Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Redback spider?

Yesterday our son Martin came home early from work.  He had been bitten by a spider and his right arm was swollen like a football.  His immediate boss drove him to Martin’s GP and he was given a Tetanus shot and anti histamines.  This morning his arm is still swollen and his boss advised him to take the day off if it had not improved considerably. Martin is a maintenance man at a hotel.  He didn’t see the spider that bit him and it is assumed that it was a Redback, which can be very debilitating. 

Later this morning a couple of W.A. Museum men are visiting to get background information on a Papuan dance mask I donated in 1963.  It has been in storage all these years and it seems that they are going to let the public see it and want as much info as I can supply about its provenance.   I have quite a few other Papua New Guinea artefacts, but they aren’t getting any of them.  Once you donate to a museum you cannot change your mind and get the donation back.

Friends in Sydney have a collection of rare PNG artefacts that would rival most museums.  On my recent trip to Sydney town we gathered at their house and once again I was amazed at their collection.  What will happen when we ‘croak it’.  Are the 'kids' interested enough to display our collections?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

On the road again

Our son Martin nervously awaiting pickup to go to their gig venue.  As it happened, the gig was a great success and they are to make a CD.    The band is unsure whether to seek regular work.  

Thursday, July 25, 2013


I belong to a local group of computer users named WAMUG; the Western Australian MacIntosh Users Group.    Their (I guess our) online discussion group is invaluable for discussing problem solving when something needs tweaking on your Mac or peripherals.  There are a number of experts who give good advice without hesitation; two of them are professionals and do so without charge to list members.

My two year old iMac started flashing the screen when I dropped a file on the desktop.  It was a bit of a worry and I consulted Mr Google.  There were numerous reports of the same thing around the world, but no real solution offered.   I wrote to the list and Ronni, the list’s Guru of Gurus suggested a simple fix, which did indeed fix the problem. Thanks Ronni.

Membership of WAMUG costs $30 per year.  And each year I have been a member I have deemed that to be a very worthwhile  subscription.   Also, many of the computers given to me for redistribution are sourced from WAMUG members or their contacts.

I recently subscribed to a list called  A Word a Day.  Recent words include olid,
sook and zymic.   

You should expect some new words in future posts.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Book of Funk

Our son Martin is a bass player in a band named The Book of Funk.  They are playing to an audience of new and older followers tomorrow night at the Fremantle Workers Club.  The last time the band performed together was almost 20 years ago and sadly one of the original members has died.
They have been practising for weeks, but are a little nervous yet

They are pictured here in a hole I was digging in our backyard for an in-ground trampoline.   When I last heard them they were great.  Lets hope they can repeat the BOF sound.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

learning something new

Yesterday I learnt something quite simple which solves an almost daily problem; fitting a new bin liner to my kitchen tidy.  Place the bag in the bin and the flap which is over the edge is twisted tight and the twist tucked under the edge.   Simple, but effective....a bit like me.  Thanks Maria.

Helen and James have a large salt water fish tank.  It has a virtual Great Barrier Reef of rocks and coral.  Fish, snails and crabs make interesting watching in the bright lighting.  Helen showed me the immediate transformation once the light is turned off.  Fish hide in rocky crevices and the Green Wrass dives into the sandy bottom of the tank.   Instinct?  Turn the lights back on and they all come out to play.  Recently a snail in a largish shell was eaten by a hermit crab and voila....new home for a crab.

On our recent cruise to New Caledonia, brother Graham and I joined a small group to meet the Captain on the bridge.    Whilst we were listening to the Captain tell us about the voyage and the rather complex steerage and navigation equipment, two crewmen interrupted the Capn. announcing  ‘Captain, we’ve got a leak in the engine room’.  The Skipper made a smart click of the heels and with a salute replied....’permission granted’.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A pre-election quick-fix to the refugee problem

The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, has announced a pre election quick-fix of the problem refugees who arrive by boat on our shores.  He has signed a deal with Papua New Guinea which effectively makes them eligible for PNG residency but not Australian residency.  Somehow, with some serious funding for PNG institutions,  Papua New Guinea has agreed to accept them as permanent residents and later eligible for citizenship.
I reckon this is designed to deter boat people rather than give them a safe place to live.  They want to come to Australia, not to a country which is likely to give them another set of problems assimilating with the indigenous population which already has shown great displeasure with the number of Chinese entering their country.  
Iranians, Afghanis and Sri Lankans etc would want to form close knit communities which in itself could cause resentment.  Land around the main cities and towns is scarce and even the indigenous population has large squatter camps of villagers who drift to the towns looking for something better than village life.  Port Moresby and Lae, the two largest cities, have high crime rates.

Yep; once the word gets out about what they may face in PNG, I am sure the number of boats arriving on Australian shores will drop significantly. 

Refugees arrive in Indonesia and make their way towards Australia in leaky old fishing boats of which many have sunk with  a high death toll.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


                                                      Click to enlarge

What is it that makes a fashion designer?  The fellow in this photograph was in yesterday’s newspaper decrying the demise of the local fashion industry.  I have never been into such a fashion store...he would scare me.  He looks like I might look, after waking up on the couch after an all-night bender.   

Another Perth designer is Ruth Tarvydas.  She is in her Mid 60s (or so it is rumoured) and offers herself to young, 'big and bad' men.
Read about Ruth here.

These people seem to attract the wealthy of society and I wonder if it is just the designs they produce or the snobbery of their clientele?     Most of them wouldn’t have seen the inside of a K Mart or an OpShop.  Hold on.....that looks suspiciously like the jacket I gave to the Good Sammies a few weeks ago.

Back in your box Kev!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Election Coming up

I wrote about the new political Party started by the billionaire Clive Palmer.  His nominee for the seat of Fremantle was Teresa van Lieshout.  She commented on my blog post.   It seems that she has been disendorsed from the party for supposedly ‘not toeing the party line’.  She has different views on refugees...very different; and different views on education.  
She went public about her disendorsement on radio in newspapers and Facebook.   The Facebook tirade is interesting.   She tells us that she is one of Australia’s smartest people. She alone can fix the Australian education system.  If you can spare the time it is worth looking at for a better understanding of this woman.   Good luck!  Here it is.

I have prepared a laptop for a young woman who is being helped by a welfare agency.  She is 18 and about to give birth.  She is living in a house shared with seven others, studying on line and her own laptop has died.  The only laptop I have at the moment is a bit slow and I was informed that there is no table to set up a desktop computer for her.   She is very happy to get the laptop until she can find better accommodation which is very difficult here in Western Australia.     I can only imagine her situation; living in a house with seven others sharing cooking, laundry and toilet facilities.  When the baby comes things will probably get worse.  I wonder if her family has abandoned her?  
                                                 'An oldie but a goodie'

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Isle of Pines New Caledonia

The cruise ship Pacific Pearl is a comfortable ship for passengers with a large cabin and balcony, which is what we had.   I think I heard that there were around 2,000 passengers aboard, many of them school age kids on their holidays.
There are a number of eating places ranging from buffet meals to full A la carte dining.  There is one restaurant which charges for entry and meals which I figured was a private venture on board.   Other ‘services’ such as weight loss classes etc etc seemed to be private ventures.
Many of the activities on board did not interest us.  Things a such as Bingo and trivia competitions we gave a miss.  That being said there is plenty to keep oldies busy and interested.  They even had kid-minding activities.
                                           Brother Graham on Pacific Pearl

The main port of call in New Caledonia is Noumea.  It is not an unattractive place and there are some interesting French Colonial buildings and a very nice harbour.   Next year New Caledonia is to vote on independence from the French.  They have a complex voting system and there is considerable concern from  French citizens in New Caledonia that they will lose their little colony.

The ship spent a day at The Isle of Pines some distance from Noumea.  The ship dropped anchor about 5 kilometres off shore and five tenders took loads of around 100 passengers each run for an island visit.  They ran continuously to and from the ship all day.  

Captain James Cook discovered the island in 1774.   It was probably a lookout in the rigging who actually first discovered it and spent the rest of his life whingeing about Cooky taking the credit.  In reality the natives on the island first discovered it.  Cook didn’t land on it but realised it was inhabited when he saw smoke. 
The name comes from the native pine trees (Araucaria Conifer) all over the island.

                                            A flat islet showing the pines
                    Channel 10 regular, the Bondi Vet  doing a P&O TV promo

We became regulars at one of the dozen bars on the ship.  Two stewards looked after us with good 
                                                 humour and pleasant conversations.

                             Mary is from The Phillipines and Lan is from India

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sydney Photos

A few photos of around Sydney...Click on them to enlarge

                                        Securely bolted down

                                             The Queen Victoria Building

                                             Four levels of pure elegance
                                    Last day of the Sydney Monorail
                                 From another angle
                                   Town Hall renovations
                                                   In Darling Harbour

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Final full day of the cruise

We are in the final day of our cruise.  It is expected that we will berth at the P&O wharf around 7.30am tomorrow.  We will taxi it to a hotel for an overnight before flying west around midday.

The cruise has been pleasant, but neither bro Graham or I will plan another for some time.   We met quite a few people who have done dozens of cruises in various places around the globe.  They talk like caravan people with a certain amount of one-upmanship about their cruises.

 New Caledonia is to have a referendum next year so the the inhabitants can decide whether to stay as a French territory or 'go it themselves'.  The indigenous people are called 'Kanaks'.  In New Guinea some bush people are called Kanakas which is a derogatory term.

More about the cruise with photos when I get home.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pacific Pearl cruise

We are somewhere between Sydney and New Caledonia. The ship is a bit Rock n Rollish in rough seas.The Skipper tells us that tomorrow will be calmer.
Sydney is a great place to visit..if it isn't raining non-stop.  It had been raining for the last 10+ days and the sale of umbrellas has boosted the Australian economy.  Our hotel was in Darling Harbour which is a massive entertainment area.
On  Saturday night I caught up with some friends fro our Papua New Guinea days.  We gathered at a club in Coogee.  Another friend from my earlier time in PNG, Albert, drove us around to a few touristy places before delivering us to the harbour to board the Pacific Pearl.
Graham and I rode the SydneyMonorail on its last day of operation.  I am unsure exactly why it was shut down.  I have heard lots of reasons and one of them was that it "just doesn't suit Sydney town'.

Thanks Sydney friends. Great to catch up.

Wednesday:  Last night the sea was still rough and the whole ship creaked and banged all night.
The entire ship ran out of hot water early yesterday and it took most of the day for engineers to fix a major pump to get hot water back on.

Can't post photos until we get home.