Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bad Boys

My unit in the non-salubrious suburb of Orelia is ready for occupation by our son Martin.  We; friends and family, have helped shift Martin’s gear in and he will probably move in later this week.  It is a two bedroom second story unit and getting some of the heavy gear up two flights of stairs was a bit of a struggle.  Daughter Helen’s husband James did most of the heavy lifting on the final load this morning.  Thanks James, Graham and Dennis.

Previously it was rented and the last tenants were an Indian family.  They were good tenants, but family comes first and Martin was keen to have his own place.  Their lease ended and I didn’t offer them a new term.

The Strata company which looks after the whole block of units sent me a letter following a complaint by another tenant that my tenants were hanging their washing on a balcony and as that contravened a local by-law they must be instructed to stop the practice.  By the time I received the letter the tenants had vacated the property.  Yesterday brother Graham and I checked out the outdoor clothesline area which has not been used for months, maybe years, as marauding groups of indigenous youths kick down sections of the steel fence and steal all manner of property.   Yesterday as we approached the hanging area, a group of about 10 youths had kicked in the fence and climbed a wall to go swimming in the pool.  We were threatened with death and I am ashamed to admit that a single incident like that caused prejudices that I didn’t think I had.

              I expect most readers know of suburbs like this one no matter where they live.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Stranger danger??

Over the last few days I have had a number of people come to collect refurbished Apple Mac computers.   I had placed notices on boards at Murdoch University and local shopping centres.  Most of the Macs have now gone to people who will make good use of them.  Almost all of them at first expressed  concern that it may not be as I had advertised...free to needy folk.  I also noted that I would rather they be saved from landfill.

I guess it is a sign of the times that people are cautious when offered something of value for free.  In each case the person coming to collect a computer was accompanied by at least one other person.    Fortunately, face-to-face that changed and all of them were most grateful and even excited at getting a nice machine.   

I would have advised my daughter to take a friend along when going to a stranger’s house.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Moses Hailai Jr/Sr

51 years ago I taught a young lad in Papua New Guinea.  Yesterday I had a comment on this blog by his son of the same name, Moses Hailai.   He left his email address and we exchanged greetings and a little about his father who, like me, has retired from teaching.  Moses Jr will pass on my contact details and I am hoping that this will be another reunion.
Here’s a pic from 1962 showing Moses outside my SOQ in the Gulf of Papua, tasting ice for the first time.

Moses Hailai holding the ice block tray.

Our son is soon to be moving back to the unit we purchased some years ago to house him.  It will make it difficult to get to work as he won’t get his drivers licence back for quite some time.  At the moment he gets up at 4.45am to start work at 7am catching two buses from here.  Where the unit is will mean getting up much earlier.  A work colleague who lives near the unit has offered to take him to work, as she starts and finishes around the same time.  Hope they don’t get sick of each other.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mazda 929

I have had a number of Mazda cars.  All were well built and reliable.  But I feel the need to buy another 929 before they are all gone.  I have had three 929s.  When new, 1991-95, they were very expensive for a Japanese car....somewhere around A$70,000.  My three cost on average, $4,500.    I loved them!

I now drive a Hyundai i45.  Nice car, but I recently saw a 929 advertised for $3,600 negotiable.  Yesterday I went and looked at it.  One owner from new with 100,000 kilometres on the clock.  It looked very nice.  The owner started it and I heard a tappet noise.  $$$$$$   It also had not had the timing belt changed since new.    

Today I visited a local mechanic and he gave me estimates for both jobs.  $800+ to fit a new belt and $1800+ to replace a hydraulic tappet.  I might give it a miss.  Pity! 

The 929 has 4 wheel steering and a host of other electronic stuff which at 20 years of age might start to give trouble.

As Willy Wonka said..’stop that, reverse it’.   If negotiations were to go well, I might yet do it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A curry dinner party

I am very proud of our daughter Helen.  She was born on the 28th of November and so, was always younger than the rest of her classmates.  She once asked me why she got my brains and brother Martin got Joan’s brains.  ‘Luck of the draw’ I replied.   I suggested that people like us...not so gifted, had to work harder at it and she has since made a successful career as a teacher.  I suspect they both got Joan’s brains.  Hey, I was born on the 29th of November..maybe I wasn't so dumb after all?

Here is an article about delaying starting school for a year which even though we, Joan and I, were teachers didn’t consider at the time.  In the U.S. the term is Redshirting.

She is also  a great cook, experimenting with new cuisine...no sausages and three veg for her and James!  Last Saturday she had a dinner party for eight.  It was a curry night of four different curries; goat, beef, lamb and chicken with dahl and naan bread.  For starters we had spiced potato, samosas and sambals and finished the meal with a desert brought by her friend Maria, a cassata  made with biscuits, fruit, yoghurt and cream...delicious!

Maria is also an accomplished guitarist and we all joined in with her in a good old fashioned sing-a-long.  Sort of like a 1950s stand around the piano evening.

A pretty poor pic of part of the dinner table.  Should have taken a camera rather that a phone.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Talking Turkey at the Panel Shop

Yesterday I dropped off my car at a panel shop for a bit of plastic surgery on a number of scratches and small dents on its body.
Panel shops often like you to claim on your insurance policy and some naughty ones offer to mark down all the dents as one minor accident. The cost is then elevated and if you have been a reasonable member to the insurance company it is approved and everyone is happy.   

In my case I have had a couple of minor prangs over the last 10 years and to keep my no-claim bonus, decided to talk turkey with a panel shop known to do ‘cashies’.  I also didn’t want them to know that at 73 years of age I was losing the plot.  The panel man came up with a figure of $900. which is far below other quotes I had.    $900. seems a lot to touch up minor bits, but if the job is to be done properly, entire panels must be painted to ensure colour matching.  I will collect the car tomorrow.

I thought I would catch a bus to the local shopping centre, withdraw the required cash from a teller and catch a cab home.    No bus, so I walked the 4 kilometres to the shopping centre.  Next I found that the ATM which services my account was down.  Not enough cash for a taxi so I walked the other 4 kilometres home.  I then rode a bicycle to daughter Helen’s place to service the large fish tank and two fish ponds in the backyard.  I started to think that exercise might be good for me.  

In the afternoon I had a visit from a teaching colleague of many years ago; Brendan.  He is back from Texas for two weddings.  Both are of his kids and they decided to coordinate them within a two week period so dad would be able to attend them both.   We had a very pleasant afternoon in the sun primed with a few beers.  Brendan is in Texas with his wife who was transferred there by a mining company which is operating here in Western Australia.   
Texas, if one doesn’t know it, is basically Republican heartland and most people think that it is OK to shut down the nation when the Pres. tries to introduce some fairness to the medicare system.   Nuff said! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Recycling win

A few weeks ago I visited a recycling centre in the city of Fremantle.  I don’t live within the city’s boundaries, but still manage to dispose of some of my irreparable computer gear there.

I noticed a smart looking laptop in the computer section.  I got it home and found the hard drive had been removed which is standard practice if one is to dump a computer.  No problemo, I had a spare.  It also didn’t have a power supply and the battery was dead.  I took a punt and bought a secondhand power supply for $50. and after a lot of mucking about got it started.   
                             It was the eye candy that sucked me in.

Loading an operating  system and all the drivers for that particular machine (17” Dell XPS M1730) took some time.  It also gave me a bit of a headache getting it to recognise my wireless modem.  After many test starts and restarts I figured I would purchase a new battery for it @ $55.

So there it is up and running.  It is a fast machine, but I am not very familiar with PCs and find getting around in XP a bit clumsy compared to a Mac.   Now I don’t know what I am going to do with it.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Halong Bay

This morning I drove our daughter Helen and her husband James to Perth International Airport for their flight to Singapore.  They should be touching down about now.  They are spending a few days in ‘Singers’ and then on to Vietnam where they will visit Hanoi and then a few days on a luxury small boat cruising Halong Bay, a popular tourist destination.

Meantime I have done a short course (I think I passed) in maintaining their very complicated and expensive fish tank. Hope I don’t lose any fish over the time they are away.

I have to test water quality; top up the reserve tank, prepare special food for the fish and keep the tank clean.   Fortunately the lighting is programmed.  Mid week I have to get the water tested and purchase new top up water....reverse osmosis water treated to remove any parasites etc.  

                            Fortunately their dogs are in a boarding kennel.