Hold on

Monday mornings recently have taken on a certain sort of unknown horror, like a vague and ill defined shadow lurking around at the edges of a Stephen King novel. In an earlier life I predominantly worked with big business. I could navigate my way around the sort of weird intricacies of such enterprises, usually with aplomb and with only the occasional bruise to show for my efforts. They’re a strange world unto themselves, replete with unfathomable hierarchies and complicated social structures and rituals.

The effort of navigating the corporate accountant-seas and rising to the higher pinnacles, eventually wore me out. Of course during this time I had also studied part time, repaired houses on the weekends, kept up with friends, and ensured that the Editor was well attended too. Some people believe that they know what the word busy means, and they can have their opinion.

After leaving big business, I decided to work instead with small business. It was quite the challenge to transition from one to the other, and the professional accounting body set some significant barriers for me to jump – which I did. The barriers would daunt most folks, as I’m guessing few if any people travel that hard road from big to small.

But now that I’m on the hard small business road, Monday mornings have taken on a certain sort of unknown horror. Small business owners inevitably have watched the news over the weekend, have taken it all in, discussed it with their significant others, and then formulated a survival response. Then on Monday morning they call me. Economically, the tidings are not good right now, and I just do my best to assist everyone.

Occasionally my mind casts its recall faculty back to earlier and simpler times. Way back in maybe about 2005, I’d learned of the concept of Peak Oil whilst I was also getting interested in digging up the front garden of my inner city terrace house, before then planting out vegetables (much to the horror of my neighbours). I’d seen my grandfather produce row after row of vegetables in his backyard whilst I was a kid. How hard could growing a few vegetables be? Turns out that it is actually harder than it looks. Who knew?

Anyway, that year I also read serious articles written by serious people suggesting that 2005 was the year that the supply of conventional oil peaked. That’s a real bummer, because after a peak inevitably comes the long, slow and ragged decline. And here we all are now sixteen years later, and isn’t it fun?

Nobody talks about matters such as declining industrial output, increasing pollution or resource depletion any more. I guess they are unfashionable subjects. And since nobody is talking about such things, it should be noted that they yet still go along their merry journey of decline. I tend to look at actions and background incidents so as to get a sense as to what is going on. This week it was announced that Australia would over turn almost 75 years of policy and commence construction of nuclear submarines.

Were there any protests in the streets to mark this abrupt change in policy? Well, it has recently become a criminal offence to protest in the streets – so, err, forget about that. No debate was entered into, the decision was delivered as a fait accompli. For those who don’t realise it, there is a bit of subtle humour at using a French phrase to describe the situation, because a French company was previously going to build Diesel-Electric submarines here. As you’d imagine the French have now withdrawn their diplomatic staff in protest. But to my mind, nothing really quite says we’re a touch uncertain about future diesel supplies (given we are 90% reliant on imports of oil) and probably need to defend the coastline, somehow, like this weeks startling events. Such decisions are what those folks making those decisions get the big bucks for.

Anyway, I had my own supply troubles this week. The low centre of gravity mower had been at the farm machine repair dudes for almost two weeks. A belt needed replacing. Just to get a feel for what was going on in the background, I contacted the parts distributor only to discover that they didn’t have such basic parts on hand and weren’t entirely sure whether the parts were in the country, or not. To their credit, they were at least honest about the situation.

The Editor and I had a discussion about this parts supply issue and decided to replace the low centre of gravity mower, with a new far sturdier machine constructed in Japan. Those Japanese dudes make some good machines. And I can report faithfully that despite the eye watering expense, there were no protests in the streets.

In an odd coincidence, whilst the protests in Melbourne were taking place, a paragraph from the book “Emphyrio” written by my favourite author ‘Jack Vance’ sprang to mind. I’d been reading the book only recently, and so purely for research purposes for the blog, will now reproduce the paragraph in full here:

“Amiante at last spoke – obliquely, hyperbolically, so it seem to Ghyl. ‘Freedom, privileges, options, must constantly be exercised, even at the risk of inconvenience. Otherwise they fall into desuetude and become unfashionable, unorthodox – finally irregulationary. Sometimes the person who insists upon his prerogatives seems shrill and contentious – but actually he performs a service for all. Freedom naturally should never become licence; but regulation should never become restriction.’ Amiante’s voice dwindled; he picked up his chisel and examined it as if it were a strange object.”

And so here we all are today. I’ve learned that the latest lock down in this state will continue well into October and November. It is an impressive achievement, and I also note that the goals set for us to be released from this state of affairs appears to have flipped from one impossible objective, to another impossible objective. And yet with almost 60% of the country locked down, I still paid an astounding $1.759 / Litre (3.8 Litres to the gallon) at the petrol pump (Gas in US parlance) the other day.

This week has again been rather windy, which is unusual for this protected part of the mountain range. However, with the spring equinox fast approaching at least the weather is also warming.

Many months ago, and it could even have been late last year (I now forget), we purchased a couple of extra replica Victorian era garden lamp posts. The boxes of these things were hanging around the dining room for so long that I barely noticed them any more. The editor had other plans, which involved cleaning up the dining room of such boxes. And so we decided to install the lights.

Several panes of glass had been broken

Upon unpacking the boxes we discovered that two panes of glass had been broken. The matter was discussed, and we’ll probably replace the broken panes with a sheet of polycarbonate cut to fit.

The lights operate off a 12 Volt off grid solar power system which also provides power to the garden water pumps. The electricity system has been in continuous operation for 15 years now and has performed sterling service.

Power cables had to be taken from the battery to the lights, and that meant digging a few trenches.

Plum assists with excavating a trench for the power cable to the garden lights

There were power cables going all over the place, and except for where we walk or operate machinery, the power cables sit on the ground and are protected by heavy duty conduit. We’ve found in the past that easy to access and easily repaired infrastructure is preferable to hiding every last chunk of infrastructure purely for aesthetic considerations. To do so risks being left to work out what went wrong, and then exactly where things went wrong.

Ollie also assists with digging trenches in the hard ground

The bases for the two lights were cemented into the garden beds.

The bases for the lamp posts were cemented into the ground with conduit for wires going both in and then out again

After many long hours of work, the lamp posts were fully installed and operational. A clever program in the solar power controller switches the lights on after dark (the machine knows when it gets dark) and then switches the lights off again at midnight. All very clever and I reckon it looks great!

Ruby is impressed by the new lamp posts

Spring is here for sure. The raspberry bed is growing strongly and hopefully promises bucket loads of fresh berries:

Ruby appreciates the strong growth in the raspberry enclosure, and the new path

Onto the flowers:

The Geraniums are producing heaps of flowers
The local Blackwood Acacia trees are in flower
The Editor suggests that this Succulent is more than 50 years old
Flowering Cherry trees are stunning – and also taking over that section of the farm
These Hellebores are almost ready to produce seed

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 5’C (41’F). So far this year there has been 903.2mm (35.6 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 886.8mm (34.9 inches)

60 thoughts on “Hold on”

  1. Yo, Chris – Yes, why is the move from complex and complicated, to simpler, always more arduous and costly? That’s a rhetorical question. Because the Powers That Be want it that way. It applies in lots of situations, but food comes to mind. It always seems to cost more, when they leave out dodgy or unhealthy ingredients.

    I’ve been aware of the Limits to Growth, probably since the book came out. But I can’t say the decline in industrial output, really came into focus, in my mind, until recently. The other aspects of limits were on my radar. But not until you mentioned it, or, perhaps the way it’s being kicked around over at Mr. Greer’s, decline in industrial output just wasn’t. But now with all these shortages, it comes into focus.

    One always hears how nuclear subs could “power a small city.” I got curious about that, and found this …


    They (and nuclear destroyers) aren’t really set up for it, but, if pressed, could provide power to shore. But rather than powering homes, I’d say it might keep a bit of infrastructure rolling along. Maybe keeping the taps running and the sewage treatment going. At least for awhile.

    The garden lights are quit nice. That was a lot of work to get them installed, properly. Might want to remember to douse them, if a low profile is necessary. Run silent, run deep 🙂 .

    The succulent is quit stunning. What we’d call a Christmas cactus. I’ve got a pretty large one, sitting on the floor, just to the left of my knee. I haven’t been able to get mine to bloom, for a couple of years. Inside, you need to get the hours of light and watering (or lack of watering), just right. They’ve been hybridized for other colors. White, yellow and a pretty apricot color. I gave them a whirl, but didn’t have much luck. They’re not as hardy as the standard.

    Jade plants might also grow in your climate. In southern California, they grow in the yards, get quit large, and even put out pretty flowers. We had a couple at the Centralia library, inside, that flowered.

    Our forecast turned out to be kind of a nothing burger. Sure, we got a bit of rain, and some wind. But nothing like further north. Prof. Mass has a recap of what happened, up there. 100,000 people without power and tremendous winds, in some places. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    It is an interesting situation, but perhaps we’re simply going back to where we came from in terms of the employment situation? Possibly there is also an element of ingenuity to the entire story too. Many folks have rather high opinions as to their remuneration, and I dunno I’ve lived through a vast change in relation to that story where inequality has increased and often it comes on the back of all sorts of odd arguments. It wasn’t like this when I was a kid, that’s for sure – things genuinely were different. The inequality issue is by and large a self correcting problem, but whoa, what a mess to navigate.

    The heavy handedness of the authorities is fuelling concerns, and even moderate old I have no taste for such approaches. Things should be self evident, and if they’re not then speculation fills in the unable to be spoken about things.

    You good actions set a fine example. Speaking of which, I’m drowning in eggs right at the moment. 😉

    Hey, the character actor story was told by Peter Dinklage in the most excellent film: ‘My Dinner with Hervé’, when he observed the antics of the other actors on the Bond set. My working life is like that, but things are getting rather odd down here of late…

    Thanks for the film thumbs up on Errol and I’ll have to check it out.

    Well yeah, I was wondering about old Dick as reading his Curriculum Vitae of deeds, he sounded rather less than the gentleman highwayman that he may have later been portrayed as. Mind you, being dead for crims does have the advantage of not being around to prove the naysayers incorrect in their beliefs, or to occasionally embarrass supporters with surprising and anti-social antics.

    Yeah, candidly the mood down here is very dark. And yes, in a surprising turn of events, the weather today was actually dark. Sleet fell late this afternoon after a short but very intense hailstorm. Hope the fruit trees were OK, but the next few weeks will tell on that front. This morning we went to the local General Store for a couple of coffees, and it sure was quiet. There were a couple of older blokes at a front table who I tried really hard not to listen in to, but were loudly and angrily discussing current politics, and they weren’t fans of the current government. It pleases me to see people now engaging with politics, and I can only wish them well. I actually don’t know how I’ve managed to inadvertently end up living with such a authoritarian regime dictating minor details of my day to day life. It is really, really weird. Probably that lot should never have signed up to the land of stuffs belts and hot rods initiative, which has now been ripped up. They have the air of an angry parent about them, and those are easily countered. So yeah, meltdowns left, right and centre – and it was even eerier (if that is even a word) that the phone did not ring this morning…

    The guy who owned the store kind of nailed it when he wrote: “Our response was, ‘we’re not going to concentrate on what they do well, we’re going to concentrate on what they don’t do well,’” True words and also a wise strategy. And coincidentally one I also adhere too in business. Few people provide the sort of work I do, but that is no guarantee and sometimes you get flooded, like Sunbirds did.

    Actually I didn’t tell the half of the story. Just to make the move particularly unappealing, I had an arbitrary limit slapped on my income of no more than $25k per year – for three years. That sure taught me how to live on the cheap. They didn’t win any fans with that move, and just for giggles I happened to enjoy a Christmas day catch up maybe two years ago with a chance encounter with someone who worked for them in that area. Oh, I was pleasant, but I also asked some tough questions which they looked very uncomfortable about answering. It is not lost on me that the world is actually a rather small and interconnected place. I had fun that day anyway! 🙂

    One of the things which really annoys me is being forced to take up technology that I could well live without. And it happens quite frequently. I don’t worry though as the supply chain issues will sort that little problem out, probably sooner than most realise.

    Well yeah, and hey I was just thinking of that particular issue about declining industrial production. A lot of the really crazy things going on in the world are probably going to be derailed by that matter. In fact if you look at the chart:
    The drop off in industrial production is the steepest decline curve. Actually that fact is quite alarming really and explains many things about today’s craziness. Mind you, I expect that the population would be up for the challenge of living and adapting with this decline, if they were so asked. What we are going to get is probably the aftermath of Britain after WWII with all that that entails. It needn’t be that way, but as you might posit: something, something, power and control.

    Thanks for the fascinating article on such strange uses of mobile generators which I was mostly able to follow. I did note that the author uses at home in 1 day, what I would use in about a week, and note that the magic number of 42 was involved in that side calculation of daily home usage.

    Yeah, exactly like a hospital, but the energy requirements for such a facility were staggering. The numbers easily roll off the tongue, but 2MW continuous supply is no small matter. Just to put it into context, the house system here has generated about 17MW for one hour spread out over the past dozen years. Those big facilities are in for a rough time of it in the future and I do hope that they also recall how to do things on the cheap.

    Yes, yes, of course, there is a secret flip switch if needed. You think that I’m half asleep. Well you’re only half right there! 🙂

    That succulent used to be the Editor’s mums plant, and it is super hardy. What? Inside the house? I dunno about the outside being that much of an issue in relation to watering as the plant has received over 35 inches of rain this year alone, although the winters here aren’t nearly as cold as where you are. I suspect those plants are far hardier than what any of us would imagine. Makes you wonder as to the sort of horrific conditions they evolved in to develop such survival skills?

    I’ve had Jade Plants and they can grow really well, but then some winters seem to really set them back hard. We’re on the cusp for many varieties of succulent plants, and I’ve killed a few Aloe plants over the years.

    Nothing burger!!! 🙂 Like it. Wouldn’t want to have been anywhere near Mt Rainier that windy day. Ook!



  3. Hi, Chris!

    I don’t suppose many people shift from serving big business to doing so for small businesses.

    I think that you might be happier with that Japanese mower. We certainly have been with the 4 old Japanese vehicles that we have.

    Well, I am glad that you also sometimes leave boxes in your dining room. I myself just removed to the basement from the dining room a new bright orange tire that had been parked there for awhile that is to go on the wheelbarrow. It is guaranteed (ha!) not to go flat. They only had bright colors on offer, I don’t know why, but I like it. It will be no trouble to find that barrow now if someone leaves it in the woods.

    Those lamps are beautiful and you did a beautiful job setting them in. We have kept a lot of our various hoses and conduits above ground, too. Unfortunately, for some reason the squirrels occasionally chew holes in the hoses and then we have little fountains. I have no idea why. Speaking of Charlene, she climbed through the Mr. Dumpy project (not finished, but ever nearer!) and now looks like a greaseball. She got motor oil right where she can’t reach to groom her fur and even running around in the rain has not helped.

    Thank you for the flowers, and that succulent is impressive, regardless of age. I am so glad that the editor has been able to keep it alive.

    I wish I was drowning in eggs. We eat a whole lot of them.


  4. Good evening

    Sir Sancho has asked me to convey this urgent message for Lady Ruby:

    ‘Your concern for my health in the wake of the bone-swallowing incident shows how well I chose when I selected you for my distant doggy devotion.

    One day, I shall brave oceans and mountains, and we shall be furrily united: it will probably only last a few minutes, but I promise you that my ardour will be memorable!

    In the meantime, you will always be uppermost in my thoughts – right there with what’s next for dinner.’

    Well, how about that for the Spirit of Romance?!

    All the best


  5. Yo, Chris – I had a time, tracking down this quote. It became easier, once I got it correct. 🙂 “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” It’s the opening line of L. P. Hartley’s 1953 novel, “The Go-Between.” I usually think of the sentiment as applying to the Romans, or similar. It’s a real wake-up, when you realize it applies to your own life.

    From what I’ve read, a big factor bringing down past civilizations is inequality … income gap. Sooner or later the population doesn’t want to put up with it. But your right. Muddling through to an “adjustment” can be pretty messy.

    I’d forgotten about “My Dinner with Herve.” Great movie. Movies about the movies, often reveal the nonsense that goes on behind the scenes, in Hollywood. It’s a wonder films get made at all.

    The weather here has been kind of unexpected. Today, we have blue skies and sunshine. Which shouldn’t have arrived until tomorrow. The rest of the week looks pretty good, with the occasional shower, here and there.

    An arbitrary cap on income, for three years? What the heck is that all about? Other than to put up a road block, to access to another part of your profession. Maybe because there would be less professional oversight? Which it sounds like “they” are trying their darndest to rectify. By using technology as a club, if nothing else.

    You do like that graph 🙂 . I don’t know if the population is going to be up for the challenge of living and adapting to the decline. I currently finished a novel about the blitz, in England, and am deep into one about the occupation of Paris. So, I went down a couple of rabbit holes. WWII rationing didn’t end, in England entirely, until 1954. That actually was a major reason the government was brought down. On a positive note, other than war related fatalities, infant mortality went down, and life expectancy went up.

    I’ve really been thinking a lot about odds and ends in my daily life, that may be hard, or impossible, to get. It will happen, and I’m trying to get my head set for adapting. Staying flexible.

    I thought you’d like that article. Electrical power and tech. Right up your alley. 🙂

    I inherited an enormous Christmas cactus, when my landlord’s mother died. It was a good three feet across (a meter?), and had probably been around since 1935. Why do I agree to take in these high maintenance waifs? When I moved here, I had to find a new home for it. I don’t know how it’s doing. Moving it outside, wasn’t an option, given our climate.

    Back to Hollywood, again.


    Well, that’s a surprise. “Nothing burger” has it’s origin from a Hollywood gossip columnist. Who knew? Lew

  6. Hi Chris,

    As always, thanks for your thoughts. I enjoyed the quote about exercising the rights of freedom. As a Melbournian currently under this ongoing lockdown I’ve resonated with your recent thoughts on the matter. Particularly your rather insightful comment a few weeks ago about the ferocity of the protests in Melbourne. Too many people I know dismissed the protesters as irresponsible etc, rather than realising there’s a huge undercurrent of anger and disenfranchisement. I wonder if the politicians are aware of this, or are they too busy dismissing these people too? Labelling them with that greatest of all insults – being “antivaxxers”. Let’s hope they’re not that blind…

  7. Chris,

    I feel your pain about Mondays. I never did get the hang of Mondays and learned to avoid them at the workplace whenever possible. I never understood my feelings about Mondays until I read one particular “Hagar the Horrible” comic:
    Hagar: Vikings hate Tuesdays.
    Bartender: Don’t you mean Mondays?
    Hagar: No, I mean Tuesdays. Vikings take long weekends.

    Hopefully the Japanese mower will work better and be much easier to maintain. We’ve owned a long line of Japanese cars and have been very happy with them.

    We got rain over the weekend. Significant rain. As of Sunday afternoon, we had gotten in this area (seriously), just under 11mm, or 0.42 inches. Hehehe. But then a few thunderstorms rolled through and our total for the weekend hit about 15mm. The OFFICIAL station for the area, however, was missed by Sunday’s storms and got a grand total of 0.43 inches. But…that fell over two separate 24 hour periods, the first dropping a mere 0.01 inches and the other 0.42 inches. So, 42 was intact for our weather, at least this time. AND, this puts September’s total rainfall above the entire month’s normal with 10 days left, the first month rainfall (and snowmelt equivalent) has been normal or above since November or December last year. The drought isn’t over, but at least there’s improvement.

    In the Hitchhiker’s Guide series, at one point Arthur Dent was saying that he wished he’d paid more attention to the things his mother told him while he was growing up. When he was asked what kind of things she’d mentioned, he said, “How should I know? I wasn’t paying attention!” So now, since I had things I’d rather do than to pay attention to and learn some of my father’s skills, I must reinvent the wheel. But isn’t that what every generation tends to do?

    Your lamppost project looks interesting. Hopefully you’ll let us all know how it turns out? I see it involves concrete…

    Our concrete front porch and steps are “weathered”, which isn’t surprising for something 70 years old. I’m in the process of repair and preventive maintenance. This involves packing the pits and small holes and cracks with epoxy-containing cement mix. When that is done, I’ll add a thin layer or two of regular cement without the epoxy, then add a final coat of Thompson’s weather seal. The weather looks good for this week, so I should get it finished. Then next year I may have to do a bit more…But if I don’t do this, the front porch will disintegrate and trying to find a concrete guy who will work on a small project is nearly impossible. Fortunately, cement and concrete work is something that dad taught when I was paying attention. 😉

    The flowering cherry tree is outstanding. I bet you’re enjoying the scenery right now.

    Oh, our birds. I looked out the front window at the walkway below the porch Sunday. A spider was crawling across the concrete walk. A black-capped chickadee promptly swooped out of the nearest hawthorn tree and grabbed the spider, then flew back into the tree and enjoyed a small feast. Already a huge fan of the chickadees, my admiration for them just went up. A lot.


  8. Yo, Chris – Saw this article about shortages and price increases in natural gas, and other petroleum products. Which effects fertilizer and plastics (think packaging.)


    I also saw an article about how the cost of fertilizer is going up. And how that’s going to impact food prices. If the farmers can even get fertilizer.

    There was also an article about how the supply of pigs was stacking up, as there’s a shortage of carbon dioxide, used to stun the pigs at the slaughterhouses.

    I’m happy I managed to pick up 7 bags of chicken poop, at the store, today. Might be hard to get, later on. Lew

  9. Dearest Sir Sancho,

    My heart fluttered when your words of devotion were read out aloud to me. Our two hearts yearn to beat as one. Alas the wide and distant seas (plus free and easy Border Force permits) come between the consummation of our unity, brief though it may be.

    What was that? Do you dare interrupt my reply to Sir Sancho? OK, OK, I hear you. Yes, yes, yes, grumble. Pah! Chris has just made me promise to not consummate our love before, during or in the immediate time not exceeding one hour, after the sanctity of breakfast. Rules… What do these puny humans know of longing and true love?

    Adieu, my furry hearts desire and may we meet some day.


    Lady Ruby

  10. Hi Pam,

    You’ve hit the nail on the head. The pathway was in place to go from big to small, but the roadblocks put in place were quite astounding. Truly, in order to progress backwards, my income was limited to $25k per year from business sources for three years. Sometimes a person has an option available to them, but it is made so unappealing as to be generally avoided. It hardly surprises me that few folks with my background ply my trade at the level that I now work at in small business – and they really need the help.

    Yes, Mr Musty is a Toyota, and I too have experienced such beasts and were likewise impressed with the build and quality.

    You know, we’re super neat just because it is in the blood, but occasionally things can get out of control and we’re both guilty as charged. I respect your similar efforts and applaud the bright orange tyre and have thought long and hard about such items. The upshot is that I’ll be very interested to learn of your experience with this tyre and it’s longevity.

    Being found easily whilst lost in the woods is useful outcome, unless of course one does not want to be found whilst lost in the woods? I just finished reading Geoffrey of Monmouth’s book Vita Merlini and I had the distinct impression that Merlin did not appreciate being found in the woods.

    Thank you. And I had to adjust the programming for having the lights switch on. Maths, can’t live with it, pass the beer nuts… Oh my, you have super naughty squirrels and I wonder whatever it was that they were thinking when they acted out so? Hopefully they’re not like rats and have to file their incisors down?

    Oh Charlene, how could she so muddy her fine pelt? I do rather hope that her suitors were not put off by the slightly soiled fur?

    The succulent was originally her mum’s and so it holds a special place.

    If you were local I’d happily gift you some eggs. At this time of the year, the flock go feral, but at other times of the year it is the merest of dribbles. This is all in accordance with the natural rhythms of nature, and always was it thus. It is not for no reason that we have several hundred fruit trees. The other critters need a feed too.



  11. Hi Matt,

    Nice to hear from you and glad to hear that you’re still also hanging in there. Mate, it’s brutal in so many ways, and I’m not free to say what really needs saying, and so we all hedge around and around, and like the old game of musical chairs: where it stops, nobody knows.

    The quote really summed up the reality of the situation in a way that most folks without a sense of history and potential outcomes might not comprehend.

    My best guess at this stage is that if we achieve the targets spoken of in loose talk last Sunday, the bar will simply be raised. It pains me to say that. But you know, last evening it was 1’C and sleeting and common sense suggests that outdoor dining for fifty people in those conditions is simply not an economic option.

    I’ve heard those stories too and the same is said about other protests. The ease of the dismissal bores me. The folks acting out so have something of relevance to say, and escalation never ends well. Each side trains the other. How could this not be understood?

    Mate, you know behind all this is the intersection of fear, concerns in relation to health, concerns in relation to economic matters, geopolitics, power, control, expectations and just basic human outright craziness. And underpinning it all is a system in decline that is in denial. It’s sure doing my head in, and my work weeks are not pleasant experiences I can assure you. Hope you are doing better?



  12. Hi DJ,

    Hehe! I loved Hagar the Horrible comics. So much fun, and they went places that delicate souls dare not tread! And yes, Vikings do need long weekends, if only because they’ve earned them.

    Yes, my preference is also for Japanese vehicles, although I have had good experiences with the local stuff (when we used to make them).

    Yay for rain, and also a much bigger YAY for the simple fact that the number 42 was preserved in the wet outcome. Can you imagine what may have eventuated had the magic number not appeared out of the results? Frogs may have fallen from the sky, zombies may have roamed the earth. Anyway, you got super lucky that day, and we can only hope that your luck continues. If you start moaning for brains in your comments, we’ll all know exactly what eventuated.

    Hehe! You know, my memory isn’t all that great, but far out I recall that scene with Arthur Dent. It was genius, and mate I too have felt the same, so your theory stands tall – and let’s call it by it’s proper name: Correct and proven!

    It just so happens that I live not all that far from an astoundingly deep sand mine over towards Bacchus Marsh. It’s extraordinary and appears to be getting deeper and wider most years. Not suggesting that you could see it from space, but the sort of low altitude touristy space vehicles would probably have a fine view.

    Fascinating and glad to hear that you were paying attention to your dad. You’ve got me mildly disconcerted with such loose talk about the longevity of the old liquid rocks. Dunno, but I tend to add more cement powder to the mix in order to increase water tightness and reduce the ravages of time, but I don’t really have any idea what the constructions will look like in the distant future. Do you care to elucidate upon your cement story?

    Thanks for asking, and I am enjoying the life springing forth after the winter months.

    Go the chickadees! 🙂 Do you have any that you could spare?



  13. G’day!

    Is that spelled correctly? One must get these things right.

    I’ve passed the lovely Lady Ruby’s message on to Sir Sancho.

    I would like to be able to say that he was immediately overcome with emotion; but, in reality, the ardent lover was unfortunately distracted by eating something. ‘First things first!’ being his wise motto.

    Then again, maybe she admires a Sir Dogge with appetite?

    Glad to amuse: we can lament or laugh, and maybe the latter is healthier?

    There is a Sufi story of a caravan caught in a desert storm. One group huddles up, confessing their sins to Allah and praying for mercy, convinced they will die (which seems very likely).

    Another also huddles together, but they listen instead of saying prayers to a succession of silly jokes told by a wandering Master who’d joined the caravan.

    Only the latter survived the storm.

    One thing for sure about ALL Totalitarian regimes, East or West, they are utterly b……y humourless…..

    All the best,


  14. Hi Lewis,

    Ook! Yeah, the article did not make for light and enjoyable reading that’s for sure. But as to the general conclusions drawn, I can’t argue with them. Just before everything went udderly (!) bonkers down here I was confronted by this particular article: Australia is the biggest exporter of liquid natural gas so why is Victoria facing a future shortage? Now since the crisis du jour stomped the daylights out of our day to day lives, the moratorium upon on shore drilling for gas has been quietly lifted. I certainly don’t recall any protests regarding this abrupt change in policy.

    Well yeah, and that hardly surprises me since a lot of fertiliser is derived from natural gas. That entire system is bonkers if only because the human wastes tend to end up in the waterways – unless of course the occasional errant fatberg (fascinating beasts) stops that from happening. Although frankly that is only a mere stay of execution for the wastes. The soil is where the stuff should go, and this one way flow of minerals from the soil to the oceans is what always alerted me to the limited span of civilisation in its current form. It’s like one of those ideas that sounds good in theory and practice at first, until the costs keep piling up behind it all.

    Good stuff with the chicken poop – that stuff is very strong feed for the soil.

    Mate, the Go-Between plot and quote both give me the heebie jeebies, and I’m unsure why. It sounds like a fascinating tale of social classes interacting both well and badly and the resulting repercussions. I assume that you have read this book? It’s a great quote too. It is nearing the ‘to-read’ list and need but only a gentle shove in the right direction to get there. Wherever might this gentle shove come from? 🙂

    All this talk of Jack Vance over at Mr Greer’s now has my nose buried in the book: The Languages of Pao. What can I say other than I disappoint myself occasionally, and can be easily lead astray by loose talk in relation to favourite authors.

    That makes sense about the inequality issue driving change. I guess if the folks can see the difference, they might make a difference? I’ve been discussing the economic outcomes of the current situation to as many people as I can bend an ear, and I think they’re getting to see the pressure building. More importantly they kind of know that they’re only one step away from such treatment themselves, and this is a profound understanding for most folks.

    Oh yeah, it was a movie about a movie. Hadn’t thought of it that way before. In some respects it was also a tale of rise and fall, and the consequences.

    The weather here by way of contrast was colder than winter, and last evening was only 34’F. Brr! I have to keep an eye on the fruit trees to see what effect the burst of cold weather created. Not sure at this stage, and it will warm up from tomorrow onwards.

    There is an old saying that if something looks like a roadblock, it might well be a roadblock. 🙂 To be honest, the roadblock seemed kind of harsh and arbitrary, and there is a commercial need for such skills to be delivered to small business, but the professional bodies are a law unto themselves in this matter. The move from big to small made sense to me, but it sure took a massive amount of pain to get there. From today’s perspective, the big end of that story is now far better remunerated than the slowly diminishing small end of the story. It really is an economic bloodbath that reminds me of the early 90’s on steroids.

    Nope, I’m still subject to the same professional conditions. Look it is one of those things that just makes no sense. I have a hunch that the path was only ever established as an option for retirees to keep their hand in the game, although that was never explicitly stated.

    The graph works. 😉 The Blitz was a pretty horrendous time from what I’ve read about it, unless you were deep in the countryside far from the big cities. Did I read that correctly? Life expectancy went up during the rationing period? We spoke of the garden allotment process during WWII and I guess it continued afterwards for a while at least. Out of curiosity, did the book discuss the economics of ending the rationing period? Like how was it dismantled?

    You did mention to be cool about being blindsided by any lack. You can’t be on top of everything.

    Three feet across is quite a large garden waif possibly wanting a whole lot of attention. I tend to agree about chucking it outside in your part of the world. It might do OK for a while.

    It is an impressive term which has changed over the years with usage. It conveys a sense of hunger to my ears, but that is me.



  15. Yo, Chris – Reading over your shoulder … My mum used to drill us with multiplication flash cards. Memorization seems to have fallen out of fashion. 🙂 .

    And, todays ear-worm is, this little ditty from “The Mamas and the Papas.”


    Squirrels. Inquiring Minds Want to Know … When two squirrels meet, while doing their high wire act, one flips under the wire, while the other trips lightly over his prone companion, and continues on it’s way. The upside down squirrel then flips back up on top of the wire, and goes about it’s business. So, how is it decided, who gives ground? Is it age before beauty? Ladies first? Sleep eludes me.

    Even small totalitarian regimes, are humorless. That became very apparent when the new Regime, took over here at the Institution. No sense of humor, at all. I really wondered if they weren’t “on the spectrum.”

    What the average citizen on the street doesn’t seem to realize is that petroleum products are sold to the highest bidder. No, it’s not environmentalists blocking access to vast oceans of oil. As I have heard, from time to time. I wonder how nationalization effects the equation? (Commies under the bed!). Probably not much. A government has a choice between selling resources abroad, for piles of filthy lucre. Or, in country, and not making so much. Given the state of humanity, how do you figure it would go?

    Do you really want what goes down drains, in your soil? Not your drains in particular (which are pristine), but the general, run-of-the-mill city sewer system. I’m trying to figure out how much composted chicken manure (as distinct from the fresh stuff) to put on my garden, and when. The sacks I bought, just said it was “one cubic foot” of the stuff. Great. Most instructions are “put x pounds on x square feet.” Turns out, a cubit foot of composted chicken poop weight 33 pounds. Felt like it, when I unloaded it. So, when? Master Gardeners, when I talked to them this morning thought spring, due to rain leeching. Another source suggested fall and spring. Well, for sure some is getting worked in, when I plant the garlic. I’m probably over-thinking it.

    I probably became aware of “The Go-Between” when it became a film (for the second time), in 2015. I found out enough about it, that I really wasn’t interested in either reading it, or seeing the film. It just sounded like something overwrought, emotionally. And, it sounded like another one of those tales were a boy from the middling classes is taken in (in more ways than one) by the toffs, only to be thoroughly done over, eventually. Seen or read that tale, one time too many, I guess. But, your mileage may vary.

    It’s actually going to hit 80F, today. Then in the mid to low 70s, the rest of the week. I noticed yesterday morning, that something had been nibbling at my Mammoth sunflowers. Squirrel or bird. I noticed a blue jay, the other day, scooping out the layout. So, I cut the flower head off, and it’s drying inside. I also took one off the multi blossom plant, as it was a bit nibbled. The large head is bigger than a dinner plate, and probably weighs about 10 pounds.

    Yup. Other than having a bomb fall on you, health was better during WWII. From both ends of the economic spectrum.


    How was rationing dismantled? Near as I can figure, there were enormous headlines in the newspapers, and lots of pictures of housewives dancing in the streets.

    Oh, if I’m blindsided by lack, I still expect to have a momentary freak out. I have to indulge myself, a bit 🙂 . Maybe a bit of swearing. But I hope it will be momentary, and then I can get on with some kind of plan B.

    “Nothing burger.” I get different feelings about that. Sometimes, something of no consequence. Or, something with no substance. Lew

  16. Hi everyone,

    In breaking wombat news…

    At approximately 9.15am this morning, the house shook, quivered and rolled as a magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit about 200km (120 miles) to the east of here. Far out dudes!

    The washing machine was going at the time, and I thought the spin cycle was about to explode. We switched the machine off and the shaking only got worse, actually the walls and floor were wobbling, so we went outside to wait it out.

    The house is a flexible design and so things appear to have settled back where they began.

    Well that was fun… Mansfield magnitude-6 earthquake shakes Melbourne, regional Victoria, southern NSW, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide and Launceston



  17. Chris:

    You lead such an exciting life already that I am hardly surprised that you have had an earthquake. 120 miles is quite close. Crazy, isn’t it? We had one, too, in 2011, epicenter 35 miles away. I was home alone in the log house with the 5 dogs and 1 cat. Bob the Tailless warned me ahead, but as his nickname was “SuperCrazy” I did not pay much attention to him. The house shook like crazy, glass jars fell off the pantry shelves and broke, but not much else. It seemed to last an eternity, but I think it was only several minutes. My only thought was to get out of doors, but the pets were running every which way inside the house and by the time I got them all outside, it was over. But not really. Strong aftershocks struck every day, several times a day, for at least 18 months. They used to wake me up at night. I would lean over the side of the bed and feel the wood floor shake. So, beware the aftershocks. The log house weathered the whole thing magnificently. Even the concrete basement had nary a crack. I think the whole thing moved with the shaking the way a tree moves with the wind.


  18. Chris:

    I’m back. I was eating a taco in bed as a bedtime snack and dropped it on my laptop. No harm done.

    Well, Merlin was probably up to something different in the woods than I usually am.

    Squirrels do indeed have incisors that never stop growing. You should see the wooden rails of our back porch, which is their cafe and watering hole. I have been known to pour the hot and spicy vinegar from the jars of jalapenos that I can all over those rails. It stops them chewing for awhile, sort of.

    As I was driving into Charlottesville today I saw a huge sign with flashing lights by the side of the road. It read: MELBOURNE CLOSED. I thought: “Egads!” Well, I thought something else, but I am minding my manners. It kind of hit me right between the eyes.

    There is a Melbourne Road in Charlottesville.


  19. Chris,

    I shudder at the thought of the magic number 42 getting violated. Worse, if it had been violated over the weekend, I wouldn’t have found out until…Monday, Monday. (Thanks to Lew for the link to the song.) It would’ve meant I wouldn’t have gotten my long Viking weekend. You’re right – that might’ve turned me into a zombie. Whew! Dodged a bullet there, didn’t we?

    A friend from my old job called today. His job and my job had to exchange a lot of information. He thought of me because my replacement asked him for information, the same type I’d need. So, friend asked how I like retirement. I told him, quite cheerily, that “This is the best job I’ve ever had.” There was a weird noise on the phone and then silence. Finally he told me that he’d asked the question, gotten a mouthful of coffee then, well, “Clean up on Aisle 4” was required due to my answer. I laughed and laughed and laughed because I had been trying to get that to happen for years when I worked there. He laughed, too.

    Bacchus Marsh? Sounds a right interesting name. I see that, per Wikipedia, it is in the Shire of Moorabool. Another grand name.

    Okay, the cement. The concrete that has the weathering problem is mostly under the drip line from the roof. (I’ve since installed gutters there, but some of the steps will still get drips.) This means that during the multiple months of freeze-thaw cycles on a daily basis, there is a lot of ice on those areas. After 70 years, the ice is winning, as it tends to do. It didn’t help that in moments of ignorance prior owners (and myself) would place salt on the icy steps to melt the ice. So, now I keep sand around to place on the ice – no corrosive properties, it provides a grip, and it absorbs any solar radiation better than the ice, so it will help melt the ice.

    So, gotta put thin layers of the cement mix over the existing concrete. The vertical parts of the steps and porch have also had some issues with weathering: the cement with the epoxy works very well on the deteriorated vertical spots. I’ve completed that portion of the project. Next is to get out the cement powder mix, do 2 or 3 layers on the as yet untouched flat areas, add a layer to the flat areas that received a layer of the cement with epoxy mix. By the time I’m done, the weathered areas will be about 12mm of new material, the unweathered areas a thin layer of new material so everything looks the same. There’s also a damaged flat area in the back that gets the brunt of drips and the freeze-thaw cycle, so I’ll add 2 or 3 layers of the powder mix to that, also. Next year, hit weathered areas of the driveway with powdered cement mix.

    Sorry, there are never enough chickadees here.

    I was enjoying my morning coffee on the back patio Tuesday. A squirrel came from the front and stopped less than a meter from me. Once he realized I was there, he moved on about his business, burying the nut he was carrying and then digging up a different one.


  20. Yo, Chris – I see you had quit the earthquake. I hope all is well at Fernglade Farm. Water tanks? Looks like there’s a bit of damage, in Melbourne. I’m glad you weren’t in the city, when it hit. Lew

  21. Hi Inge,

    A magnitude 6.0 earthquake was an entirely new experience. The house seriously shook and the walls deflected. At first I thought the washing machine had gone seriously wrong, but it soon became far worse than that and I could see the walls swaying violently. Fortunately there was no damage. I have it on good authority from a knowledgeable bloke in the big smoke that the timber in his house moved about half a foot. An uncomfortable thing to experience.

    Have you ever felt earthquakes on your island?



  22. Hi Pam,

    Yeah, it was pretty crazy! I’d wondered if the washing machine which was on spin cycle at that particular moment had somehow become possessed by an evil entity? Given what is going on down here, there are possibly more than a few of those types floating around.

    Just for your info here is a map of the quake area (I’ll use it again on the next blog): Earthquake

    Out of curiosity, was Bob the Tailless a feline or canine? The Fluffy collective seemed excited by the shaky, shaky, goings on, but other than that mostly unconcerned. I tell you that living on an extinct volcanic saddle poking up high above the surrounding elevated plains such an experience is not comforting to wonder just exactly how extinct is extinct?

    35 miles is uncomfortably close to an epicentre, and I applaud your cool as a cucumber thought pattern by getting the heck out of the house. It took us a while to come around to that obvious solution this morning, but such geologic events are astoundingly rare in this part of the world. Although there was that time (and I may have mentioned this to you already) a few years ago when we were in a town to the south of here enjoying Mexican food and the brick walls were swaying. The editor suggested that in that particular instance Sangria was the cause, but no, I was vindicated by the geologists who measured an earthquake – which wasn’t anything like as super crazy as this one.

    Yes, the house here is also constructed upon similar lines to your place and it also held up well under the conditions. I spoke to the lovely bloke who did the engineering for the house design today and congratulated him upon his good work. A touch of flexibility in design goes a long way indeed.

    Glad to hear that your laptop survived the unfortunate taco incident. As you now know, everything was OK before the taco incident. You do know that major international incidents have begun over taco incidents? I can only but hear your words and wonder as to your abilities to extricate yourself from such massive taco trouble. Respect. 🙂

    Yeah, I hear you about that and now know better about Merlin and his activities. He was right too, you know. It is funny you mention that but…

    Eee gaks! Charlene the snow white squirrel surely is lovely, but need she chew upon the house?

    That’s funny, but I was actually in the big smoke yesterday when the veritable poop hit the fan. I was awake half the night last night turning the problem over and over in my head and looking at it from every angle as if it were a Rubik’s Cube – you might recall those annoying toys? Today rubber bullets were used. The mood already was ugly, but somehow has become uglier. After hours of contemplation the editor and I have chosen a path, and will write about it and the why of it next week. Until then…



  23. Hi DJ,

    Pah! A major 6.0 earthquake rocked the house this morning, and not a single mention of it in your comment! 🙂 I applaud your ability to ignore and/or disregard the news of the day and can only but live up to your exacting standards in the future. Mate, truth to tell, it is really hard reading the news down here these days, so I get that perspective.

    Now that your theory has been posited, my loose and easy talk of ignoring the magic number of 42 rolls may have been the cause of the earthquake. All those theorists discussing New Zealand tectonics, what do they know? Hehe!

    Anyway, it is now a universally acknowledged fact that the news of the day has bypassed you – so how would you know that there might be zombie incursions elsewhere perhaps closer to yours and your fine ladies dwelling? The bullet dodged today becomes the lead soil toxicity problem tomorrow… Not suggesting that your big talk has overtones of hubris, but it kind of sounds like that. 🙂

    Sorry, I’m having too much fun at your expense and this should stop here and now, maybe… 🙂

    It’s really nice that your former colleague spoke with you and expressed what I’d describe as a level of appreciation for your good deeds over the years. 🙂 It is funny you mention social capital…

    Bacchus Marsh is the confluence of two major rivers and to my eye it looks as though once not all that long ago the area used to deliberately be caused to flood by the indigenous folks and so accumulate minerals. Even today there are a huge number of market gardens in the flat spots, err, sorry flood plains, no, I meant fertile deep loamy soils. When summer conditions are sub fluffy optimal here, I have occasionally stocked up with summer fruit from that area.

    Oooo, thanks for the explanation as to the ice and its effect on your concrete. I don’t have much experience with such icy conditions, although I do note that rocks with fissures here suffer a similar fate. Whenever we tackle a rock, we look for such hairline fissures as they are weak points.

    And that repair job makes sense to me. We’ve got a product down here called ‘Bondcrete’ and I suspect that is similar to the epoxy resin which you apply, but am just guessing really.

    I totally agree, water is a very corrosive and challenging natural process and people often forget that.

    A person can only but ask about the capacity for spare chickadees.

    Your squirrel visitor is probably quite familiar with your garden.



  24. Hi Lewis,

    Oh man. The house shook badly, and the floor and walls were bucking like a bronco. At first I’d imagined that a demon had possessed the washing machine and caused the spin cycle to go totally bonkers. So with the loud bangs and the walls shaking I was calmly (not really) yelling at the Editor to turn the freaking washing machine off. I’d unfortunately got there first and looked at the vast number of buttons on the machine before yelling: I don’t know how to switch the thing off. Fortunately the Editor then rushed in, swept me out of the way and switched the machine off. Then the house shaking got worse. We both stepped back and wondered if the heavy hot water tank in the ceiling was going to crash into the room, but no it didn’t and so we then knew what was going on and headed outside. The dogs were so relaxed about the whole episode that they decided to stay inside. So then, we walked around the house wondering if a large boulder had slid down the hill, which hadn’t happened. Crazy stuff. We jumped onto the geoscience website and logged a felt report (the graphic outcome can be seen in the reply to Pam). It was pretty awesome. I spoke with the lovely bloke who did the engineering computations and design on the house this afternoon as his house also shook, and congratulated him on the excellence of his design. He reckons movement of walls was in the order of about half a foot – which is rather alarming when you experience it in the flesh. Nothing was damaged despite the house and contents being thrown around a bit. Tell ya what, when you live on the side of an ancient extinct volcanic saddle, there are times that you wonder just how extinct is extinct? The geologists always say that we are due another eruption at some unspecified point in the future. No fun to be in that place, as you well know.

    Anyway, I was in the big smoke yesterday with all that that entailed. Far out man, it is genuinely crazy down here. I do hope that we reach Peak Crazy sooner rather than later.

    The Mamas and the Papas had astounding voices. I really like that song. I now raise you an obscure tune: Help I’m Alive – Acoustic. Dunno why that song came to mind, but it did. There’s a real darkness to the Mamas and Papas song you know, but all dressed up in brightness and cheeriness – but it’s there alright?

    No way? That sort of squirrel interaction displays a level of social interaction which is quite astounding. They may supplant us more foolish puny humans… Interestingly, I have not seen that problem with possums, although they don’t shy away from the occasional bit of biffo with their fellow. The little joeys hang on mums back whilst they perform those sort of high wire antics.

    Hey, the old trope about women and children first off the ailing vessel doesn’t always hold up so well in all circumstances. I can’t recall where I now read it, but there were reports that the crew often prioritised themselves. Have you ever read about this kind of thing?

    As to totalitarian states, all I can say that things were weird, and seem to be getting weirder. It’s stressing me out a bit. Is it possible that things could get weirder plus? There’s a good chance that that is possible. And yes, there is no humour to be found with that lot. Brian’s Latin lesson from the film takes on a whole new meaning for me these days…

    What? I guess that makes sense about supplying to the highest bidder. And it is a truth universally acknowledged that rationing by price might be the way of the future – unless you live down here where everyone seems to be getting clobbered all at once (except for some chosen few). Nobody says that about environmentalists do they? I mean that lot use vehicles and stuff too without giving it the merest second thought so I airily dismissed them. The editor and I were discussing the Greenpiece incident the other day. It sure left an impression on me, and was something of a turning point in my perspective. I’m still unsure why the guy felt sorry for me, but others have also remarked as much. It’s a pattern for sure.

    How do I reckon things would go? Well let’s just say that I’ve seen one extreme end of that story in Cambodia and fully understand what is possible if things go to their logical extreme. An uncomfortable place, I can assure you.

    The city folks are rather careless with their wastes, although this is only a moment in time and is profoundly unsustainable – although they might not realise that just yet. The land of stuff stopped taking the plastic waste because we were all too lazy to separate it out and clean it. Plus we produced too many varieties of the stuff in the first place. Recyclable also means limiting everyone to a very homogeneous supply, but you know that limitation speaks for the experience of the greater portion of human history.

    Yes, the drains are mostly pristine, and this extends to what visitors can and can’t do. Of course it helps that visitors realise that subterfuge in this matter is pointless.

    I can’t speak for your part of the world, but I’d go both autumn and winter. The autumn addition might keep the soil warmer for longer into the season due to biological action. My experience with growing garlic is that they seem to be rather undemanding plants, but my experience here is small.

    Hehe! Oh you’re good. Taken in was a perfect way to describe the manipulation. I watched an excellent English film which had that plot point. Now what was it again… … Atonement (2007) In that particular instance the atonement seemed rather late for the protagonists. Best not to be involved in their business is my thinking.

    The link didn’t work for me unfortunately. But I do get the point, and the ration actually improving some folks lives was not something that I’d previously considered, but I can see that for sure. It seems odd to me that so many health professionals are so concerned about one topic these days when there are some easy low hanging fruits, although they’re probably much harder work to pluck. One thing which always interests me is that in footage of local folks during WWII they kind of look more like me than what I see nowadays. I do wonder about that.

    Really? Are you seriously suggesting that rationing just kind of stopped one day? I must look into this matter…

    Nothing at all wrong with a momentary freak out, and as someone deep in what appears to be a totalitarian regime, I have freak outs all of the time nowadays. It didn’t used to be like this. It is interesting that you mention this…

    Plan B’s are very necessary. Yes. I approve.

    Mate, people are really trying hard to get me to be concerned about things that they are concerned about, and yet this situation is hardly reciprocated. It’s all very unfair you know! 🙂



  25. Hello Chris
    The editor’s succulent certainly looks a very good age. I have an identical one given to me 33 years ago and I don’t know how old it was then. It lives indoors. As far as I know, it wouldn’t survive outside in this climate.

    I have never been in an earthquake but, many years ago awake in the middle of the night, I heard a massive explosion and then my bed and the stone house I was living in, shook. There was total silence about it in the news. A woman who must like me have been awake at the time, wrote to the paper about it and was ridiculed. They must have blown something up in the Solent which they wished to keep quiet about.

    Received a letter from the bank yesterday which was a large missive about avoiding being scammed. Included was a small pamphlet which had ‘you are the ideal candidate’ printed on the front. We really are supposed to be crouched in terror on the floor.


  26. Good evening

    An earthquake! Or perhaps something more tremendous, the Divine voice: ‘Set my people free!’ ?

    ‘Pharoah’ should listen well if so………

    All the best


  27. Yo, Chris – I think the earthquake is all your fault 🙂 . What with calling this weeks blog, “Hold On.” As in, “Drop, cover and hold on.” I think you (inadvertently I’m sure) magic-ed it into existence. Probably due to reading too much Merlin.

    Your an earthquake veteran, now. Did you notice the P-wave and S-wave? Like thunder and lightening, the time variance between the two depends on distance from the epicenter. I’m glad Fernglade Farm rode it out, with no damage. Or damage so minor, you haven’t detected it, yet. Damage really depends on how long the quake last. Think what it would have been like had your quake lasted 5 minutes. And, a lot depends on structure vs direction the waves come from. Of course, your quake could also have been a foreshock. Sorting out foreshocks, quakes and aftershocks is rather a muddle.

    Have you seen any of the volcanic footage, from La Palma, in the Canary Islands? Pretty spectacular stuff. Especially when the lava pours into a swimming pool or water reservoir.

    I read about the latest Big Smoke Crazy, and hoped you were well out of it. It’s so easy to get swept up in all that. Through no fault of your own. The Madness of Crowds, and all that.

    “Help, I’m Alive” is a very pretty song. The Mamas and Papas have a certain sound of wistful yearning. Which, of course, appeals to adolescent angst. Of course, as far as Mondays go, you could always get your blues on …


    That reference to “…the eagle flies on Friday…” refers to payday. As so much of our money was stamped, or printed with eagles. There’s a myth kicking around that Benjamin Franklin wanted our national bird to be the turkey. But cooler heads prevailed. But, it’s just a myth.

    Squirrels probably won’t become our overlords, as they don’t have opposable thumbs. Now koalas and possums, on the other hand …

    Some of the Titanic crew, didn’t behave very well. A good portion of the crew and captain, on the Costa Concordia cruise ship (2012) abandoned 300 passengers, to their fate.

    Environmentalists don’t have very clean hands, but are often used as whipping boys and “cover” by big business. And, yes, that “oceans of oil” comment was made by one of my friends in Idaho. You can see why we don’t discuss some things … 🙂 . You hear that big business narrative in everything from logging to coal mining.

    Having just finished the novel about the occupation of Paris, well, yes, totalitarianism is a bad thing. I think. It can start off small, and then just snowball. Once entrenched, it can be very costly, to subvert it.

    Maybe I’m just tired of that plot point. It’s been done, to death. Of course, the uber-example is “Brideshead Revisited.” Right up to “The Line of Beauty” (Hollinghurst, 2004). Which is actually more interesting as a study of Thatcherite England. But, as far as the plot point we were talking about it goes, I got it. Don’t envy or get sucked into the toffs world. They’ll use you and then kick you to the curb.

    I find footage of high school kids in the 1950s, interesting. Not a pudgy one, in the bunch.

    I find some of other people’s concerns to be boring. Being a cranky old guy, these days, is rather freeing. I can express my boredom, and even say, on occasion, “I don’t care.” 🙂 . Lew

  28. Hi Chris,

    Wow, read about your experience in the earthquake and then read the article you linked. Glad you and the Editor and the fluffies and the house and the land made it through without any damage! You probably have enough excitement as it is without having an earthquake to add to it.

    Before I go any farther – a happy spring equinox to you and the Editor! I hope many cheerful flowers marked the equinox.

    I have been through a few earthquakes, the largest a 5.1, so about 10 times less strong than you experienced. It was at night, but it woke both of us up because the closet doors, which slide back and forth, rattled, and we felt the house vibrating. We also felt two weaker aftershocks following it.

    Here’s a rabbit hole for you: the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811 and 1812.



    The loess soil that Mike and I live on is prone to liquifaction during earthquakes. If New Madrid sized quakes occur again, we will be among the more severely affected. Such a quake would be likely to collapse the house on top of us.

    A cold front came through to provide our first good rainfall of the month, about 1.5 inches, and to cool us off to a comfortable 20-21C for today’s high. I will do some weeding today and then intend to move some of the seedlings around in the cabbage family bed to fill in the holes where seeds didn’t germinate. Wish them good growing!


  29. Hi Chris,

    Got on the computer a while ago and one of the first things I saw was your earthquake. Glad things appear to be OK. Have there been any after shocks? So you don’t know how to turn off the washer either. Neither does Doug but I believe it’s by design that he’s remained ignorant. However, this last washer which we had to get 3 years ago when we moved into the house isn’t as simple as our others where you simply had to open the top and it would stop. No this one has some kind of lock that doesn’t release until the the load is done unless a different button is pushed. I try to get the most simple appliance available and at the time this was it.

    We have lots of squirrels and chipmunks here as our property is full of oaks and hickory trees. Just yesterday Leo and Salve ripped apart a downspout to get at a chipmunk who had gone up it.

    Not just memorizing multiplication tables but spelling and cursive writing are gone too. Textbooks are now online. Kids are taking a TikTok challenge to remove urinals and soap dispensers in bathrooms as well as other acts of vandalism. I recently heard that students are faking disorders so they can get an IEP (Individual Education Plan for all special ed student and some others with specific medical or mental health conditions). An IEP usually provides some modifications i.e. having a test read. On that happy note…


  30. Chris,

    I felt no earthquake here. Per quantum theory, if you don’t observe it, it doesn’t exist. So there was no earthquake. 😉

    No, I hadn’t heard about your earthquake until you mentioned it. 6.0 is nothing to sneer at! Glad you survived it intact. There is one burning question, however: do you know how to turn off the washing machine now? (Hint: if all else fails, remove plug from the wall outlet.) 🙂

    We have felt 2 earthquakes of about 6.5 in Spokane, both of which were centered a bit north of Boise, Idaho. Some shaking, no damage. The Princess and I were in southern California in late June, 1992, when there was 6.4 quake at about 5:30 a.m. and another 45 minutes later of the same size. The second shook us so hard it tossed her out of bed onto the floor. She jumped up in classic fighting pose, convinced that I had thrown her onto the floor, only to realize that the floor was shaking and she couldn’t stand up. That classic seismologist, Jerry Lee Lewis, had something to say about earthquakes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GN8VV8CHnrk

    That 0.42 inches of rain was the single biggest rainfall since January 12, when 0.86 inches fell. There was also a 0.36 inch storm in June a few days before the insane heat began. As of Tuesday, we had recorded 2.59 inches from Feb. 1, through Sept. 20, 5.57 inches less than normal. February had less than 0.42 inches, as did March, as did April, as did May, as did July and as did August. No wonder we’ve felt parched!

    Flat spots, flood plains, etc. When little, we would go on camping trips in the California desert during Christmas break. Dad would point out nice flat areas in totally dry riverbeds. He said to NEVER camp in those dry riverbeds. He explained the concept of flash floods due to rain events that were out of our range of vision. Hmmm, I’m thinking I paid more attention to him than I remembered.

    Bondcrete sounds like it’s similar to the stuff I’ve been using. Or else Bondcrete is the title of a new 007 movie that takes place in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

    Yes, people don’t understand water’s destructive abilities. Barring large floods, water’s processes are slow and patient. Doesn’t make water less powerful.

    It never hurts to ask about spare chickadees. Worst that can happen is that I say we have no extras.

    I heard a nuthatch calling this morning. They sparrow-sized and related to woodpeckers. They possess a unique “onk, onk, onk” call. Then one showed up in our crabapple tree and proceeded to peck the tree and eat bugs. A nuthatch was one of my first good wood burning projects.

    The squirrels are familiar with all aspects of the yards and garden. Their favorite area contains the walnut and hazel nut trees. I grow the trees, they eat the nuts, I get amused by their antics. Fair trade.


  31. Hi Chris,

    My earthquake experience occurred in NZ. Unfortunately, the timing was rather unfortunate as I was partway through my morning abulations. I thus faced an unfortunate predicament. Do I abort, and flee to safety outdoors? Or do I resolutely focus on the task at hand and complete my business?

    Of course, I chose to remain on the toilet, but my decision was tested at the 10second mark when the quake refused to stop. Thankfully, it did a few seconds later and I felt justified in my decision.


  32. Hi Inge,

    Out of curiosity, do you occasionally give you succulent plant a feed? They’re great plants aren’t they? Actually, in the past decade the plant has tolerated 28’F with impunity, and the occasional snowfall, but those are rare and extreme weather events. I forget, what is the usually expected low temperature for your winter months?

    Yes, strange things do happen like that and can reverberate a long distance away from the source. In the big smoke on quiet mornings I could hear aircraft taking off from the international airport which would have been maybe 20 miles away. The neighbour was a pilot and he suggested that the sound was transferred through the rock layers across that distance.

    Yes, who’d imagine that common sense would ever go out of style. Honestly the things going on down here are alarming. I’ll pen an update on Sunday evening for Monday morning.



  33. Hi Xabier,

    Far out, that was pretty funny. Mate, this week has taken the crazy factor to 11 on the dial.

    Mind you, I took a day off work today and just tried to relax in the spring equinox sunshine.

    And same to you too. 🙂



  34. Hi Pam,

    Boss dog Ruby sends cordial tail wags to you in memory of the cheeky Bob. Woof! Woof!

    I do hope that none of the lovely folks posting comments ever get to experience super crazy factor 11. That would be a bad thing… 🙂 Have to laugh. At least it was a very sunny and pleasant day today.



  35. Hi Claire,

    Thank you for the kind words and thoughts, and a happy autumn equinox to you and the life in your lovely garden! And yes, the spring equinox is a great time for flowers – there are bees and butterflies everywhere. Yesterday I spotted a small dragonfly. There is a lot of life out there.

    The earthquake was the strongest I’ve ever experienced and the walls, floor and ceiling were actually deflecting and there was a lot of noise. One bright note was that earthquakes tend to take ones mind of the more human-centric troubles hanging around like unwelcome vultures. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your experience, and oh yeah, you can’t sleep through such an incident. Wow! An excellent rabbit hole, and I note that log cabins in your part of the world were destroyed by the after shocks. A truly alarming event. Hey, looking at the earthquake map there have been plenty of aftershocks, but I have not felt any of them.

    Ouch, yes that liquification of soil can be a problem and was a factor in the 2011 Christchurch New Zealand earthquake: 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The link has a photo of the aftermath of liquification. Fingers crossed. There is risk all over the place.

    Our temperatures are about the same, although I’m guessing your night time temperatures are warmer. Look forward to reading your next instalment.



  36. Hello Chris
    Oh goodness, that’ll teach me to look again at something before I quote it. I had a nagging feeling that I had got it wrong. It actually said ‘You are the ideal victim’!

    No I have never fed the Christmas cactus having been told that they are better if you don’t. I guess that succulents like cacti prefer tough conditions.

    I don’t know how cold it can get here, the weather is so variable, one can always get a shock. One has no expectations but it can certainly go below 28F. I also guess that conditions could be too wet for the plant.

    Wind direction is certainly important re. hearing sound. I can hear the instructions to passengers on the car ferry when there is a wind from the east. This always surprises me. Have also got the impression that sound carries particularly well over water. I wonder why?


  37. Hi Margaret,

    Please excuse the dodgy pun, but it was a rather shocking experience. 🙂 Actually it was an alarming experience as the floors, walls and ceiling were visibly deflecting and all the while was a loud banging sound plus everything in the house rattling. I have a new appreciation for earthquakes, and you wouldn’t really want to experience a big one. Yikes!

    Thanks for saying so, and no I haven’t felt any aftershocks although they have continued looking at the map.

    Dunno whether you recall, but the old washing machine broke down maybe two years ago, and was replaced. I hear you about that too as it was a simple machine, but the editor wanted this unit and whilst it appears to be solidly built and has never given trouble – it has so many buttons that I look at it and think to myself: what is this thing? Of course DJ supplied the blokes method to switching the machine off, by pulling the plug. That trick should have been applied to the Terminator… 🙂 However, my mind was on other things at that particular moment and yeah, it was all a bit too exciting and the editor was close by and could take control of the beast.

    Oh no! Naughty Leo and Salve. Bet they had fun doing that hard work? What are downspout’s made from in your country? Here they are a thick leak proof UV stable PVC – of course they are also an important part of the water system.

    Margaret, it is not a good development. I know of young folks who do not understand that the first word in a sentence begins with a capital letter. It is a total unmitigated disaster. Back in the day when I volunteered in the local fire brigade, I was rather dismayed that the basics weren’t drilled repeatedly.

    From some respects, the kids have a lot to be annoyed about, although they might not realise that side of the current story. The thing with those sorts of platforms though, is that you don’t know who is inserting the ideas behind the actions. It is a real problem. I wrote a few weeks ago about the catfish attempt and I knew straight away what this revolting thing was, but the kids, who is training them? That is a more important question than it first appears to be.



  38. Hi Damo,

    Thanks for your amusing story. 🙂 And, you’ve just answered a question that has long troubled my mind: Do you stay, or do you go? I applaud your decision making processes.

    Truth to tell, it didn’t occur to me that the reason the house was violently shaking was an earthquake, until the washing machine (which bizarrely was on spin cycle at the time) had been switched off, and yet the shaking continued. We watched the crazy antics of the walls moving around for maybe a second or two before coming to the same conclusion to get the heck out of the house. The dogs didn’t care, and of course Kelpie’s love nothing more than standing upon a precarious surface – it harks back to their sheep herding collective breed memories.



  39. Hi DJ,

    I applaud your attempt at logic chopping using highly scientific theorems, but mate, hate to be the one to tell you: You’re wrong! 🙂

    However, your kind words and perhaps here on a more pragmatic basis, thanks for the very useful suggestion (says he busily writing it down for future reference), you’ve redeemed yourself from your former dodgy efforts at sophistry. They should have pulled the plug on the Terminator! How neat a film ending would that have been?

    Thanks for the music, very appropriate! And did you exit the building after being shook out of bed? Serious people keep mentioning darkly that one day that part of the world is going to get a big quake. But until then…

    DJ, both you and Al have been doing it pretty tough this year and I’m really glad to hear that some rainfall has returned to your part of the world.

    Hehe! Yes, your dad’s advice stands up well to the test of time. I’d experienced that happening when at a hippy festival which friends dragged me along too almost two decades and a bit ago. I hated the festival and felt dragooned into going, and I wore my usual work boot, jeans and t-shirt attire. Everyone else was in tie-die and they gave me heaps of grief about the difference. I’d pitched my tent on higher ground (you can see where this is going), and after a few sunny and hot days a big storm rolled in and tents were getting washed away, and then suddenly everyone ditched the tie-die, what a surprise. I left the next morning.

    It probably is the same stuff, which is why I mentioned it. 🙂 Oh, that’s funny! Yes indeed, it probably is such a film.

    Heavy and prolonged rainfall is alarmingly destructive, and a lot of the background infrastructure here is in place to deal with such an event. It seems like a waste of time and effort, until a big storm rolls in. Those sorts of rainfall events push beyond the boundaries of the infrastructure in the big smoke. It is a bit of a worry to experience such events, but then the clean up from the recent epic wind storm continues even today.

    Well just in case, I’d be happy to swap some garden munching parrots. They’re very attractive, and won’t do too much damage, maybe…

    Your nuthatch is very similar looking to the: Eastern spinebill, although with a few notable differences. Glad to hear that your garden is attracting the local wildlife. What exactly is a nuthatch wood project?

    🙂 Good stuff, and each of the critters perform both useful and harmful activities. You just kind of hope that there are more useful than harmful activities. Hope may be ephemeral.



  40. Hi Lewis,

    Liked the dodgy pun where you slipped in the word ‘fault’! Shocking humour, just shocking – but I kind of like it too. 😉 Words can be pretty fun. I’d never heard of the drop, cover and roll technique. Interesting, and you might be right. It is funny that you mention Merlin, whilst you might not be aware of the curse. I should mention this to Mr Greer as it bears some relevance. Oh well.

    What? The P-Curve sounds like the outcome from wetting ones pants in utter fright! Kind of hard to explain in a public space. I’ve never owned a vehicle with an automatic gearbox – they’ve all been stick shift. Anyway, years ago I was driving along juggling all the controls whilst reaching for a drink of water, when I hit a particularly nasty hole in the road and the water bounced out of the bottle into my lap. By the time I got to where I was going, the jeans were almost dry, and then I just tried to be all super cool and stuff and pretend that nothing had happened. Except it had! Ook!

    Five minutes of that roller coaster would definitely have been a far greater problem. The house is tied together with metal strapping which allows for extraordinary flexibility in the frame. But if you’ve ever bent metal strapping backwards and then forwards then back again, you know it eventually breaks.

    Who knows whether it was a foreshock? There certainly have been plenty of aftershocks: Earthquakes Geoscience Australia. You can zoom in on the map and it shows all of the earthquakes in that immediate area, and there have been quite a few over the past day or so.

    Man, I watched the footage of the volcano and lava flow, and it’s horrific, and unstoppable. Yes, both the reservoir and the swimming pool are toast. Makes you wonder if archaeologists in the far distant future discover the pool structure and marvel at the construction and technology? Those ancients sure were different!

    Thanks for your concern and the constabulary were using something like non lethal projectiles to disperse the crowd. That may have meant rubber bullets, but I wasn’t there and can’t confirm that. Actually, the response is very troubling. You’ve mentioned inadvertently getting caught up in student protests, and that wasn’t lost on me. It has been a super crazy week and spurred the editor and I into action.

    Yeah exactly, the song I linked to has the sound of youthful uncertainty, and you nailed it about The Mamas and the Papas. It comes with the territory. The kids are getting a rough time of it right now.

    Wednesday’s worse! 🙂 He’s great. I watched him perform with the band U2 way back in 1989. I recall purchasing the tickets, because that week I was very ill and so drove my car to the train station (should have walked). The car had a few problems with registration and foolishly I left tools on the floor of the car (just to assist with getting the thing going again). Anyway, went into the city on the train, bought the tickets and returned again. Got into the car, and the local detectives hauled me out of the car. They thought that I’d been pinching other vehicles parked at the train station because of the tools and lack of registration. Like no, I hadn’t been. They gave me a stern talking too, and then bizarrely let me drive back home again. Things were different back then…

    Thanks for the explanation about the Eagle flies on Friday. Such cultural notes get lost over time. That’s pretty funny about the turkey – it is not a good look.

    Hey, and the koala’s and possums are grumpy enough to do it!

    The Costa Concordia appeared to be an epic mess. It reminds me of that tower in Grenfell in London where people were allegedly told to return to their apartments. What a mess. Sometimes you have to go with your gut feeling.

    Well that is also true about environmentalists also being whipping boys. It is really a no win position, and sometimes they also take the mad cash. The road to perdition and all that stuff. But I hear you.

    Yes, yes exactly. It begins small, just a little inconvenience here and there, and before too long your life is being micromanaged by faceless people. Hmm, tell me about it. And I agree it will take a whole mess to unravel.

    I never watched Brideshead Revisited, but I recall that it was something of a cultural phenomenon. The thing is that the golden rule of ‘do unto others’ operates strongly in such a world and best not be involved.

    The story about soils has a lot to say about that story of health, and the food that the vast majority of people eat nowadays, even if it is the same ingredients, is not exactly the same. I doubt this matter can be addressed in any meaningful scale.

    Why not! It is refreshing to to hear straight talking. Mind you, a person has to maintain decorous behaviour towards others whilst doing so. 🙂 It’s a lost art form, you know!

    Had a quiet day today. I call it a mental health day. Enjoyed a leisurely lunch (at the only place nearby) and then walked around a large Hill Station garden that is one of the only ones open to the public at this time. The editor and I are attempting to consume the lamb chop of life, plus recall to eat the little fatty tail and of course the marrow. Yum! That is a metaphor of course. Apparently there will be shortages of pork for Christmas.



  41. Yo, Chris – Well, now you can get the t-shirt. “I survived the Melbourne quake of 2021 (and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” 🙂 .

    Here’s our earthquake map …


    You can see there’s always a bit of action, around our volcanos. And, I see there were some pretty big ones, out on the Cascadia subduction zone. Looking at your map, it’s pretty clear where the plate boundaries are, way to the north of you. “Ring of Fire,” and all that.

    There’s a new series, starting this week, called “La Brea.” Smack dab in the middle of LA are the La Brea Tar Pits. I remember walking around the lake, but not going into the museum.


    Speaking of things geological. The premise is, a huge sinkhole opens under the pits, lots of things fall in. Including a mother and son. They discover a prehistoric land down under (No, not Oz.) 🙂

    Here’s the trailer of the first five minutes, of the series. Probably the most exciting part.


    That red and white strip building is an automotive museum. After my time.

    Rubber bullets sound so benign. But, they can take out an eye or tooth. Give me plan old tear gas, any day.

    During certain points on 9/11, people were told to return to their offices. Don’t think so …

    There’s been a few articles, here, on possible holiday shortages. Everything from ornaments to turkeys. We’ll see.

    Besides the Autumn Equinox, we hit another milestone, here, over the last few days. Same number of deaths as the 1918 flu epidemic. There are a couple of differences. In 1918, the flu hit a lot faster. The duration wasn’t as long, as today. Also, due to population differences, in 1918 it was one death in 150 population. So far, it’s been 1 in 500. In our county, we set a new record, last week, for number of deaths. 17.

    Our night manager is quitting. Finally got fed up with all the horse apples, from the office. Wonder how long it will take to get a replacement. I hear they’re three night managers down, at various Institutions. Well, in the meantime, the Institutions Citizen’s Patrol, will swing into action, and make sure the building is secure, each night. Won’t be the first time.

    I picked another gallon of blueberries, late afternoon yesterday. Took me just over an hour. They’re a bit on the small side, but it looks like they made a bit of a comeback, after water was reestablished. At least there’s plenty of good berries, deep in the interior of the bushes. I should do another round of tomatoes. The green beans are about ready to pick, blanch and freeze. The scarlett runner beans are producing (finally!) big pods.

    I wonder when we’ll get our first frost? I see by the records I keep, that the earliest frost was the 28th of September. In 2019, which was also a La Nina year. It was light, but enough to do in anything tender. Time will tell. Lew

  42. Hi Inge,

    The exact wording of the unsolicited observation sent to you, kind of makes it seem like an advertisement. Yes, come and claim your prize, just send us $50, for you are the ideal victim! 🙂 I can’t quite resolve the dilemma as to whether the observation is amusing or sad, or some other thing. It is kind of odd. When in the bank the other day, I was glancingly sprayed with hospital grade disinfectant, despite telling the staff specifically not to do what they were about to do – and then did. It sure is crazy down here. Hope your daughters passport issues were resolved?

    Of course. By way of comparison, the succulents here are grown in quite rich soil and receive the rainfall, which you might note this year is rather a lot. I’m unsure, but the area they grow in is also very well drained. Although there is that weird cactus plant which is hiding in one of the garden beds and was grown over – but is still there all the same. I do hope not to actually forget about the plant, and then stumble across it.

    That’s my thinking too with the succulents. My gut feeling is that they would be OK with the cold weather, but the drainage in your part of the world is another matter altogether.

    Actually the sound gets blown by the wind here too. Some days when the wind blows just right I can hear the droning of commentary at the nearby pony club. I doubt that lot have met for a long time now.

    Was caught up in mandatory vaccination. Oh well.



  43. Hi Lewis,

    It must be exciting to live in such an exciting geologically active environment? Far out, that might be a bit too much excitement for my tastes, although I dunno, things down here are so weird that maybe your part of the world is a better place? The construction industry now has a mandatory vaccination order, and as you might imagine I have a few clients in that industry, and if I want to ever see them and continue earning a buck…

    Actually we booked in and got it done yesterday morning and the chips will now fall where they will fall. I was never worried about the health subject which dares not be named, as I reckon I’d already had it about six weeks before it began being spoken about in the media. You can go back and have a look: Oct 15, 2019 – it’s right there in our comments. Anyway, at the time I thought to myself that this is the weirdest cold I’ve ever had as it got into my lungs and made me feel a bit spacey for a couple of days. But overall it didn’t seem like a big drama. And with all the hard work around here, bringing gunk back out of my lungs is not as difficult a task as some may imagine. Yuk! But also much needed physical therapy. Anyway, so we had to choose which option of vaccination, tell me that isn’t a weird scenario? And we ended up going for the locally produced item because it has higher short term risks, is based on an older technology, and has far less long term unknown risks. The other ones I’m a bit dodge about and best let other people put them to the test if they so desire.

    I felt fine, if a little bit thirsty yesterday. Last night the editor went down like a sack of spuds and crashed out. She is better tonight, thankfully. I’ve been left wondering if my experience was easier because I reckon my body has already encountered this thing and fought it off on its own. I dunno really, because the origin and timing of this thing is all a bit hazy, but most likely it was leaked from a lab. There is a small risk of blood clots over the next 42 days and also possible death, and then the whole merry go around will commence all over again sometime in November.

    I had a bit of trouble tracking down the local production item if only because all of the doctors in the area advised against it on the basis that I’m too young. But then I was kind of thinking of the longer term risks, not the short term risks. It’s like sizing up the least worst option and then being forced to take one, but you can’t do nothing. In the state to the north of here, they’re apparently not mandatory for people, but you kind of have stay in lock down more or less permanently until you get it. Like what kind of choice is that?

    There is something really monstrously evil which I’m finding really hard to define in making this outcome mandatory. Like things weren’t odd enough down here. In my visions of the future, I never imagined I’d end up in the gubamint area with the most extreme reaction to the health subject which dare not be named on the planet. It’s utterly bonkers down here.

    Oh yeah, don’t forget our friends across the Tasman Sea in New Zealand. They have some very seriously active volcanic action too. It is very possible that the Australian continental plate is to cause for all of this excitement. Mind you, those two areas have extraordinarily fertile soils as a result and relative to land mass, they support a huge population. It is very quiet in rural areas down under.

    The La Brea Tar Pits are really interesting. On the websites main page, there is a fascinating photograph as to how the oil industry in that area looked way back in the day.

    Thanks for the trailer, but really the kid lying on the ground screaming for mum wasn’t doing her best to save herself – and then she endangered the others. A sad and familiar tale. 😉 I must add that looking at their attire, I don’t reckon they’ll survive long, rarely are heroines in jungles attired in sun dresses, and her and Josh will probably end up as dinosaur feed. The fall from such a height would be impossible to survive anyway, unless of course a spatial anomaly is somehow involved in the plot. Hey, what’s wrong with Oz, except for the totalitarian regime stuff, clamp down on anti social media, and the breakdown of social relationships on a scale that I wouldn’t have imagined, and maybe some other stuff? Actually it isn’t looking all that great really.

    Yeah, that was my thoughts about them too. There has been some stories circulating that drone footage is being cancelled. Not good to concentrate so much mediation…

    Oh, that’s not good. Taking a phone call from someone stuck in that disaster would have been a harrowing experience.

    You’re probably right about the supply issues, and anyway the reality will be known soon enough.

    Mate, I saw that headline too, and the obvious logical fallacy stood out to me and I didn’t bother reading the article. So nobodies entirely sure, but at a rough guess there are now four people for every one person a hundred years ago. Seriously, my skills in the area of mathematics are not up to scratch, but the old comparing of apples and oranges trick does not reflect well upon the journalist. And people wonder why the mainstream media is suffering a credibility issue.

    Well down here they are now using models to predict fatalities and reporting on that, and the body count has never seemed high enough to justify the official reaction.

    Sorry to hear that the night manager is calling it a day. However, I’m impressed that your crew has a plan B to cater for this outcome. Nice one.

    Do the new smaller blueberries (and that happens here in hot and dry years too) have much flavour?

    Spotted the very first purple broccoli floret today! It’s exciting. And we’ve also begun to experiment cooking with the two varieties of kale and that’s working out really well. Kale has a bland to slightly sweet flavour and so works better in some dishes than do the green mustards we used to use.

    Good stuff with the beans!

    Be careful what you wish for… 🙂



  44. Hi Chris
    Well, there it was , at comment #17. The big one struck your homeland! So glad that your family escaped personal harm and apparently without any known material damage.
    The excursions of the shaking house and contents would have caused me terror. Good that you could connect to the wise designer of your house with thanks for his foresight and great work!
    My immediate reaction to your news was to enter a search term. “ Sept. 2021 Au Quake” which of course had plenty to see. Of course in the top hits were US gov expert maps of depths and location of epicenter all determined from world wide seabed installed listening equipment and such . Americans are such a snoopy, cheeky ,bunch!

    My best wishes for a speedy recovery for all effected Australia. Al

  45. Yo, Chris – Well, it’s exciting living in a geologically active area, while it’s happening, but in the meantime, it’s just a feeling of creeping dread. If you dwell on it, too much. 🙂

    Yes, I saw the last riot you had, was mostly made up of construction tradies. I’m sorry you were forced to get the jab. A lot of people here say they already had It, but no one gets an antibody test, to make sure. I suppose there’s some comfort in not knowing for sure.

    Anything medical carries a certain amount of risk. The clot numbers seem pretty small, and, most of those folks had “underlying issues.” I’d say take an aspirin a day (even a baby aspirin) and eat your garlic. Your blood will be so thin … just don’t poke yourself. Even a paper cut might be hard to stanch. And you probably don’t want to be bleeding into the Kale.

    When I lived in southern California, one would often stumble on “nodding donkeys” in the most out of the way places. Ah, I see they’re still around. Quietly going about their business, pumping the last dregs out of an an oil well.

    The article I read about the comparison between the 1918 flu epidemic, and now, was upfront about the differences. Duration and population. I’m sure some media sources will ignore that, to make it all sound more sensational.

    Yes, I can’t wait to break out my WWII LDV helmet and whistle. I’m practicing yelling “Put out that light!” so I get the authority voice, just right 🙂 .

    I bid on a Currier and Ives lithograph yesterday, but didn’t get it. The wedding of Gen. Tom Thumb. Who was one of the exhibits at P. T. Barnum’s museum. I think someone was using snipe software. I lost it by $2 in the last 30 seconds. Not to worry. It’s condition was a bit poor, and I had a firm amount I was willing to pay, in my mind. Besides, there’s a fruit print, coming up today.

    Busy morning. Walk the dog, food box delivery, E-Buy auction and they’re running a druggist (chemist?) in here, to give anyone interested in a yearly flu shot, a flu shot. THEN I can take a nap. 🙂

    Talk about a bad day …


    Last night I watched “Village of the Vampire.” Meh. Almost worth a bowl of popcorn. It was either a Spanish or Italian vampire movie. It dragged in some parts, but at least the narrative hung together. More interesting was season 2, episode 1 of “Eli Roth’s History of Horror.” Last night’s offering was “Houses of Horror.” It’s interesting how one horror film, will influence another. And, are some houses just intrinsically evil, or is it just that evil dwells within? Inquiring minds want to know! 🙂 . Two of the talking heads were Stephen King and his son Joe Hill. Next up: Monsters! 🙂 Lew

  46. Chris,

    Ah yes, I was wrong. Once upon a year, I was trying to figure out the “if you don’t observe it, it doesn’t exist” bit of quantum theory. One of my favorite professors and I were going around and around and around. I just couldn’t buy into that idea. So I finally quipped, “So an ostrich is scared that there’s a hunter trying to spear him. So the ostrich does the head in the sand thing, in that way being unable to observe the hunter. Therefore, the hunter doesn’t exist and the ostrich is safe.” Professor said, “Yes, that’s correct.” At precisely that moment, however, another professor had walked in and he noted that “And the ostrich will look awfully funny with a spear coming out of its backside.” Well, yes, there’s always that downfall to the theory. 😉

    I agree, pulling the plug on the Terminator would’ve been a cool ending. Anticlimactic, but pretty cool. I can imagine “Terminator Meets Leave It to Beaver”. After terrorizing older brother Wally and his loathsome friend, Eddie Haskell, for much of the episode, the Beaver pipes up, “Gee, Wally, why don’t you just unplug that Terminator thing?”

    Nah, we didn’t exit the building during the shaking. It had all stopped before we could get outside.

    Mate, you dressed for that hippy event much the same way I would have. And chose the high ground. Storms, battles, whatever, the high ground is advantageous. I bet you hadn’t even read Sun Tzu at that time and you STILL knew to seek the high ground.

    Living in the city, with city services, means that some of these flooding preparations were already built. Supposedly. It doesn’t always work that way. Out where you live? A 100 year storm, or a 1,000 year storm hits you, and you didn’t build for it, well, you’re done. Construction for something much worse than the “normal” has always seemed prudent to me.

    Cool picture! You’re right, that eastern spinebill looks a lot like the nuthatch. Thanks for the link. The project I did with the nuthatch was a wood burning. I found a photo of it and tried to email it to you. Hope it got there.

    Hohoho! I’d seriously enjoy some of those parrots here. The “maybe” about not doing too much damage? That’s priceless. Alas! I fear that our winters would be too much for them. I do appreciate the offer.


  47. Hi Al,

    Thanks for the concern and the house survived the 6.0 earthquake quite well. It is an interesting design and has more than the usual redundancy built into the frame and external and internal walls. The minimum fire rating at 40kW of direct energy applied to the surfaces is a half and hour whilst the maximum is 90 minutes before structural collapse. The house is a very unusual house although it looks rather small and bland from most appearances. The construction did my head in, but was more in the ‘difficult’ rather than the ‘impossible’ range of things to do. Everyone needs a hobby…

    The designer of the structural elements was really lovely about the outcome. And it is nice to be tested and survive. What more could anyone ask for? Steel straps hold the entire thing together from floor to ceiling, and the flexibility they provide just works.

    Hehe! Yes, I noticed the US maps, but here I must add that the local maps which I linked to provide far greater detail.

    How is your autumn weather going? Has the climate cooled?



  48. Hi DJ,

    Hehe! Mate, it is the exact same story as: ‘if a tree falls in the forest, does it make any sound?’, question. And I too have heard people discuss this in all seriousness and with urgent earnestness. You know though, observation is one tool in the toolbox, but it ain’t the only game in town. I get to experience the aftermath of huge trees falling in the forest, and a part of me suggests that: Glad I wasn’t anywhere near there at the time so that I could hear them fall.

    It is an interesting perspective though and it does concern me that some folks believe that they are passively observing the goings on around them. There is something odd about that perspective which I don’t get, because in reality, every action we take has waves of effects some of which we are conscious about, but most of which we have only the vaguest of clues. That’s life, and the Total Perspective Vortex would seriously mess with your head. 🙂

    Hey, the Ostrich might have something to say about the incident!

    It’s pretty funny isn’t it? Thanks for the laughs. Pah, these folks who believe that energy should be unlimited have never attempted to power a light bulb using a battery. I recommend the experience to the true believers.

    The exit would have been tough. Once the washing machine was switched off (yes, it could have been done sooner) and the shaking continued, we watched the walls, floor and ceiling for another brief moment before realisation set in and then headed outside. It was sort of like the day the tornado hit: That’s an odd looking cloud… Some things are so unexpected that it takes a moment or two for realisation to occur and survival instincts to kick in.

    Hehe! Yeah, you busted me. My hardcover version of The Art of War arrived via an op-shop maybe five or six years ago, but much of the book is just plain old common sense. Who knew that common sense was so thin on the ground? 🙂

    Yeah exactly. Constructing for the possible, but infrequent, is merely being prudent. Nice one (I might coin that as DJ’s law!) It is like the house design here in that it is designed and constructed to resist wildfires, but it may never be tested by one. And I’m slowly working on reducing that risk each year – but the risk has increased since 1834, and so many years of neglect is not easy to undo.

    Respect the work is superb, and deserving of the accolade. In a strange coincidence, the seed collection looks like a Banksia tree pod – which some people use for wood turning.

    Yes, you’re probably correct about the winters, maybe… 🙂

    I’ve seen the parrots in some pretty harsh alpine conditions on the island state of Tasmania, so you never know.



  49. Hi Lewis,

    Do you know, the same feeling of creeping dread is what I get to experience during very hot and dry summers in relation to the bushfires? So I hear you about that feeling, oh yeah. Interestingly the folks in the big smoke are suffering a similar feeling in relation to the health subject which dare not be named. Due to prior experience with the bushfire risk, I recognised it straight away when I first encountered people in the big smoke suffering from the effects of that thing. The difference being that I get most of the year when the risk is negligible – and they’ve been under the fear influence for over eighteen months now, and might be a bit close to breaking really.

    Thanks, and I was kind of hoping to sort of just blithely ignore the whole health matter thing. For some odd reason I worry about some matters, but that one never seemed much of an issue to me. Maybe I’m just old enough to recall that in my youth people used to suddenly drop dead, and that was how things rolled. I was speaking with friends today and recounted the awful story of my lesser grandfathers demise. It is worth recounting, if only because a problem shared is a problem halved, and so on that basis… So I went around to pay my respects to my grandmother after the lesser old guy died. It was a nice thing to do and was well received. There was a lot of family around that day, so we were in the kitchen just talking as people do. Thought I’d sit down and relax in a conveniently placed chair, which I then proceeded to do. Only to be informed (after I was seated) that that was where granddad died only a day or so beforehand. Do you see what I had to deal with? Like, who leaves a chair in that spot for days, and doesn’t alert casual visitors to the story? Family, can’t live with them, pass the beer nuts.

    Actually just for personal interest I would have taken the antibody test, but that is not an option on the table down here – at least perhaps for people with my financing. But anyway, it has no legal force anyway, so it is a moot point and serves no purpose other than personal interest. The editor is feeling much better today.

    You’re right there, and I do my utmost to stay away from such folks. My mate Simon pointed out to me that in the not that distant past they were called: “Quacks”. And interestingly, I have heard people use that term lately. My understanding of the short term risk of death is one in a million, and so far that equates to ten people (which has actually played out). The blood clot risk for someone my age is about three in a hundred thousand. They’re candidly good odds. As to the longer term risks, who knows, but I chose on the basis to get the bad news out of the way upfront than have the variety which modifies cells. Mate, it took me five years to move from Windows 7 to Windows 10, and I never would have purchased a smart phone if the threats weren’t real. What I’m hearing about other countries experiences is that they don’t appear to be working all that well. My gut feeling is that we just have to learn to live with this thing.

    Actually, I waited quite a while before making a decision on this matter, and so asked hard questions especially in relation to early things to watch out for. And I said to the lady, if you don’t know, say that you don’t know. Then she said that nobody really knew. That’s life, no point worrying about decisions already made and acted upon. The die is cast.

    There is an amazing stock photo of ‘thousands of nodding donkey pumps on the Kern River Oilfield just outside Bakersfield, California’.

    Hey, we probably read the same article because I too noted that the content differed from the sensational headline and acknowledged the cheeky suggestion in the headline. Interestingly, the article here contained a stock photo of a mother grieving over a coffin. Mate, there was no indication that the photo even related to a death from the subject which dare not be named. It was weird.

    Ah yes, the LDV helmet is very Dad’s Army. Very amusing. If I had to posit a guess, I reckon you’ve seen an episode or three?

    I’d not encountered General Tom Thumb before, but now understand one of the jokes which Peter Dinklage performed for the school class in The Station Agent. The reference was lost on me until just then. The bloke may have been small in stature, but he was bigger than most people ever get to be. Thanks as usual for the continuing education. The print was not meant to be! Go on, did you score the fruit print? I hope it wasn’t a print of persimmon’s?

    Yes, chemist is the correct term, and some even have the skills to compound medicines (the local mob I went to have that facility). It is disturbing that there are a number of competing pharmacies in the nearby township.

    Ooo! Such things happen, and the ending sure would have been quick. Online impact calculator! Yes, such a tool might indeed be necessary in certain circumstances. Who comes up with things like that? And I noticed that the authors of the article suggested that this was no the first time that such a thing had occurred.

    I want to know too: which came first the evil house, or the evil people (or possibly both at the same time)? Gothic architecture lends itself nicely to such uses.



  50. Hello Chris
    I have just been hearing a coruscating account, on television, of life in Australia. This made particular reference to Victoria. It reminded me of how much I loved the country when I first visited in the nineteen eighties. I liked the thought of potentially living there, less and less on every subsequent visit to the annoyance of my daughters who thought that I should go there after my husband died.


  51. Yo, Chris – I’m glad to hear the Editor is feeling better. I got my jab on a Friday afternoon, and didn’t feel “right” until Tuesday. Had my yearly flu jab, yesterday. No problems.

    When I stopped by Elinor’s last night, it was as if we were in the middle of a conversation. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention. 🙂 “…I hadn’t realized it was so bad.” What? What was bad? Apparently, two of Elinor’s great, great (great?) granddaughters (where’s that Elinor’s family flow chart?) were on the scene, when grandpa popped his clogs. Went down like a sack of spuds. We should all be so lucky. I guess the girls are around 10 and 12. My response was, “Remember the good old days, when people died at home, and they laid them out in the parlor? It’s all been downhill, from there.” She pretty much ignored that, and said “they” were seeking therapy for the girls. Yes, it’s all very sad, and a certain amount of grief is in order, but beyond that …

    Free floating anxiety. There’s a pill for that. 🙂 . Maybe instead, I’ll just … cope. Another old custom that has fallen out of favor. But, yes, it’s right to be concerned about some things, as long as it doesn’t take over your life. And, you take sensible steps to mitigate risk. As much as possible without getting crazy.

    That whole story of sitting in Dead Grandpa’s Chair brings the phrase “passive aggressive,” to mind.

    Antibody tests aren’t that easy to get, here, either. Now, I’m not talking about present company, but I hear a lot of people claiming previous infection. It’s not a case of the sniffles, or, something bad they ate, no it’s You Know What. I think part of it is to avoid the mask and vaccine mandates, and part whistling past the graveyard.

    Stock photos are so strange. There’s a lot in advertising, or news stories, where they use them, and the people always look like someone kind of vaguely familiar. I’m sure a lot of them must be market tested, in focus groups. Like a new brand of cereal.

    The continuing education, works both ways. I had never heard of “Dad’s Army.” It sounds delightful. It’s pretty old, so the library doesen’t carry it. I checked The River and E-Buy, and there are some collections listed. But I’ll have to step careful, if I decide to buy it, as a lot of those on offer are a different DVD region, and won’t play here.

    Tom Thumb was also a fairy tale. I don’t remember the details, now. But there was a time when people would have caught the reference, to Gen. Tom Thumb.

    Yes, I won the Currier and Ives fruit lighograph. It’s a “large folio” lithograph.


    I think it was supposed to look like a Dutch still life. I really like the birds nest, down front. LOL. How about that price? I paid WAY less than 10% of that. This outfit has been around for 3 or 4 generations. They sell strictly to the Carriage Trade. It’s the premium you pay, to avoid riff raff, in their shop. 🙂 .

    Another town that had a very bad day, geologically …


    I read the book about Ubar, a couple of years back. Pretty interesting stuff.

    But, archaeology news on a more firm footing 🙂 , is the recent discovery of several prehistoric footprints, down in our state of New Mexico. They carbon dated plant material above, and below the tracks, and discovered they’re about 23,000 years old. Far older than other evidence of people coming to the Americas, way back when. Lew

  52. Hello Chris et al.,

    Great to hear that you and your house and the collective all survived the earthquake. DJ’s Law is the way to go.

    Good to hear that the new mower is rocking. Maybe a post on the pro’s and cons of your new vehicle when you have some miles under the belt?

    And, yes, the jab has been tested now for 9 months on millions of people, with so far less adverse effects than the health subject. So, the risks are small these days. In January, when the shots were started here in Europe, ministers and high ranking officials all claimed that the shot was completely safe. Without much testing. They just made a bet and it seems like they just barely pulled it off this time. Some people call it lying, some people call it taking a chance. Methinks it is a risky strategy.

    Finaly, thanks for the comment post numbering. It helps me to find the last post I read, so that I with no “fomo”, can settle down and read on about the illustruous adventures of you and the commmentariat.

    Have a great weekend,

  53. Hi Inge,

    Things were actually better back in those days. People forget that it was actually the left leaning federal Hawke / Keating governments which reduced trade tariffs and used wage arbitrage whilst opening the economy in order to lower the costs of imports. I worked in the latter days of the manufacturing sector, and it left me feeling gutted to observe first hand what went on almost as if a great wrong was taking place all around me. Both parties also endorsed opening the borders and over supplying my profession so that wage rates were kept low. But the policies had popular support, so clearly I know nothing at all.

    I reckon that you chose wisely to stay where you were amongst the people that you know and also who knew you. Incidentally, this was the choice that I faced this week. It needn’t be this way, but sometimes those in charge can’t admit to making poor choices in the past.

    The easy path is rarely the easy path.



  54. Hi Lewis,

    The editor is feeling better, but is still far from 100%. It is weird how little impact the thing had on me. Yes, I expect that the editor is following your trajectory to the day.

    I’ve never had a bad reaction to the flu jab either. Mind you, I have had that horrendous virus twice now in my life and it knocked me out pretty hard. I still can’t quite forgive the young lady whom I was forced to work next to who said that her throat felt as if it was full of razorblades, yet wouldn’t go home…

    Hehe! Yes, you may well be in the wrong there with Elinor! 🙂 One can never be entirely certain, but most probably I reckon you were wrong, just because. Mate, by way of comparison I was probably about 15 years old, and nobody offered counselling services to deal with any grief. In fact, I was just expected to deal, if only because that is what the end of life looks like. And exactly, we should be so lucky to avoid a long and lingering day by day decline of health, with all that that entails. And yes, the laying out in the parlour was not something which I have encountered, but I’m aware that the ritual took place.

    The thing I reckon with any imbalance of mental health is that at some point the person at the centre of the crisis has to decide for themselves not to indulge the situation. Your club may have something to say about that situation. Even the big J only headed out into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. Some things have limits. And I don’t really know what those limits are, but they are there, somewhere…

    Coping as a mechanism is not a bad idea. Although I have known a few folks to cope their way through a crisis, only to then fall apart once the worst of the crisis has past. The idea has a lot to recommend it if only because life is replete with crisis’s of one form or another. I am of the firm opinion that it is the role of parents to provide tools to their kids so that they can cope with life’s little situations. Of course, it is very possible that a person can unfortunately end up with parents without the skills, or even those that precipitate crisis’s! Fancy that, bad parents – who’d have thunk it? 🙂

    Yeah, exactly, the dead granddad’s chair… They were bad apples.

    I hear you about that in relation to the health subject which dare not be named. People believe what they want to believe. The main problem as I see it is that the authorities lie about things, and so people actually encounter the ‘boy who called wolf’ predicament, and so after a while nobody knows what to believe, even if it is true. Cassandra had a similar problem. Like take our gobarmints initial advice that this current lock down would only go for a week. What is it now seven weeks later (maybe much more, I’m losing track) and reasonable people start asking the hard questions: So you lied about this matter…

    Yeah, well that particular photo appeared very strange to my mind. The coffin had a flag draped over it, which indicates that it may have been a military funeral (but I have no experience with your customs in this regard), but then only women were attending the funeral, and given the diverse races presented in the photo, I was left wondering if they were even family, or what even was the story there? It just didn’t look like any funeral I’d ever been too, however maybe I need to get out more. Plus the coffin was set too high. Look it may have been real photo for all I know, I just didn’t understand how the various elements of the photo integrated into a whole and it is perhaps beyond my understanding (it is possible that I’m not experienced enough to comprehend it all): More Americans lost to coronavirus than 1918 flu pandemic, Johns Hopkins University data reveals. If you can explain the story there, I’d much appreciate it?

    Hehe! Dad’s Army was pretty funny, and I reckon you might just enjoy it. I’m surprised you haven’t come across it before. Ah, the dreaded not quite right region DVD issue. Always unpleasant and err, somewhat final. You know most DVD machines have ways to break that coding issue?

    No way, so the wowser’s appear to have cleaned up the text in relation to the more questionable sections of the Tom Thumb fairy tale. Far out, is nothing sacred or left untouched by such well meaning folks? Tom Thumb was clearly one of the elder folk who by sheer chance happened upon a human household and was taken in, for whatever reason.

    I see what you mean about that lot keeping out the riff raff through price structures, and dare I ask what is wrong with such acquaintances? 🙂 The birds nest does seem somewhat out of context, but dare I mention: fiona’s bird song. Pretty funny.

    Such talk is like catnip, and just for good measure Lawrence of Arabia forms part of the story. Good luck, and I hope the eminent explorers survive the desert crossings…

    Yeah, I saw that too. It hardly surprises me as the dates for earliest human settlements keep getting pushed back here too, and we are way past that date down here. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the earliest date was far beyond that most recent authenticated date.

    Better get writing…



  55. Hi Again Chris
    Hope both The Editor and You are know over the Jab effects. The statistics seem to be manipulated for political reasons a much as for fact.

    After thinking over your home designers structural choices prior to delivering the finished plans. He likely figured for worst case roof loading and and soil loading then ran some seismic calculations and then gave you a list of materials that met the requirements. Easy Peasey for a trained seismic engineer. Impossible for me with my training.

    Our autumn seems to be going nice and normal. 90 degree F some days .? Next. Forecast ? Maybe a little rain. End of drought. I’ll belive it when it happens. Me ? I’m happy when I wake up still alive each day

    Cheers Al

  56. Yo, Chris – Elinor also sailed through her jabs, with no apparent effects. Go figure.

    Well, it’s not particular to The Club, although maybe I picked it up through osmosis, but I’ve always felt that a good indulgent wallow does no harm, as long as you know what your doing, and don’t spend too much time wallowing. 🙂 . As far as crisis goes, I’m of the sort who takes care of the crisis … and then falls apart. Plenty of time for that, after.

    I think I’ve mentioned, every once in awhile my DVD player throws up a “Will not play in your region” notice. When clearly, it should. Region one disc, region one player. Near as I can figure out, it’s overactive security on the disc. I went through pages and pages of work-arounds, to discover that my cheap-o machine has no work-arounds. 🙁 . Sooner or later I’ll need a new machine, and will upgrade. In fact, I’ve been thinking I should pick up one, now. Besides the supply problems, there are some noises being made about not manufacturing the machines, at all. One of the big electronics players (I forget which one) has recently discontinued manufacturing them.

    Ooops! Not a stock photo, I think. I think it’s an indigenous family. The flag on the coffin … well, here, if you’ve served in the military, your entitled to a flag on your coffin. If desired. There’s even burial benefits, for veterans. And, if you opt to be buried in a veterans cemetery, it is, I believe, free. Or, very low cost.

    The bird’s nest isn’t out of place for a 17th century Dutch still life painting. Ditto the silver pitcher and goblet. I think that’s what they were really shooting for. Some of the Dutch paintings had a lot of insects, tucked here and there. Maybe a bird or two.

    In a feeble attempt to distract, from what’s going on … Well, we’ve got the Minoans sorted, now it’s onto the Etruscans! 🙂 . They were a rather mysterious lot. They came well after the Minoans, and just prior to the Romans. In fact, the Roman kings were Etruscan.

    Any-who, some recent genetic research has finally got them sorted.


    The Max Planck Institute is really doing some cutting edge studies. They were the one’s who wrote that book I read recently, about the peopling of Europe. We’d probably know more about them, but so much has been lost. The Emperor Claudius, during the time he was keeping a low profile, wrote a multi volume work about the Etruscans. Now lost. 🙁 . Lew

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