Monday, May 28, 2018

A birthday

Jenny had her 39th birthday on Sunday.  I shouted a lunch.  We went to the dosa joint for the lunch but they now do not open on Sunday. I should have booked.  But "The Little Green Room" next door was open so we went there. They had gluten-free so Jenny could go there.  It was run by a polite Indian man, possibly a Punjabi. I had an Indian version of fritters -- corn and zucchini fritters.  They were a bit dry for my taste but the various additives on the plate --  bacon, avocado etc  -- were good.

From their card you might get the impression that they sell coffee

I ordered fresh orange juice for a drink but got some mixed fruit drink with watermelon in it, I think.   I should have asked what it was as it was yummy.  When I get the wrong order I never send it back.  My thinking on the matter is that it's all food so just eat it up.  It's generally OK.

Joe had forgotten the occasion but Jenny got Kate on the phone to let them know where we were.  Joe was not answering his own phone as usual. They were not that far away so arrived well in time for us to order.  Nanna was in good form.

I showed everyone my miracle Chinese watch and I talked mostly to Joe -- about bitcoin and such things. The Green Room had a few interesting things on their menu and apparently have a significant breakfast trade -- as they open at 6am!  The prices were OK -- averaging $15 for a meal and $5 for a drink.

I normally have a hamburger dinner with Joe on Sunday night but after the lunch we were both feeling a bit full so on this occasion we just had at home a bowl of Streets Blue Ribbon each for our dinner.  For some unknown reason I tend not to have Street's Golden Gaytime in my freezer

Friday, May 25, 2018

"Old" as a term of endearment

At a private party Prince Charles reportedly ended his speech saying: "My darling old Harry, I’m so happy for you."

Now why would a father call his son "old"?

It's not an unprecedented usage.  When my late sister Jack left her husband for another woman, her husband, Gary, and she remained on very good terms.  That lasted all her life.  He was at her bedside when she died of breast cancer a few years ago. A truly lasting and affectionate friendship. Better than many marriages.  She kept his surname too. And Gary would often refer to her as "old Jack", although they were about the same age.

So it is clearly an affectionate usage but is there more to it?  I think there is and I am open to suggestions about it.  I think it is respectful too.  It shows a respect for the other person's competence and individuality. 

The Cockney expression "old cock" might also have some of that meaning, I think. Amusing if a Royal Prince got the expression off Cockneys

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Watching watches

I heve blogged previously about why people wear wrist-watches these days.  The time is right there on your cellphone so why do you need anything more?

I discovered that for some people the watch you wear is somehow related to your prestige.  Unless you have a watch that costs at least $1,000 you are a nobody.  An expensive watch marks you out as a man who is good with money.  I would have thought the opposite:  A man who spends his money on expensive trinkets is NOT good with money.

Anyway, I thought it might be a good idea for me to buy a nice-looking watch. Perhaps there is some advantage at having the time on your wrist as well as in your pocket. So I bought one.

And I have just discovered that my watch is a champion among watches. I inadvertently left it in my washing.  So it went through both a washing machine sequence AND a tumble-dryer sequence.  So it was ratshit after that, right?

Far from it, it was not only still going but it even still kept perfect time.  So what exactly was this paragon of watches:

Place of purchase:  Target
Place of manufacture:  China
Cost to me: $15.

Makes you think, doesn't it?

There is no brand on the watch.  It simply says "Quartz".  Watches as a commodity!

I have blogged briefly on my watch previously

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Royal wedding

As a confirmed monarchist I did watch the Royal wedding on TV, mostly on channel 9.  So I thought I might note here a few desultory impressions of it.

The first thing I liked was all the splendid cars, old and new. The old Rolls bringing the bride was particularly magnificent. It was a 1950 Rolls-Royce Phantom-iv. But there were a lot of impressive vehicles delivering the wedding party.

Then I was pleased to see Prince Philip looking so well -- in remarkable health for age 96

I was pleased to see that both young Princes wore military uniform. They wore the frockcoat uniform of the Blues and Royals  -- which is Harry's old regiment.  Both men were of course fully entitled to wear uniform as both had served in the armed forces in their younger days.  The Royal family is a military family -- as most European monarchies once were. I thought Prince Charles would be in uniform too but he wore a tailsuit in a rather horrible shade of grey.  He obviously didn't want to outshine his sons

It was good too that Harry kept his red beard.  Red-headed kids traditionally got bullied in British schoolyards but with the very popular Prince Harry being a red-head that must have been ameliorated. My father was a redhead so I have sympathy for redheads

It was good to see how Harry and William stopped to greet their Gurkha guards as they entered. Harry did of course work with Gurkhas when he was in the army in Afghanistan. They were the only people the Royal brothers stopped for.  That would have been noted and justly celebrated in Nepal.  The Gurkhas are held in huge respect in England. Here is one reason for that respect.

It was also good to see how the two brothers interacted while they were waiting. They are obviously a great support for one another.

The Dean of Windsor seemed rather tremulous.  He sounded like he might break down.  Since he was running the show, that would not have done.

When it came to the actual marriage service, Cantuar was in good voice -- a most experienced preacher.

There certainly were a lot of Christian expressions from all who spoke. It went on and on, very repetitiously. God was so frequently invoked that one got the impression that he must be hard of hearing. Harry must have been bored but military men learn patience so he outlasted it without apparent difficulty.

There was a pronounced African presence throughout the proceedings, presumably in deference to Meghan's partial ancestry.  The cellist was good but I was unimpressed by the rest of it.  Episcopalian Bishop Michael Curry was very active and dramatic in his speech but all he did was state some extremely anodyne comments repetitiously and with a lot of noise.

But you can't expect much more from the Episcopalians. Homosexuality seems to be the only thing Episcopalians care about. Had the bishop quoted Romans 1:24-27 that might have livened things up. As it was, his speech was just way too long. It was supposed to last 6 minutes but in a rather good demonstration of black ego he performed for 17 minutes. Never in the field of human preaching has so little been said for so long.

The media generally praised his speech highly but what else could they do with a black bishop from the world's most politically correct church?

Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir performed Ben E King's soul classic Stand By Me during the service. It was repetitive but sung with a lot of energy.  I noted that Camilla looked horrified when they came on.  I thought it was just noise.

I noted that St George’s Chapel had a medieval "rude screen", behind which all the "magic" happened -- out of sight of most of the congregation. The chapel was built in the 14th century so it reflects its times.

And I was rather pleased to see beadles in use guiding people.  Is it only Anglicans who have beadles?  I have never seen one on the more Protestant services I am accustomed to.

The departure of the married couple in an Ascot Landau with a big Household Cavalry escort was of course what one expects of a great Royal occasion.  Some of the carriage horses were clearly a bit spooked by the cheering etc but they were well managed. If there is one thing the Royal family and their attendants know about it is horses.  It's an equestrian monarchy.  Even the Queen still rides -- but only ponies these days.

The bride:  I was rather surprised by the strong resemblance between Meghan and her mother, though I suppose I should not have been.  I had supposed that Meghan's fine features would have come from her Caucasian father but clearly she got a bit from both.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

An interesting Friday

On his last visit, Jason gave us all of his remaining Amiga gear for $50.  Included were two Amiga 500s that looked very dirty and unloved.  I assumed that they would be useful for parts only.  On Friday morning, however, I decided to see if they would boot up.  One did! And its disk-drive was working too.  So I cleaned up the case and Joe and I then had a 5th working Amiga in our collection, which was rather exciting. To obtain another Amiga these days was a considerable improbability.  I guess I should sell a couple of them. We are only using one at the moment.

Earlier in the week I had decided to do my trust tax return on Friday.  My personal return was done by an agent and went in last December.  Agents all freak out if you ask them to do a trust return however.  I have no idea why but they either refuse point blank or ask for big money.  Yet my return is of the simplest.  All it does is hold company shares.  You have just got to add up two columns of numbers basically.  So out of necessity I do my own trust tax return.  Like everybody else, however, I hate doing tax returns so I had put off doing it. I bit the bullet on Friday, however, and it only took me about half an hour

I then wanted to print out a brief letter to go with it and found that my printer was out of ink.  I did have a spare ink cartridge to hand but putting it in was a challenge -- but I managed it.

I then decided I should get another cartridge immediately for future use.  Officeworks is near to where I live so that was easy.  I got the cartridge and then lined up to pay for it.  There were a couple of people ahead of me but there were NO cashiers in sight.  I thought they would soon turn up -- but none did.

After giving it some time however, I decided to be Stentor.  In ancient Greece, Stentor was the town crier of Athens.  And he had a VERY loud voice. The Athenians didn't have a public address system but they did have Stentor, which was just about as good.  I am not as good a Stentor as Michael Darby but I can be a pretty good Stentor nonetheless.  So I said in my best Stentorian voice "Where are all the cashiers?"  The shop was electrified.  Within one minute there were two cashiers there and after another minute three.  People hate loud voices so they rush to make sure I won't do it again.

So even buying an ink cartridge can have its dramas.

Then that night I shouted Jill and Lewis a dinner at one of our local Japanese restaurants.  It was a long delayed birthday dinner. I had put it off due to a string of minor illnesses I had had.

And even there there was a  bit of a drama.  I had brought along a bottle of champagne and asked for glasses to drink it with.  That caused consternation.  At first they thought they didn't have any but when the lady boss was consulted a set of them were found. They then had to wash and polish them but we got our glasses eventually.

Jill and Anne are both great travel enthusiasts so Jill told Anne all about her trip to Dubai and Anne told Jill about her trip to Finland and the Arctic.  Lewis and I just talked politics as usual.  I told them all about my recent Stentor performance and that gave some amusement.

There were four Bento boxes on the menu so I ordered them all. So that made an interesting and substantial dinner for each of us.  I chose the box with the curry but made rather a mess of eating it.  Japanese curry comes in the form of a thick liquid into which you dip stuff.  So I think you can see the perils of that. But at least I ate my rice.  The ladies treated their beautifully prepared rice as an afterthought.  The Japanese must wonder at that

I might mention that Jill is 80, Lewis is 85, I am 74 and Anne is 72 -- so it was definitely an eldern meeting. But we all enjoyed our dinner just as well as if we were 50 years younger,

I think I was the most unfit person there. Old men go through 4 stages: Spry, active, mobile and breathing. I am on the wrong end of mobile.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Amiga devotions

When the kids were growing up in the 80s and 90s they had great entertainment playing games on the Amiga computer.  It was before its times in many ways with excellent sound as well as good graphics -- both supported by specialist chips.  With a hard drive attached it still is much like a modern Windows computer.

Joe has fond memories of many hours spent playing memorable Amiga games and I have happy memories of seeing the kids have so much fun.  I very much supported the fun by gradually acquiring a large number of games for it -- which I still have --  over a thousand of them

So Joe and I have recently been working on a computer museum, with the Amiga in pride of place.   Over the years I collected just about everything associated with the Amiga so we were in a position to mount a full Amiga setup in my living room.  The big challenge was to get a hard drive mounted as that was a bit unfamiliar.  Games in the old days were mostly played off floppy disks.  With the aid of the inestimable Jason and his magic soldering iron, we have however got all our old hardware working again and Joe did the work of getting the hard drive set up.  I had myself set up a hard drive 30 years ago but in the interim I had forgotten all the details. Joe is also working on indexing all our Amiga games -- many boxes of them.

So in pride of place in my living room there is now an Amiga setup that is as good as ever one was. I managed to accumulate four Amiga 500s before Amigas faded out from common use so if one fails we can always set up another.  I did for a few days have TWO full Amiga setups going -- with hard disks -- so for a brief moment we had an Amiga setup at my place that would have been impressive even in the old days.