Thursday, December 31, 2015

Rebecca Baumann..Artist

A few days ago I visited the Fremantle Arts Centre to view an installation by one of my fav ex-students, Rebecca Baumann.  I confess that I am not as familiar with art in its many forms as I am with the workings of an internal combustion engine, but I did enjoy Bec’s show.

You might like to know more about Bec here.   She is world-renowned and has exhibited in quite a few countries.

   Video of part of the installation

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Remembering Mike Treasure

Yesterday evening, family and friends of Michael Treasure gathered in the gardens of the University of Western Australia to dedicate a bench seat as a memorial for Mike.  His body was donated to the university medical faculty to serve the training of MDs and hopefully research into Parkinson’s disease.  Mike wanted it so.   

The bench is made from English Teak and the price included a perpetual maintenance contract.   After the dedication, the group of friends and family enjoyed some champagne, food and then a movie in the university outdoor theatre.

The University of Western Australia is this year, 100 years old.  The grounds are quite wonderful with huge trees and a variety of plants and ground cover.

Dorothy, Mike's wife; Brian and Lilli and on the right Katherine and Rick

Monday, December 28, 2015

Pliny the Elder

My niece’s husband Rick, gave me a nice Xmas present of two bottles of a California beer named Pliny the Elder. He brought it into Australia in his luggage. It is bottled in 510ml bottles and cannot be shipped outside of California; for what reason I know not.  Another difference with Pliny is that when you go to a store you can only purchase two bottles.     Pliny is 8% alcohol and maybe that is somehow restricting.    I enjoyed it.  Thanks Rick.

I will catch up with Rick tomorrow evening and find out the reasons for the two bottle only deal and why it cannot be shipped out of California.  Rick and Katherine are heading back to the U.S. on Wednesday.

If you are so inclined, you can read about this brew here.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Day

Daughter Helen and hubby James drove me ‘north of the river’ for Xmas Day at my sister-in-law Dorothy’s place for a major calorie upload.  Fab food, wine and conversation with niece Katherine and her husband Rick who are here in Western Australia visiting from San Francisco. My nephew Brian and his wife Lili rounded off a good day.

Helen was elected as Father Xmas to hand out the presents under the tree.  When I received a large package from Dorothy, I joked that I hoped it was one of her watercolours that I have always admired. Dorothy insisted I take it down off the wall and take it home. I was quite taken aback, thinking she must be a bit angry, but no, she knew I have liked it for years and now it is mine. Yeah!!

When I was dropped off home by James I was asked to come in to my neighbours’ house for a glass of French Champagne which turned into a lovely meal.  A good day!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The South of France

We spent a month in France in 2005 (?) mostly based in Agde on the med coast. Wonderful!
A couple of roadsigns on the outskirts of Beziers. Very effective.

Translation..On this road between Beziers Vias and 29 deaths since 5 years SLOW

Monday, December 21, 2015

The grandkids visit

Me with my grandkids Rosie and Ruby.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Mahatma Ghandi

I have been reading some articles about Mahatma Ghandi.  No special reason.  The world probably needs more leaders like he was.

Mahatma Ghandi’s worldly possessions at the time of his death include a watch, eating bowl and sandals.   

The wooden sandals look as though the toe holds were cotton reels.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Mulveys visit

Had a visit from a friend, Brendan Mulvey.  We taught together at Willetton SHS. Brendan’s wife, Tracie is an exec with Chevron and based in Houston, Texas.  They are here in Western Australia for a short break over Christmas.

Brendon gets the occasional job with Chevron running Aussie classes for U.S. folk who are being transferred to work in Australia.  He tells me that there are vast differences between Oz and the U.S. and these need explaining in detail to people who are about to experience a similar, but often quite different place.

Tracie dropped Brendan off at my place and much talk over a few beers was had.  She collected him so no expensive cabs were used. He brought some expensive boutique beers, but I thought he might like a W.A. beer.    He didn’t mind it; at least that’s what he said.

Brendan and Tracie

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Catching up with Tracey

During this last week I visited an ex-student of mine in her business premises. Tracey told me that she didn’t enjoy school very much and as soon as she could, left and got on with life.  Now at the age 37, she has her own business as a finance company, financial planner and a small import agency importing Chinese products. 
She has talked to school leavers at a high school in a low socio- economic area showing them that they don’t have to have a degree to be successful.
Her businesses employ 21 people and are very successful.  I was most impressed with her management style and the obvious loyalty of her staff.

We had a couple of hours reminiscing about the past, our families and future plans.

 Tracey could talk under water. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Resurrecting a MacBook Pro

A couple of weeks ago I was offered a MacBook Pro for my giveaway project.  I gratefully accepted the gift even though the owner told me that a repair firm had deemed the Logic Board to be kaput.
When I did receive it, it was sans charger, so I charged the battery to see if  the MBP was devoid of life: pressed the startup button and it leapt into life.
I had a small moment of moral turpitude, thinking for a second, that I should not tell the donor that his machine is OK and keep it.  That thought rapidly disappeared and I emailed him suggesting that when I had done some maintenance on it that he should collect it.  He was surprised and grateful and if a few tests over this week prove that it is running well, he told me he would collect it and give me a slightly older MacBook for distribution.

PS: There is a problem with the donated laptop.  It will not always boot up and I suspect it is a problem with overheating.  I will download a piece of software to adjust the cooling fans and see what happens.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Joan's Rose

My dear Joan’s ashes enrich this rose.  I will also help when it is my time; but not just yet.  Daughter Helen is the custodian of Joan’s resting place.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Queensland Fruit Fly

I notice that my neighbour’s apricot tree has been attacked by the Queensland Fruit Fly. A newspaper article told how there have been outbreaks of QFF in suburbs near my house.  QFF had travelled to Western Australia most probably in fruit brought over by travellers.  I have fruit fly traps in my fig tree and I notice plenty of flies on my trap which look like the Queensland Fruit Fly I have seen in photographs.

Click to enlarge...

Do I approach my neighbours and ask that they remove and burn all the infected fruit?

When I was a young fella, the Department of Agriculture in this state demanded that every household bait for fruit fly and I guess it is not politic anymore for government to be so prescriptive.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

122 years

I arose this morning finding myself to be 76 years of age.  How did that happen?

Daughter Helen had her 46th birthday celebration yesterday.  Her and her husband James are having people around for lunch to celebrate both our birthdays.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chinese company to lease Port Darwin

I normally do not comment on politics or religion.

But I confess to not understanding how the Australian Federal Government is to allow the 100 year lease of Darwin harbour to a Chinese firm.  China is spreading its wings commercially and militarily.  In the last 30 years or so, China has transformed itself from an agrarian peasant state to a manufacturing giant.   I have looked for Australian made products and except for cars, most of the goods for sale emanate from the PRC.  

I recently bought a worm farm and was pleasantly surprised to see it was manufactured in Australia.  Searching the house I cannot see anything else I have bought in the last 10 years made in Australia.

Darwin port has a RAAF base alongside it and there is a U.S. presence there in the form of shipping and approximately 1500 Marines on rotation.

Dumb policy move Australia.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tree House

My daughter Helen has a Pre-Primary class at a school near Rockingham.  She, and her enthusiastic Teachers Aid, Lyndy, decided they should enhance the school yard with a Tree House and I was recruited to build the tree house and associated mushrooms and windows. The house is not as you might imagine.  The plan is to make a door an entrance to the tree. Later will come small windows around the trunk of the tree and a small crop of mushrooms around the base of the tree.

It sounded like a good idea and I bought bits and pieces from our local hardware store to construct the tree house door and it did test my woodwork skills as my woodwork tools run to a jigsaw and hammer.  I'm more of a metal bloke.

The doorway is to be fixed to the base of a tree in the school yard and further up the tree trunk will be windows with people ( things) looking out.  

I am only the artisan in this project and I hope that what I have made will stir imagination in their pupils.
The door to the tree house

Mushroom mould. Modelling plaster to be added.

Lyndy, with yet to be painted mushrooms

Oops they turned out to be Toadstools.
With Helen our daughter

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Power cable storage

With all the computers, printers etc I have received over the years I have heaps of power cables left over from machines that were not restorable.   They used to live in a large cardboard box on the workshop floor, but now the black cords have their own rack.

click to enlarge

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Papua New Guinea Expatriates' gathering

Four ex-Papua New Guinea expatriates got together on Sunday.  Two served in PNG as Kiaps (Patrol Officers); I taught there for ten years and the other, Mike, was with DASF (Department of Agriculture, Stock and Fisheries).

Harvey was a Kiap and we met in the Sepik District in the early 1970s.  My Vocational Centre students completed two projects for Harvey; one an aid post and the other to dismantle a prefabricated building and move it another site and reassemble it.
Vocational centres had to be self-sufficient with materials, tools, vehicles and fuels etc.  Staff salaries and boarding school rations were the province of the administration.

Much discussion on Sunday was about different characters, successful and some not so successful.  The DASF person Mike had also moved to different stations during his time in PNG and the day was spent imbibing some (plenty of) beer (I remained sober as I was to drive Harvey’s car back to his home) and lots of ‘Do you remember so and so?  All of us agreed that we were most fortunate and proud to have been part of the the lead up to Independence with extraordinary adventures never to be had again anywhere.

The old being the oldest at 76 this month. Click to enlarge.

Mike, me, Harvey and Garry

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Huge aloe vera

A couple of photos of an aloe vera bush (tree?) I saw at a market garden a few kilometres from my place.  There is a small house behind the plant.   
Click photos to enlarge.....

This closeup shows the dangers in arriving home
PP (partially pissed) and walking into the aloe vera

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Narrowband therapy heating up

I am in my fourth week of Ultraviolet Light Phototherapy-Narrowband UVB treatment. Treatment is three times a week with each session increasing in exposure time.  Yesterday’s treatment was for 5 minutes 40 seconds.  I am thinking that the end of the treatment exposure time will be 10 plus minutes.  Yesterday’s exposure time was quite warm and I figure that during the final week, it should be hot enough for me to smuggle in a nice bread roll and a hamburger patty and onions to have for the drive home.*

So far I have noticed a vast improvement in my skin and my arms at least, will soon be able to be shown to the public.  Itching has calmed down also.

* Just kidding

Monday, October 26, 2015

Willetton SHS 1995 reunion

I had a wonderful Saturday evening at a reunion of students who graduated in 1995. I wasn’t part of that cohort, but taught many of them over their 5 years of high school.  
I was the only teacher who mixed it with the 130 ex-students of Willetton SHS.  I was a little disappointed with the lack of interest of other teachers of this group, but confess I enjoyed the attention and kind words bestowed on me.  Bit of an ego trip!
Brother Graham dropped me off at the venue at South Fremantle Football Club and responded to my call around 10.25pm; collected me and dropped me off home.

A few photos of these 36/37 year olds.  All of the guests I spoke with were most successful in their chosen careers.

Click on Pics to enlarge.....
The wonderful Sam who organised the event

Thursday, October 22, 2015

My Joan

On TV tonight was a report about a U.S. study showing us that men didn’t like dating smarter women.  Hope they didn’t spend too much money on that survey.

My wife was several dozen points above me on the IQ scale and I loved her dearly for the 46 years we were together. Still love her.  We shared our intelligence and practicality.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sister Shirl hits the Hamptons

I have just received an email from my nephew in NY telling me that my sister arrived safely from Perth, Western Australia.  Brother Graham and I had the task/pleasure of collecting sister Shirley at Perth domestic airport from her flight from Esperance on the south coast and looking after her before her evening flight on Emirates en route to NYC.   
We spent a few hours with Shirl before driving her out to Perth International Airport. My daughter Helen suggested I pay for a cab rather that try and negotiate the recent modifications on the airport roads.   ‘Nahh.  I can do it’, says Kev.  I had not been to that airport since multi-million dollar roadworks alongside and within the airport were completed and I had heard much discussion and complaints about the difficulty of finding the International Terminal.
Once off the main highway there are probably 7-8 roundabouts with not one indication of an International Terminal.   After about 30 minutes of somewhat terse criticism of the organisation, we were directed to a roundabout which eventually led us to the terminal.     Shirl was off, with a stopover in Dubai then on to NY.

Bruce and Tamara live in the Hamptons and Shirl will be mixing with the elite.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

WSHS Class of 95 reunion

I arrived home from an outing on Friday and found a most welcome gift on my front door step.  Don’t know who left it there, but I am using it with some good soothing results on the the Psoriasis I am at present plagued with and I am most grateful for your kind thoughts.

Tomorrow I start round three of the UV Light therapy.  On Friday the exposure was for 3Min 10Sec.  The therapist told me that it is often at this stage that results start to be seen.   Hope so as I have a reunion of the Willetton SHS Class of 95 next Saturday and I don’t want to be scratching and squirming at that occasion.  WSHS was my most favourite workplace.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Dr Google

I am still suffering from this, my first ever attack of Psoriasis at 75 years of age.  The medical profession confesses that Psoriasis cannot be cured.   Dr Google has a myriad of people writing with successful treatments ranging from aloe vera, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, Dead Sea bath salts, epson salts bath, baking soda bath, Boracic Acid, Turmeric, beet juice, banana skin rub, etc etc etc.  Please note that all these must be in ‘organic’ mode.  

Candida gets a bit of the blame for Psoriasis.

Another wonder cure is Colloidal Silver both applied and taken internally.

I have made up a salve of aloe vera juice and body cream and it may be giving a little relief. Early days yet.    I am continuing the UltraViolet PhotoTherapy-Narrowband UVB treatment three sessions a week for another 7 weeks.

aloe vera

Friday, October 9, 2015

Psoriasis again

I am in my second week of the  Ultraviolet Phototherapy treatment.  The exposure times increase at each visit and my last exposure was for 2 minutes.    Today's visit will probably be for a 3 minute dose. I have not noticed any improvement in the rash or the continual itch.  I have tried many lotions and creams to no avail. 

The nurse who administers  the Ultraviolet booths tells me that it may be up to 8 weeks of exposures before I see (and feel) any better.   In some cases patients see no improvement.  She tells me that in this one small clinic she treats around 75 patients a day.

I have been using anti-histamines to try and ease the itch and I had to stop using one because of some nasty side effects such as slurred speech, balance problems and a strange hallucination where the tiled floor appeared to be flooded with gently swirling clear water.

I know that some people aim to experience these symptoms by taking/smoking/injecting, illegal substances.

A blurrygraph of my forearm

Friday, October 2, 2015

Second round of Ultraviolet Light Therapy

This morning I had the second  round of Ultraviolet Light Therapy.  I am scheduled to have this therapy three days a week with each session of increasing exposure.  Today the exposure was 1Min 20 Sec.     I am unsure how long this therapy will continue. In the 15 minutes I was there approximately 12 patients either entered or left the building.  On Monday I shall ask the nurse how many patients/treatments she has in a week.

Click Pics to enlarge.

The sock is not easy to attach
 so I am looking for a baby's booty.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ultraviolet Light Therapy

For the last 6 weeks I have been suffering with a bad run of Psoriasis. I have had mild incarnations at approximately the same time each year over a 10 year period, but this time Psori  looks like it is trying to stay with me.
G.P., Dermotologist,  home-grown pseudo doctors have all weighed in the fight to no avail.    Ointments ; cremes, powders and a variety of witches' brews.  I am itching and scratching all over my body and decided to see my GP to get another referral to revisit the dermo again.
In the referral the GP suggested  that I would be happy to try Ultraviolet Light Therapy.  This is done at the Dermo’s suite where there are a number of round ‘booths’ lit by infrared light tubes. The patient has to be nude and wearing dark sunglasses as well as using a facemask. It is estimated that at three times a week I should see much improvement in 6 - 8 weeks.  I have been told by a friend who has had this treatment before that I should bring along a sock at each session.   Whatever can that be for??
Had my first session early this morning sans sock.

Fortunately the treatment is bulk billed and is free for the patient.  Australia has a very good healthcare system.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

HMAS Australia 1935

I’m no Charles Darwin, but I know that girls tend to squeal more than boys.  I recently watched a nature programme which featured two groups of baboons in a territorial skirmish.  The males of both sides were showing all the aggression and the  presenter pointed out that the females in both groups were squealing.  I doubt that Joan of Arc was a squealer.

Today I recycled 30 older hard drives.  Many of those were from the first coloured iMacs and  the capacity ranged from 6GB to 10GB.  Base level hard drives these days start at 250GB.

This photo was taken by Naval Photographer Saxon Fogarty in 1935 when HMAS Australia was returning to Australia after the July Silver Jubilee Review at Spithead.  The dry dock was at Alexandria.

click to enlarge

Friday, September 25, 2015

Workshop cleanup

I decided that I will remain a single car person.  I have, in the past, had two or more cars;  my regular transport and maybe another one for weekend cruising.  At 75+ I figure that one car will do me and so the half of my garage which was just for junk has now been cleaned up and turned into the gardening section with all the gardening stuff including mowers, edgers, blowers, hedge trimmers, chain saw, whipper snippers neatly lined up.
There are a few duplicates there and I am too embarrassed to explain how that came about.
After shifting all that gear to the garage I had a major cleanup in my workshop.  I knew I had a problem with rats, but sweeping up all the rat shit made me determined to find where they are getting in and out of my workshop.  I found a poor piece of workmanship in the upper brickwork where a gap big enough for a cat to get in was found.  I have sealed that gap and have set rat traps to finish off any rats now caught inside.

This weekend I will start recycling computer stuff which has been sitting in the dust for years. In this stuff are 75 hard drives and I will recycle the older drives with lower capacity and others I have marked as dead.  

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Mediterranean Fruit Fly

My loquat tree is loaded with fruit and I am going to ensure that I don’t let the Medfly (Mediterranean fruit fly)  lay their eggs in my fruit.
It is a two pronged attack on the little blighters*….foliage spray and sticky baits.
 I have made up a mix of sugar and Pyrethrum and sprayed most of the foliage which should attract and kill ‘em.   I bought two traps which contain a lure and a very sticky surface which is already grabbing medfly.

The Medfly is thought to have originated in Africa.  

* 1950s alternative for a swearword

Friday, September 18, 2015

More computers for my ongoing project

Last weekend I collected 5 Macs from an Australia-wide printing firm.   I was told that the two 24” iMacs weren’t working as well as two G5 Towers.    I have been successful in resurrecting one iMac and two G5s.  The other G5 tower is one I really wanted to get running again as it is a liquid cooled G5 Pro.  Nice machine, but the power supply is dead and so I went on Gumtree and advertised it for free for a Hackintosh build.  
A Hackintosh is a Mac case with a powerfull PC guts.  Within minutes of placing the advert I had replies from a dozen people keen to come and collect it.  As I answered each reply, several told me that my phone number didn’t work, so I rang the house phone from my worked.   It transpires that dummy Kev placed the advert on the NSW  Gumtree list.     4,000+ kilometres is a little too far away to collect from my home.

I have rewritten an advert for Western Australians.

Click images to enlarge them.

All aluminium case

Stripped down showing the liquid cooling radiator

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Australia's new Prime Minister

Australia has a new Prime Minister.  That makes five PMs in the last 5 years.

PM (sorry ex PM) Tony Abbott was gently deposed by Malcolm Turnbull.  I always thought Malcolm should be the PM.  Seems to be a nice guy; intelligent and not too belligerent in parliament or out of parliament. Unlike Tony, he doesn’t have any distinctive facial features for political cartoonists to latch on to.

I am unsure of the facts, but it has been said that Tony was just three days short of being eligible for ex PMs’ lifetime free travel etc etc on the public purse. 

Clive Palmer, the senator for Fairfax, Queensland is sometimes the only entertainment parliament experiences.  A couple of days ago from the rear seat of his Rolls Royce, he made a short video telling the then PM to go.  See it here.
He does a goodbye video to any politician who is in a bit of trouble.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung.  The birds are building nests; willy wagtails harassing the crows, white cabbage moths are getting into my meagre vegetable garden and a few flies are hatching out.  Who told all the birds that it is mating time?

Fathers Day yesterday saw me enjoying a lavish lunch at my daughter Helen and her husband James’ house.  My brother Graham joined us there.  Great food and company. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Bye Bye sitemeter

I have been using a piece of software called sitemeter to see where on earth people are who visit this blog.

Please understand that sitemeter only tells me how many visits per hour/day, the location of the visitor, what computer/pad they are using and the country and location within that country they are visiting from. No personal details, names or email addresses are shown. In the third image, the duration of the visit shows as 10 seconds.  The initial visit is not timed and that 10 second notification shows the time looked at a previous posting.

I have been using sitemeter for 8 years and over the last few years it has started to go offline for weeks at a time. It was started in 1999 by a single man. I guess he may have onsold sitemeter and the new owner(s) may be struggling to keep it running. I think I will close my account and try another counter.

Some screenshots of sitemeter.  Click images to enlarge.

It is a pity sitemeter is not functioning well. It is the only way I know if anyone is actually reading what I write.