Tuesday, 9 January 2007

12-01-2004_12-31-2004

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Old Year Realisation
Was just watching more on the tsunami. On everyone's blogs, after all. I just wanna know when Bin Laden is going to step forward and claim suicide bombers with a lot of heavy lead in their pockets did it...
Seriously: This is a major bad bad thing, I wept while watching the faces of people who'd seen their lives just - erased - in the space of two or three waves. How we in WA avoided getting our own inland surf beach is almost a miracle, but I for one will not complain. And when I have a bit of spare cash again, I'll top up some relief organisation with a donation.
The crack about terrorists though, is there because it deals with my realisation.
I've read that our American acquaintances are very acutely aware of their 9/11 bombings and harbour a deep grief about it. And I've heard that the Sari Club Bali bombing is unkown to most of them, despite the fact that Johnny Howard goes off sniffing Bush butt as much as he can, despite the fact that this bombing was *OUR* 9/11, and that now our cuz'ns from the USA are seemingly keenly aware of the tsunami situation.
See, there are these terrorists running about blowing things up and killing themselves and their victims, and that's scaring the cuz'ns. Us Aussies, we are used to hings like that. We have all in melees at the footy, and underhand bowling at cricket, and end buster bowls at the genteel sport of lawn bowls. Don't ask what Aussie can achieve with a croquet set, I have played many merely social games and the depths my oponents would stoop to were truly despicable. And we were pissed.
But I digress. My realisation was, that Christmas is past and nothing got blown up to a foreshortened "alla hu ak-ack-chhffttp!" Yet everyone went on terror alerts to some degree - tell the truth, you were half expecting something weren't you? Indeed they are creating terror.
But only if we let them. There are situations where terror quickly develops. Like when the upwardly mobile cub reporter pulls out all the finely-tuned nuances when interviewing you, such as "Aren't you scared that terrorists won't bomb your regular Wednesday lunches because you have a Christian bearded man in your number?"
I mean - *WILL* some bomb wielding dude totally wreck the Pork Strips Five Star before you get to eat them? Could terrorists really be such bastards? - now THAT can be a terror-filled situation.
Saying things like "Calm THE HECK DOWN!!!" and "Whut you mean, terrorist, Willis?" are probably better defusers of potential terror than just punching the reporter in the mouth and shouting "alla hu ak-ack-chhffttp!"
And we need to defuse terror because after all, that's what terrorists want, that's what their name is all about, really. If we're not terrified then they can't call themselves terrorists any more, and they'll shuffle around embarassedly for a while, form an organisation named something like Prawnheads instead, and from then on, strike terror far more effectively.
So this New Year, don't be a whimp, stand up to terrorists, stand up to terror, and stand up to self-aggrandizing news reporters. Try not to punch them in the mouth. And remember a terrorist turned Prawnhead is better than a terrorist who has blown himself up.
Categories - ::/:: posted at 12:45 AM Ted
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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

End of the break, and what do you get?
... well, to go for a 700km drive, for one ... Trish and I decided yesterday that Margaret River was the only place to be, so we chucked water and munchies in the little Excel, checked the oil water and tyres, and took off around 0930.
Beetled on down and took a quick turn around Golden Bay because we'd had a summer 24 hour fishing comp there once, the organisers and I were the only ones there all day, it was the hottest day on record for yonks, something close to fifty degrees I seem to recall... People showed up in the evening and stayed the night, and we got sunburn even under the tent we'd set up for registrations and weighing.
Then through Mandurah and watched the pelicans fighting kids for their bait, down through all the beachside places with the fancy American names, and finally hit Busselton around midday or not long after, where we had lunch at Albie's on the main drag, watching farm utes and clapped out hacks doing bog laps, and sweated out bucketloads.
Also ate a nice entree plate of calamari chips (straight cuts, battered and fried, very tasty) and prawn spring rolls (stick a prawn out straight, wrap it in a spring roll wrapper, fry) and real spring rolls, real chips, and real gravy. Not bad for being almost three hours out of Perth.
Then remembered that a couple we knew had moved to Bridgetown not long ago, and decided to drive across by the shortest route, Rosa Brook / Mowen Road. BAD mistake, it is around half dirt and the dirt is very rough on little Excel wheels and suspensions... But we made it, and then - cos of course neither of us had a phone number or address - we found where they worked, and found them, too. Had a quiet few hours over a cuppa, and headed back via Donnybrook, which was also excellent.
I've pretty much decided that a hobby sized plot of land out that way would be my idea of retirement heaven. It's the middle of summer and the place was verdant green, flowers everywhere, and little pockets of some strange blue liquid that I'm reliably assured are dams and streams full of water.
So - we got back around 2130 that night, pretty much a 12 hour trip.
A few choice discoveries to share with you. Keep sausage rolls on the dash here in the summer, and they will be warm to hot all day - even if you do have the A/C on... Take plenty of water, and a teatowel which you can wet and wrap around your water bottle - keep that OUT of the sun and in the stream of the A/C and you will have pleasantly cool water all the drive. And remember to take plenty of water because even in the southern part of the state dehydration can be mere hours away.
Now - has anyone got a camper for sale?...
Categories - ::/:: posted at 7:34 PM Ted
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Monday, December 27, 2004

oh yeah...
... and, of course, the dreaded pin came out. Wednesday arvo there I was in the hospital ortho clinic, having heard all the stories from other people about friends of theirs who'd had similar pins out and how surprisingly painful it all was, so I had plenty of cheerful thoughts let me tell you...
First I had to explain how come I no longer had a cast on... Cut a long story short - it was a bad cast and hurt me, and when it cracked a little, that was all the excuse I needed to take it off. Taking it off involved a sharp pair of secateurs and some hard work, but there was no way I was going to go to clinic or Emergency as they'd just have put it back on.
As it was, I think I am lucky it died when it did, as I took two days to get my feet and ankle back into some semblance of working order as the cast had twisted them severely. But that's another story...
So I explained how it had come apart in spots, how it was night time and I didn't want to bother an Emergency department with it ("You should have - one can never tell with such injuries" - as though this was a major trauma not a broken toe) and after the nurse had frowned at me she settled me into one of the procedure cubicles.
I asked if I could grab a pair of scissors to take the dressings off, but wasn't allowed to do that. I've been putting them on and removing them every day for four weeks but apparently I turn into an imbecile when I enter a hospital... Ah well, not my problem, just added to someone's workload unnecessarily.
At this stage I'm shitting kittens because the moment is not far off when the pliers come out. Specialist comes in, goes back out to hunt down a trolley with prep stuff on it, comes back.
Asks me about the cast again, which makes me squirm, then about the dressings. "Cos the cast was all fine" I replied, "but it didn't stop the pin hooking in the bed sheets and getting twisted around..."
Got a bit of a look then. "The pin is in the same position as the xray." says the doctor.
"Yeap, that would be because I've twisted it back several times..."
Look on the guy's face was a mixture of admiration bemusement and horror. I will remember it to my dying day. hehehe...
Anyhow, the vinegar stroke is at hand. Doctor has the pin and site disinfected, the pliers in one hand, and my toe in the other. I ask quickly if it's better to yank or to slide it smoothly. Doctor grins. "You know," he says, "I have no idea... Never had a pin myself. I suspect that quick will be best."
He then gave the pin a half turn twist, pulled back - and slipped off the pin.
Or so I thought, because when I looked again I noticed that A) there hadn't been the sound of pliers slipping off anything, B) the pin wa snot in my toe anymore and C) the pin WAS in the pliers instead. Just like that, not even an uncomfortable feeling.
So - have you ever had a shoulder or elbowseize up on you after sleeping wrong for a few hours? Well as I walked out I discovered what a toe feels like after almost five weeks in the same position... Yow! But as the days have passed it's almost totally painfree now, just won't bend properly yet. But it's early days yet. The toe is back!
Categories - ::/:: posted at 2:07 AM Ted
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Post Xmas Wrap
Lots of people have blogged their Christmas, most much better than I could. (I am crap at the finely-crafted encapsulations of moving and sensitive events. So sue me... %)
Anyhow. I saw my Dad at Christmas, which is a mixed blessing, as he has had a major stroke (hemispheric, one side of the brain gone) and it always freaks me out, but good because I do love him and he's still my Dad.
We (Trish and I) got there for lunch, and because our family came over from Austria via Arabia some 40 years ago the food is a bit of a fusion. Which by the way I love. Liver pate terrine, cucumber yoghurt salads, Austrian style ham, rubbing shoulders with prawns and mussels, potato chips next to pretzels, good beer, good wine.
We sat around a while and bullshitted on after Dad got his people-mover taxi back to the nursing home, and got a few more drinks and nibbles in, then had to head off to the other major appointment, which is Trish's kids. The kids' father is Turkish and has remarried, to a "good Turkish girl instead of that Kiwi woman" and they also showed up, no aggro thankfully.
We enjoyed a lot of Turkish finger food like dolmades and burek, pasdamar sausage and cheese with crackers, all mixin' it with chips and pizza squares, then had a Christmas dinner that featured a Turkish pasta and meat bake like a lasagne, pizza, seafood salad a la Aussie, and the good ole potato salad. More good wine and beer.
Oh yeah - in amongst that I got to drive from Kwinana to Parkwood for Trish's diabetes medication as she was going all pearshaped with her sugar levels, then got to go back a second time and pick up the youngest boy after his work and bring him out to the dinner, and so I got to be driving when that huge blow struck, and got blown all over the freeway along with all the other traffic.
I cobbled together a GPS and antenna using junked parts from work, and we had it record pretty much every second the car was in motion, I haven't crunched the numbers yet but I figure we must have done just over 200 km for the day.
And Boxing Day has been quiet. Had a cuppa with the neighbour in the other duplex and that was pleasant although I bet she's just as glad as we are that Xmas is over for another year. She's an excellent neighbour, we three get along well and have dinners together often, and now are renovating using the same builder to do both duplexes and the same carport/patio guy to do the externals, so this will be a very cool looking duplex block soon.
We currently have a huge sandy hole with a tile roof over it where the carport was, this will be our master bedroom with an ensuite sometime next year. Next door's carport is going to extend her lounge room, and there is a huge three car carport going up in front of that again, with two smaller carports to the sides. This is going to create a huge amount of shaded area around the two buildings, and be a huge party area once it's all done. It'll also cool the places in summer, I suspect.
SO with sidetracks and all, that was Christmas. Hope yours was as good as you would have liked it, and that you too got to catch up with all the people you care about.
Categories - ::/:: posted at 1:32 AM Ted
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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Pin comes out Wednesday!
Yeap, the pin is due out tomorrow (Wednesday 22nd) - just in time for Christmas!
I am looking forward to being able to wear a shoe instead of the good ole Aussie thong (flipflop to our weird neighbours) as my left heel is a mass of cracked skin after two weeks.
I told Trish that I was taking the left shoe and sock with me to clinic tomorrow, so I could put it on right away. Being ever attentive to things that can go wrong, my good other half then proceeded to look for possible problems.
"What if," she asked brightly, (a little TOO brightly, in my opinion,) "they put a bloody great dressing on to cover the pin site?"
I didn't even have to think about it. "If they do," I said, "I'll borrow the bloody great nurse's bloody great scissors, cut the bloody great dressing off right there, and ask for a bloody great Band-Aid - no, I'll bring a bloody great Band-Aid, and then put my sock and shoe on."
And you know what? That's exactly what I'd do. Doctors rate patients on a thing called "compliance" - and nurses and doctors are among the least compliant patients. I come a close second. I know enough about my health to know when a treatment is suitable and when it's doing more harm than good.
My next door neighbour is a registered nurse, and she has been a (very non-compliant) patient too. Stories she tells, I am actually a model patient...
An article I read recently said that the relationship between doctors and patients is changing. Patients are often going to their doctors to request a particular treatment or procedure, after figuring out their own symptoms. Because of more widely-available medical information, this is a logical development.
For example, one of the GPs I saw, got all flustered when I told him that a particular bug I'd caught had changed the colour and smell of my urine and stools, he seemed to think that A) it was too much information and B) that for some reason I didn't know my body after 45-odd years and the evaluation of my urine and stools wouldn't be of any use until they'd been done by a path lab...
See, most people do know their bodies, and when they are ill they can pick the things that have changed. But medicine of the last hundred or more years did not actually care much about what the unreliable patient said, just what the educated and talented (of course) Doctor observed and decided was relevant.
In Socrates' time, the physician listened to his patients, spent time among them, and debated the right treatment with them. And the system worked, with the limited resources at hand at that time they still saved lives.
Now it seems the system is swinging again, and as the article said, doctors are once again managers and opinion-givers rather than the ultimate decision-makers, and a damn good thing it is, too...
Crap Joke Alert!
A BRIEF HISTORY OF MEDICINE
2000 BC: Here, eat this root.
1000 AD: That root is heathen. Say this prayer.
1850 AD: That prayer is pure superstition. Drink this potion.
1950 AD: That potion is snake oil. Swallow this pill.
1984 AD: That pill is ineffective. Take this antibiotic.
2004 AD: That antibiotic doesn't work any more. Eat this root.
Categories - ::/:: posted at 11:34 PM Ted
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Saturday, December 11, 2004

Bus Busting.
Here's what happened on my bus on Friday:
When we left the busport to go on the freeway southbound the driver had to ask passengers to tell him how to get on the bus lane. When we crossed Henry Bridge the bus was still in the middle lane and the driver seemed not to know that he had only one or two hundred metres to the Leach exit, until a passenger walked up and told him. At that stage he luckily had just enough space between traffic to make the exit, but it was a matter of mere seconds and metres, and had traffic been heavier it would have ended in a collision. At the stop near the Vahland Ave end of Apsley Rd, the driver pulled out and almost cleaned up a cyclist, who was pretty pissed at nearly getting swiped by a bus, and who'd whistled and rung his bell to try and warn the driver. Then, turning left onto Vahland, the driver sat and waited. No traffic in sight. He waited until he saw approaching traffic, and while he still had plenty of time to get in front of them, he sat there even longer until the cars (there were cars in both lanes) were only a few tens of metres away and THEN pulled out in front of them. Did I nearly shit myself? Yep. But wait - there's more... Another passenger had rung the bell just before that turn, and after we rounded the corner she stood up and moved forward to exit the bus. Which didn't stop but kept going until she realised that the driver had no intention of stopping and yelled at him. THEN he braked (pretty sharply) and threw us all around a bit, before finally stopping quite some distance beyond the stop.
I've been using the bus service for around six to eight months, but this is not the first incident like this. One driver totally missed a section of his St Geo's Tce route by exiting the busport in the wrong direction. He apologised and suggested that people whose stops he'd bypassed would only have a "short walk back." And I've been on two other trips where the driver was distracted and nearly rear-ended a stopping vehicle, with the resulting severe braking throwing a passenger to the floor in one instance. The other of these panic stops threw my laptop bag against the next seat and then to the floor, luckily no damage was sustained either time. On another trip, the driver was speaking on his mobile phone and driving one handed while merging from the busway into the freeway before Henry Bridge.
And now I've pulled the double. Monday afternoon, got on the bus, it's the same driver again. I still have a splint on my foot and a big pin sticking out the toe. I get on the bus, go to validate my ticket and bang - this idiot hits the accelerator, making me roll over the broken bones. Then he realises he has a passenger still outside and SLAMS THE FRIGGEN BRAKES ON! - landing all my weight on the healing bones of my foot and causing me to say something like "pardon me Sir but you have exacerbated my injuries" or, (more as I remember it,) "ow, fucking take it easy there cowboy!"...
Yes I realise I just swore there and lost this article its G rating - but come on, this guy is a total dick. He sees someone who hobbles onto his bus with a fricken splint on and just goes screw you cripple see if I give a rats ass and tromps it then stomps it, that is the kind of asshole I'd rather see in front of the bus than in the front seat of it if you get my meaning.
(Yes I realise that he might have just missed my condition but I rather suspect that he just figured he's only driving a bus so why should he also have to think or have consideration for others? And to tell the truth his seeming attitude to other road users seems to bear me out.)
At least he knows the route this time, but he still drives like he's driving a bloody cattle truck, slapdash and happy-go-lucky cutting traffic off at all the bus stops all along the Terrace and at selected stops and intersections all the way home, stomping and tromping like he would rather be driving for Team Ferrari. Rather badly I might add. Loser.
Is it any wonder Perth is starting to disappear in a haze of car fumes some days? To begin with the public transport services are pathetic and there are mainly these, like, three or four major routes and most other suburbs just get those pathetic 9 to 5 style services which are not even useful for getting to and from work sometimes.
Then with drivers with attitudes like the driver mentioned above, the people who otherwise just *might* have waited an hour for a bus that would take them into the city (just in time for no bus to be scheduled to bring them back until mid-morning the following day, though,) well they are just going to go screw it and take their car in. (Or a taxi, which amounts to the same quantity of pollution.)
I've now emailed Transperth for the second time, with the latest instalment. I've asked that they kick their contractors' asses and get them training their drivers beyond the level of spastic monkeys. I haven't mentioned specific drivers or routes, I think they really need to talk to ALL their contractors about better training ALL the way around. When the Transit Police are the nicest people in the organisation you've got a problem...
I really do hope they do something about it, because while I happen to think that the bus is a better option than driving one's car 24km every day, I'm beginning to worry about getting on buses, something about placing my life in some total dropkick idiot's hands just doesn't appeal to me.
Categories - ::/:: posted at 12:48 AM Ted
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