Sunday, August 31, 2014

Long time no see

A couple of days ago I contacted a couple who live in Queensland.  We knew them well when our two families were on the same government station in the Sepik District of Papua New Guinea; Maprik.
Bob and Marion lived on the station and we, Joan, Helen and Martin, had a house in Bainyik, some 5 miles from Maprik where the Vocational Centre was.  I was the manager of the centre.   Bob was a teacher at Maprik Primary A School.  In 1973 Bob and Marion transferred up the Sepik River to be HT of Ambunti PS.  That was 41 years ago and the last time we saw each other.  If my wife Joan were still here I am certain that we would be on a plane to visit Bob and Marion next week.  I will make my way east some time soon.
Bob and Marion tell me that I did see Bob, at least, in 1975 at Kwikila when I was en route to a wedding at Hula in the Central District of PNG.

Recently I have noticed a sudden drop in my download speed from my provider, VividWireless.    I would normally get speeds of 5-8MB download, but it had dropped down to .16MB.    VividWirelss provides a 4G service wirelessly from towers and ‘mirrors’ throughout Australia.   
Their techies talked me through testing speeds at various locations around the house which was done by using a laptop logged in to a site   It comes up like to enlarge.
In the BSID part of the panel, 9f-10 shows the tower at Coolbellup (a local suburb) is the one I am connected to.

There are other panels, but moving around the house with the modem told me/us which tower we were connected to and which gave the best signal.  When a tower was found I had to do a speed test at and it gave download speeds for each position.  If you are going to do the speedtest, look carefully as it is easy to click a download for some other worthless piece of software.   Eventually I took the modem back to its original position and shifted it 2 metres to the right and I now have a reasonable download speed of around 5.8MB.   Whew!

My modem (Home Gateway) showing  signal strength.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Getting old is no picnic

We, and now just I, have been living here in this house for around nine years.  This estate; ‘St Paul’s Estate’ is regarded as a sought-after location.  St Paul himself, no longer lives here.
The estate is divided up into dozens of cul-de-sacs which makes for a bit more security than main roads.  Even so, I really only know my immediate neighbours on each side of my house.  Some in this cul-de-sac do not acknowledge me and others give a friendly wave. Dave and Judy have been good neighbours and I will miss them when they move into their new house.   Will the new owners be as nice?  
On the other side are Fiona and her husband.  He is a surgeon and I don’t often see him.  Fiona is most pleasant and we often converse.  Yesterday she came home around midnight after taking a friend to hospital and saw my garage door up.  She saw that there were no lights on in the house and closed the garage door for me.    
The following morning she told me what she had done and asked me to give her a contact number to call if she thought that ‘something’ had happened to me.  Ouch!!  Getting old is no picnic.

As it happened I had shut the garage door, but the mechanism operating the door has been playing up and sometimes it decides not to stay shut.   I have made adjustments to the settings and it seems to be working well again.

This morning I had a visit by a welfare gal and one of her clients who is about to start a course at a TAFE (Technical and Further Education) college.  She needed a computer and printer which I was able to supply.  I gave her a choice of a desktop Mac or one of two laptops.  She went for the laptop as it can be used at the college.  A laser printer matched up with the laptop.  All done.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Gruen Planet

A couple of days ago I collected two Mac laptops from Ken.  Ken has a  sound studio in his house and does voice-overs for adverts. He is also an accomplished Muso of many years.

Ken played a few of his voice-overs for me and I was most impressed by the variety of voice tones and accents he produces.    He also played me one of his movie segments which he recorded for a comedy TV show The Gruen Planet in 2013.    A humorous look at the push for an Australian republic.

Both laptops have had a ‘clean install’ which wipes off all previous data and installs a new operating system.  At the moment I have four desktop Macs and two laptops ready to distribute.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Avian congress

I feed birds in my backyard.  Magpies will eat from my hand, but Crows (Ravens) are very suspicious and won’t come too close.  Doves are very wary and do not stick around if I appear outside.  

A short distance from my house there is a daily congress of avians which includes seagulls, crows and Corella white cockatoos probably numbering a hundred birds.  They mass on a mowed roadside and the Corellas eat grass roots.  I don’t know what the crows and seagulls get there.  Maybe the Corellas stir up some bugs as they pull up grass roots?

Crows in my backyard visit every day for food scraps I leave on the lawn.

This one is thinking that somehow this is a trap.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Islamic State

I have just been watching a confronting TV program named Insight, on ABC television.
It has a female host talking with an audience of maybe 100 people about an issue of the day.  The topic was Muslim citizens of Australia going to the middle east and fighting for The Islamic State.   That group has named themselves the Islamic State and I am unsure why I have even given their name capitals.  They are religious terrorists .

There were, amongst the panel,  Muslim extremists espousing their radical Islamic views.   I found myself, at the age of 74, thinking that they should ‘go back from where they came’.  Of course that cannot happen as they were mostly born here in Australia.   They feel that they have not been accepted into Australian society and tell us (the non Muslims) that we are to blame.

There must have been some moderates in the audience but only one man, bravely I believe, spoke out against the radicals.   Trouble on the horizon.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fush en Chups

Australia and New Zealand have had liberal immigration laws between the two countries since the 1920s.  We both speak a form of English and it seems that far more New Zealanders like to live in Aus than Australians want to live in NZ.  At 30 June 2013, an estimated 640,770 New Zealand citizens were present in Australia.
Many NZers are happy to let Australians know they are here in great numbers.  This car sticker tells us so.

Their version of English is a bit strange compared to Aus English.  i.e. Fush n Chups roughly translates to Fish and Chips. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

The proof I needed

Yesterday I was rummaging through a few cupboards where my wife Joan stored remnants of her many fabric projects and found a large plastic container with photos etc that I had not seen in many years.   Amongst this treasure trove was an envelope of pages cut from expired passports and I was amazed to find one of our son Martin issued in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in 1975 just prior to our final weeks in that country.  Damn!

Click to enlarge

 Back in 2011 Martin’s employer asked him for proof of citizenship.  All he had was a birth certificate showing his birthdate and place in Papua New Guinea.   The employer immediately suspended Martin without pay and at that stage Immigration considered him a possible illegal alien.  My wife Joan would have known that Martin had had a passport and where the proof was filed, but I didn’t and a serious search of the house yielded nothing.....until yesterday.    Convincing Immigration that Martin was indeed a citizen took months.  And he eventually returned home to W.A. and stayed with me.

This would have been all the evidence I needed at the time to prove to Australian Immigration Martin was an Australian citizen.  

If the story is of interest, part of it can be found here.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Our son Martin has had a interview with a specialist at Fremantle Hospital to determine if he can/should start a serious medication for his Ankylosing Spondylitis.  He is doing a blood test today and the results of that test will be crucial in commencing the drug.

AS is basically due to calcium deposits between joints; in Martin’s case, his spine.  There is no cure for AS, but this drug aims to reduce the calcium deposits in joints.

There is a heavy price to pay for using this drug....not money, but a whole host of side effects and disease possibilities.   It increases that chance of contracting Tuberculosis and  Hepatitis B if the patient has inactive TB or HepB.
There are many other problems with this drug and Martin has to weigh up the value of entering the program.  See here for more info.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Autistic children

I have just watched a Louis Theroux program about autistic children.  I have not been a regular watcher of Louis, however it was a choice between “The Bachelor’ and nothing else worth watching.

Louis was allowed into several U.S. families’ homes and schools to film and to interact with several families, their children and to witness the difficulties of bringing up severely disabled autistic children.

My daughter and her husband have opted for no children, most probably because they had reached the age where birth defects can occur.  I, and my late wife, were grateful that our children were born without the serious problems shown in this documentary.   The parents interviewed were most stoic and I was moved by their acceptance of their situation.

I have had over several years, some association with a ‘special’ school for severely disabled children and I am always impressed by the dedication of the staff; the work they do and the changes they make to those in their care.   

Friday, August 1, 2014

More rewarding work

This morning I had a visit from a welfare person and one of her clients; Sky.  Sky has three children and is working from home and needed a computer and printer for printing fliers and seeking work.  

Tania and her partner welfare officers have brought other needy gals to my place for computers.  They are all young mums under a bit of financial pressure to get by.  Giving needy people nice machines is most rewarding work for me.

Each computer (Mac) undergoes a clean install of the operating system, a new PRAM battery, extra RAM if needed and upload of essential software and some games.  They are tested over a period to ensure they have no faults and I give my phone number and email address for any follow-up help which may be needed.  Very rarely does that happen.

                                    Nice young lady