Friday, March 30, 2012

Vladimir Tretchikoff

In my workshop I have a few wall hangings of pieces that otherwise would be dumped or stored in boxes. A couple came from our son Martin's place when he went east to Melbourne. Martin has a good eye for discarded stuff on the roadside chuck-outs which he calls 'GutterMart'. One piece is a Marx Brothers poster and the other is a print of a 1950s artist...Vladimir Tretchikoff. Martin's print is a bit damaged and so it lurks in a darker area of my shed. Tretchikoff was very popular in the late 1940s and 1950s. Thousands of houses had a print of the Chinese Girl. Wonder where they are all now? You can buy prints of Tretchikoff's works on eBay and art shops at reasonable prices.

This is a framed end of a Petrol box from the days when petrol was imported into Australia in boxes of One Gallon cans. I wonder whether they were American gallons or Imperial gallons?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How not to look a gift horse in the mouth

I get my Mac computer discards from various sources and some of them are a little precious when it comes to the actual donation time. One lot was given with the proviso that they wouldn't be sent overseas. I had to inform that source that whilst I assure people that they will not be sold but distributed to needy folks I could not be bound by any conditions of how and where I distribute them. It is really like donating your body to a don't know what will happen to it and medical students may well play pranks with your bits.

A recent lot was of older Macs, all still work well, but their capabilities are more in the educational games area. I can gift them to young families with a large package of educational software. I would rather folks not give me these older machines as most of my 'clients' want reasonably fast machines to browse the internet (and find reviews of books they were supposed to read at Uni).
Oldies, but goodies.
Just when I think I will stop this project, I get an offer of a new lot of machines, then back to work. I have been doing this for around eleven years and estimate that I have refurbished and distributed free, around 400+ computers to needy folks and a couple of schools overseas.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Wedding of Brian and Lili

On Friday evening I took photos (along with every other guest) at my nephew Brian's small wedding. It did present a few difficulties with lights everywhere, but there are some reasonable shots and once all the other guests give their photos to the the happy couple they should have a nice album albeit of very similar photos. I did the make-up shots; the best man fixing the groom's tie shots etc etc. The bride, Lili, had a few ideas for some other shots which could have been better executed with more time and equipment...but they did work.

Maybe I will post more photos here when I have asked the married couple for their permission.

The wedding breakfast (it seems to be called a breakfast even if it is at night) was catered for by Dorothy, Brian's mum. The name 'Breakfast' for a post wedding meal is more to do with breaking the fast.

Brian and Lili are to have a second very large wedding in the Philippines either later this year or early in 2013. Lots of rellies to witness their marriage.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Larousse Gastronomique

It is over one year since my Joan died and I have been losing my appetite for food and cooking. I seem to cook too much and then freeze the remainders which end up going into the compost bin. Time for a new plan. Supermarkets don't cater for singles like me, the smallest meat package is enough for several people, so I will divide any purchase into serve size portions and again fill the freezer with the rest. Also I could share with Helen and James, but Helen cooks more exotic fare than me.

Joan has at last count 83 cook books including Larousse Gastronomique and folders of collected recipes. Each time I search for a recipe in the recipe library I find it difficult to get what I want out of those 83 books, but when I Google a recipe I will get an immediate and specific recipe. I wouldn't have the heart to sell Joans books but I don't think anything in Larousse would interest me much. So I will leave Helen and Martin to sort that out when I go...along with lots more complex issues. Hey, I'm not going just yet!

Larousse is 'the world authority on food, wine and cooking' which is a bit insular because it doesn't discuss Asian cooking for example. Just in case you thought you would like to purchase Larousse, here is a page from the section on cooking offal.
A bit dreary hey?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Men in Film

And now for something entirely different....a fill-in because I don't have anything significant to write about.

Film buffs will probably get every one first time through.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

RIP Carole

After a hard fought battle with cancer, Carole in London has passed on. She died peacefully in a Hospice in London and her son James has written of her passing. If you wish you can read it here.

Brian and Lilly

This Friday evening, my nephew Brian and his bride to be, Lilly, are to be married. It is a small wedding with just a dozen guests including me. I have been asked to take the photographs which is going to be a tricky business. The wedding is in Joan's sister's backyard at 7.30pm and that means complete darkness at this time of the year. I have done a number of weddings, but none have had me thinking things out like this one. I will today purchase some floodlights on a stand and do some experiments in my own backyard tonight. The floods will need to be softened with some filtering media and the judicious use of a flash to fill in shadow areas.

I have not shot a wedding in 15 years and I want this one to be as good as I can make it. At least with digital cameras, these days, I can instantly see whether the result is OK after each shot. In the past when every photographer was using film, there was a nervous wait to see the results after the film was processed and printed. I can also tweek the photos in Photoshop on the computer. Wish me luck.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Red Boy stolen

"They got a name for the winners in the world
And I want a name when I lose"....Steely Dan

I recently posted a story about my visit to the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition at Cottesloe Beach. The exhibition is not fenced off, but has security guards, CCTV and plenty of lighting. One of the installations (see, I can use the artists' terminology) was stolen by a young fellow just 24 years of age under CCTV cameras in a well-lit area. The cameras even captured the ute/pickup truck he was driving without a licence. It wasn't too difficult for the cops to trace our man and they found the severed statue in the roof-space of the family home. Mother, of course, was embarrassed and shamed and didn't want to be identified.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sister Shirl's visit

My sister Shirley is staying with me this week. She is up from Esperance which is on the South coast of Western Australia. She came up ostensibly to attend a reunion of a volunteer fire brigade that she and her late husband Don were associated with. Today I drove her out to the reception centre at Jandakot Airport and went home to wait for her phone call when the show was over. By the time I arrived home there was a message on the phone from Shirl to say that the reunion was yesterday. Duh!

During the week she got me to take her to a large shopping centre to buy some bras. I have never accompanied anyone buying bras before and suddenly I was by myself and couldn't spot Shirl anywhere. I didn't realise that it is not as easy as buying a seven pack of underpants. Apparently they have to be carefully selected and fitted. Taking into account the airfare for Shirls Perth reunion, those bras were very expensive.

In the time I waited I could have bought a suit, had it altered and selected a new pair of shoes and an assortment of socks.

Shirl is returning to Esperance tomorrow and that will give my liver a bit of a rest as we have been doing the rounds of family drinkies.

I get an infrequent visit by neighborhood cat. It is a sleek black one with a white tip on its tail. It doesn't hesitate to come in the house and check out all the rooms and any cupboards left open. We get along fine and I reckon it is the best pet I have ever feeding, no veterinary fees etc etc.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A distant friend

My Cyber-friend Carole in London has been moved into a hospice. Her son has written of the move on his mother's blog, which can be found here. She has had a rapid deterioration in her situation over a relatively short time and it is most likely that she will pass away very soon. I sincerely hope that her passing will be peaceful. I know that thousands of people die every day around the world, but Carole, through her kind words and thoughts for my Joan in her fight with the BigC has become a close friend.

This morning when I opened my email program I found a message purporting to be from The Commonwealth Bank NetBank. It informed me that a successful money transfer had been made for the amount of $1,580.00 to someone I did not know. I figured it was a scam and didn't click on the link provided, instead rang NetBank and they informed me that it was indeed a scam and by lunchtime EST, there had been approximately 500 calls to netbank about this email message. I am unsure what would have happened had I clicked on the link, but it probably would have been an expensive move.

Here is a screen shot of the email message.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A good word for Bigpond

Joan's sister Dorothy recently had a scare with a positive from a breast screen. She was able to have a Lumpectomy which removed the cancer and one lymph gland . A follow-up consultation brought good news and her oncologist is confident that they had been successful. She will be having a week's worth of radiation and be on a daily medication for 5 years.

There are many bad stories about Telstra/Bigpond's help line for computer worries. Over the weekend I had the job of setting up a wireless modem for a friend of my brother. The modem is a BigPond modem about the size of a packet of TicTacs. I was having all sorts of difficulty which was my own fault. I repeatedly typed in her email address which was hand written on a piece of paper. Un-noticed by me was a period/full stop between her first and second names. It must have looked like as bit of fly poo to me and so I hadn't keyed it into any of my attempts at creating the account. Sooooo, I decided to ring Bigpond help. I was talking to a young fellow in the Phillipines and eventually after he made several attempts to activate the account he asked me to take a careful look at the email address again. There is was. He entered that correct address and it was up and running. At that stage I asked him for mail details such as incoming mail server etc so that I could set up Apple Mail for her. He probably correctly assumed I was a complete dummy and told me to sit back and he would remotely set up Mail and anything else I wanted help with. Sounded good to me and I watched as things were moved around on the screen remotely from an office in the Philippines. I do know about several applications to do this, but I have never seen it done. A very pleasant young guy who was worthy of some award.
Thanks Bigpond.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sculpture by the Sea 2012

Yesterday we, Helen, James and I visited Cottesloe Beach to view the Sculpture By the Sea exhibition. Joan and I had been to each of the yearly events since its inception. There were many 'installations' as the arty call them and some were really quite clever. My choice was the windmill which was a very modern chrome piece with a number of propellers of different lengths rotating on different axis at different speeds. More mechanical beauty than 'art'! Cottesloe Beach is a very popular beach without the large waves of beaches further along the coast. The Indiana Tearooms looks over the beach and is also the the boatshed of the Cottesloe Surf Lifesaving Club.

I took lots of Pics and here are a few. I couldn't remember the actual titles of each and so have called them as I saw them. Should have bought a catalogue.

click on the pics to enlarge them.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Graham, my 'sub-editor' of the blog has corrected me on my assertion that President Obama's appointment of four Republicans to his cabinet could not happen in Australian politics.

As usual he is correct and this is the reason that I have welcomed his sub-editorial role. I imagine that most bloggers have a sub-editor. It is good to have constructive criticism. The little I know about politics, does however, make me a little cynical about such appointments.

See his email to me on the subject......

Kev  You said in your blog that one thing you will never see in Australia is the kind of bipartisanship that saw Pres Obama appoint four Republicans to his cabinet.  Of course, the US cabinet members all come from outside the legislature (Congress), or if they are in it, they resign before their appointment.  In Australia, to become a member of cabinet you have to be a member of parliament and usually a member of the governing party or coalition, though that latter bit is not required.  You would have to, at least, guarantee that you would support the government in votes in the parliament.  Sometimes members of the parliament change sides, though it is very rare.  Remember when Cheryl Kernot of the Democrats joined the Labor Party?  It turned out later that she and Gareth Evens were having an affair at the time.  Billy Hughes was a member of three parties (Labor, UAP and Liberals-I think it was those three) during his time in parliament.  When asked why he had never joined the Country Party he famously said that he had to draw the line somewhere.  When Kevin Rudd became prime minister, he appointed Brendan Nelson as Ambassador to the UN, Alexander Downer to a special role with the UN on Cyprus and Tim Fischer as Ambassador to the Vatican.  That is an impressive form of bipartisanship.  John Howard was known for his obsessive overseeing of all appointments his government made to ensure the appointee had no Labor connections, however remote.  Graham

Early tomorrow we are visiting Cottesloe Beach to view the Sculpture by The Sea exhibition. Joan and I visited it every year it has been held.