Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm ready to throw in the towel

After today at the computer lounge I am just about ready to spit the dummy and resign; I suspect that The Doctor is thinking the same. Last week neither of us had any clients in the morning and in the afternoon I had two and The Doctor had only one. He was making dissatisfied noises then and today he had to come in for just one client.

As for me, I was emailed and told that I had three clients, one at 10.00am, one at 11.00am and one at 12.30 pm, finishing at 1.30pm. What actually happened was that when I arrived I was informed that my 12.30pm client had phoned to cancel but that my 1.30pm one was still coming. My 1.30pm client???? Then my first [10.00am] client didn't turn up but the second [11.00am] one turned up at 10.00am so I gave him a lesson and had the prospect of sitting doing nothing from 11.00am until 1.30 pm.

The receptionist (who is strictly a Thursday volunteer and none of the muddle was hers) phoned my afternoon client who was not in, and left a message on her answerphone to ask if she could come in an hour early. She arrived home just before noon and, bless her heart, grabbed her gear and came straight in. She didn't arrive until 12.45pm so I still got off early ... only not as early as I'd hoped. And I just missed a train and had to wait 15 minutes for the next one. Not a good day.

The only bright part was that The Doctor stayed and ate his lunch with me so that I had someone to talk to.

This is the sort of muddle which happens all too frequently. I enjoy teaching computer skills but it is all such a waste of time and there has got to be a better way of doing things. The problem seems to be that the first class is free but the clients are booked for four weeks of lessons. I think that if they don't turn up for their first, free class, then they should go straight to the bottom of the list and the next in line should be given their slot; especially if they don't phone in with an excuse. They are supposed to be phoned and reminded the day before so to have forgotten is not an excuse.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Money,Money, Money

I have just spent an hour or so counting out my small change into $10 lots to take to the bank before disaster overtakes me and the 5c pieces are withdrawn. I still have some loose change but have bagged $80 which I will be glad to get rid of. There have been some protests about withdrawing the 5c pieces from circulation because of rounding up and down but I figure that it all evens out eventually and the 5c pieces are totally undesirable as they take up space and are pretty useless; what can you buy for 5c these days???

We have had a couple of very cold days but today was nice and sunny and I got my washing dry so I'm not complaining about the weather this time.

I drove over to the Self's place for dinner last night and every time I approached a red light my car sounded an alarm which was quite deafening. I hadn't noticed it before and thought that it was maybe one of the fancy beeps which I seem to be constantly discovering in the car. But it didn't do it on the way home and it didn't do it today so presumably it was just something getting bitter and twisted in the works. It is due for its second service in July so I will mention it then and they can check it out. I also tried turning on the cruise control but immediately hit a red light and had to brake so it automaticallay switched off again. *sigh* One day I'll actually find out how it works. I must ask D3 - she drove Second Wife's car for a while and it had cruise control so she probably knows.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Winter is definitely here at last

I went for my morning walk along the seafront this morning and realised just how sheltered my house is from the fury of the gale. It hit me as I topped the last ridge before the beach and almost blew me over backwards. I had problems keeping my feet on the path as the gale was coming from the side and kept blowing me across and onto the grass; the tide was right up and there was no beach ... the waves were crashing over the path below the Indiana Tearooms. There was one brave (or foolhardy) swimmer and three board riders out braving the very rough sea with its crashing waves - a far cry from the usually quiet pre-seabreeze ocean.

The "iconic" pylon, which Our Colin is about to waste $125,000.00 in an attempt to repair it, was almost covered by the high seas and the waves crashing across it had pushed the pole on the top to what looked like an unsustainable angle. It would be better to spend Our Kev's money on something more useful like bicycle paths.

We have had quite a lot of rain and the temperature is dropping. It looks as though I can pack away my summer clothes at last.

Altogether too much of a good thing

Winter seems to have hit with a vengeance today. Not that it was at all cold but the wind was nasty and there was a lot of rain. Of course, it had to be the day I go into town to teach at the computer lounge. The wind blew down a few trees over the overhead cable for the trains and the Fremantle Line was shut down this afternoon. Instead we had to catch a bus and considering how long the train is, to send one very old, rather small bus was not good organisation. Not everyone at my stop managed to get on but I squeezed myself in and was thumped by the door every time it opened. That was better than being left standing waiting for the next bus whenever it turned up. The bus took ages; it was slow and we managed to catch ever single red light so that I didn't get home until 4.00pm. However, the driver was cheerful and unfazed about having to wait while people struggled forward to get off.

As expected, with the dire weather forecasts, both The Doctor's and my first two clients didn't turn up so we sat and chatted until lunch time, whereupon my first afternoon client arrived 45 minutes early, so she had to wait while The Doctor and I had our lunch. She hasn't a computer and wants to learn to use one before she buys herself one but unless she can practise she will not get very far. I told her that if she was definitely going to get a laptop then she should do it now. She had great difficulty in following instructions and then tried to pursuade me that it would be more convenient for her if she could start her lesson at noon. I said that it was my lunch time and suggested that she should bring a book ...

The only good thing about the weather today is that it is supposed to be worse tomorrow.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rain at last ... ?????????

It actually rained for about 30 minutes this morning and now it is bright, warm sun again. As soon as the rain stopped I went out and 'wettasoiled' the whole front garden. I had the Wettasoil all ready and waiting because the bottle says that after treating the soil one should water it in. Hopefully we will get some more rain to do that for me. The forecast is heavy rain and thunderstorms tomorrow and more rain for the rest of the week. But I am not holding my breath ... the Met. bureau has been predicting rain on and off for weeks. They probably have a book running on who gets it right.

I had my hair cut this morning. Mr Scissorhand has himself a nice setup with his new salon about five minutes walk from his home. Hopefully he will stay around for a while now that he is married and has become a householder. His flits to other parts of the world is the reason he did hair-dressing in the first place but when he absents himself for two or three years I have to find someone else until he comes back again. I have been following him around Perth for about 25 years now; on and off ... He is back to cutting the whole family's hair again now that D3 and GB2 are back with him.

There are some fairly major roadworks at the end of the street at the moment and I had to take a detour to get to Scissorhand's place. Even then I was faced with a lollipop lady. From the pegs which went in last week I think that they are rounding off the corners of the intersection. Hopefully they are not going to put in yet another roundabout as we already have several within the short stretch to the beach and it is going to make the opposite corner difficult as it is steep and badly banked. Now that the Ds no longer go to kindergarten I don't have to negotiate it but I always found it a hard one as there is a stop sign and steep hill start. For me it will be downhill and beat all the other cars into the intersection. Vrooooooom!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Down with Daylight Saving

Western Australia has just had its fourth referendum on the question of daylight saving. With the first three the referendum came after a one-year trial and the 'No' vote was about 53%. This time we had a three year trial and the 'No' vote is going to be higher, around about 57% I think. The pollies are going to keep on trying until they get the result which they want but, like date rapists, they can't seem to get it into their heads that 'no' actually means 'no'.

I have told the cats that they can now reset their stomachs because we won't have another trial in their lifetimes and, yeah, I will be able to use my pool for summer exercise again. It has been languishing for three years because I can't, in all honesty, spend every morning in bathers waiting for the sun to get high enough in the sky to shade the pool. I had seriously thought of having it removed if the vote was for permanent summer time in the future, and plant a tree in the hole. But hardly worth it if I am only going to be here for another two years. Neither was it going to be worth it to keep the pool in good condition but unused for two years, pending the sale of the property.

Still no rain and we are going into winter at the end of the month. The weather prophets are predicting rain for all the coming week but I won't hold my breath on that one; they have already reneged on Thursday rain and it will be just a matter of time before they change their minds about the other days in the coming week.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Loving families

Yesterday I was contacted by a half third cousin who had discovered my family tree on the internet. He is descended from my great-great grandfather's first wife and I am descended from the second wife. But it gets a bit more complicated than that; funny goings on in a respectable family. A grand-daughter of the first wife married a nephew of the second wife. Not incestuous at all but when I first started to try to work out the rather tortuous relationship it certainly looked that way. To make matters worse, the nephew's sister married her deceased aunt's husband (not my great-great grandmother but one of her sisters) ... illegal in Australia so they had to go to America to be married. One of her descendants told me that she wore him out within the year, married again and had a family.

The most distant relative who has contacted me is a fifth cousin. One of the prolific Pidwells, of course. I have a huge family tree from American and Canada and another one from New Zealand as well as the family tree from Rhoda Pidwell who emigrated to Australia and from whom I am descended. She was one of my great-great grandmothers. It was her brother who went to Canada and then to America. The New Zealand branch goes back even further to one of Rhoda's cousins.

The Selfs arrived back a couple of nights ago and yesterday Himself picked up his car which, fortunately started straight away. I was a bit concerned because I had hardly driven it at all and was concerned that the battery might have gone flat. The battery on Herself's car did go flat but that wasn't my problem; it was farmed out to another friend.

Today is cold and sunny and I have been progressively putting on more clothes as the day goes on. Still no sign of rain and it will be winter in two weeks. Himself's car was dusty again. It needs to rain ...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I finally ran green lentils to earth ...

I found my green lentils at the local fresh food market which has a very good specialty and continental section. [Note to self: try the caramel and salt chocolate]

The Selfs will be back from overseas late this afternoon and as I will be at the Computer Lounge tomorrow I have suggested that Himself should meet me there when I finish and come back with me on the train to pick up his car. I washed the cars again over the weekend and his black one is dusty already but that can't be helped; I am not going to wash it again. I just hope that it runs. I have been very bad about taking it for a run to keep it turning over - the gas conversion makes me feel uncomfortable even though it is supposed to run perfectly well on petrol.

I am not sure what is going to happen at the computer lounge. Himself usually does Thursday mornings but The Doctor is trying to stake a claim as he prefers Thursdays to Mondays. However, it is not my problem so the men can fight it out between themselves.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother of God !!

My mothers' day present from D1 is 'Mother of God: a History of the Virgin Mary'. Topical and date-appropriate anyway and it could be interesting, being a medieval history of the Christian church and its influence on Western thinking.

The Selfs will be back at the end of this week and I am going to have to give Himself back his vinyl to CD machine before too long and I have not been good about working through my records so yesterday I went onto and looked through their CD collection. Five of the records are now on CD, including 'Free as Air' which I have been trying to get for many, many years but since it was never as popular or well known as 'Salad Days' it has, until now, been unavailable on CD. I had my vinyl copy professionally copied to CD but the record is almost 50 years old and the reproduction wasn't all that good. So, Yeah!!

I now have several parcels winging their way chez minnie, including 'Pride and Prejudice and the Zombies' which people have been laughing about on Also three vampire books by Paul Magrs. I don't normally read vampire books but they are a very popular genre. I must say that the archetypal vampire book, 'Dracula', was pretty boring but I imagine that gothic literature (?) has advanced since Buffy and all her works.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Runtime Errors

I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon on the phone to Trend Micro. Yesterday morning I started getting 'Runtime Error' messages every time I opened Outlook Express and it was starting to annoy me so I took the error message at its word and contacted Trend Micro. The first person I talked to said that he needed to put me on hold to check something out but gave me the job number 'just in case something happened' ... which it did! I was disconnected.

I phoned back, armed with the job number, and spoke to a different person who really didn't know why I was getting the messages. So we tried uninstalling TM and re-installing it. Still I received error messages so she also said that she needed to check on something. I told her not to put me on hold. She eventually came back and said that there was a patch for the problem and she would email it to me and then talk me through installing it. She did that; Still the error messages!

At this stage she said that she really didn't know what else to do and she would send me another email with instructions for me to extract some log files to send her so that the TM team could examine them to find out what was going on. At this stage I decided to phone Techie but got his message bank. He didn't phone back which is starting to be par for the course with him anyway so I didn't have any unreal expectations that he would come and fix the problem.

Then faint memories of this having happened before started to seep into my mind and I noticed TM's shiny new toolbar which had installed itself yesterday morning. Hmmmmm ... I disabled it and guess what !!!!!! No more runtime errors. So I have a toolbar which I can't find a way of uninstalling and which I don't want and which, from memory, didn't ever work anyway. End of problem ...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Well, well, well !!

The letter which I wrote to WA Newspapers on 17th April was published in today's 'Letters to the Editor' and I received a call from a man in Dalwallinu who was so impressed that he decided to tell me so in person. I was touched and pleased ... especially since I had expected flak.

I spent the morning cleaning my study in the faint hope that I wouldn't sneeze quite so much when I am at my computer. I must admit to slacking off with the bookshelves and CDs - only doing a quick dust instead of pulling everything out and doing a proper job. Maybe another time when I am not about to haul out most of the furniture and fittings in order to vacuum properly.

Now that I have finally got my bookshelves under control it will be easier to clean in the future but there are still books which I will probably have to get rid of. Yesterday I took a load to the 'Save the Children Fund' op shop in Mosman Park. One of the Librarians at the Cottesloe Library told me that they have a table out the back of the shop, in the car park, and he always leaves his spare books there. I hope that they enjoy my selection; there were some very good books among the lot but I can't take every book I own with me - I need to be able to fit them all into my current bookshelves . The next job will be my cookery books! Maybe the Ds might like to have a look through them first.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

He who dies with the most toys wins ...

Opinion on the ABC news page seems to think that all that defense spending is necessary so I guess that is the general consensus among the reading classes. The exception was one poster who suggested that we only need to protect 15% of our coastline, to the north, unless we should be worrying about the Imperialist Emperor Penguins to the south.

The uproar about the swine flu is settling which is a GOOD THING because I decided to do my bit to buy in some iron rations in preparation for the siege, so I went to the local health food shop and asked if they sold green lentils, only to be told that they only had dried ones. *sigh* and I am almost out of them. Not sure where I bought them originally so I'll have to keep a lookout and buy up when I find some. Obviously they are not a stock item here in the West. I must ask D2 - she uses them too.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Has our Government gone crazy?

Kevin Rudd's government is starting to seriously scare me. We have already been told that the budget, which comes out this month, will be $50 billion in deficit and now our Kev is going to spent "hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 20 years" on boy toys for the armed forces. How are we going to pay for it?? Raising taxes, of course. The armed forces have been told to save $20 billion to help pay for their toys but there is still going to be a huge amount for the taxpayers to fork out.

Peter Costello is lurking in the wings and I suspect that as soon as the 'feelgood' reaction to all the money which has been thrown at the middle tax-payers [those who have such small incomes that they don't pay any tax didn't get a cent] he will challenge for the Liberal leadership and, please God, he will win the next Federal election before our Kev totally bankrupts the country.

I had a letter from Multiplex this week saying that my apartment will be ready in mid-2011. The first stage will be finished in July and demolition has started to clear the area for the second stage. We will be allowed in to measure up before we move in so that we will know if our furniture fits.

Two Australians have been diagnosed with swine flu but they are in England. Nevertheless, some government people have suggested that we should stock up on basic foodstuffs like bread and baked beans. The panic, created by the media, seems to be dying down and there have only been seven deaths in Mexico and one in USA.

The official finding on the refugee boat which blew up seems to be that it happened while the boat was being refuelled, but the motors were diesel and it seems fairly clear that someone spilled petrol all over the deck; so what was petrol doing on board? It served a purpose though ... all those on board were taken straight to mainland Australia - at great personal expense, though; some of the men were very seriously burned and five died.