cushion sits on top of the external storage box.
Organized! Gotta be organized!
I mentioned a month or so ago that after my house in Glebe was sold,
the real estate salesman took me around to a bed sitter at Glebe Point.
I was crazy not to buy it. I had the cash! Mind you, I was crazy in the
first place to lose my little house. Anyway, I remember looking at the
dimensions of the bed sitter and thinking "how on earth could I live in
this small space?" Now, after getting to know PJ quite well, I realize
just how easy that would have been with a little imagination. The bed sitter
had position, position, position as well. It was a short walk to Centenary
Park at the bottom of Glebe Point Road on the Harbor, and an even shorter
walk to the Glebe Rowers Club where I was a member and often had Sunday
I certainly can't complain about the lack of opportunities that have
came my way, but I can complain about being too damn dumb to take them.
From the Beeb: Actor Peter O'Toole, who starred in Sir David Lean's
1962 film classic Lawrence of Arabia, died on Saturday aged 81, his agent
has said. He was being treated at London's Wellington hospital after a
long illness, his agent added. What
a commanding presence that man had.
Someone said if he looked any prettier, they would have had to call
the movie Florence of Arabia.
The first robot to land on the Moon in nearly 40 years, China's Jade
Rabbit rover, has begun sending back photos, with shots of its lunar lander.
Jade Rabbit rolled down a ramp lowered by the lander and on to the volcanic
plain known as Sinus Iridum at
04:35 Beijing time on Saturday (20:35 GMT).
Once again, Ls & Gs, I've run outta puff. But I did manage to reorganize
a bit of storage in PJ, which is a step in the right direction. Can't have
stuff wobbling about, you know, or space not being utilized as efficiently
as possible... unlike the room in which I'm presently sitting. It's a mess.
My new motto for 2014 is to be neat and tidy and thoroughly organized at
all times. Hehe. Gary
December 15, 2013. NC Art sent this link to a group of Silent
Monks performing Hallelujah Chorus. Speakers
on or off, it's still a hoot!
I read a GN thread this morning from a woman thanking everyone for their
kindness and assistance in fixing a few probs with her new rig. Others
commented on how they have also been helped by retired GNs whose expertise
ranges from electronics to engineering and just about everything else you
can think of. Not only does the forum provide endless advice and tips but
also hands-on assistance when GNs are camped at the same spot. One is never
alone "out there" because GNs are scattered all over the continent. What
a fantastic resource! And it costs nothing to join.
The reason I discovered the GN forum is because I was Googling info
about Couriers and slide-ons and happened to see Magnetic Bill's thread
about his rig. It was Bill who advised me on tie downs and helper springs.
From there I learned a stack of stuff about solar, batteries, gas, tire
pressures and the nomad lifestyle generally. Through reading various threads,
and asking questions, I was able to draw up a comprehensive to-do list.
As a bonus, I had the benefit of TX Greg's experience as well. All good
stuff, yes? Now my to-do list has become my all-done list. Almost.
Well, as I've just discovered, cold egg nog and choc chips don't work
in the blender. Take 2. Pour failed attempt into saucepan and heat on stove.
Choc chips melt. Hmmm, not bad. Next time. Add two handfuls of choc
chips to jug. Melt in micro. Add mug of egg nog to melted choc in jug.
Add brandy. Blend.
I hadn't realized egg nog was so tasty! Mmmm! So I might experiment
with variations using banana, ice cream, etc. I could have used powdered
drinking chocolate but, as Nancy points out, there's no fat content, which
is why I'm using choc chips.
I was out in the garden earlier and noticed how fresh and unblemished
the frangipani is. Brand spanking new, folks.
From the Beeb: Supporters and opponents of Ukrainian President Viktor
Yanukovych are to hold rival protests in Kiev, amid fears of possible clashes.
Activists and opposition parties are hoping hundreds of thousands of people
will take part in a "Dignity Day" rally in the central Independence Square.
Mr Yanukovych's backers will gather in the nearby Mariinskyi Park.
I heard one elderly supporter say that Yanukovych "gave us a normal life".
normal as in the old Soviet Union days?
China's Jade Rabbit robot rover has driven off its landing module
and on to the Moon's surface. The robotic vehicle rolled down a ramp lowered
by the lander and on to the volcanic plain known as Sinus Iridum. "Made
in China" has arrived on the Moon!
Well, I dunno where the day went but it went. I suppose that's the way
it is sometimes. The last few days I thought my head off, so maybe I'm
all thunk out. Gary
December 14, 2013. From NC Art: Hooroo...Like toodleoo abbreviated….
I’m outta here! ?
Or toodles. Hehe. People are funny about various expressions. They think
'bye' is a tad short and abrupt so they add another 'bye'. Or they turn
'bye' into 'byeeeeeeee!' because it sounds cute. My elder bro got a bit
confused at the end of yesterday's phone convo with who was gonna be last
to say 'bye' so he went into hairdresser/customer mode and finished with,
"rightio, thank you". The one that amuses me is the way people say "oh,
well, better let you go" when they want to end the convo... as if it's
all your fault for wanting to flee hehe.
FL Josh sent this link
to the Aussie dictionary. Maybe all yous blokes and sheilas can bookmark
Up until 2003, Thomas Edison was the most prolific inventor, based
on the number of patents he had. As of 2008, it is Kia Silverbrook.
the heck is that???
I had no idea until I checked the link, Josh. Bloody amazing! I was
a keen watcher of The Inventors program on telly for years (currently
not in production) and there was never a shortage of interesting and creative
minds out there coming up with all kinds of innovative devices, many of
which have gone into large-scale commercial production.
Speaking of which, the federal government has refused to prop-up Holden
so that it stays in Oz. There are critics, of course, but if the Australian
motoring public is genuinely concerned about Holden's demise, why isn't
it buying their locally built cars? As to wages and productivity, Australian
wages are about the same as auto workers in Japan, but the Japanese can
build a car in half the time it takes GM-H to build a Holden. Australia
is better off leaving auto manufacturing to countries like South Korea,
Malaysia and Thailand and to focus on high-end, niche market industries
that don't rely on cheap labor, and whose products/services can also be
exported around the world. Kia Silverbook has obviously figured that out.
Saw an interesting little story last night about a young bloke who specializes
in astro photography. He takes a couple of cameras and lenses out to a
remote spot, chooses a suitable location with an interesting foreground
like a dead tree (a fixed point) that allows a good view of the heavens,
and then sets up his equipment to take shots of the night sky every 30
seconds. Ultimately, what you see is a time-lapse movie of the stars slowly
moving across space as the earth rotates. It's really cool cos you don't
get those annoying star trails - just a clear, crisp image of the starlit
universe in fluid motion, accentuated by the stillness of the dead tree.
an example of astro photograhy I found on Youtube.
From the Beeb: A student at a Colorado school shot and wounded two
students, one seriously, before dying of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot
wound, police say. The gunman brought a shotgun to the school and was looking
for a specific teacher when confronted by a classmate, the Arapahoe County
sheriff said. The
teacher left the school after learning he was a target.
The US has urged Pyongyang to avoid any provocative acts following
the execution by North Korea of a once-powerful political figure. North
Korea announced on Thursday that it had executed Chang Song-thaek, the
uncle of leader Kim Jong-un, for "acts of treachery". The move has raised
concerns of instability in the secretive and repressive nuclear-armed country.
US said it was consulting its regional allies.
The uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, executed for treason
on Thursday, has been officially denounced as "despicable human scum".
is the language so over-the-top?
Prince Harry and his fellow adventurers in the Walking With The Wounded
expedition have arrived at the South Pole, the organisers have said. The
group stood at the bottom of the world at 12:00 GMT after
more than three weeks of pulling sleds.
Another aspect of the Odysssey is that I need it in order to get out
of this rut I'm in... sitting here every day doing the same old, same old.
I need a rocket jammed up the ol' clacker. For example, if the bike were
parked alongside me and I were camped by a river or lake, I'd hop on board
and go for a ride. And I'd take the camera. But here, where my butt is
currently planted, I'm surrounded by walls and no incentive to go exploring.
I could take PJ for a run, yes, but it's all too hard, yadda yadda yadda.
You see, dear Breth, the BIG mistake you make by living in a house is
that you bring all your goodies inside where they're conveniently located,
diminishing the need - not to mention the desire - to go outside. But if
I were living in PJ, not only would all my goodies be within convenient
reach, but also the outdoors. In fact, the outdoors (under the awning)
would be where I spend much of the day. Boom boom.
I wonder about some of those motorhomes and caravans some people have.
They're so luxurious inside, fitted with all the comforts of a normal home,
that there's a temptation to stay indoors. And that, according to some
GNs is what happens. A big motorhome or caravan pulls up, the owners go
for a bit of a wander to check out the scene and say g'day, and then return
to their rig at sundown to retire for the night.
Being exposed to the outdoors also encourages opportunities to meet
people and promotes conversation. Nobody's gonna knock on my door this
afternoon and invite me to a meal of fresh trout stuffed with tomatos and
onions cooked over a campfire (as happened to a group of GNs at Greens
Sooooooo, not only is the Odyssey something I wanna do before it's too
late, it's also something I NEED to do if I wanna keep this old brain stimulated.
Nancy's suggestion of getting a top plate appeals to me as well. It didn't
at first but if it improves my diction and diet, it's worth it. At the
mo, the upper and lower gums don't meet - too much of a gap - so it's impossible
to "chew". With a set of top crushers, however, I might be able to manage
some soft foods. Meanwhile, lack of saliva (dry mouth) may remain a prob
for a while yet. It's still not easy to get certain foods to slide down
the screech, even with a water chaser. Saliva is essential to the digestive
In fact, ladies and genitals, it's possible somewhere down the track
that a top plate will be all I need if the lower gum heals and toughens
up sufficiently to handle most foods. The loss of bone and shrinkage has
minimized the lower gum's suitability for a denture. There's not a lot
to grab onto. The top gum is fine. No probs at all.
Now here's a little gem I just discovered. This year I chose to give
my two elder bros a Red Bubble calendar featuring some of my photos. Now
I've discovered that 2014 is a special year according to Feng Shui and
the Chinese. They call it a "Pocketful of Money". August in 2014 will have
5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. It won't happen again for 823 years.
But there's more! One of those Fridays, August 29, will be my 70th birthday!
Hmmm. Pocket fulla money, huh? Trouble is I'm not superstitious. Is Feng
Shui superstition? Hehe. Maybe it's not. I think it's all about harmony
and stuff like that.
Here's a delightful little tale from a GN about
catching mud crabs.
And so endeth Waffle for Satdee and a bit of thinking aloud. I'm looking
forward to next Thursday when Jason fits the silver saddle bags and other
bits and pieces. That'll cheer me up no end. Gary
December 13, 2013. Oops! Friday the 13th. Gotta be careful!
NC Art wrote and wants to know the definition of 'Hooroo'. Here's part
of a most interesting interview about Aussie slang with Barry Blake from
La Trobe university:
When I was a kid, many adults would say 'ooroo'
when they were leaving somebody, and I caught onto it and used it a lot.
When I went to look it up in the dictionary, I couldn't find it. And eventually
I found one that said it was an abbreviation of 'hooroo' and it was related
And that surprised me. I grew up among people
who said 'ouse' instead of 'house' and so on. But in all of those cases,
I would have heard my parents and school teachers pronounce the word properly,
so I knew that you had to put the 'H' in, but I never heard 'ooroo' with
Although I notice in Burke's Backyard, I think
he ends the program with 'hooroo'. So that one's quite an interesting one.
So it's a variation of 'hurrah' and 'hooroo', and then the 'H' is dropped,
and for me it's sort of permanently dropped.
the transcript of the full interview.
I invented a slang term when I was mid teens. If someone had offensive
BO I'd say they had a prob with Barbara Oliver hehe. My work colleagues
at the time referred to armpits as 'under the Warwicks'... Warwick Farm
(a Sydney racecourse) = arm. I remember Cody often used 'bitchin' to describe
surf conditions. One that everyone uses these days and that has become
a word in its own right is 'app' for mobile computer application programs.
As a child, I was impressed with the adult use of 'big' words I didn't
understand so I invented a few of my own - constrabilge, zarraree, thidge
and thadge. They had no meaning but I thought I sounded pretty cool using
them. Funny how I still remember those after 60 years or so.
As teens we referred to girls as 'birds' which undoubtedly owes its
existence to 'chicks', and a party was a 'turn' which came from 'turn out'.
Some older peeps still use 'turn out' to describe a gathering of people
for an event. And a surprising number of GNs still refer to the main meal
of the day (dinner) as 'tea'. Averil does. In cricket they still refer
to the 'tea break'.
Speaking of GNs, here's a bloke who's
putting his retirement to good use.
From the Beeb: The once-powerful uncle of North Korean leader Kim
Jong-un has been executed after being purged for corruption, state news
agency KCNA reports. Chang Song-thaek was dramatically removed from a Communist
Party session by armed guards earlier this week. It was the biggest upheaval
since Mr Kim succeeded his father two years ago. KCNA said Mr Chang had
admitted at a military trial on Thursday to attempting to overthrow the
state, and was executed immediately. Next!
Sandy Hook shooting: Are schools in Lockdown America overreacting?
The terms "lockdown" and "shelter in place" were once only used during
prison riots and in emergency manuals. Today
they are commonly used in US schools.
Images of famine and war have shaped many people's modern perceptions
of Africa. But one of the first men to capture the continent on film portrayed
a very different picture. Eliot Elisofon was an internationally renowned
photojournalist for Life magazine. His work introduced American audiences
to the magnificent landscapes, personalities and culture of Africa in the
second half of the 20th Century. An exhibition at the Smithsonian's National
Museum of African Art in Washington shows how his photos and the objects
he collected profoundly
influenced the west.
Well, just had a call from my eldest bro, John who's 83 now. "The neighbors
get worried about me when they see me on the roof (fixing something)."
So I take it he's still quite healthy. He works one day a week at his daughter's
hair dressing salon. It used to be two so he's slowing down a bit. I haven't
seen him for 22 years but I recognized his voice the moment he spoke. I
had to bring him up to speed about the cancer thing because he wanted to
know why I sounded different - no teeth. Then he wanted to know why I had
no teeth, so I told him the whole story. Also told him about PJ and my
Nancy reckons once the bottom gum tissue covers the bone, I should be
okay to get an upper plate and "gum it" when I eat food, using top teeth
against the lower gum. It'll take a while for the new tissue on the lower
gum to toughen up sufficiently to handle a second denture. So getting back
to normal (if you can call a mouth fulla falsies normal) will be done in
two stages. Hmmm. If that's the case, at least I'll be able to eat stuff
that helps me gain weight, which will also improve stamina of which I have
precious little. Sausage rolls comin' up! Not just yet though. With mash
and peas. I make my own sausage rolls with all kinds of goodies in the
An upper denture would also help improve my speech by giving my shortened
tongue something to hit against.
Well, so much for Friday the 13th and ladders and black cats. It's been
dead quiet apart from a little shopping. But it was good to hear from my
elder bro. Our mom was only one year older than John when she conked out
but was nowhere near as healthy. She was very frail indeed. So John just
might keep on keepin' on into his nineties! He and I are similar in build
and looks. Anyway, time for me to skedaddle. Hooroo! Gary
December 12, 2013. Forgot to mention it yesterday but I signed
a document and because we date stuff day, month, year it was 11, 12, 13.
The document, by the way, was a form for permission to use the Stanton
Library photo of the old 2UE building in Miller St North Sydney in the
Scrapbook. The photo was taken from a multi-level building across the road,
looking down on 2UE, which is a perspective I was never familiar with.
I always saw it from ground level. My "entrance" was through the covered
car park on the lower level at the left side of the photo where the boss
had graciously arranged for a desk and typewriter to be installed in the
lunch/locker room adjacent to the loos. He probably figured if I
was gonna write shit I might as well be alongside it. All the offices,
studios, newsroom, reception, etc, were upstairs. John Laws, who often
tore my scripts to shreds on air, referred to my office as Gary's Dungeon.
Hehe. The 2UE logo was on the white facade behind the middle tree. Below
was the main entrance. At midday on weekdays, the JL Bentley, complete
with chauffeur, was parked in the drive waiting to whisk Mr Golden Tonsils
off to another long lunch.
The pic was taken in the early '70s. By the time I arrived in '79, the
house to the right in the photo had given way to an office block of 6 to
8 storeys. In the early '80s, a covered bridge connected the 2UE building
to one of the lower floors of the office building which became 2UE's sales
office and schedules department. I'd been elevated to a little "fish bowl"
office. Bleh. I preferred the old one. In 1990 or thereabouts, 2UE moved
to rented premises at nearby Greenwich and the old 2UE site was sold. This
is what it looks like now.
Lindsay collected Sue's ashes from the funeral parlor this morning.
It's a silver metal urn which is surprisingly heavy, about a foot high
and maybe 8" wide. So there ya go. Ashes to ashes. The death certificate
reads like a list of all diseases known to medical science. Alcoholic dementia,
alcohol abuse, osteoporosis, epilepsy, etc. She was not a well girl.
FL Josh wrote: Here
is an interview with Mandela's daughter. I found it interesting
that she said he could talk about people loving one another but at a personal
level, he was unable to love. She talked about how we teach people
to hate, so we can teach people to love. Some people's brains are
simply not wired to feel real love, the sort of love where you think of
your loved one over yourself. I cannot imagine being able to teach
a person that any more than a person with no sense of smell could be taught
to appreciate the fragrance of a rose. But that brings up the question
are there people incapable of being taught to hate??? Will Rogers
was known to say he never met a man he didn't like. Was he incapable
My mother was never able to teach me to love the baked skin on a rice
pudding. I remember her once telling me that love is not romantic love.
Love has nothing to do with going all gooey and being infatuated. Neither
of my parents expressed romantic love or even affection that ever came
to my notice. I never saw them hug each other or anyone else for that matter,
let alone kiss. I remember my second eldest bro saying of my mother after
she'd passed away, "She was a hard woman." As to my own ability to express
love, I describe myself as emotionally stunted. I've been gooey and I've
been infatuated, but I'm not sure I've ever been "in" love.
I suspect the difference between infatuation and love is that one requires
you to be tolerant and accepting of another's faults, and the other requires
you to not recognize that any faults exist hehe.
I agree that a person's ability to love and/or hate is dependent upon
the way the brain is wired. If that's true, then teaching is a waste of
time. If you wanna change the way an electrical device operates - which
is how the brain operates - then one of the options is to rearrange the
wiring. We know from research involving dementia, for example, that the
brain can be "rewired" by using certain techniques to stimulate dormant
areas to improve connectivity, sooooo, go figure. Sounds suspiciously like
those technniques once used to "cure" homosexuality, I know, but there's
a difference. Stimulating dormant areas of the brain (in this case specific
to emotional response) doesn't instruct them as to how to behave, it just
allows them to function. It frees them up. Yeah? Anyway, that's my theory.
Meanwhile, I'll carry on freaking every time someone wants to hug or
kiss me. Unless it's a dog.
From the Beeb: The US state department has said it is considering
all options, including sanctions, towards Ukraine as the political crisis
there continues. It follows attempts by riot police to dislodge anti-government
protesters from their strongholds in the capital. Pity I lost touch
with Kot and the gang years ago. I
could have been getting personal updates of the situation in Kiev.
Australia's high court has overturned legislation allowing gay marriage
in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The ACT parliament passed a
bill in October making the territory the first part of Australia to legalise
same-sex weddings. But the national government challenged the decision,
saying it was inconsistent with federal laws. Some 27 couples who married
since the law came into effect last weekend will now have their unions
declared invalid. It
was expected but, even so, Abbot will now bear the personal brunt of public
"We live in a dark, myopic age of hypocrisy, double standards &
bullying!" tweeted an Indian writer reacting to the Supreme Court decision
to uphold a law which criminalises gay sex. There's been widespread outrage
in India's gay community, which is in shock after the country's top court
reversed a landmark 2009 Delhi High Court ruling that had decriminalised
homosexual acts. Here
we go again.
Pope Francis has been named Person of the Year by Time magazine.
During his nine months in office, the Pope had pulled "the papacy out of
the palace and into the streets", managing editor Nancy Gibbs said. "Rarely
has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly
- young and old, faithful and cynical," she added. NSA
whistleblower Edward Snowden was runner-up.
In transport design, big often means better. From trucks to helicopters,
submarines to rockets, building the largest of all is
one of the greatest accolades.
So, Time's runner-up Person of the Year is Edward Snowden, huh? I'll
bet that surprises a lot of people hehe, and gets a few political noses
out of joint. Some would see the winner and runner-up as the saint and
Speaking of new brooms and expositions, The
Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse in Oz continues to unearth shocking
behavior by the Catholic hierarchy in its conspiracy to protect the perpetrators
of such hideous crimes from the law over many decades. The whistle blower
who inspired then PM Julia Gillard to set a Royal Commission in motion,
was a cop, himself a victim of child sexual abuse, who resented his superiors
in the force trying to stifle information from becoming public and protecting
the clergy who insisted that such matters were better dealt with internally
by the church.
Like all whistle blowers, the cop was met by overwhelming resistance
to his efforts to expose entrenched corruption within government services
and within the church hierarchy. His distinguished career, together with
his reputation, were in tatters. He suffered humiliation and depression.
But the tide has now turned in his favor. Heads are rolling as the commission
delves further into the truth, and reputations built on deceit are being
trashed. More and more victims are being encouraged to come forward and
I strongly suspect that Edward Snowden's motivation was the same; that
he saw an injustice that needed to be exposed in the public interest, and
that he was willing to sacrifice his own safety and freedom to become the
whistle blower. It's a very high price to pay for something you believe
Goodness me, look at the time! I've been deep in thought. Until the
morrow, hooroo. Gary
December 11, 2013. Back from Nancy's dum diddlie dum with my
gum, And she gave me 2 liters of brandy custard and 2 liters of egg nog
as a Chrissy prezzie. Isn't she sweet? She's adopted me. Last Monday, Nancy
was rather subdued. Turns out that was the day she had to put her dog down,
which is a very sad thing. "I came in (to the clinic) just to see you,
had a good cry, and then went home again."
Steve W wrote: I was a bit worried: " I sat on the porta potti lid
in the garage while I did one of the jobs"……….If you are going to do a
job, best to lift the lid, just sayin'
Hehe. Missed that one. I'm losing my touch.
And here's FL Josh: As to your question of whether the service for
Mandela will set a record for the number of world leaders, I just heard
the count is up to 70, and I saw Obama shaking hands with Raul Castro of
Cuba. Such things help make the world a more peaceful place so the
good Mandela did continues.
I expect the funeral for JFK would be close to the record to be beat
because he was leader of the free world and many countries would send leaders
of high dignitaries because of the political consequences. Clearly,
Mandela's service is putting JFK's turnout a distant second. Some
will attend Mandela's service to make a statement that they are not a racist,
but I have no doubt this will set a new record that will be very difficult
to beat in the future. Mandela is a symbol of right and peace and
others who are known for such things, like Mother Teresa, historically
are religious leaders and that very fact causes some to not attend because
they don't want to be known as recognizing a religion they are not a part
of, consorting with the enemy so to speak.
I was interested to see that Mandela was a lawyer. It just
goes to show you how good lawyers. . . oh, hell, I can't go there with
a straight face!!!
The gathering of so many world leaders to honor a man who personified
the ideals of democracy and conciliation is a powerful statement indeed,
that will hopefully resonate in the halls of power of the non believers.
Here is the bike you need to get to
carry on the back of PJ.
is an interesting video I came across on reincarnation. Of course
it could just be a random mixture of genes, sort of like dropping a bunch
of metal scrap and having it fall into a 4 cycle engine.
I believe that reincarnation exists in so far as decomposition of all
matter leads to recomposition, but not of the self. The influences that
go to make up self are not restricted to atoms, they are influences such
as environment, genes, geography, society, happenstance, etc, that are
miriad and unique. There will never be another ewe, as the Seekers sang.
Even identical twins are not completely identical.
I found a lot of videos that were 47 minutes long, I think most British,
so I gather that in Britain, a one-hour show will have about 13 minutes
of ads whereas here in the States, we have about 20 minutes of ads.
It is getting ridiculous.
When I worked in telly, it was 48 minutes of program. But commercial
stations space the ad content sparingly (especially in movies) at first
to suck in the viewers and then jam it all together in more frequent breaks
at the other end. I don't watch commercial telly or listen to commercial
radio. I don't like being yelled at. I listen to ABC radio and watch ABC
1 and 24 (news 24/7) which are commercial free except for their own promos.
24 also broadcasts docos and interview programs.
Actually, I do watch a bit of commercial telly while I'm in Nancy's
waiting room. The morning show has lots of 'infotainment' commercials with
spruikers getting all excited about vacuum cleaners that can swallow a
dozen billiard balls, funeral services that weep uncontrollably, diet regimes
that turn fatties into anorexics, cookware guaranteed for five thousand
years, and boob lifters that make Jane Mansfield look flat chested. I can't
believe all that puerile stuff.
Australia made the local news, something about a really, really bad
bat problem. They showed helicopters making noise and workers with
huge hoses spraying stuff. They also showed zillions of bats flying
overhead. Clearly the dingoes aren't controlling the bat population.
Maybe if you crossed dingoes with giraffes, you could get a dingo tall
enough to nibble bats off their lofty perches.
Happens quite frequently in Oz, but much of the indigenous flora requires
bats to pollenate it. Fire is another regenerator of native flora. Nature
calls the shots, so we're stuck with 'em.
NC Art sent a link to a vid - Top Secret at Edinburgh Drum Corp. Timing
is everything! This is excellent. As you watch the end of the show, keep
in mind that if one drummer drops his stick, the show is over. Yep,
I watched it the other day after a GN posted the link on the forum. Awesome
My ex neighbor in Glebe wrote and sent some pics he found of me at his
house, just 2 doors away. They were taken in the late '80s.
Jeremy's wife is Karen (not pictured) - and that's Karen's mom on the
left. Jeremy's mom is on the right. I've obviously had a few plonks. Say
Jeremy wrote to say those two girls are married moms now. Not sure what
relationship they have to Jeremy... nieces? Whatever. And there's me with
almost a double chin! Bit different now. It's a long time ago but I seem
to recall telling the girl on the left how pretty she was. Hehe.
TX Greg has been busy the past few days fixing the damage hackers did
to Cody's site. He says he's almost stir crazy after being locked in for
several days by the ice. Well I hoping to FINALLY hope get out of the
house tomorrow after five days of being stuck here. I'm a little scared
to go out of the garage as the ice on the roof is still several inches
thick and unlike snow melting this ice crap can come sliding down without
warning. Tons of reports on the news of ice sliding off and damaging cars.
one caught on tape...
From the Beeb: Photography's Golden Age. John Chillingworth is a
photographer that few have heard of, even among those who have some knowledge
of the genre. Yet, his work featured in the UK's best known illustrated
magazine, Picture Post, which first hit the presses 75 years ago and ran
20 years until 1957.
Will Mandela's funeral be the biggest in history? Few events can
have provided quite so much political stardust as the Nelson Mandela memorial
service, where 52 presidents and 16 prime ministers gathered inside Soccer
City to pay their respects.
It is being described as one of the highest-powered "selfies" ever
snapped. US President Barack Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and
Denmark's PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt took an impromptu photograph of themselves
at the memorial service for the late South African President Nelson Mandela.
on the front page of this web site.
Holden, a subsidiary of General Motors (GM), has said it will stop
making cars in Australia by the end of 2017. The move will result in nearly
2,900 people losing their jobs. There's
talk of 30,000 jobs if you include all the flow-on industries.
So there goes another icon. Qantas is looking for government assistance
as well because it reckons it's not competing on a level playing field
with Virgin whose backers have very deep pockets. Qantas shares are now
officially designated "junk". Vegemite is already owned by an American
company. Arnott's biscuits is another one. And Speedo. Rosella tamaaaata
sauce went bust recently. I think it's a Canadian company that has its
sights set on one of our largest cheese factories. Can't even have a Bex,
a cuppa and good lie down any more cos Bex vanished after aspirin, phenacetin
and caffeine were declared a lethal mix. Fosters? I think more Americans
drink Fosters than Aussies. Bonds? Yep, Chesty Bonds are still around but
made somewhere in Asia.
When I went to school I wore Stamina school clothes and carried a Globite
school case. We watched an HMV TV, had a Hills Hoist (clothesline) in the
backyard, I rode a Malvern Star bicycle, mom cooked on a Carmichael gas
stove, we had a Silent Knight gas fridge and we often had Aeroplane Jelly
Ah well, it's an ever changing world and there's nuttin we can do about
it. Cest la vie. Catchya tomorrow. Gary
December 10, 2013. FL Josh wrote: Here's a list of dignitaries
who attended John
F. Kennedy's funeral:
Ah, I see. 220 dignitaries but 19 heads of state. According to the Beeb
article yesterday, 60 heads of state or government will attend Mandela's
funeral, which is why I asked if that many was unprecedented.
I enjoyed NC Art's clean sex quotes from celebrities but you made
it tough to find them.
I've spoiled you with links on Waffle but I forgot yesterday. Fixed
Steve W wrote: Not sure if you caught up with the news item today
about Qantas staff suffering from the aircraft sprays they were required
to perform during the 1970's………I can confirm that it was my cousin who
was responsible for this - yet it had good meanings at heart.
Missed that one, Steve. Phyllis in.
Prior to then, the procedure was that after an aircraft landed, it
needed to "park" and await the quarantine staff to drive out to the aircraft,
board and then walk through the plane spraying the insecticide. My cousin
was an expert in work practices so said it would be more efficient and
time effective to have the on-board staff perform this function, rather
than waiting for the Quarantine staff to arrive - every minute on the ground
In order for the quarantine experts (no one could spray like they
could) to prove the point, my cousin took a 747 to Hong Kong…….and then
had to catch (I can't recall the actual number) lets say 100 Hong Kong
mossies. Upon arriving back in Sydney, the crew had to spray the aircraft,
and then had to account for EVERY mosquito corpse! Do you have any idea
how long it would take to find 100 dead mossies in a 747……..yes many days.
But they proved the point that Qantas staff could spray a pressure insecticide
as well as an official "sprayer" could.
So sad that it may be responsible for lingering illnesses to the
Qantas staff. In those days we just didn't think, I guess - but it saved
Give us another 2 or 3 decades and they'll be saying the same thing
about today's decisions... "they just didn't think". Life is a constant
learning curve, yes? But I do remember those "spraying" days and how the
practice was sent up mercilessly by comedy shows on telly and political
cartoonists. How absurd was that? Spraying tourists before they left the
plane! Sheesh. I think some dignitaries were excluded from being sanitized
which only served to inflame the controversy.
Speaking of planes, NC Art sent this link to a story about a grounded
Qantas aircraft in Dallas with passengers camping in the terminal.
Oh, and another thing about the physical differences between a dingo
and a regular dog... the dingo's limbs are double jointed. One message
GNs regularly leave on the forum is don't leave food lying about at a camp
site while you're away. Secure everything out of sight. Dingos are curious
Speaking of out of sight, NC Art wrote: A man arrived home from work
one evening to find his wife sitting on the sofa in a dimly lit living
room. With a very seductive voice the woman asked her husband, "Have
you ever seen $20 dollars all crumpled up?"
"No," said her husband.
She gave him a sexy little smile, unbuttoned the top buttons of her
blouse, and slowly reached down into the exposed cleavage and pulled out
a crumpled twenty dollar bill. He took the crumpled twenty dollar bill
from her and smiled.
She then asked him, "Have you ever seen $50 dollars all crumpled
"Uh ... No, I haven't," he said, with an anxious tone in his voice.
She gave him another sexy little smile, seductively lifted her blouse
slightly and pulled out a crumpled fifty dollar bill that was tucked into
the waist band of her pants. He took the crumpled fifty dollar bill, mind
filled with anticipation.
"Now," she said, "have you ever seen $60,000 dollars all crumpled
"Wow ... No, but I'd love to," he said, while becoming extremely
To which she replied, "Go look in the garage."
From the Beeb: Nelson Mandela: Six
things you didn’t know.
Slide show - the
voices of Byron Bay, Australia.
Yep, Nimbin, Byron Bay and the counter culcha. I worked in radio in
that area back in 69/70 but didn't get involved. Most people thought it
was all a flash in the pan but that proved not to be the case.
One of the advertisers on the GN forum is a company that sells battery
powered folding bicycles. Couldn't see a price anywhere so I checked eBay
and was surprised that some of them are up around the 2 grand mark. Whoa!
Then I checked 2-stroke motor kits for between $150 and $200. That might
be something I'll consider one of these days... if I can find a reasonably
quiet one. They can travel 100 kms on 1.5 liters of petrol at 30 or 40km/h,
and you can alternate between pedal power and motor as required. It would
certainly give me greater mobility as the ol' legs succumb to age... which
is an unknown quantity at the mo. My stamina is currently woeful - perhaps
related to my low weight - but could improve once I hit the road and become
more physical as a result. Teeth would be handy as well!
Forget 2-stroke. For an extra hundred or two, here's
a 4-stroke that's really impressive! It's an auction though, so the
price could be around the 4 or 5 hundred mark. Hmmm.
And now for something completely different. If you're into Egyptology
and things ancient, here's a link sent by NC Art to this story: An Ancient
City Is Discovered Underwater. What
They Found Will Change History Forever
Actually, just to be pedantic, it won't change history at all, just
our interpretation of it. So there!
Hot and humid again today but I managed to complete a couple of PJ oriented
chores. BTW, TX Greg, I sat on the porta potti lid in the garage while
I did one of the jobs and your tip about drilling the little hole at the
top of the crack plus the super glue has worked a treat.
Well, time to take off the dancin' shoes and call it a wrap. Thanks
for all the input, boils and goils. Gary
December 9, 2013. There was a time when BIG & BUSTY was a
... a 1949 Triumph Roadster, to be precise.
Autos began as a horseless means of basic transport but evolved into
a serious art form. The automobile has also inspired many advancements
in technology, engineering and manufacturing techniques, and has become
a sport in its own right. It revolutionized personal as well as commercial
transport and created the need for a sophisticated network of roads all
over the world. Moreover, it spawned many other complementary industries
that support the auto industry. Bloody amazing.
The auto industry in Oz is talking of quitting. Ford will quit local
manufacturing in 2016 and Holden
is now talking about following suit. They blame the high Aussie dollar
and local wages, and the current government's lack of interest in subsidizing
the industry. If GM in the US decides to pull the Holden, that will leave
Toyota as the only local manufacturer. Mitsubishi quit some years ago.
The argument for government assistance is that Oz needs a strong manufacturing
base, and the argument against is that the government shouldn't support
an industry that can't compete globally. I can see both sides of the argument
but tend to favor the latter. Holden, Ford and others should have recognized
the demise of big sixes in favor of smaller fours a long time ago and done
something back then to produce an Australian equivalent of the Corolla,
Golf, Hyundai i30, etc not only for local consumption but also more importantly
for export. Too late now, though. Investment in starting a new project
from scratch would require billions.
When Holden arrived here in '48, all the R&D had been done in Detroit.
When the Falcon arrived in '60, it was a Canadian car. The Valiant was
the same. Over the years those cars were Aussiefied but they had a flying
I have great faith in Aussie resourcefullness and adaptability though.
Sooner or later, something uniquely Australian will emerge and capture
the world's imagination. A hopping car would be good. Have you ever seen
a 'roo bounding at high speed across the outback plains? Bloody awesome.
TX Greg wrote: "Dog collars"? hahaha, Gary you forgot about Velcro.
They use that stuff for everything. There's dozen of different type of
one might work for you... Even your local hardware store should have
something like that.
On the web cam, you misunderstood the specs. That was for if you
were "video calling and recording" which does require more as you also
have video streaming back into your comp from a caller. You would only
be streaming out which would only require the basic:
512 MB RAM or more
200 MB hard drive space
USB 1.1 port (2.0 recommended)
There ya go. I thought about velcro... like the thingy the doc straps
to my arm when he takes my blood pressure. I've not seen those kinda straps
in stores, except for little colored ones used for bundling wires and other
things around the house. I bought a pack for 4 yesterday. Far too small
for a hose though. One GN uses a hose bag shaped like a donut. Another
uses an old pillow case. Yet another uses an el cheapo striped carry bag
with a zip top. And there I was thinking the dog collar idea was a stroke
of genius hehe.
I watched a doco about the Australian dingo last night. Quite an amazing
animal. It howls like a wolf and doesn't bark. It also has significant
physical differences to domesticated dogs. Its cheekbones are much broader
and its eye sockets are positioned to give it 180 degrees of peripheral
vision. Its head can turn in both directions all the way to face its tail.
Its cranium is larger and houses a very intelligent brain. Like all dogs,
it will chase and kill anything that runs away or freaks - like sheep.
Which is why there's a fence in Oz that runs from the coast in far north
Queensland all the way inland and down through South Oz to the Great Australian
Bight - over 3000 kms. It was originally constructed to keep rabbits away
from prime grazing land . Now it serves the same purpose for dingos. On
the western side of the fence, where dingos are prolific, it's cattle country,
and the two species cohabit quite happily. Cattle aren't frightened by
the presence of dingos so the dingos don't give chase. It's the opposite
case on the eastern side which is sheep country. It's been found that the
presence of dingos reduces the feral population of cats, rabbits, etc and
helps regenerate native vegetation. So the point of the program was to
find a way to utilize the benefits of dingos to the environment rather
than treat them as a pest (like wild dogs).
I've read quite a few comments from GNs who have visited Tasmania. They
all say there's such a lot to see that a 4-month stay is a minimum and
preferably 6 to 12 months. Now take a look at the
map of Oz on the main page and compare the size of Tassie to the mainland.
Hehe. If it takes a good 6 months to see Tassie, how long would it take
to see the rest of Oz?
TX Greg just wrote to say his being iced in with the weather is probably
a good thing cos he went fiddling around and discovered a major hack on
Cody's site. He's dealing with it now.
From the Beeb: Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra says she will
dissolve parliament and call an election, after sustained protests in the
capital, Bangkok. The move followed the resignation of all opposition MPs
from parliament on Sunday, and a planned march on Government House on Monday.
Protesters allege her government is controlled by ousted leader Thaksin
Shinawatra, and have vowed to continue
Some 60 heads of state or government have announced they will take
part in the memorial service or state funeral of Nelson Mandela, South
Africa says. US President Barack Obama, Francois Hollande of France and
UK PM David Cameron will be among those attending Tuesday's memorial at
a Soweto stadium. How
extraordinary! Is that unprecedented?
A deadly winter storm has left a trail of ice and snow across the
US. States from Texas up to Ohio experienced freezing temperatures and
icy roads. Lucas
de Jong reports.
Australia secured a 2-0 lead in the Ashes series after brushing away
the last feeble vestiges of English resistance to win the second Test by
a thumping 218 runs. Needing to bat all day to save the Test, England instead
could not bat out the first hour as they lost their final four wickets
for 65 in another unnecessary flurry of attacking shots. Only once before
have England lost successive Tests by a margin of more than 200 runs, but
after the 381-run thrashing in Brisbane they are now in dire danger of
ceding the Ashes to their rampant opponents. Australia's
got a bloody hide, if you ask me. Damn colonials.
NC Art sent a collection of amusing as well as clean sex
quotes from famous people which I've organized into a small album.
Good stuff, Art. Thanks.
Toddle off to telly land time, dear Breth. Been a hottie here today,
and humid. BTW, I decided to measure the diameter of a rolled up hose before
I splurge on velcro straps. TX Greg wrote again before he hit the sack
to say he'll work on Cody's site again tomorrow and that the new password
I suggested rated 98% secure. Hopefully that will keep the hackers out.
If I ever meet a hacker I'll be happy to introduce his face to a brick
December 8, 2013. There have been a couple of occasions when
I've opened one of PJ's storage bins and wished the drop sides were supported
by chains so they become a bench top instead of dropping all the way down.
Andrew was there one day looking for somewhere to put his tools as he worked
on the rear view camera. Since then, I noticed the tool boxes have drop
sides secured by chains. Sooooo, on my shopping list is a length of smallish
chain that Jason can cut to size - another job for the boy. I'll ask him
to design it so the chains can be easily unhooked to lower the drop sides
if need be. But it will be useful to have two bench tops. Yeah? Besides,
the bin on the awning side has built-in extension speakers to the inside
stereo as well as a 12V plug for the comp when I'm working outside, so
the bench will be handy for various odds and sods.
I'm really looking forward to having Jason put the finishing touches
to PJ Dec 19. It'll be another milestone!
NC Art wrote: A little story to start your Christmas season in the
When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce
toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas
pressure. Then Mrs. Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which
stressed Santa even more.
When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them
were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out,
Heaven knows where. Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards
cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered.
Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a glass of cider and a shot of
When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drunk all
the cider and hidden the rum. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped
the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over
the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten
all the straw off the end of the broom.
Just then the doorbell rang, and an irritated Santa marched to the
door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas
tree. The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this
a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me
to stick it?'
And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas
Not a lot of people know this.
Meanwhile, TX Greg has some thoughts on 'Happy Hour': Wouldn't you
think that most peeps go camping to get away and just relax or have fun
with family and friends, so perhaps that's one reason most are not into
the "Happy Hour" thing and talking politics?
That reminds me of something you should ponder over. What if maybe
once or twice a month on the Odyssey you did say a small thirty minute
or so live webcast with a chat room??? Since we can't be there, that would
be really awesome if we could all join in for a few to have "Happy Hour"
with you and get to see and experience the Odyssey live. If you did it
on Sunday mornings your time, that would be Saturday evenings here so perhaps
most could join in. You could call it "Gary's Sunday Sunrise Service",
All you would need is a
good HD webcam...
That really would be neat to join in for a few while your having
your morning cuppa :)
BTW> We went from summer to winter overnight. Trapped in the house
of ice and sleet here.
All I would need?
2.4 GHz Intel® Core™2 Duo
2 GB RAM
200 MB hard drive space
USB 2.0 port
1 Mbps upload speed or higher
1280 x 720 screen resolution
Neither of my current laptops has the first two requirements so it might
have to wait for another time when I upgrade. Internet speed would need
to be a lot better than I'm currently getting as well. Not a bad idea though,
and technology is improving all the time.
As to Dallas weather, it's a total contrast here with sunny sky and
a forecast 29C (84F) - perfect for outdoors, although I see the Dallas
locals are making the most of sleds and such, albeit all rugged up. During
winter in Oz, I'll be up north in the tropics (as most GNs are).
I wrote a comment on the Happy Hour thread this morning that such threads
were good for blokes like me who haven't hit the road yet. It makes expectations
more realistic. There was a discussion the other day about the state of
some public toilets in rest areas, and how some travellers and backpackers
leave their deposits almost anywhere with toilet paper scattered around.
Such grubs exist and there's not much you can do except to avoid such places.
I visited the loo at a rest stop one time and the stench from the urinal
was overpowering. However, I've visited other loos at camp grounds or rest
stops and they've been okay. I'm convinced that it pays to have your own
porta potti on board though. Again, it's about having realistic expectations.
People are people no matter where you go. Even loos in workplaces or pubs
can be a bit dodgy.
Back from a leetle shopping and got some chain! I told the young bloke
who snipped off 6 meters (some as spare) that it looked good enough to
wear. He used the same stuff to secure the drop sides of his ute, so I
told him he's a smart man. I shouldn't be allowed out. I also bought some
spring washers, in particular for the nuts that secure the bike license
plate to the carrier. All good stuff. I feel sooooo macho when I buy hardware.
I've also been wondering what I could use to secure the hose when it's
all rolled up to prevent it from unraveling. Sooooo, at the supermarket,
what did I spot? Dog collars! Ideal, yes? So I'll get one after Christmas.
They're a bit expensive at the mo. Don't need anything fancy... just plain
with a buckle.
From the Beeb: Why do we value gold? Mankind's attitude to gold is
bizarre. Chemically, it is uninteresting - it barely reacts with any other
element. Yet, of all the 118 elements in the periodic table, gold is the
one we humans have always tended to choose to
use as currency. Why?
There's been a distinct lack of Brit commentary on the Beeb about the
current Ashes cricket test in Oz. Which is not surprising. Oz is beating
the pants off the Poms.
I watched a harrowing doco last night about alcohol abuse amongst young
Aussies, and the violence that it causes. Drunks are just sooooo pathetic.
The most pathetic street scenes showed drunks arguing with the cops and
trying to sound intelligent. Jeez, gimme a break. Even more pathetic than
the guys were the girls, all dressed up to the nines, wobbling on their
feet and carrying on like drunken whores.
The program centered around two young men who had been attacked by drunken
thugs in pubs, both suffering serious brain damage as a consequence and
needing 24/7 care at home by family members. It's just so damned tragic.
Young lives ruined by senseless acts. And yet the alcohol industry continues
to call for longer opening hours for pubs and clubs, and liberal advertising
codes that allow the association of alcohol with popular Australian culture.
I love a beer as much as the next bloke but going out just to get plastered
is absurd in the extreme.
Cody and Mark used to do it on Friday nights. Friends met at someone's
house where they'd get primed with beer before going into town to a club.
They wouldn't arrive until 11 or so. And most of the time there was trouble.
Mark was beaten to a pulp on a couple of occasions. Even young Wingnut
was getting into the act. Luckily for those kids, they grew out of it before
it became a lifestyle thing. But it doesn't always go that way. And not
every kid can handle himself as well as Mark could.
When I worked as a DJ in a disco in Kings Cross in the late '60s, the
only beer you could buy there was root beer. Hehe. Otherwise it was Coke
or coffee. But that didn't worry the patrons. The joint was packed every
night, including heaps of American sailors on R&R during the Vietnam
Yes, it's a sad old world sometimes, but I'm sure thoughts of such things
will be far, far, far away from my mind when I'm OUT THERE on the Odyssey
watching a couple of snags sizzle on the barbie. Gary
December 7, 2013. There's an
interesting thread on the GN forum about "happy hour" and the reluctance
of many Nomads to mix with strangers. Two Nomads have expressed disappointment
so far at their travelling experiences on the road not living up to expectations
in relation to making new friends and enjoying campfire chats. Hmmm. I'm
curious to see where that thread leads. I tend to prefer my own company
most of the time, with occasional chats to strangers. But there's a condition:
they need to have a worthwhile (as far as I'm concerned) story to tell.
Frankly, I have better things to do than spend hours listening to idle
chat. But that's just me.
Some of the GNs enjoy meets where a bunch of them congregate at a nominated
spot for a day or two or even a week or two. That's fine but I'll stay
outta that one. Grumpy ol' me.
And that's another thing. The reason I don't promote AO on Twitter or
Facebook or other social media (apart from GN) is because the last thing
I want is to be a celeb - to have strangers approach me wherever I go and
feel obliged to be NOICE. If it happens occasionally that's cool, and emails
are cool, but leave me outta the celeb routine. Incognito, that's the go.
Who dat man?
NC Art just forwarded a piece about marriage and the ongoing battle
of the sexes. Rather than paste it here, I
pasted it on the Just Joking GN forum. What's the bet the ladies think
it's a hoot?
As to camping, the first European settlers camped at Sydney Cove a bit
over 2 centuries ago, and the Aborigines had been camping for millennia
before that! Camping rules (provided ya got a fridge).
...and some bird seed.
Here are some pics of a bunch of GNs at Greens Lake (near Bendigo in
Victoria) behaving like
sensible grown ups.
From the Beeb: South Africans continue to gather in Johannesburg
and Soweto to pay tribute to their former leader, Nelson Mandela, who died
on Thursday aged 95. Rarely do all world leaders praise a man so highly.
Our former PM Bob Hawke met Mandela some years ago and said he radiated
goodness. He was also eloquent (trained as a lawyer) and moved with grace
(former boxer). A
giant of a man, no doubt.
Former US President Bill Clinton, in his first interview since Nelson
Mandela's death, told Newsnight's Kirsty Wark that "when you were around
Mandela you wanted to be a bigger person - you
knew you could be better than you were".
North Korea has deported a US veteran of the Korean War who had been
detained in the country since October. State news agency KCNA says Merrill
Newman was expelled on "humanitarian grounds" after confessing to "crimes"
the 1950-53 war and "apologising".
Elton John has urged Russia to end discrimination against gays as
he performed at a concert in Moscow. The British singer said he was "sad
to learn" of a law banning the "propaganda of homosexuality" to minors.
The loosely-worded law can be used
to ban gay rights events, critics say.
Jeez, not another shortie! I'm afraid so, dear Breth. Let's see what
I can rustle up tomorrow. Gary
December 6, 2013. FL Josh wrote: What's wrong with Lindsay's
It's flat and ugly just like its neighbor, but he's limping and says
it's sore. The doc suggested an x-ray..."he may have a spur or something".
The timber box containing 10 games arrived. We're not talking an heirloom
piece here but it looks nice and is good value at $50. I'm sure it'll come
in handy from time to time. And if there's no one around, I can play solitaire.
And that's another thing I should buy... a pack of playing cards.
From the Beeb: South Africa's first black president and anti-apartheid
icon Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95. Mr Mandela led South Africa's
transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison
for his political activities. He had been receiving intensive medical care
at home for a lung infection after spending three months in hospital.
of the true greats of this world. A most extraordinary life.
Almost five billion mobile phone location records are logged by the
NSA every day, reports the Washington Post. The data is said to help the
NSA track individuals, and map who they know, to
aid the agency's anti-terror work.
In pictures: Ford
Mustang and the history of US muscle
Nicky Crane. He was the British extreme right's most feared streetfighter.
But almost right up to his death 20 years ago, Nicky Crane led a precarious
dual existence - until it fell dramatically apart. Skinhead,
Neo-Nazi, violent, gay. A fairly long but fascinating article.
Yep, we had the muscle thing back in the late '60s and '70s. Holden
Monaro, Ford had the Falcon
GTHO and Chrysler had the
Charger. And I had a Beetle. Hehe. I was never into the muscle thing.
I've owned 2 Holdens and several Valiants but they were all standard. I
attached a Lukey muffler to my first car, a Morris Oxford, but only to
make it sound a little more burbly.
The younger of my older bros was a revhead. One time the elder bro bought
a Beetle and the younger one took a shot at it. So the elder bro's wife
said the only reason the younger bro didn't have a Beetle was because his
wife's bum was too big to fit hehe. They've been estranged ever since.
I organized the whole family to get together one Christmas in the late
'80s but that was it. It never happened again (except at funerals).
When I was 18 and arrived home with my Morris Oxford, the second-eldest
bro asked why I'd bought "an old man's car". Bleh. What a twit. He drove
a '55 Customline with so many rattles he had to have the radio blaring
to hide them.
And PJ? Well, she's there because she's there. No shopping around for
favorites for me. Whatever fitted the budget and the circumstances at the
time was destined for my backyard no matter what its brand. Nonetheless,
I'm happy with the result. Remember when Steve W was singing the praises
of Nissan Navara? Yeah, right. Like I had a choice. I was pretty close
to buying a flat bed Toyota Hi Lux at one time but the tray was the wrong
size. Then there was a Falcon flat bed but I dilly dallied and missed it.
No biggie. PJ has worked out pretty well.
Been a very quiet day. Lindsay postponed his errands till Monday. I
learned a thing or two about using my 150/250 watt stick blender from the
tech savvy GNs. I'm assured I can use it in PJ for smoothies, which I'd
rather freshly made than stored in a vacuum flask. It also means I can
extend my camp stays rather than be restricted to prepared meals and a
certain time frame. In fact, it'll be interesting to see how my next shakedown
goes in terms of comfort and organization. I made a few boo boos last time
- nothing major but it taught me some lessons that will come in handy.
Camping should be a totally relaxing experience with no worries about nuttin.
And there goes another shortie. Gary
December 5, 2013. On this day in 1958, I met J. Watson, the Registrar
General of N.S.W., and started my working life. Pity my little Fuji compact
wasn't around back then.
Well, the doc certainly wasn't taking any chances with Take 2 of the
skin cancer op on my neck. I arrived home yesterday after having the sutures
removed and happened to see the wound in the bathroom mirror. Bloody hell!
It's two inches high just below my left ear. And yes, pathology has given
it the all clear.
Here's a group photo of the MGM
movie stars of the '40s posted on GN. Memories, memories.
Also on the GN forum was this link to "Rethinking
Aboriginal History", an article about the truth or otherwise of "The
Stolen Generation". If you believe that Australian authorities mistreated
Aborigines, you may care to read this alternative version of events.
Well, took a while to replace the old Lexmark with the new Canon printer
and set it up, but it's all done. Seems a shame to just dump the old printer
but I suppose that's the way it is these days. I heard someone say that
Apple with its ipads, iphones and iwhatevers becoming obsolete on such
a regular basis is creating the world's most expensive landfill.
From the Beeb: The number of people living with dementia worldwide
is set to treble by 2050, according to a new analysis. Alzheimer's Disease
International says 44 million people live with the disease, but that figure
will increase to 135 million by 2050. The figures were released ahead of
the G8 dementia summit in London next week. It's
a double tragedy for families and friends to see a person die long before
the body does.
President Barack Obama has called for action to remedy what he described
as profound income inequality and a lack of social mobility in the US.
He called for a rise in the minimum wage and for stronger collective bargaining
laws, among other measures. While acknowledging the political difficulty
of passing any such government action with a divided and acrimonious Congress,
Mr Obama's speech in Washington DC gave a broad overview of economic
themes for the rest of his term, analysts say.
Mine is a pretty simplistic view. The greater the divide between the
haves and have nots, the greater the social unrest. Not everyone wants
to be a squillionaire. Most just want a comfortable and happy life for
themselves and their families. And I believe they should have the right
to pursue that modest ambition.
A floating vessel that is longer than the Empire State Building is
high has taken to the water for the first time. The hull of Shell's Prelude
was floated in South Korea. When fully built, Prelude will be the largest
floating facility ever created, weighing more than 600,000 tonnes. It would
be used to help in the production of natural gas from 2017, Shell said,
and would operate for 25
years off Australia's north-west coast.
USB cable developers have announced that a forthcoming version of
the connector's plug is to be reversible. It means users of the Universal
Serial Bus cables will no longer have to worry which way round the part
is facing when plugging it into a device. The specification is due to be
completed by mid-2014, and
the first product on the market by 2016.
Paddy texts his wife... "Mary, I'm just 'avin' one more pint
with the lads.
If I'm not back in 20 minutes, read this message again."
You can blame Canon for today's short Waffle, ladies and genitals. Windy
and wild today but the next 4 or 5 days look good. The doc was here this
morning to check Lindsay's foot and roped me into being Lindsay's chauffeur
tomorrow. How kind of him hehe. At least Lindsay offered me 10 bucks for
Anyway, it's time for me to vanish from cyberspace for a while and attend
to domestics. Keep yourselves noice. Gary
December 4, 2013. With regard to the launch date of AO, Steve
W wrote: Oh, did you think I meant last February……..I was talking about
Feb 2015 :-) As long as you get there mate, that's what counts.
Yep, as long as I get there. But the events leading up to the launch
have also been part of the Odyssey; planning, executing, anticipating,
learning (from the GN forum). Some people retire, sell the house, buy an
expensive new or near new rig and take off. My pre-flight check has been
a tad more complicated hehe. Jeez, all those annoying details like worrying
about the copper gas pipes and not being able to get a gas fitter to take
care of them. Stress, stress, stress. But TX Greg, with his experience,
helped me to take care of the job myself as well as others. The entire
AO exercise from go to whoa has been a most worthwhile, albeit stressful,
education. I'm practically an expert!
Yesterday, there was a Beeb story about the Brit diver who announced
his relationship with another man, which prompted FL Josh to write: Ohio
Jace mentioned Tom Daley in the Waffle of October 16, 2010. The link
you had to him is no longer any good. And in the Waffle of August
13, 2012, you had, "Oregon Richie's lady has a crush on Britain's diver
Tom Daley hehe. By the same token, Richie also thinks Mr Daley has a nice
butt. And I ain't sayin' nuthin.'"
Did I write that? Surely, I didn't write that! Nah. That's not like
me at all!
Off to Nancy's den soon for another excuse to stick more pins in my
Nancy doll. Then at midday it's off to the doc's to have the sutures removed
from my neck. Frankenstein has nothing on me. I have a scar that runs from
one side of my neck to the other plus a bunch of others which are the result
of skin cancers. The only thing I'm missing is a bolt. And teeth.
NC Art just wrote: The piece about Tom Daley reminded me of another
Olympic diver, Greg Louganis. He is now a freshly married man as of October
2013. Born in January 1960, Louganis set Olympic records and got the world
in an uproar because he is gay. But, things have changed a lot since his
youthful athletic prowess. Incidentally, he sent a message congratulating
Tom and his handsome squeeze. Time marches on, however haltingly!
Hehe. Squeeze. I love that expression.
Incidentally, I'm seriously thinking about getting a squeeze for the
AO... a stuffed teddy or something like that to have as a mascot/companion.
But it will need to have the right kinda personality. I'll recognize it
when I see it. Maybe something second hand from an Op Shop.
Back from Nancy and the irrigation as well as a bit of tugging. Ouch!
The nurse who did the Hoovering hadn't seen my gum for some weeks and she
said it's improved quite a lot. Nancy's pleased too, and especially with
my return to Blackmore's. Her favorite word is "exciting". Even when I
mention the most mundane stuff she says, "Oh, that sounds exciting." Hehe.
In the waiting room, I watched a bit of telly. They were talking about
the demise of chivalry. Only a third of blokes bother to open car doors,
adjust a chair at a table, etc, for the ladies. One of the panel of girls
said she's a bit old fashioned and likes a man to be chivalrous but another
said she believes that chivalry need not be a gender thing... that she
likes to step aside at a doorway to allow another person access, or slow
her car to allow merging traffic to enter her lane no matter what gender
the other person is. I'm with her. I do open doors for the ladies and all
that gentlemanly stuff I learned at school, but I also practice gender-free
courtesy in any situation. I think it makes life more pleasant. If the
person behind me at the checkout queue has only one or two items and I
have several, I'm happy to let them go first. No wukkers.
Wouldn't ya know it? The moment I leave for the doc's to have my sutures
removed, the man with the Canon arrives. Fortunately, Lindsay was here
to sign for it.
From the Beeb: US President Barack Obama has launched a fresh effort
to promote his embattled healthcare overhaul law, as problems with its
central website persist. He was joined at the White House by Americans
who said they had benefitted from the Affordable Care Act. The US leader
said it was time to "refocus" on improving the American healthcare system
following a wave of negative publicity for the law. "My main message today
is we're not going back," he said. I'm
certainly one person who can vouch for the benefits of a good health care
Police in Iceland have shot dead a gunman - the first time armed
police have killed someone in the country. In a BBC News Magazine feature
originally published on 16 May, 2013, US law student Andrew Clark asked
why Iceland, awash with guns, has one of the
lowest violent crime rates in the world.
Russian state TV has come up with an unusual weapon in its propaganda
offensive against supporters of Ukraine's integration with the EU - a Swedish
TV programme designed to help children understand their bodily functions.
For Rossiya 1 anchor Dmitriy Kiselev, it exemplifies the kind of Western
decadence that awaits Ukraine if it decides to join the EU and turn its
back on Russia. Yes,
we can't have any of that "wee wee" and "poo poo" stuff over here!
Australia's authorities are investigating a Chinese national over
a suspected espionage case at the country's top scientific organisation.
The man is suspected of unauthorised use of computers a highly-sensitive
nanotechnology laboratory in Melbourne. The laboratory works closely with
Defence Science and Technology Organisation.
Only 1% of files leaked by former US intelligence analyst Edward
Snowden have been published by the Guardian newspaper, its editor has told
MPs. But Alan Rusbridger told the Home Affairs Select Committee the Guardian
was not a "rogue newspaper". He insisted the paper's journalists were "patriots"
and he hailed the UK's
democracy and free press.
For the first time in 40 years, a majority of Americans say the US
plays a less important and powerful role in the world than it did a decade
ago. The Pew survey also found that 70% of Americans saw the US as less
respected than in the past, nearly the same (71%) as under President George
W Bush. More than half of Americans (52%) - for the first time in 50 years
- said the US
should "mind its own business".
Yep, lots of spying going on these days. James Bond lives on. Our PM
yesterday accused our National Broadcaster, the ABC, of making an error
of judgement in publishing leaked information (in cahoots with The Guardian)
regarding Australian intelligence spying on Indonesia's government and
in particular the mobile phones of the President and his wife a few years
ago. The incident has caused a diplomatic nightmare for our PM. But on
The Drum last night, journalists from other media including the Sydney
Morning Herald said they would also have published the material "in the
public interest". In fact, they blamed the PM's poor handling of the issue
as being the main issue rather than its publication. I agree. Abbot is
about the most boring person on the planet. He may have seemed a preferable
alternative to either Gillard or Rudd prior to the election but that's
not saying much about the man's appeal at all. He's a Lowes suit in a Christian
I don't understand political parties at all. Labor gave us Gillard and
Rudd. The Liberal/National coalition gave us Abbot. And yet within their
senior ranks they have Malcolm
Turnbull - suave, intelligent, witty, charming, with leadership written
all over him. So who do the Lib/Nats choose as their leader (by one vote)?
A 50+ hairy-chested, balding, tri-athlete who wears budgie smugglers and
ums and ahs his way through even the simplest of statements.
Meanwhile, NC Art seems to have become fascinated with all things Oz
and is reading newsy stuff on line, one story being the ruckus about Australian
intelligence spying on East Timor during contractual arrangements between
the two countries involving the sharing of $40b worth of oil and gas in
the Timor Straits. And who was it that helped East Timor during its struggle
for independene from Indonesia? Oh well...
Been hot and humid today which is a great excuse to take a grandpa nap
or two. Bugger the work ethic. Gary
December 3, 2013. Just out of interest I checked what I wrote
on Waffle on this day in 2012. The last of my teeth had been pulled a few
days beforehand and I was still recovering. I'd just sold my old bakelite
radios. I still had the Falcon ute. And I had no idea that 12 months later
my gums would still be an "issue". It wasn't until Christmas eve that the
Courier would arrive and provide a platform for PJ, which took another
9 months or so to happen, followed by the bumectomy. But it's been a pretty
eventful year as far as AO preparations are concerned. Before the year's
out, the tool boxes will be fitted and the other small jobs completed by
Jason, and that'll be it. You've done well, G. Pat yourself on the back.
Oh yeah... spare tire. Hehe.
I remember at the beginning of the year, I had a list of things I needed
that ran the length of an A4 page. Gradually, various items were crossed
off until there were just a few left to go. It's amazing to consider all
the stuff that's stored away in PJ... collapsible ladder, 12V shower, 12V
air compressor, CB radios, new stereo, hose, hatchet, tools, saw, coolers,
AGM battery, battery isolator, tent, beach shade, camp furniture, sleeping
bag, cooking utensils, porta potti, and on and on it goes. I've never been
so well organized in my life!
I suppose being in recovery from the cancer op and radiation helped
focus my attention on the Odyssey. No parties, no socializing, no spending
other than on AO related stuff. Just goes to show what can be achieved
if you're single minded about a project or goal. And that's a first for
me as well. I've never been a patient person but I'm learning. I'm learning
the value of planning and budgeting, as well as the value of money and
shopping around for bargains. New tricks for an old dog. Imagine what I
could have achieved if I'd been half smart 40 years ago.
So what have I learned? Well, the line between you and your goal is
divided into increments, and you need to familiarize yourself with those
increments as you head towards your goal. It's like an obstacle course.
Make a list of all the obstacles and deal with them one at a time. Boom,
Speaking of shopping, eBay just sent one of those infuriating emails
listing a bunch of online bargains. The only reason I checked it out was
cos one of the bargains was a camera lens. But I saw something cute that
I thought might be useful on wet days with no solar power... and $50 is
not a fortune. So I splurged. It's
kinda cool, don't ya reckon?
From the Beeb: The UN's human rights chief has said an inquiry has
produced evidence that war crimes were authorised in Syria at the "highest
level", including by President Bashar al-Assad. It is the first time the
UN's human rights office has so directly implicated Mr Assad. Commissioner
Navi Pillay said her office held a list of others implicated by the inquiry.
The UN estimates more than 100,000 people have died in the conflict.
surprise me in the least.
Sales on the year's biggest shopping weekend dipped for the first
time in seven years, according to the National Retail Federation. US consumers
spent around $1.7bn less over the holiday weekend, with the average shopper
spending $407.02 from Thursday to Sunday. That's down from $423.55 in 2012.
Retailers blamed stagnant wages and economic uncertainty for keeping wallets
shut, as they slashed
prices to lure reluctant shoppers.
Olympic diver Tom Daley has revealed he is in a relationship with
a man. In a YouTube broadcast, the 19-year-old London 2012 bronze medallist
said: "In spring this year my life changed massively when I met someone,
and they make me feel so happy, so safe and everything just feels great.
"That someone is a guy." Edward Lord, chairman of the Amateur Swimming
Association, said: "To be one of the first British Olympic athletes to
come out is very brave." Can't
remember which Waffle reader brought Tom to my attention a few years ago
but the kid certainly had his share of fans.
Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, is testing unmanned
drones to deliver goods to customers, Chief Executive Jeff Bezos says.
The drones, called Octocopters, could deliver packages weighing up to 2.3kg
to customers within 30 minutes of them placing the order, he said. However,
he added that it could take up to five years for the service to start.
The US Federal Aviation Administration is yet to approve the use of unmanned
drones for civilian purposes.
I didn't bother to comment on the Croat vote to ban same sex marriage
story yesterday. But I did think about it a bit. If marriage is defined
as a union between male and female for the purpose of producing children
then it's not only same sex couples that should be banned. Hetero couples
who don't intend to have children should be banned. Heteros in their 40s
and older should be banned. Infertile couples should be banned. Mentally
"challenged" people should be banned, et al. On the other hand, could it
be that marriage is NOT just about producing children? Go figure.
If a certain thing has been done a certain way for a long, long time,
does that mean it should remain so? Should I be using a quill and parchment
to write this?
FL Josh wrote to say he's been using Canon inkject printers for years
and is very happy with them. I like the Canon inkjets because they have
about the best photo quality. When I bought my first Canon 13 years
ago, I chose it because I could get separate ink cartridges for the colors
as it didn't make sense to me to replace a ink cartridge containing three
colors when only one of the colors ran out. In the next couple of weeks,
I will be printing my Christmas cards on it.
Yes, the little man inside the Lexmark drove me crazy with his annoying
"color ink is low" warnings. And speaking of Amazon (in the Beeb story),
Josh also writes: I saw an interview yesterday on "60 minutes" with
the founder of Amazon.com and he said 13 years ago, he personally drove
the packages going out each day to the post office and now, they ship 300
orders a second. He disregards the advice of business advisors who
tell him how much more money he could make by raising his prices but instead
he keeps his profits very low, just a couple percent. He thinks of
his customers as family and wants them to get the very best deal possible.
Jeez, the Jamie Oliver empire is getting big! The local supermarket
(Woolies) has been promoting Jamie Oliver merchandise for weeks now and
it's still going. I'm just back from getting some ground beef (organic,
on spesh) and a jar of JO's bol sauce - Italian tomato, red wine and garlic.
I want to soften the beef a bit to make it easier to swallow, without little
bits finding their way between my bottom lip and gum and annoying the hell
outta me. Sooooo, I'm gonna fry up the beef in olive oil, pour in a can
of diced tomatoes and 2 bay leaves, and let it simmer uncovered until the
liquid has been reduced, and then pour in the JO sauce. That way the diced
tomatoes shouldn't dilute the sauce too much, and the meat should be nice
That's the traditional way the Italians cook bol... reduce, reduce,
reduce... adding more liquid again and again over a long period and reducing
it uncovered until the sauce is thick and rich in flavor. They usually
reserve it for the following day when it tastes even better. Most people
don't have a clue about how good a bol can be. They think it's something
you can throw together in 5 minutes. Ditto curries.
Well, if looks are anything to go by, the bol looks fabulous, thick
and rich and saucy. I'll have it later with noodles and parmesan. I do
love my parmesan ya know. Smells like vomit but who cares.
Time for a bit of telly methinks. Gary
December 2, 2013. Off to see Nancy in an hour. I wonder if she'll
notice a difference since I've been back on the Blackmore's E. If she does,
then it proves that one brand of vitamin is not the same as another. Seems
odd but there ya go.
And it's a bewdiful day, for a change. Blue sky, lots of sunshine and
a few fluffy clouds drifting by. Good day for camping. BTW, Magnetic Bill
says his later model Courier with turbo diesel and more power is a great
car that handles the hills and dales very well. It also gets reasonable
economy, even with the a/c on. I'm hoping mine will cover a looootta miles
before I have to think about a replacement. She's done about 100,000 kms
less than my Falcon and that was still running very well.
Back! I talked Nancy into replacing the bandage on my neck from the
skin cancer op the other day. It had worked loose. I figured she'd just
rip the old one off and bung on a newie but no. She had to go through the
whole dressing business with anti-bacterial stuff and yadda yadda hehe.
She's a good girl. But she got even with me by pulling a bit of dead bone
from a very sensitive spot on my gum and it bloodywell hurt! She's constantly
saying "sorry" but carries on regardless. So I likened her technique to
two boxers in a ring apologizing each time they beat the crap out of each
other. BTW, she reckons Blackmore's has made a diff. The gum is back to
looking better - not so "angry" as Nancy puts it. Feels better too.
It occurred to me that if I'd chosen the dentist on the opposite corner
to mine, he probably would have pulled all the teeth right away and I might
not have had this gum issue. But I chose Nancy's clinic a little further
up the road because Sue had been there. I'm kinda glad I did cos they're
a great bunch of people there and we've all become pretty good friends.
While I was in the waiting room, the program on telly was demonstrating
decorating ideas for Christmas trees. I was reminded of how Christmas trees
used to smell cos when I was a kid they were real - no plastic back then.
My dad would buy a freshly cut pine, sit it in a bucket of sand and arrange
it in a corner of a room at home. The aroma of the pine would permeate
the whole house and really enhance the feeling of Christmas. Smells readily
evoke memories, and one of the smells from my boyhood I'll never forget
was of leather upholstery in those big pre-war cars. These days, cars smell
like plastic. PJ has a smell... a timber and wool smell.
From the Beeb: Four people have been killed and more than 60 injured
in a passenger train crash in the Bronx area of New York. Eleven of the
injured are believed to be in a critical condition in hospital. The Metro-North
train's locomotive and carriages derailed as the train went into a bend
in the railway line near Spuyten Duyvil station. At least one eyewitness
said the train - the 05:54 from Poughkeepsie to Grand Central Station -
was travelling much faster than normal at the time. A
tragedy at any time but particularly at this time of year.
Fans, friends and fellow stars have been paying tribute to US actor
Paul Walker, who has died in a car crash. Walker was best-known for playing
Brian O'Conner in the Fast & Furious films. The 40-year-old died on
Saturday when a Porsche being driven by a friend, who also died, crashed
near Los Angeles.
Croatian voters have backed proposals to ban same-sex marriages in
a referendum. Two-thirds of those who voted approved changes to Croatia's
constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. A
government spokesperson confirmed that the constitution would now have
to be changed accordingly.
Roite. Back from Sowter Engineering, which is now owned by Jason with
a flash new carpeted reception area where his wife (presumably) sits at
a computer. Thursday 19th December is the day PJ is booked in, which doesn't
give me much time before Christmas for a shakedown. Oh well, I'll sort
something out. Dozen madder anyway. I'm looking forward to rearranging
PJ's load so that everything is easily accessible and has its permanent
Well, well, well, looks like my old Lexmark printer is redundant. Can't
find ink cartridges anywhere, not even from Lexmark itself. At first I
tried the local post office but they don't stock Lexmark anymore. Soooo,
I went to eBay and
bought a new Canon (how's that for brand loyalty?) for $40. I hardly
ever print anything but it's handy to have a printer for the times I do.
I'll keep the box so it can travel in PJ without any hassle. Here
are the Canon specs if you're interested.
I bought the first of the Canon Bubblejets back in '91 and it cost $1100.
Sheesh. And even back then the ink cartridges were 50 bucks each. Bloody
crooks. Only lasers and dot matrix printers were around at the time. And
if you think that's a bit rich, my first dedicated fax machine was a Canon
that cost over 4 grand back in '86! My company leased it. It used rolls
of thermal paper. How primitive!
The Willebrant finally went. The young courier who knocked on the door
was wearing his new lime green sneakers hehe. So that's done and dusted.
And here we are again, ladies and genitals. The Merry Go Round of life...
life in Taree, anyway. Gary
December 1, 2013. Last month for the year. And to think Steve
W was urging me to set last February as my target date for the Odyssey.
Well, at least I got my act together in terms of setting up PJ and taking
my first shakedown cruise. And my tool boxes are all ready to fit. So that's
Welcome to the festive holiday season, dear Breth, and all the jolly
ho ho ho that goes with it. I wonder if FL Josh will discover a large box
tied with a ribbon and big bow in his drive on Christmas morning? It won't
fit down the chimney ya know.
Looks like the camper won't need to be removed from the tray for the
fitting of the tool boxes. There are ribs under the tray that run east
west at intervals of about 8". The ribs are 3-sided, box-section, and two
of them on the driver's side already have holes drilled, probably from
a tool box in a former life. So there ya go. Good thing I had the Anderson
plugs fitted to the battery isolator though cos one of these days the camper
will need to be removed... like when I'm doing 100km/h under a low bridge.
While checking the GN forum this morning I found a couple of links to
cool vids. This one is a great collection of puddy
tats doing battle with water. And this one is about a Canadian
brown bear stumbling upon a photo shoot out in the snow and ice country.
The sun seems to be winning the battle of the skies this morning with
a few clouds hanging around but getting fewer and farther between. Spoke
too soon. Just checked the kitchen window looking west and guess what's
on the horizon? Bleh.
It's a very sad day for family and friends of an 18
y/o surfer attacked by a shark as he sat on his boogie board just up
the coast from here with his mates yesterday. How very, very distressing.
From the Beeb: Police have named one of the eight people who died
after a helicopter crashed into a busy Glasgow pub. Gary Arthur, 48, was
from the Paisley area, Police Scotland said. Three occupants of the Police
Scotland aircraft died when it hit The Clutha at about 22:25 GMT on Friday.
A further five people inside the pub also died. Emergency services are
continuing the operation to recover any remaining bodies. Prayers for the
dead will be offered at Glasgow Cathedral later. A
further 14 people are being treated for serious injuries.
I must say, I have a thing about helicopters. When ever I hear one flying
over Taree at night (which happens once in a while) I'm relieved when it
passes by without incident. At Royal Prince Alfred hospital in Sydney my
ward was close to the hospital helipad and I heard them coming and going
all day and night.
Meanwhile, TX Greg has been playing around with my hat:
I'm a leftie but no matter. Also, we don't have those little dudes down
Yes, I can identify with that... chillin out and taking in the passing
parade. I would have removed that ikky butt though. Smokers are such a
thoughtless bunch. That scene reminds me a little of Kings Cross in Sydney
on a Sunday morning. When I lived there, the locals would read the Sunday
papers in the park or sip coffee al fresco style. The loonies only came
out at night, and most of those were blow ins from the 'burbs.
Speaking of blow ins, Booti Booti National Park seems like the go for
my next shakedown. It'll be busy though at this time of year, but it's
just an hour or so South and on the coast. I checked the GN recommendation
forum and saw it mentioned there. I haven't slept or woken to the sound
of surf since I can't even remember when, so it would be a nice break from
routine... not to mention a great spot to run around with the Nikon. Now,
lemme see... if all goes to plan, the tool boxes and other jobs for Jason
will be completed by mid December so I'll aim for 18-22. I have dental
appointments Monday and Wednesday mornings each week. If Jason can do the
work sometime this coming week, I'll bring the shakedown forward a week
Toddle off to telly time again. No rain today but not for a lack of
trying. Sunny through the week until rain Thursday and then back to sunny.
So, until tamorra, it's hooroo! Gary
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