Monday, October 29, 2012

Back to Bali?

Searching through some external hard drives I found a short story Joan wrote a few years ago.  She called it ‘Coming Home’ and is set in the Western Australian wheatbelt.  I remember Joan telling me of an adventure she and her sister Dorothy had when they were very young and Joan has woven that adventure into a Battlers story.  Great read.   Maybe I will see what others think and see if it is worthy of publishing.

My son is causing me much anguish.  He is in Melbourne and unemployed.  I desperately want him to get on track before I go.  He is intelligent and has ability, but the Ankylosing Spondylitis eating away in his back makes it difficult to get employment which demands even moderate lifting.  I want him to return home where I can help him. 

I recently talked with my cousin Valma and suggested that we make a short trip to Bali.   She seemed very keen on the idea and I will look for packages of fares and accommodation.  Four days is probably long enough at our age.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ankylosing Spondylitis

In the last few days I have placed a number of computers with local people who saw my posting on a local shopping centre notice board.   I still have seven more machines three of which are up-market workhorses which were donated to my project by the West Australian Newspaper Group.  I will remove the notice from the shopping centre and re-target the better machines at Graphics Students at one of the local universities.

Our son Martin is starting to admit that shifting to Melbourne has not been successful for him and is talking about returning home to Western Australia.  He is thinking of shifting back to the unit we bought to house him, but that is leased out to tenants for the rest of the year.  I have offered him his own side of my house which includes a bedroom, study and bathroom.  Martin has Ankylosing Spondylitis and his back is degenerating badly and getting employment which does not tax his back is very difficult.  It may well be that he could get a disabled pension and I   will support him, possibly for the rest of my time. 

and now to lighten up.........

A  fellow sits on a bench next to another fellow.   He says...’Hello, how are you today?’  the other fellow says...’I’ve had a lousy day; my imaginary friend has left me and he took my air guitar.’

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Enthusiasm wanes

Been busy lately preparing computers for distribution.   A notice at a local shopping centre in a needy area has seen a number of people coming to collect computers from my house.  Previously I had placed notices at the same shopping centre, but some nutter had been taking them down within a day.  That person has obviously not seen my latest notice or is in prison or somewhere else.     I still have around ten machines to distribute before I start on the thirty early iMacs which I will aim at placing, loaded with early childhood educational games.    I might not be able to place many of them as most folks these days want faster machines.    Landfill?

I am getting a little tired of the computer restoration project and may bow out soon.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Interpreting dreams

Helen and I successfully made a loaf of bread in the new bread maker.  I have since made another loaf and it certainly tastes OK.  The only problem with it is that it is very messy with lots a crispy crumbs when it is being cut.  Seems to be better after a day when it isn't so fresh, but I wanted to toast newly baked bread.  Must talk to the flour supplier and see if I am doing it correctly.

The fence saga at Helen and James’ place is ongoing.  The little shit mentioned before, has ripped off a couple of baskets containing prickly plants.  I have urged them both, Helen and James, to do nothing and see if he gets tired of his foolish antics.  I replaced the baskets with more secure fastenings so we will see if he caves in.  Of course he is not doing it during daylight hours and they cannot positively identify him as the culprit.  I need some Bikie friends to go visit him and his parents and have a chat.  Unfortunately I don’t have any Bikie acquaintances.

Over the last couple of nights I have been having the most realistic dreams relating to two schools, one in W.A. and one in Papua New Guinea.  The PNG school was at Bainyik, some 80 kilometres from Wewak on the coast.  I was last there 38 years ago and this dream has been a regular over all those years.  That school was a Vocational Centre training boys in small business, carpentry/building, agriculture and animal husbandry.  I was the manager there for four years.  The dream has us returning to PNG from annual leave in Australia and finding the pigs, cattle and fowls all gone and the centre grounds overgrown and students gone bush.  I have had that dream so many times I should know that it is not true as I’m having it, but I still wake up feeling a bit unhappy with the students and staff.  The W.A. school is the great school I worked at for many years and the dream has me fronting up to work on the first day of my appointment there, running late with the boss waiting out the front for me.  Strange stuff!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Taxing the old brain

I went out and bought a I have to learn how to use it.  Daughter Helen is visiting this morning and we will use two brains to work it out.  I checked out breadmakers in three stores and decided on a Breville ‘Baker’s Oven’.  The first store, Harvey Norman wanted $130., next was Retravision @$136. reduced today to $129.99, but I bought from The Good Guys. @ $95..  Deal!

My old brain is getting a workout lately.  I bought a video camera recently and that  requires a good read of the instruction manual to get the video onto a computer.  I found that it is not Mac compatible and so have set up a PC in the workshop to try and download videos I shoot. The user manual has 56 pages in it.   Years ago I had a Betacam video camera. a button and the door opens, put in a full-size tape. Close the door and point and shoot.  Open the door; put the recorded tape into a VCR and watch it.

My wife Joan’s cousin, Kingsley, gave me a very fancy HP printer/scanner.  I thought it would be easy to set up, but no, it has eluded me (or my brain) and I cannot get it to work properly.  There again, the handbook has 234 pages of complexity.   It is obviously a very expensive piece of kit and I will be looking for someone who can help me set it up.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Apple Store

Yesterday I visited the Apple Store at Garden City, a large shopping centre nearby.  I went early thinking that the school holidays would make it busy.  I was right, at 9am it was packed.     I was directed to a young ‘Genius’ who was arranging appointments on an iPad.  I keyed in my name, address, phone number and email address and was told to return at 10.40am.  I had a bit of a wait before a young fellow solved my problem with a password on my iPhone.   Good, efficient, free service.

Today I am searching for a bread maker.  When Joan was well she made bread every few days and I did enjoy it.  When she died I lost interest in bread and gave the breadmaker away. I buy bread of various types, but think I will get back into making my own.  My tastes seem to be changing.  Many foods don’t interest me much anymore.  I guess that is just a part of growing old.  A breadmaker can be set to finish the bake precisely at breakfast time.  Fresh bread toast sounds good to me.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Raining computers

The last couple of days have been raining computers.   A contact in Albany delivered another 5 eMacs to my house and my friend Rob informed me that he was cleaning out his workspace and needed to get rid of 30 perfectly good iMacs.   These iMacs are the candy-coloured all-in-one machines which Apple introduced back in 1999.  They ARE old, but still work well with their earlier operating system.   I am able to place these machines loaded with educational games without having the headaches of internet connection.  Usually the folks I give them to have another computer for internet access.  My daughter Helen has placed a couple at her primary school where the educational games are used as a reward to individual pupils.

        Some of the games which go with the iMacs.

On Monday, Helen and James are flying back home to W.A. from their family visit to Queensland. I think they will be happy to be in their own house again.  I know I will be happy to see them again.  Looking forward to some of Helen’s cooking.

The only semi-adventurous food preparation I have attempted over the last few weeks is making Biltong in Joan’s food drier.  Great snack food, but very easy to pig out on.  The recipe I am using has the beef sliced thinly in strips marinated overnight in soy and Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, with brown sugar, chilli powder and crushed garlic.  The drying takes around 6 hours depending on the thickness of the beef strips.  Google it for quantities.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Michelle and Jack visit

Today I had a visit from Michelle and Jack.  Michelle was one of my fav students when I taught at Willetton Senior High School and Jack is her 16 month old son who is at the stage of 'investigating' all things technical....TVs, computers etc etc.

Michelle is well after her Thyroidectomy, the only side effect is a scar which the surgeon says will fade over a few months.  She is still the Michelle I remember, a delight to have as a friend.
                                                    Click to enlarge

My neighbour had her father visit from Victoria and because his daughter, my neighbour, has asked me to shoot a few rats in her olive tree with my air gun, somehow we got talking about rifles.  He told me that he has a .22 single-shot rifle he bought when he was a 16 years old and still has it back home in Victoria.  I told him that I still have what was my grandfather's, then my father's Winchester 1892 .44 lever action repeater with an octagonal barrel.  He said that he would like to take a look at it and I then realised that I could not remember where I had hidden the gun cabinet key.  Over a couple of days I searched the entire house and workshop without success.  It looked like I was going to have to call on a locksmith to get the gun cabinet open, so I sat down and thought of where I would hide the keys so that they would be safe.....SAFE!!!!     And that's where I found the keys; in our safe.

I have finished the little shit fence.  The fence is not a little shit, I am hoping that what we did will stop the little shit neighbour of Helen and James walking through their property to jump a low fence.  James and I put up a solid lattice and I finished off fixing wall baskets along the fence. The baskets have been planted with the nastiest (bar Bougainvillea and roses) spikey plants.  They are called Euphorbia Milii Hybrid and when I was planting them without wearing gloves got a taste of their nasty spikes.    Hope it works.