Monday, December 29, 2014

Stamp Tax rort

This morning I transferred ownership of my new car to me.  It isn’t a new car, but is only six months old and has done a mere 7,000 kilometres.     The transfer fee was a bit of a shock...$812.70. 
The state government is double dipping on the Stamp Tax.  On the purchase price of the car there is a Federal Tax (Goods and Services Tax), but when the state Stamp Tax is calculated, the GST is added to the price of the car and so everyone transferring a vehicle pays Stamp Tax on the GST.  How do they get away with that?

When I bought the car, the dealer gave me a fuel discount card....4c off every litre.   Trouble is that it is only redeemable at BP service stations.  In this state BP is the sole fuel refinery and it sells fuel to a number of different brand name servos who all sell fuel at far less than BP service stations.  Useless!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Reading, a thing of the past?

The main newspaper in Western Australia is not published on Good Friday or Christmas Day.  My late wife Joan was a voracious reader of books, magazines and the newspapers.  On the days preceding Good Friday and Christmas Day she would divide the newspaper so that she had something to read on those two days.  

When we worked in Papua New Guinea in the 1970s there was no television, mobile phones or computers and so we either partied or read for entertainment.  I confess I haven’t read anything much except technical manuals and on line information since our PNG days.  Our house has hundreds of Joan’s books in almost every room.  Books are getting hard to sell these days and I am unsure what I am (or my kids are) going to do with them.  Example is the huge collection of cook books Joan bought over the years.   I get frustrated trying to find a recipe in the books, but with just a few keystrokes can pull dozens of recipes for anything I feel like preparing.

Something to ponder....

Monday, December 22, 2014

New car

I picked up my new car today.  It is a Kia Optima, built by a cousin-company to my last car, a Hyundai.
Nice car with lots of goodies such as reversing camera and sensors as well as forward sensors which will help me get closer to the wall in shopping centre carparks.  
A couple of days ago I bought my son a small car at the other end of the scale for $1700.  He hasn’t had a car for five years and is enjoying his freedom from public transport.  I am hoping it will also allow him to get work off bus routes.

Is this going to be my last car?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Festive Season

This ‘Festive Season’ isn’t so festive this year.  We have agreed to a no-presents Christmas Day.   Not sure if that will work.  I have a number of Christmas cards to which I haven’t reciprocated.
In the next few days I will write a synopsis of the better times of the last year and email it to friends.  I hope that my friends will not be too upset about not receiving commercial cards.

Government schools in Western Australia closed on Friday.  The students finished the day before.  At daughter Helen’s school it would seem that some students didn’t feel their school year was worthwhile and set the place on fire.  The damage should be repaired by the start of the school year in 2015.

Every year during school holidays, bush fires, vandalism etc increases.  Is it because school kids are bored during holidays?   I don’t really need an answer to that one.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sydney hostages

There is a hostage situation in a Sydney cafe under way at the moment.  It seems that at least one Islamist has taken staff and customers hostage and forced some of the hostages to hold up the now infamous black flag at the cafe windows.

There are hundreds of state and federal police personnel surrounding the cafe and nearby buildings have been evacuated.  Roads have been blocked and a nearby rail station has been closed.  At this stage no communications between the Islamist(s) and negotiators have been disclosed.

Personally I believe this one will be a protracted situation as the cafe has plenty of food, drinks and toilets. If I were one of the hostages I would be worried that once world-wide media coverage has been achieved the ‘terrorist’ may well blow himself and the hostages up.

Whatever the outcome, he/they have done no good for integrated Muslim Australians.

PS: Tuesday morning.  It's over; three dead including the hostage taker.  Now comes some debate about how the two hostages died.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Online shopping

Over the last couple of months I have been buying items from an online store named Kogan.  They sell good, inexpensive products and are very efficient in their deliveries which are mostly free.   One item I ordered didn’t arrive on time and after three weeks I started emailing their help desk enquiring as to what had happened.  
They eventually sent me a notification with a photo of a signature at the time of delivery.  The signature was by someone name Michael.  They suggested that I ask the neighbours if there was a Michael in their houses.  I replied that I know my neighbours and nobody by that name lives nearby.
At this stage there was a bit of a stalemate.  I waited to see what was going to happen next, then a couple of days ago the young daughter of my neighbours rang my doorbell and presented me with the missing package.
The neighbours were having renovations by some builders and their garage was filled up with boxes and furniture etc.  Their mail box doesn’t have a number on it and my mail box is on the border between both houses.  
                            My house is on the right
The delivery man went to the wrong side of the mailbox and one of the builders signed for the package and put it on the floor amongst all the other stuff.  three weeks later the daughter noticed my name on the carton and delivered it to me.

I emailed the company explaining the details and we are friends again.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

computer project

I have just finished a roll of 600 metres of Gladwrap/Clingwrap my wife Joan bought on the 21st of December 2010.   I am happy to say that I am pleased that it is now over and I can start using the new roll with a fully functioning cutter.  The previous cutter has provoked many harsh words over the years.  The new roll cutter has a sticky leading edge which holds the clingwrap when cutting.   I am inspired to wrap as much stuff as I can now.

The computer project I have been running  for the past 12 or so years ebbs and flows.  Sometimes I have to seek more donations from friends and businesses and other times my spare room and workshop is overflowing with machines ready and loaded to go to needy folk.  That is how it is now with approximately 20 computers and seven good printers with spare ink cartridges.   In the 12 years to date, I estimate I have placed 5-600 computers with needy folk and a few dozen scammers.  After all this time it is still a rewarding project helping out others.