Sunday, 22 June 2008

Officially A Grey Nomad

So you may have met The Duckling already, well this weekend I've found my motorhome, a Nissan Civilian conversion that I sadly don't have pictures of yet or I'd bore you to death with those too. We'll arrange the transfer later this week, then I'll find my way to Albany and bring the beast home to alter to suit my tastes and then load up.

Anyone that's got friends out in the lower SW, I'm looking for a place to stay for about six months while I do the alterations and refurbishments, not too expensive if possible. Also if anyone's going to Albany this week and wants a codriver and someone to share some of the fuel costs, let me know.

Trish and I set out Friday afternoon and arrived in Pemberton after dark, booked into a motel and had dinner then went to our rooms, the smoke was so thick you could cut the air, and my lungs HATED it but having the aircon on just circulating air that seemed to help.

The motel itself had "aspirations" - it puts on social functions for the townsfolk but I thought it "missed it by *that* much" as far as the overall impression goes. That said, the rooms are economical and good value, the quality of the food was very good, and it hit the spot for us, and was very reasonable.

Walpole. As Tingle-jungle-y as ever, then through Denmark. And Albany. I could live here, I really could. Well, to tell the truth, anywhere in this quadrant is lovely. I met the motorhome and its owners, liked all three. It's not a young vehicle by any means but it is solid, dependable-feeling, and it drove well with no bad habits. Later this week, the money and paperwork changes hands at some remote spot halfway between Albany and Perth, and I'll own it.

Trip home, via Pemberton again, then off in the morning and a stop in Busselton to have breakfast at the Vasse, then a nice solid drive back in one stretch. Pet hate along this stretch? The section outside Bunbury/Australind where the speed limit changes every few hundred yards it seems. That's not a highway, come on Main Roads get this bit right! Sheesh.

And now I'm sitting on tenterhooks wishing the motorhome was here already so I can start loading and refurbishing. And trying to think of a name for it. So far Varduk is the best I can come up with, that's a cross of the Romany word for wagon ("vardo") with the Romanian word for gangster. ("haiduk") I like "Varekai" (Romany for "wherever") but there's already a motorhome with that name, it's the other one I liked. (But a fuel "economy" of around 27l/100km of diesel kind of put me off...)

So this blog will soon be hitting the road along with a daily log and Google Map showing key points of interest along the way.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Ur errols, let me show u them

Some things picked up on TV the last few weeks.

First, our "Obesity Gold Medal." Fine that we are raising awareness and giving this health concern some air time and coverage. But for chrissakes get facts straight, right, and nailed down. The claim is that four million people are obese, and then we're told that 26% of our population is. Our population is through the 20,000,000 mark. That makes 25% = 5,000,000 people. So how can 4,000,000 = 26%? And of course that kind of "research" throws into doubt the whole shebang, the researchers for apparently not being able to do good maths like what I can, the reporter for not spotting a factual error and clarifying it, and the TV stations for running it without any sanity checks.

And then an ad I would like to pick apart. The one that "teaches sustainable" stuff. Oooh yeah, "sustainable" is a new magic buzzword because of the ecological problems we're facing, make sure you put that in the ad a few times. But "sustainable values?" Come on, what does this crock of shit actually mean? It means precisely Jack Shit, people! Our values system is in constant flux, it's what makes society work. Making a particular value "sustainable" means - in this context - changing all of society so that the value will continue to be applicable in the future.

So they're not actually teaching kids anything special, they're hoping that by repeating the buzzwords often enough they'll make whatever they're teaching the kids acceptable in the future.

And what are these magic "sustainable values?" Oh yeah - to link the concept of "family" with the concept of "kicking a football into Dad's gonads..."

Is it any wonder? With utter shit like this on TV? No go away and do something "sustainable..."

Saturday, 7 June 2008

AC vs DC, And Others always associated with something evil, was old Thomas Alva E...

Look, far be it from me to be skeptical (hmmm? Why do you pull that face?) but Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse both had issues with Tesla's unmeterable free electricity over the air - which proves that our altruistic inventors were all about making lots and lots and lots of money. What is distinctly sinister is that Edison wanted to use DC single voltage supply, the most wasteful and inefficient way to deliver his "product" - and Westinghouse's first comment to Tesla on hearing about wireless transmission of power was "don't be silly - where would one put the meter?" and then the defacto standard for lighting becomes the one that is guaranteed to waste the most electricity...

If you wanted to pin global weather changes down to something, start with the Otto cycle petrol engine and the two electrical heroes. And think to yourself that such individuals, so many centuries ago, could have such a profound and evil effect on our world such a long time later, and for heaven's sake think things through.

For instance, I heard that a friend of a friend is using reflective mirror surfaces to dry out damp south sides of houses by bouncing light and warmth into those places. Commendable, but the two biggest things that leap out at me are: A) where do the shadows of those mirrors fall and what effect do they have on the new shaded spots? and B) what are you making those mirrors out of? It had better be something whose environmental impact of manufacture is less than the impact of a damp south side of your damn house!

That's a relatively immediate unexpected outcome - but every action we perform has some effect that will affect the future. I'm saying, think about what you're doing now, what effect it will have in the future, and then modify your behaviour as necessary. I think that's called "responsibility..."

Thursday, 5 June 2008

A Good Scooter Shop

... is, appropriately enough, called The Scooter Shop and is right on the end of Queen Victoria St near the two bridges. Scrappy the scooter has been a bit dodgy, making these weird clunk noises every few kilometres, or when accelerating, and all sorts. Additionally, I've been noticing that cornering has been less positive, caused by tyres finally going past their use-by mileage, and lastly, the brakes were very grabby and jerky.

I booked in a week ago (they are VERY busy, and I can see why, they do a good job) and yesterday at midday, I delivered Scrappy to the Scooter Shop and told them to take their time, I have an altenative fom of transport. To my surprise, it was ready to go by midday today. It also came in at the lower end of the quoted range, and seems to be a good job replacing collapsed clutch bearings, replacing brake shoes and smoothing the brake drums, replacing tyres, and doing a filter service.

My only niggle is that the tyres are a bit overinflated for my tastes and I had to stop at a service station and let them down to my preferred pressure.

Otherwise, all kudos to the guys and girls at the Scooter Shop for a job well done, in good time, and at the right price.