Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Yeahs and Nays

Last weekend we went to a Main Roads sponsored expose of the planned extension of the Roe Highway. That extension is to go through a small section of swamp and comes within approx. 400 metres of our home. We are not too anxious about its effect...we don't think it will impact on us much. Of course the construction will bring with it a lot of noise and perhaps some dust...and of course it will take a long time to construct.

The Main Roads Department had a bevy of personnel explaining that it wasn't quite a fait accompli and that the government would listen to the people. Yeah!

Today, there was a large rally against the proposal held at Bibra Lake Reserve. From the number of vehicles parked, there would seem to have been more than a thousand protesters attending. It was a bit of a carnival atmosphere with bands, clowns and the usual dog walkers, cheesecloth wearers, hippies and dreadlockers. The poor loves haven't had anything to protest about for years and they loved the opportunity to sock it to the government. That sounds very cynical but I am on their side. I would rather the freeway extension didn't go ahead. The short extension which is probably only about 10 kilometres has been labelled 'the Highway to nowhere' as it finishes at another north/south highway and doesn't really solve any of the problems it is supposed to.

The protesters are on the side of the frogs and the black cockatoos and Kev and Joan and other residents who will be close to the extension. The cockatoos can fly on, but we can't.

There was another protest in Perth City yesterday with a group demonstrating against the large oil spill from a rig in the Timor Sea. Some of the protesters were bikini clad gals who rubbed themselves with a black oil looking substance. I reckon it was Vegemite. I also reckon it was a good way to show off the bod on TV.
Aftr the rally, we bought up on wine in preparation for my 70th birthday bash on November 29th. The liquor store had a few specials and we bought a box of Chardonnay cleanskins just to see what a $1.79 white wine is like. I am pleased to report that it is very nice thank you. We will return and grab a few more boxes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Car damage

Our daughter lives in her unit, one of 14, in East Victoria Park. It is a good area from the perspective of access to restaurants, shopping and entertainment, but lousy when it comes to security of property and person.

Helen's car is parked under cover in an unsecured carpark and a couple of days ago she again had her rear quarter window smashed. This time the villains didn't even bother to get into the car. Some time ago she took out extra cover on her vehicle insurance to cover all glass replacement.

This current car has had four windows smashed and her previous car had about the same. Others in the car park have had the same. What to do? The tenants and owners have talked about an external fence, but that would be very expensive and most inconvenient. The many reports to the local gendarmes has understandably done nothing. The villains don't seem to have a regular routine to do their damage. Shift is a good option, but Helen at the moment has only two days of teaching a week and banks don't like to loan money to people who don't have full time work. Answer: stick it out and keep replacing windows.

East Vic. Park has a sizable aboriginal population of unemployed rapper style, reverse baseball cap lads who move around during the day peering into backyards. Can't do much about them!

I had my Mazda 929 into a suspension expert to do a 4wheel steering alignment. The steering is much improved and I should expect that the cheap tyres I had fitted will last a couple of years. The next bit of the restoration (sounds like a major project) is to get a small panel and paint job done on a rear wing. This morning I dropped in to see my tame panel and paint man and eeek; his doors were closed. I'm hoping that he is just off on a cruise as he usually does small jobs for $200. folding money. He does these jobs on a Friday and I suspect the weekend sees him at the Casino.

The suspension man is a cranky bloke who knows he is the best and doesn't suffer fools like me.
By that I mean that I am a fool...not that I don't suffer fools...I do! Over the years I have had dealings with Graeme and by and large he has been a cranky bastard, especially over those years he was trying to give up smoking. This time he charged me more than the quote, but presented me with a very impressive computer generated analysis of the problems and what he had done to fix up those major problems. I can see the instructions on the computer screen...... Press print to produce spin document.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Winners are Grinners and Losers are just losers

Joan has had a busy weekend manning (probably not the right term) a booth at the City of Melville Textile Arts Expo. Apart from the expo there was a competition called 'Mad as a Hatter' where artists had to make a crazy hat. Joan made two hats and one of them titled 'Tea Party' with a tea pot and cups won one of the prizes. That prize was $350., which if time was a factor, she probably worked for 30c per hour. Never the less she came home grinning like a Cheshire cat.

I am the loser part of this story. In a unit we own, the tenant complained of a storm damaged TV antenna. We asked the agent to have an antenna man fix it and he did at a cost of $229. I rang the Insurance company, RAC, and they wanted an exact date and time to check against the Bureau of Meteorology records as the claim has to fit the criteria of a storm. Damn! Of course I didn't know the date and time and after a lot of discussion they decided to allow the claim as there was a big blow which could possibly fit the definition of a storm about three weeks ago.

After giving all the details the lass informed me that there is a $200. excess and I could get back $29. on the total cost. Not happy Jan! I told them to forget the claim.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


A couple of days ago I went to a tyre place and bought and had fitted two new tyres. The young bloke doing the fitting rolled a trolley jack under the front of the car and immediately started pumping the jack. I cringed, remembering a time back in the 80s at Willetton Senior High School when a student in a mechanical class jacked up my car by positioning the jack under the engine sump. Result: cracked aluminium sump which caused me lots of problems. The tyre bloke didn’t do any damage and I was pleasantly surprised. Phew!

Yesterday I was in a liquor store and a very large young bloke called me by name. An ex- student from the 1980s. He was surprised to meet after all that time, he said that he and another ex-student were talking about me a couple of days before…’We were talking about that kid who cracked the sump of your car with the trolley jack’.

What are the chances of all that happening? Me remembering the incident whilst I was getting tyres fitted….he talking about the incident a couple of days ago and both of us meeting after all those years all within the time frame of a few days. Incredible!

We went for a short walk at Bibra Lake this morning. I said ‘at’, not around, Bibra Lake.The Bottle Brush trees (Callistemon salignus) are in full bloom. The large Black Cockatoos love snipping off the flowers….I don’t actually know why, as they don’t drink the nectar or eat the flowers. There must be some purpose to it all, but on the surface it just looks like a bit of bad-boy vandalism.

Monday, October 19, 2009

How do they find me?

This story definitely comes under the heading of How do they find me?

Yesterday I was at Bunnings buying some tomato seedlings when a woman made a comment about the type of tomato she had selected. Before I could say blow me down, she launched into what turned out to be a 15 minute story about setting up a security camera in her unit to catch a couple of female thieves who had made several daylight raids on her place stealing jewellery, cash and memorabilia over a 21 month period. All this while she slept in the house. The police don't believe her, her kids hate her because she suggested that it was one of them, her sister thinks she is nuts and after 15 minutes I too had a suspicion that she wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed.

She has window shutters and window and door locks, a security/alarm system which should have kept anyone out, but someone still got in and even ate a takeaway Maccas in a spare room.

I couldn't escape and only had a window of a couple of seconds to make a comment like...'sounds like family and drugs'. I think at that stage I did the appropriate nodding, serious concerned look and tuned out. She thanked me for listening and we wished each other a nice day and split.

The Federal Government has changed the Citizenship test from general knowledge questions such as how many runs did Don Bradman make in his career? to more specific question which pertain to the type of government we have and the rights and obligations of our citizens. That is probably a good thing because potential citizens should know that our government is a democracy, a secular state and that men and women have equal rights. It is a far cry from the 'White Australia' policy which was officially terminated in the 1970s. That policy discriminated against non European immigration often using a language test in a language unknown by the applicant. See here for some background.

During WW2 Prime Minister John Curtin didn't want African American troops in Australia, but was convinced of the need for them by General McArthur. McArthur's reasons might not have been completely altruistic.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

TAG Hungerford

This morning we decided to attend a camera swapmeet. In fact there is no swapping, just sales. En route we firstly went to Melville Plaza swapmeet which was very busy. Joan, the book ferret, managed to find a book by Tom Hungerford named 'A Knockabout with a Slouch Hat'. I am about halfway through it at the moment and it's a great read. Tom was born in 1915 and is still going, albeit slowly. He has written a number of books and short stories and A Knockabout is a fine sequel to his Stories from Suburban Road. There are a couple more of his novels which I still have to acquire. Tom is a Western Australian who way back had a connection with my mother's side of the family and visited the Lee farm during school holidays.

The camera swap meet was held in Leederville and was well attended by hundreds of people. Film is still alive and well! Joan took a couple of snaps with her $120 digital camera and caused a few unkind cameras indeed! I was after some closeup lenses for my Nikon Digital SLR, but unfortunately 58mm is not a popular size. New screw-on closeup lenses come in packs of +1 +2 +3 usually and cost around $150 the set. I may have to get some cheap S/H stuff of a different size and buy an adaptor.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A small indulgence

Small is probably not the word for this is a largish car. I have been looking in the various papers for a Mazda 929 sedan. We had one each a couple of years ago and I am unsure why we sold both of them. I think it was that we decided to buy a brand new car which didn't have any of the little problems, like creaks etc.

The new car is just dandy, but every time I saw a 929 on the road I thought I should indulge there! The chance came up and I bought a very nice 1993 model with low kilometres (136,490) and in good general condition. I will drive it for a couple of weeks to find out all the quirks and then if it still seems good; start the restoration. I noticed the the fuel gauge seems faulty and heads towards empty rather quickly???

The cost of this beauty....$2800.00. That is the 'small' part of the indulgence

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

From an era long past

I found this item in a small wooden box of my father's treasures. All revealed at the bottom of this post.

This morning a Welfare Officer collected me and a computer to head up to Joondalup. The idea was to set up the computer so that a young Aboriginal family might get a few skills in computer literacy...especially the young man of the house. He is on remand from prison and has a young partner and eight (8) dependent kids all under 12 years of age. He looks to be around 25 and his partner maybe 22 years of age. She has two kids; he two from a previous partnership and they are caring for another four kids from a relative who is in prison. Doesn't sound like they have much of a chance in life.

Surprisingly the house is well maintained and the kids are clean and well mannered. She is an attractive and very smart young woman and the fellow is very shy and quiet. She is the boss and knows how it is going to be. Tomorrow they are having a house inspection and she is having a second attempt at her driving licence test. They loved the computer (lots of noisy games) and I got a good feeling that they will benefit from the installation.

The object is a key ring with a button tab to go on to one of the buttons by which braces were attached to men's trousers.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

You win some; you lose some

My friend Paul has a nose for a bargain. He spies a bargain everywhere....fruit and vegie markets, electronics and computer gear, in fact anything that is heavily marked down.

A couple of days ago he pointed me in the direction of his local Coles supermarket where there is a mark-down bin of allsorts including printer cartridges. I raced up to Paul territory and collected ten packets of refill inks and cartridges to suit two printers I am preparing to distribute to needy folks. Total cost $5.00. Bargain!

Yesterday I collected a Canon printer donated by another fellow and I remembered seeing cartridges to suit this new machine in the Coles bin. Back to Coles and more carts.

This is the total haul costing $5.80. Thanks Paul; now see if you can find me a large LCD TV for around $100.

I did have one loss yesterday. I was cleaning a keyboard and had removed all the keys and washed them in a bucket with hot water and detergent. When draining the water down the laundry sink, the strainer did a 360 and two keys went down the drain. After removing all the stuff in the sink cabinet, I removed the S bend and found one of the two keys. I now have a white keyboard with clean keys with one black key from an older Mac keyboard. Not a great look!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

the 'Toughen Up' and 'Don't Watch it' crew

Last night the final of a two part retrospective of one of Australia's most popular Saturday night TV shows was screened on TV. Hey Hey It's Saturday was a very popular show in its day. It ran for 28 years finishing up 10 years ago.

Bringing it back for the two episodes was a popular move. Unfortunately last night's episode featured a Blackface act, with a group of white guys doing a Jackson 5 parody. I was a bit shocked when they came on....I hadn't seen such an act since I was a kid and the BBC screened The Black and White Minstrels back in the 1950s. This act was part of a regular segment of HHIS called Red Faces. When all the acts were finished a panel of judges, one of which was Harry Connick Junior awarded scores. Harry was visibly upset over the Jackson5 act and said so. He awarded a '0' adding that that act certainly wouldn't go down well in the U.S.. As the show wound up the host, Darryl Somers, made a sincere apology which was accepted.

Today there has been a mixed reaction to that booboo. The Toughen Up and You Don't Have to Watch brigade were out in force. All too often when something that is controversial or offensive is screened on TV they suggest that people who voice a complaint are PC and should merely change channels.

The show was pretty good and I fail to understand how Darryl Somers could have thought that such an act would not cause embarrassment to many viewers.

Should you wish to read more on Blackface, you can see it here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I had a nice bacon and egg breakfast this morning. I feel for my Joan as she is fasting prior to a Day Surgery to remove a cyst on/in one of her fingers and also getting a cortesone shot in a thumb joint. The procedure is scheduled for 11.30am and she has to fast for what will probably be most of the day. I will drop her off and await a call to pick her up at around 4pm. She is not allowed to wear her contact lenses, just her coke bottle glasses....a good look!

She will have a few frustrating sewing-free days, but still be able to read.

After I drop off Joan at the surgery, I have some business to attend to in the city and then I am off to our daughter Helen's unit to set up a WiFi station so that she doesn't have cables and phone lines all over the floor.

Tonight on TV there is an episode of RSPCA-Animal Rescue, which falls into the category of bad timing. Much anguish and tears over the rescue of a small dog pulled from a hole in the ground. Maybe that team could head off to Indonesia and rescue some of the hundreds of victims of the massive earthquake there.

More Socialist paranoia from the USA.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Royal Show report

The Perth Royal Show has been billed as the world's largest non-smoking event. The show runs over 8 days and usually attracts around 400,000 visitors. It was most pleasant to walk around the showgrounds without having secondhand cigarette smoke invade your space. On a local news site there are many letters of complaint by smokers, mostly complaining that other pollution is far worse that smoke. They just don't get stinks! It is far worse that all the animal smells which accompany an agricultural fair.

We lasted until about 2pm before heading back home. There were plenty of interesting exhibits for the non sideshow-alley people like us. And I found a nice working exhibit of steam and other vintage engines. Some beaut old tractors as well. Each exhibit has the typical exhibitor standing close by. The tractor/engine blokes had the farmer look about them. The dog and cat people were definitely dog and cat people seated in front of their animal(s) with lap rug, thermos of hot tea and home-made sangas.

One big disappointment was the now political correct Police Exhibition. Last time we went to the Show the Police exhibition had the most gory photographs of murders including the actual weapons used and details about who what where. No punches pulled then. Photos showed bodies mutilated, limbs severed etc. Now the Police exhibit has a kids corner with a Constable Care show.

We managed to catch a brilliant motorcycle trick riding show in the central arena.

In the Historical Society's exhibition there were many wonderful old photographs. We found a labelling mistake on one large photo of East Street and the Swan River in East Fremantle taken around 1900. The label stated that it was in North Fremantle. When we pointed it out to one of the HS members he was quite chuffed as the fellow who had labelled the photo was a 'bit of a smarty'.

The online news page has a header which is a bit confusing. Here 'tis.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Perth Royal Show

Yesterday, just like today, was a lovely sunny Spring day. Our friend Margaret celebrated her 73rd birthday with a group of her friends outside in the garden. Much conversation ensued. The 10 year rehash of the TV show 'Hey Hey It's Saturday!'was mentioned and most people who watched it liked it, but thought it ran out of steam in the 90s and wouldn't hold up in 2009.

I asked what people thought of the Andrew Denton show, David Tench which aired a couple of years ago, but didn't make it. No one knew about David Tench. Tench was an animated character who interviewed real people who interacted with Tench. It was brilliant, but the viewers were not ready for it and it was taken off. See a few clips from episodes here.

Today we are off to the Royal Show in Claremont. We haven't been to the show in 10 years or so and thought we should go whilst the weather is nice. I'll post some pics tomorrow.