Eric Lindsay's Blog November 2011

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Leaving Sydney

Up before six, with time to have breakfast before we completed our packing. Fitting everything in the bags was a struggle. Luckily they expand. Taxi to Mascot Domestic Airport before seven, with an experienced driver who used the Albion Street shortcut to miss traffic. That was better than fighting the train, and hardly more expensive. Quarter hour queue to dump bags, but it was moving fast. Two hours of quality time in terminal 2. On the other hand, Optus provided free WiFi, in exchange for watching one of their advertisements. That seemed fair.

DJ1519 for 9:30 a.m. boarded a little late, and took off even later. The 737-700 was crammed, presumably with overflow Qantas passengers. So we arrived late. Luggage was off late also. Then Jean's car got trapped in the long term parking, when one of the boom gates refuse to accept our exit ticket. Luckily we eventually got away.

Melbourne Cup Event

I had been asked to turn up at the Melbourne Cup event by Olive from the Social Committee. As I had foreshadowed, I was late, and others did the announcing. Sue grabbed me as soon as I entered the Carlton Theatre and kindly organised that I received my rather late lunch. So basically all I did was help put chairs and tables away.

Wednesday 2 November 2011


I wasted most of the morning reading the fire regulations as they applied to Body Corporate situations like the Whitsunday Terraces. While I am convinced that we comply, the risk to Body Corporate Committee executive now seems to me too high to continue to even hold a position on the committee.

Crickets Bar

I went to the bar to meet the Wednesday afternoon regulars. No meal today. The restaurant freezer had died, and not for the first time for that antique. Chatted with Jeff and Ray at the bar.

Thursday 3 November 2011


I had lunch with Geoff and Margaret. Heard a bit more about events in the village. Jean went off and got eggs, as we had been away so often that we had no fresh eggs.

I had to pack so that I could leave again. Not that this takes usually much effort now. However this time I was taking heaps of cleaning and renovating supplies and tools with me. Everything is always at the wrong home.


Countries in Europe keep overspending, and racking up unsustainable debt. Europe is going down the tubes. Greece, GDP $0.3T debt 166%. Italy GDP $2.1T debt 121%. Ireland GDP $0.2T debt 109%. Portugal GDP $0.3T debt 106%. France GDP $2.6T debt 87%. Germany GDP $3.3T debt 83%. Britain GDP $2.3T debt 81%. Spain GDP $1.4T debt 56%.

Do you think the rest of the world is better? USA GDP $14.5T debt 100% (but as the assumed safe haven, money will head there). Japan GDP $5.5T debt 233% (mostly owed internally, not internationally). China GDP $5.5T holds about $1.5T of US debt, about $3T in credit overall.

Friday 4 November 2011

Airlie Beach Arrival

I woke up so early that I was driving off well before five. Several traffic light delays for road work on the Bruce Highway. Not good for those being completed prior to the wet season. Dawn came early, before Ayr. More delays for roadworks before and around Bowen. I drove straight through, and reached Centro Whitsunday just after eight.

Food and other shopping was restricted to Woolworths, since nothing else was open. Plus their credit card system does not require a signature for small amounts. I did manage to get an 8 cent discount on petrol when I refuelled Jean's car, so it seems my Woolworth's loyalty card is finally being recognised.

Phone call while on the road, so I pulled into Whitsunday Shopping Centre. The call was important (I know everyone says that). Returned the call and got the message I wanted.

While at the Whitsunday Shopping Centre I got more snacks. Our favourite ice cream at $5. A few other long term foodstuffs. Got a coupon for 8 cents off fuel, yet again.

My usual parking spot was available at the Whitsunday Terraces just after nine. After unloading five loads from Jean's car I was more than tired of unloading the car. In between loads I turned on the hot water system, and my old iMac G5 computer. Started the G5 ripping more DVDs once it booted, since this is so slow.

Airlie Beach

I took a walk so I could get a somewhat late by then breakfast. The Courier Mail did not contain much good news. Greece is leading the EuroTrash to a default.

Took a longer walk along the foreshore. The amount of EuroFlesh around the lagoon is somewhat astonishing, especially for a tourist downturn.

I also checked at reception when I got back. Seems ATO can tell you to use the internet to contact them, but are unable to reciprocate. They sent an envelope to an address to which the Post Office does not deliver.

So for that matter did the state member Jan Jarrett. She needs a better Farley File, now computers should make that easier to automate. Her office sent me a letter in August, to a different address.

During the afternoon, between ripping, I carried more loads up from Jean's car. Reached load number nine during the afternoon. Running out of space for stuff.

Drinking Problem

I notice a 200 gram (small) can of Coke has 360kJ (86 Calories). However Coke Zero (no sugar, no taste, plus phenylalanine) has 2.8kJ. This argues that rum and Zero will benefit my diet more than rum and Coke. On the other hand, a standard 30ml serve of rum is 257kJ in itself, which is rather a lot.

Lemon cordial (in 1 to 9 dilution) is 223kJ per 250ml serve (or 25ml of actual undiluted cordial), which is a lot higher than I expected.

Saturday 5 November 2011

Airlie Beach Markets

I went to the Markets, and took a long walk around. Not sure I covered much distance, but I sure wasted some time. Elke had my favourite breakfast there. Caught up with Glenn and Alison.

On the way back up to the Terraces, I collected the weekend newspapers. Even wasted a lot of the day reading them.


I ended up with seven people at the party, despite Rex and Myra being off at an awards ceremony. Went through four large pizza.

Sunday 6 November 2011

Beach Walk

I went for an early morning walk. Checked the fire evacuation signs on each Whitsunday Terraces building. Confirmed they were all there, as required. Also that the fire hoses were on each ground level, one level up, and either one or two levels down from the car parks. Barnacle Terrace has extra hoses.

Then a walk to the newly installed beach. It actually looks fairly good. Nice views of the Port of Airlie Marina from the seaward side of the new land. By the time I returned the news agency was open, so I could collect the paper. Had to advise them on how to get the computer working correctly. Luckily my guess worked.


I noticed Michael and Mel were busy packing. Very energetic. I helped carry a few things, like the barbecue, to their trailer on their second trip. They certainly made a good job of it all. I am staggered at how energetic they both are. Some days I feel like I can not manage anything at all.

Monday 7 November 2011


I went for a beachfront walk in the morning. Despite how long it took for a little walk, I was still too early to collect a newspaper. I had breakfast despite the early hour. Then it was the steps up through the Terraces.

Whitsunday Terraces

I came upon Mark putting out the rubbish bins before the garbage truck could arrive at seven. I was a bit surprised that he didn't have one of the new uniform shirts as yet. I was really surprised at the quantity of garbage after the weekend. Driftwood, Endeavour and Florin Terraces all had two overfull bins. The contents had to be crushed down to even fit in the bins.

Looking around the resort, it seems to me like neither the gardening nor the handyman are running sufficient hours to cover the work. Gardening used to be closer to a full time job than a half time job. There was generally a fair bit of handyman work as well, although a lot was handrail repairs.


I did cleaning, and more cleaning. It would be nice to start from a clean base, before I moved things. Alas, I forgot even elementary points, like cleaning the fan blades before I cleaned the floor.

What is really needed is to throw things out, rather than rearrange where they go.

Vertical Drapes

I think it fair to say that after 13 years many of the vertical drapes are a mess. The open doors and sea breezes mean drapes thrash around in the wind. This rips apart the beaded cords holding the bottoms of the drapes. In addition, the weights in the bottom of the drapes are a sort of chalk or plaster like substance. The fittings for the cords wear out, and the plastic grips on the cords no longer hold to the weights. So I started working out how much could be salvaged.

The two main rooms facing the sea each have a split opening, each 2.3 metres wide. So that is eight sets of cord to connect 20 drapes, each spaced about 125mm apart. Call it 8 x 2800mm. On the other hand, the drapes in my room were ones I repaired a few years ago, and are still working. Jean's living room, another matter. I think they may be beyond repair.

The smaller balcony entrance to the living room is 1.9 metres, with 16 drapes. Call that 2 x 2100mm. The fittings are still working well in the track, but some of the drapes look thin.

There is an exactly similar entrance from the small balcony to the bedroom. the track is a little more damaged, but works. Looks like the bottom cord is a dead loss. However perhaps I can salvage sufficient weights.

The bedroom window drapes are hardly used and remain in good condition. They are 1.8 metre, 16 drapes, and would need 2 x 2100mm cord.

I have some bottom cord left. Not sure how much, but not a whole lot. I also have 20 (different brand) drape weights, and 7 metres of (matching) bottom cord. I can do some mixing and matching.

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Whitsunday Terraces

I was surprised to see neither Florin nor Endeavour Terrace bins were out as yet. I put them both out, but had to consolidate bins into one at Endeavour. I have no idea why people insist on using a second bin when the first is not full.

At least I was able to get a newspaper after my short walk.


I must be slowing down. Despite spending much of Monday cleaning, it seemed to me that I had just as much further cleaning to do. I did not get it completed on Tuesday either. However I did get enough of the bedroom done to put the bed back, so I guess it was not a complete loss.

What I need to do is the balconies. I brushed up the leaves, and started on bad patches with detergent. Bad patches will take a lot longer. I hope I can find a high pressure water cleaner soon.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Leaving Airlie Beach

I had to return Jean's car. Since I was awake soon after four a.m. I had a shower, packed up, and left. Lots of roadworks still. Drove non-stop. I pulled into Jean's place around eight.

Carlyle Gardens

I went out shopping with Jean, I think that was at Willows. Got some raisin toast for breakfast, since I had neglected to eat. Went to the restaurant for lunch. Went to the happy hour that evening and saw a bunch of my friends. The restaurant was doing their pasta evening, so I had chicken pasta (the slow roasted chicken tasted like tuna to me, so you can tell my taste buds are shot). The Zonta Club were having an event. Used my phone to help one contact a friend in the village.


I see how it works. Greece originated Democracy. The Greek Prime Minister says Let the People decide. PM gets booted out, replaced by a banker! Bankers are the people who run the whole debt drug deal that infests Europe and USA.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Adobe Drops Mobile Flash

I see Adobe is dropping mobile Flash in favour of HTML5. Adobe will continue to make tools to allow Flash and Flex developers to target mobile devices. Adobe continues to support Flash on desktop web browsers. Adobe have long complained about the lack of Flash Player on Apple iPhone.

Apple's Steve Job's famous Thoughts on Flash letter in April 2010 set out why Apple had refused to allow Adobe's Flash on their iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Apple's comment about Adobe Flash was widely criticised at the time. Many such criticisms failed to address poor Flash performance being the real issue. Then there were criticisms of criticisms.

Apple do not include Flash plugin for Safari by default in Lion (OS X 10.7). You can either install it yourself (waste of resources), and then block most use of Flash by using a click to flash extension that works like Click to Flash. Or you can install Google's Chrome web browser as well as Safari. Chrome has a built in Flash plugin. Use Chrome for those sites that have not already moved away from Flash, without wasting battery life the rest of the time.

iTunes Gift Cards

I had no luck redeeming the Apple iTunes Gift cards I bought on special from Dick Smith. I have tried day and night for several days, and they just do not work. I will have to contact Apple and complain.


I went out with Jean fairly early, after awaking around four. We went shopping at eight.

Mitre10 had helpful staff. The Karcher pressure washer was a reasonable price. The fancy hose less so. We had to get help on exactly which parts were needed, but I think it will work for cleaning the balcony back home. However I will try it on the concrete here first.

AMart was not open as yet. No luck with furniture at Office Works, or at the furniture place next door. I think I will take a couple of old bookcases back with me, and fudge up a desk for the moment. No point in buying something I do not like.

AMart on the way back. Jean found a cheap chair to use as an exercise stand. Then Spotlight, where Jean found a clothing pattern, and Anaconda, where she found socks.

The number of shopping lists seems to have expanded to around a half dozen. It would be nice if some where completed and put out of their misery.

Friday 11 November 2011

Sprinkler System

I got up at about 3:45 a.m. to check the water sprinkler system that was operating on the Western side of the house. The gardeners seem to have it set to work between 3:30 a.m. and 4 a.m. Jean had messaged me that she intended to get up and check it some days ago.

The back sprinkler seems to put too much water along the side of the house, and not enough towards the back. The sprinkler head outside the bedroom also seems to put too much water into the corner of the house where there is now concrete.

Out the front, the street is getting too much water, but the corner by the garage is not getting any. I thought a sprinkler head may have disappeared beneath the grass, but that is not what is shown by the construction photos.

Retail Therapy

We put out the laundry before eight, and set off for Willows with a cooler. Jean found heaps of food in Coles, and some last minute items in Woolworths. I took them out to her car and put what I could fit in the cooler. Plus she got her pillows in Target (nothing like noting what was on the label for finding them again). I think she also got stuff in Millers. Not a bad effort.

Collected eggs from the egg farm by diverting on the way to Carlyle Gardens. I hastened to put a second load of washing out on the line.

Off to the university for a transaction. We also checked the Co-op Bookshop there, but they mostly concentrated on set texts. Next was BWS at Sunland (we took a wrong turn), where Jean gained points, and I finally managed to get a bottle of bitters. It appears they have never seen a champagne cork puller.


I had lunch at the restaurant with Dot and Ray and John, and Ray's friend whose name I have misplaced. John and I decided to deliver Ray's Xmas lights on Sunday.

Went over to the happy hour, and chatted with various people. Helped assistant treasurer Sue with counting the ticket sales. Back to Jean's place before eight.

Saturday 12 November 2011


I went for an early morning walk to deliver the Whitsunday Times newspaper to neil and Jean. Afterwards off to Willows to collect the weekend newspapers, which occupied me for much of the day.

Cleaned up or washed (for small values of clean) the old and now very disreputable stackable plastic boxes we had on hand.

Ate entirely too much canned salmon in meals today.


I had earlier downloaded Handbrake and VLC, so I could rip DVDs without using Mac the Ripper. Time to download BBEdit as well. The 30 day trial should be enough to see if I like it this time around. The price drop makes me more encouraged to try it. Plus Fraise is really getting long in the tooth now.

Garage Door Opener

I thought I must have forgotten to close the garage door this morning, as it was raised when we returned from the shops.

However Jean closed it around six in the evening. At ten, we had a phone call from Iain, the security guy, saying it was open. So I closed it. A few seconds later, it opened again spontaneously. Jean came out to see what was happening. I closed the garage door again. It gave a bang when it reached the bottom, and reopened. There was a flashing fault light.

Not impressed. I powered it down. Powered it up. The fault light went away. Closed the garage door again. This time it stayed down, at least until I went to bed.

Given the original garage door opener lasted just over two years before we had to replace the garage door opener on 15 August at our own expense after several service calls in July, and again in August. I am not impressed with the replacement lasting less than three months before giving problems again.

Sunday 13 November 2011

NBN as Gym Membership

The NBN has the same economic model as gymnasium memberships. You can oversell your product, because you know very well most people will not actually use the service they bought.

Xmas Lights

I turned up at at Ray's place at eight, closely followed by John. We each had a ladder. No sign of Ray as yet. We had on hand two packs of 300 white and two pack of 300 blue LED Xmas lights. We had a pack of 504 icicle lights, and another of 100 we put on the fence. We had a pack of 200 LED icicle lights. Took until close to 10:30 to install all these lights. Ray eventually appeared and helped provide extra power boards for the transformers.

We had been threatening Ray with these lights all year. He was reconciled to getting them by the time we appeared.

Jean and I walked over to check how the lights went at 7:30 p.m. They were looking pretty good. Ray and John were in the parking lot checking out how they looked as well.

Carlton Theatre

The Carlton Theatre dance floor looks a mess. Half covered with rubber marks. Half cleaned with something abrasive that has taken the surface treatment off the vinyl surface, so you can no longer use it properly for dancing. Not a good look at all.

iTunes Horrors

I have been trying to redeem some Apple iTunes Gift cards ever since they arrived in the mail from Dick Smith. Nothing I did would make these cards redeem. Restarting iTunes did not work. Restarting the Mac mini did not work. I eventually resorted to using a totally different computer to redeem the iTunes gift cards. Not that trying a different computer worked previously.

I could not even complain to Apple, because when you eventually found their web site link to complaints, it puts you into their new Express Lane complaint system. Express Lane does not work at all, at least for me in Australia. I can not get past step two.

I am really pissed off at the whole iTunes experience. I have had unresolved issues with iTunes gift card redemptions previously. I have been very happy with Apple hardware and software since I started using it in 2004. In 2011, iTunes is getting very close to being the reason I will drop using Apple products.

Digital Radio

No digital radio in regional areas, however it is technically available to perhaps 60% of the population in capital cities, funded by commercial broadcasters. Australia uses DAB+, more efficient than DAB as used in the U.K. Around a half million DAB+ radios have been sold, compared to perhaps 50 million AM or FM radios at large.

While there is no mandated change date, the folks promoting DAB+ would clearly like to see a change when say 80% of the population use DAB+. That way the AM and FM spectrum can be sold off.

I keep seeing reports of reception dropouts of DAB+ in some heavily built up areas, a typical digital problem. There are also three technical issues that get raised. One is stations are multicasting, with low bandwidth. This results in technically lousy sound, even on ABC Classical, who should know better. Another issue is despite the considerable number of radio models available, most have poor speakers (they may do better with headphones). So they all sound tinny.

The third issue has not happened yet. DAB+ has a restricted range, so it is ill suited to car radios in country areas. As far as I can tell, there has not been a decision on whether country areas will use the more suitable DRM+ or DRM30 for remote areas. So the question is what should car manufacturers provide? They seem to be solving it by sticking with AM and FM. At the moment, these are the right choice.

Monday 14 November 2011

To Airlie Beach

I was up around 4:30 a.m. To my considerable surprise, so was Jean. We finished packing her car, and set off around 5:30 a.m. Later than I would have been leaving, but way earlier than I expected.

Home Hill has the best facilities on the way along the Bruce Highway, so we stopped there. Ordered eggs on toast for breakfast at Inkerman around seven. Why don't I ever think of ordering that when I am driving alone?

There sure are a lot of traffic lights and flagmen for the numerous road reconstruction projects that are happening. I hope they beat the rainy season.


We continued on to Proserpine. The idea was to find CaterQuip (commercial catering kitchen equipment), and get some more of the squat wine glasses similar to the ones used by airlines like Qantas. We had bought a pack of four from them a decade or more ago, having never found such a design elsewhere. No luck at all this time. Indeed, they did not even know about a champagne cork puller. I knew I should have taken the only one we had left as an example.

We did find a squat, short stemmed 160 ml wine glass, called a Crysta III. Jean decided that would perhaps be even better than what we sought, so we bought a case (24) of them.

Airlie Beach

I was exhausted by unpacking the car in the 10:30 heat. At least a half dozen trips up the stairs. We had a table substitute, and a chairside stand, as well as the steam mop, and the Karcher high pressure water cleaner. I hope I have sufficient other cleaning materials on hand.

Down the twelve flights of stairs to the main street. Jean had decided a Subway would work for lunch, so we bought it early.

We saw Jim, on his way out for a long delayed trip to Adelaide, with his boat out og the water. He tells me a fire following a lightning strike may have killed the two eagles and their chicks on his property. I hope not.

Retail Therapy

I had a long list of tile and curtain shops to check, but Jean did not think we would manage them too well at the moment. Instead we went back to Centro Whitsunday, and specifically seeking furniture stores.

My old Jason La-Z-Boy recliner chair mechanism was so seized up after all these years it would hardly move. Luckily Burnups stock La-Z-Boy, although these are now made in Thailand, not USA. Jean and I checked various models, and found a suitable replacement in their floor stock. The sales assistant did not know how to disassemble these chairs, but soon found me a screwdriver so I could do so.

The chair fitted easily into Jean's car once in two pieces. Of course, once back home, I had to carry the pieces up the two flights of stairs. By then I was really tired of stairs.

While at Centro, we also checked the brand new Harvey Norman furniture store, where Rivers used to be. Impressive size. Interesting to see they stock the Charleston model chairs, but at prices that are ludicrous. They also had the matching lounge. Saw a few interesting items, but nothing we could use at the moment.

BigW had John Birmingham's latest novel, Angels of Vengance, in trade paperback. Since I had recently bought the first two novels in the series, I bought that as well.

Jean took advantage of Woolworths to buy a hot chicken for dinner.

Cleaning and Repairing

I cleaned various items. The cleaning rag stock is slowly diminishing. The heights were cleaning fan blades in my room. Not even finished this.

Made a preliminary repair of the door lock that was giving problems. More work needed, but it is better than before.


I continued ripping Star Trek - The Next Generation from my set of DVDs. I have a bad feeling I am not doing it the best way.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Airlie Beach Morning

I was up before five. Took a walk along the lagoon, had breakfast on the main street, and then collected the newspapers before walking up the hill. That hill is nearly defeating me these days. I am really feeling my age by the time I get the twelve floors up.

Took another walk down the hill, to catch up with Jean who had gone to the hairdresser. We were pretty slow walking up the hill again.

Off to BlueBay Industrial Estate to check on tiles at Metrotile and Beaumont Tiles. Our floor tiles from 13 years ago are 330mm to a side, with a nice (we think) pattern. However we can not use a mostly white tile on the balcony, even if we could match them. The sunlight reflections (even from a matte anti-slip surface) would be impossible to live with. Alas, it seems 330mm tiles are passé. Much larger tiles are available, but the balcony surface seems too irregular for them to be easy to install. The smaller tile size choices are 300mm and 400mm. Not that it mattered too much, as we did not find anything we were sure of being able to use. We will bring a sample of our floor tiles next time.

Checked Windwoven in Carlo Drive for vertical drapes. More accurately, weights and chain. They were very helpful, but it does not really look like I will be able to repair some of the existing vertical drapes. Vogue seemed to be on the cusp of changing hands, so we did not stop there.

We two sets of split vertical drapes in the two main rooms. Each set of two has 20 blades per side, chain to allow them to extend to 2800mm, and each half covers 2300mm. The small balcony door is 1900mm, a single 16 blade drape with chain to allow 2100mm. The bedroom door to the same small balcony is the same single 16 blade 2100mm chain. The bedroom window is the same single 16 blade 2100mm chain, but the drapes are far shorter.

Checked Sports Power for weights. They did not stock the ones I wanted to match.

Chalk that up as mostly a failure.

Airlie Beach Afternoon

I continued cleaning, after lunch. This time I completed cleaning all the fan blades. Plus the tops of Jean's kitchen cabinets. The cleaning is taking three times as long as I expected, six times as long as I hoped.

I also eased down Jean's key with a file to make it easier to use on the door. The user interface on modern Lane deadbolts is diabolically bad. Why half turns backwards?

Started cleaning the spare tiles for the balcony so we can store them somewhere inside. This was a loss more messy than I hoped, but I need them off the balcony so I can start on washing the balcony tomorrow. I also moved the indestructible plastic table to the larger balcony, so I could collect the leaves off the small balcony outside the bedroom.

We had an early slow cooked steak dinner at Hogs Breath Cafe. Jean even started collecting stamps to get her own Frequent Diner membership.

Neither of us appreciated the twelve flights of steps. This is the third time up the steps for me today. I am however very proud that Jean continues to tackle the steps, and did so twice today.

Champagne Cork Puller

I have been seeking a replacement champagne cork puller, ever since I had a real tussle with a cork at one of my parties a few weeks ago. We used to have two of these handy devices (one eventually broke), which are getting even more handy as we age and our hand strength reduces.

BWS in CannonPark had never heard of a champagne cork puller. The liquor store at Centro had not heard of them. Airlie Beach Hotel bottle shop had not heard of them. Ono's Liquor at Cannonvale had not heard of them, but thought we could go into business selling them.

Maybe one reason people buy things on the Internet is because when you look for a champagne cork puller on the internet, you might find one.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Retail Therapy

All the stuff we wanted was likely to be at a hardware store. They open early. So we set out early for Home Hardware. Got a large bucket for water for the Karcher Pressure Cleaner. Jean found some decent brushes, one a broom, which should make the balcony cleaning a lot easier. No luck with the cupboard insert. They knew what we wanted, but did not stock them.

So we tried Porters hardware. No luck there with cupboard inserts.

Next was the locksmith in the new street behind Centro. Home Hardware had advised trying them for a strike plate for the lock that was giving me trouble. He gave me a surplus strike plate for nothing. We will eventually need a key for the interior door, so I will get him to do the job (and any other lock and keys we need).

Mitre 10 in Centro was the next hardware place. Again, no wardrobe inserts.

Jean wanted to do some walking in the air conditioning, so I tried Woolworths and got a smaller bucket. I had realised I needed one for warm water and detergent, and another of clean water for rinsing. If we could easily use a hose life would be much simpler.

The last hardware stop was the new Bunnings. They had a decent DIY kitchen section, with lots of flatpack cupboards. However nothing in the way of wardrobe inserts. I was later to hear from Nev that a larger Bunnings, like the one in Mackay, normally stocks wardrobe inserts. I guess I will check when next in Townsville.

Whitsunday Terraces

I saw the fire people had a look around, along with Mark. No problems for us there, probably partly thanks to Chad a few years ago being so determined that fire safety be done right.

Nev and his crew dropped in to do the end trellis on the balcony, as part of the insurance from Cyclone Anthony. They started about 2:45 p.m. The new aluminium trellis was in place about an hour later. Looks very robust.

Nev tells me the railings down from the main pool are already complete. His three person crew had only been here since Monday. Had he told me it had taken a week I would not have been surprised, given the awkward scaffolding. he pointed out that Driftwood car park had already been completed. Measurements were also being taken of Endeavour car park by the aluminium folks. This is looking pretty good.

I continued working on cleaning. Washed the small balcony. Did tops of all the doors, and anything high that collected dust or gecko shit. Washed all the outdoor tables. Cleaned tracks in doors. Made yet another attempt at repairing the strike plate in the door. This time I think it is right. Hitting stuff with a hammer can help. Still not nearly enough heavy duty cleaning done.

Whitsunday Sailing Club

I went for a walk with Jean. Her destination, the new beach. It seems popular enough, given most people from outside would not have known it existed in Airlie Beach. We continued the walk back along the path alongside the Port of Airlie Marina.

Port of Airlie Marina looks rather nice from sea level. We see it by overlooking it, and listening to the noise from machinery. Today there was a minor change. It seems turf was being laid on part of the land, where the fancy resort hotel and shopping complex were originally promised in the nice model of the marina.

We dined on fish at the Whitsunday Sailing Club. It seems our membership cards have again expired. For a while we thought the only choice might be the roast, but luckily this was not the case. We were about to seek someplace else to eat had roast been the sole meal.

When Jean was settled, a number of people I know turned up at a big table opposite. Folks from the Markets. Eva, and later David. Glenn and Alison. I will see most of them again on Friday for dinner. Several others I did not know. Jean should know that it is hard to go out without running into people I know.

On the way back through the Terraces, we happened upon the person renovating one of the lower bathrooms. I had been wondering who was doing the work, and had my suspicions. I did know him, from previous work done at this building. Had good reports on the work from Nev.

We were both pretty wrecked by the time we had climbed all those steps.

Thursday 17 November 2011

Morning Walk

I was awake far too early. So I continued ripping DVDs, which at least is fairly noiseless. Started the laundry once it was close enough to seven. The Port of Airlie Marina was making construction type noises by then.

Went for a walk to the newsagency at seven. The local Whitsunday Times newspaper was available.

The attempt to give away public land on the foreshore of Airlie Beach continues. The Mayor and the State member both saying it was a good idea and had support. I am not seeing much support from anyone I know in the Whitsundays. Bring on the election, so we can get rid of both of these clowns.

Retail Therapy

I want to have some storage space in a built in wardrobe. I was unsuccessful in finding wardrobe inserts the other day at any of the four hardware stores in the Whitsundays. Phone book lists two places that do wardrobes inserts, so we drove to the industrial estate.

Whitsunday Wardrobes had been recommended. 17 Carlo Drive. Between the clearly labelled 15 and 19 Carlo Drive was a vacant block. We continued to drive, hoping for a misprint. On the other side of the road, between 14 and 18 was a block labelled 16 … and 17. Went up the back, and found a sign. They were obviously off installing wardrobes elsewhere.

Headed for 17 William Murray Drive to try to find Wardrobes and More. Not good. Empty shopfront. Looks like we may end up checking Bunnings, Townsville after all.

Took a note to check if a more recent phone book than 2010-11 was available.

Went home. Started wondering if perhaps it would be easier to build my own wardrobe inserts after all.

Hogs Breath Cafe

Jean decided that she wanted to revisit Hogs Breath Cafe for dinner after all. We were there before six, but all the balcony tables had been pre-booked, so we had to sit inside. We were all done by seven.

Friday 18 November 2011

Jean Leaves

Jean set off pretty early for someone who is not a naturally early riser, waiting only until she could have breakfast. I carried some stuff down to her car, but only a few trips worth, since relatively little was returning to Townsville.

All the cleaning gear is staying until I get the apartment cleaned, so I have a room full of vacuum cleaners, steam mop, high pressure water cleaner, numerous buckets, and many bottles of cleaning chemicals … some of which I may know how to use.


Cleaned the bedroom. Vacuum, because washing floors works better after vacuuming. Tried the new steam mop. Turns out that you need to scrub heavy dirt concentrations before using the steam mop. Still, it does work.

Degustation Dinner Airlie Beach Hotel

I had an invitation from friends to an eight course degustation dinner at Capers at the Beach, in association with Whitsunday Foodservice. The menu was listed in the Whitsunday Times. It wasn't even that expensive, compared to one Jean had attended in Perth.


Oyster, either natural, Bloody Mary, Berkshire bacon or champagne vinegar. These were brought around while most of us circulated at the bar. We had a pear cider with the oysters.


Lobster bisque with red spot prawns, black mussels, scallops, with ciabatta. I am not convinced it was a red spot prawn, but it was tasty. The ciabatta was delicious, but a real struggle to gnaw even when dipped.

Sesame seed Atlantic salmon with bok choy and wasabi soya dressing. The quantity of salmon was astonishing. A fair chunk of a main course, in my view. The dressing was splendid.

Main delights

Beef carpaccio with spring onion, fennel, potato salad and truffle oil. A wonderful course.

Braised duck leg with duck fat potato chips. Too rich for me, so I skipped that course, with only a tiny sample.

Berkshire pig on the spit with caramelised apple. Melt in your mouth pork.

The bartender was the Australian champion, for doing dazzling displays of bottle manipulating. He provided a floor show involving bottles being thrown in every direction and (almost always) being caught at the last instant. Everyone was watching and cheering this wonderful performance, like something from a movie. The finale involved juggling flaming bottles and fire breathing. How the smoke detectors didn't react is beyond me. However it was a wonderful end to the main meal.


Chocolate cherry tart with Movenpick sorbet.

After dinner

Australian cheese. This included some of the best Brie I have tasted.

Saturday 19 November 2011


It rained around four a.m. Luckily for the market folk, it stopped raining by five. I went to the Airlie Beach Markets around seven. A bunch of sprinkler systems underneath Barnacle Terrace had lost their tops and were sprouting water all over. My favourite breakfast folks were there at the markets. Caught up with Glenn, and a few other regular folks. Collected the newspapers (did not need to help them fix their computers this time), and returned home.

The DVD ripping of ST-DS9 continued. Very slow. Watched more of Roswell, in a casual manner.

Walked to the markets a second time after nine. Alison was at Glenn's stall, so I chatted with her for a while. Back at the Terraces I saw Phil, our gardener, and told him about the sprinkler problems under Barnacle Terrace.


I cleaned up the entryway, and the suite's kitchen and bathroom. A lot more hand washing before I could deploy the steam mop. I need to move things into permanent storage prior to working on the cleaning, as I otherwise end up moving everything multiple times.


I continued ripping the various Star Trek DVDs. I was astonished to find I had mostly filled an entire 2TB hard drive.

What I am not understanding is why the film companies do not try harder to find a way to monetize the digital version of their movie media, without cutting their own throats, and without driving away movie buyers.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Early Morning

I went to put out the garbage. First thing I noticed was Unit 62A at Whitsunday Terraces was leaking water under the door, and alongside the bathroom and over the walkway. As well, water was dribbling from three sets of pipes under the unit onto the parking lot floor. Looks to me like a pipe break in the bathroom wall.

Down the street before seven to collect some bread. I was astonished to discover Brumbies not longer open until seven. Collected a newspaper while I waited.

Went back to Reception to tell them of the water leak. They probably do not have a key anyhow. They said they would get the handyman to check on it.

Kept ripping the DVDs. Watched Insiders, and Inside Business, the public affairs shows.

Mid Morning

As expected, there is a big ship out in Pioneer Bay. So tourists will be bused around the town. There were a serious number of Schoolies wandering around. I walked down to the markets and had a chat with various folks there. They say business was pretty slow.

Meanwhile, the water leak from 62A seems to have stopped. Maybe the handyman fixed it. Or maybe whatever was leaking ran out of water.

Port of Airlie Marina

I was expecting some peace on Sunday morning. Instead there was a continual drone of diesel. Turned out the water tanker is running its engine at Port of Airlie Marina, so they can hand water their new turf.

Monday 21 November 2011


I had a good night, disturbed only slightly by the Schoolies partying. Woke up at five, at first light. Started another TV series DVD ripping, and put some more ripped DVDs into the transcoding queue for making them into H.264 for my iDevices.

By 5:15 a.m. I was taking my morning walk down and around the lagoon. I also stopped at an ATM for some money, while the streets were empty, and the money machines were not.

There certainly was a remarkable quantity of food (especially McDonalds, which is 24/7) and drink packaging strewn around the footpaths and streets. The cleanup crews were already thoroughly into cleanup. The garbage contractors will earn their money this week. The death of three local teenagers in a single car accident may have put a damper on some risky behaviours, although I did hear what seemed like burnouts on the main road during the previous day.

I completed my walk with the sun just rising over the hills and shining in my eyes. Poached eggs for breakfast, but I forgot to try the whirlpool method.

Airlie Beach

It was too warm today for me to want to do very much walking. So I concentrated on ripping and transcoding, with irregular and short bursts of cleaning.

Karcher High Pressure Washer

Alas, the brand new Karcher K2.080 high pressure washer I just bought especially for washing the balcony tiles and brought to the Terraces does not work from a bucket. I bought a Karcher 9.505.779.0 Suction Hose Kit, whose instructions show the Karcher and the bucket sitting level on the ground. Run the engine, for the two minutes you are permitted without water. However no water actually enters the Karcher. In short, the suction hose does not exhibit enough suction.

A Google search reveals a number of complaints about exactly this lack of water. Unfortunately, none of the complaints actually received a working solution.

This sucks!

The problem is that although labelled as a suction hose, the Karcher pump can not manage to suck enough air out of the hose to get a water flow. So you need to fill the hose with water before connecting it to the Karcher. The Karcher folks anticipated this, and have a neat and heavy one way valve in the bucket end of the hose. What they did not do was include instructions to fill the hose with water first. Grrr!

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Airlie Morning

I was awoken by rain at four. Rain continued until five. It roused me to do another DVD rip, and put more items in the transcode queue.

Walk to Macca's just before seven. No newspapers left. Continued my walk around the lagoon. Macca's. No newspapers yet. Collected The Australian at newsagent. Back to Macca's. No Courier Mail available yet. Gave up. Walk back up the long hill.

Cooked myself a poached egg, using the whirlpool method. It did not seem to work much better than just plain easing the egg in from a saucer close to the water.


Since it rained, I did some brushing of the dirty balcony tiles with the new broom Jean found for me. I sort of think I may have started breaking the new broom already. Opps!

I also found some drumming tiles to the Western end of the balcony, towards the wall. So I have problems with the fastening of about ten of the tiles. Now I need to check all the balcony tiles. This keeps getting worse.


I discovered transcoding of TV series to H.264 was not as simple as I hoped. Some transcoded only the first(?) episode. A few transcoded a complete run of every episode on the DVD. So I actually have to go through and manually select what I want transcoded. This means trying to relate the order and playing time to each episode. Also I needed to include the episode title in the file name.

This transcoding started partly because DVDs are such a bad experience (although not nearly as terrible as broadcast TV with its advertising). Sure it is simple to stick a DVD in my old VCR/DVD player. But then you are stuck with inconsistent menu systems. Some of the time I am not even sure which item is selected, due to quirky coloured menu markers. Some DVDs will play all episodes in one go (fine if you have the time). Some insist on selection of each episode (usually better, except when you want to veg out for a few hours). All tend to start with diabolical warnings about copyright, often for multiple countries. Some repeat these warnings for each episode. Infuriatingly, you can not skip or fast forward past these irrelevant warnings.

I just want to see a TV show. No interruptions, no messages, no commercials, no menus, no digital rights management (DRM). If I can not get that, why should I buy the product? I have never bought a Blu-Ray disk (due to tough DRM).

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Airlie Beach Early Morning

I took an early morning walk, since the weather radar did not reveal nearby rain. It was a bit late, after six when I set out. I saw the newsagent's vehicle, delivering newspapers. No newspapers at McDonalds, so I continued my walk around the Lagoon. Upon my return, there were Courier Mail newspapers at Maccas, so I had my once a week breakfast there. It is the only place open at that hour.

The main street was pretty empty. Seems Schoolies mostly do not arise real early. I collected a copy of The Australian at the newsagent, since that was also now open. The hill back home stubbornly refuses to get any less steep.

Whitsunday Terraces

I noticed a large trailer arrive. Powdercoat Whitsunday delivering the first of the railings for the Endeavour terrace car park. That was good to see. The whole crew were soon there getting the railings in. Not expecting them to complete it today.

In the afternoon, I figured out the easy way to charge the Karcher suction hose with 500ml of water. Once I had it filled, I put the Karcher high pressure water cleaner back on the floor, and the water bucket on a table. I sure seemed to pump a hell of a lot of buckets of water through the Karcher, and the balcony still does not look sufficiently clean. I must have carried 30 buckets of water out to the balcony.

Airlie Beach Morning

I went out at nine. No luck at the hair dresser, as she already had appointments. Went to the sailing club, but it did not open until ten. Checked the Port of Airlie Marina sales site. It still has the big model showing the resort hotel that was never built.


I have to admit to finding transcoding very tedious. I noticed a full USA TV season seems to consist of 22 episodes, spread over 6 DVDs. So that is 22 items to title in HandBrake. Tedious. I must find some easy way to tell if a movie comes with a decent digital version on DVD. That would make life easier. So far I have never encountered a digital version on DVD, although I have heard of different new DVDs having that. Most of my DVDs are fairly old, or a cheap chain store versions.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Airlie Beach Morning

I was awakened by rain at a quarter to five. So I had to lurch out and close the balcony doors before too much water blew in from the north.

Off down the main street for breakfast, and to collect the local newspaper. Back up the twelve flights of stairs.

Another walk at about 8:20 a.m. The hairdresser opens at 8:30, except when she has a notice saying come back at nine. However she had a prior appointment, so I had to return for a 9:15 haircut. Did learn the Port of Airlie Marina was putting grass seed in. That would be great, since it might cut down the dust levels. Back up the twelve flights of stairs.

Peacefully reading newspapers. Decided to try the Sailing Club again, and drop in on the stallholders at the markets. No luck finding anyone to renew my sailing club membership. Glenn asked me to look after his stall for a few minutes. Eventually wandered off and up the twelve flights of stairs, for the third time this morning.


Started another DVD ripping. Added another season to the transcoding queue, despite hardly being able to see from sleep glued eyelashes. I would really like to get some of this transcoding completed, and tested, so I can put the DVDs back in order on their proper shelves. It is also annoying to find that many TV series DVDs do not list the titles of the episodes. These DVD products are not well done, in general.

Speaker Dishonoured

I wonder if we can start referring to dishonourable members? After four years, Harry Jenkins resigned as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Said he wanted to be part of the labor Party again, which is not an unreasonable thing for an elected member required to act independently. I think he has been about as good a speaker as we have had, but the House was often so fractious as to be out of control despite his efforts.

So Labor put Deputy Speaker Peter Slipper in as Speaker. Slippery Pete was one National, then Liberal. His pre-selection in 2010 was ensured as part of the idiotic Queensland deal to merge the Liberals and Nationals. Then he pissed off his Liberal colleagues by accepting the (better paid) Deputy Speaker post from Labor. No way Slipper would have been pre-selected again. So he resigned from the Liberal party, slightly ahead of them expelling him.

So now Prime Minister Julia Gillard has gained a vote in the house (from Harry), and eliminated a Liberal vote (from Peter). Opposition Leader Tony Abbott must be furious. He should also have seen it coming long ago.

Now maybe the conservatives will stop trying to force an election, and start concentrating on coming up with good policies.

Friday 25 November 2011

Apple Sale

I see this is the regular Apple Black Friday sale. Seems to be the same day in several countries. I have a little list. Alas, not a lot on my list was part of the discount items from Apple. Still, I ordered some utility items I generally run out of, like keyboards, mice, trackpads, and a Time Capsule.

Airlie Beach

I went for an early morning walk around the lagoon. Collected far too many newspapers. Did not get back until after eight.

The cleaning this time was the small balcony. The high pressure cleaner did not need recharging. Seems OK as long as I keep the suction hose full of water. While I am still not totally happy with the cleaning, the balcony is a heap better than it has been in ages.

Ripping and Transcoding

I started ripping Stargate. I only seem to have five DVDs for season one, but the other seasons seem to consist of six DVDs. Nothing on the weird box (it has a 3D cover) gives me a clue about whether I may have lost a DVD. Not happy with this. So I checked the JB HiFi site, and confirmed there were only five DVDs in the first season. However Disk 4 seems to have a dud VOB. Like many of my DVDs, it had never been played.

Then Season 2 Disk One had errors. Season 2 Disk Two would not even read. I had to use drutil eject to even get it out of the drive. Tried Disk Three, in an attempt to identify if the problem was the DVD or the drive. Not happy with DVDs. Thoroughly pissed off in fact.

Meanwhile, transcoding to H.264 via Handbrake is very slow. I started one season in the early morning, and it is apparent it will take close to 24 hours to handle the six ripped DVDs, once you break them into the 22 individual episodes.

Saturday 26 November 2011


I went for an early morning walk to the markets. Elke and Horst were there, so I could get my usual breakfast bacon and eggs. Had a chat with Rex, Glenn and others. On the way back, I collected the weekend newspapers.

Did the first run at the laundry, and even remembered to stop it and add fabric softener before the rinse. I had time to read some of the newspapers, and do a second load of laundry before returning to the markets.

Stopped at the optician to buy glasses cleaning fluid. They sold me a no mist version as well.

My attempt to find someone to take memberships at the Whitsunday Sailing Club again failed. I had not been real hopeful about a weekend working in any case.

I was astonished to find someone at the Markets trying to see Parrot AR Drones. And at only $150 more than Apple were selling them yesterday during their sale. That was certainly interesting.

Junk Phone Calls

We had finally connected a phone to the phone line. Every few days we received another begging phone call. It appears that the Do Not Call register does not exclude charities. While I have no compunction about being rude to telemarket folks, I do not like being rude to charity volunteers. However I will never donate on the basis of a phone call. Maybe I will disconnect the phone handset again?


I had my usual party this evening, but only six attended. The three pizza went a long way. Seemed to end a little earlier than usual. Jim reported on his lightning strike, and showed photo of the amount of burnt out pasture. Looked a mess.

Sunday 27 November 2011


I was awake around four, so I continued ripping Stargate. By now I had several DVDs in the first five seasons that were not detected by the DVD drive. I started on the sealed package containing the last five seasons. Disk One does not read. Disk Two does not read. Disk Three does not read. I started Disk Utility, to get details of the drive for fault checking. Invoking Disk Utility seemed to provoke Disk Three to register in Finder, and subsequently in Mac the Ripper.

The drive has never been cleaned. With all the dust from the Port of Airlie Marina, perhaps the optics are dirty. Guess I will see if I can find a can of drive cleaner compressed air.

It sure seems like it will take a long time to render my DVD media collection into a more transportable digital version.


I took an early morning walk and collected the Sunday Mail. It was not worth the effort, but I needed an excuse to take a walk.

Monday 28 November 2011

A nice early walk including all the steps. This was followed by a late walk, so my exercise program is not a complete loss.

I organised a bus ticket for Wednesday, from one of the many travel places in Airlie Beach. The bus is almost a lower cost than the fuel for Jean's car.

Managed to find someone at the Whitsunday Sailing Club who would accept our membership renewals, after several failures to find club staff.

EasyMeals chicken korma for lunch, with sufficient left over for another small meal. The curry is pretty wimpy, but otherwise fine.


I had wat too many bad DVDs in the StarGate package. Nothing I could do in the way of cleaning them sufficied to actually allow my DVD drive to even recognise they existed. This is very poor quality control by the media companies.

Tuesday 29 November 2011


It was too humid to get much more cleaning done. The rain storms had thrown crap through the doors I left open, so I need to wash that area of the floor again. However I decided it could wait until I had decided where I wanted to move the furniture.

Wednesday 30 November 2011


I took the seven o'clock bus out of Airlie Beach. It was not as bad as I expected. Most everyone got off, and only about nine new passengers got on, so there was not much time wasted in boarding at any stop.

We had stops at Bowen to drop off papers. Another stop at the fruit and vegetable shop a little outside Bowen, for the driver to collect pre-arranged tomatoes and mangos. A lengthy stop soon after at the BP Service Station outside Bowen for breakfast. That stop lasted the best part of 30 minutes. A drop off at Home Hill, another passenger at Ayr.

The bus reached the ferry wharf in Townsville about 15 minutes late, at 11:45 a.m. I had been using iMessage to send updates on our progress to Jean. No decent parking at the ferry terminal, but she was just down the road at the aquarium, so she soon came and collected me outside the terminal.


Jean and I had lunch at the Caryle Gardens restaurant. I was not keen on the hamburger meat this time (packaged stuff, rather than steak). Next time I will try something different. Jean had a very nice pork chop.

Solar Panel Outputs

The solar power output figures last month (October) showed it generated 1957 kWH in 5884 hours of operation. New figures at the end of November are 2116 kWh over 6265 hours. So the total hours operating in the 30 days of November 2011 were 381 hours, during which it generated 159 kWh. About 5.3 kWh per day, or 417 Watts per operating hour. This is a nominal 1 kW panel.


I went over to the bar, and caught up with the usual Wednesday crowd. Karen was behind the bar dealing out the drinks. Alas, the pasta meal was no longer available. Last time the bar had it only three people bought. Use it or lose it. I think it will be lose it.

Eric Lindsay's Blog November 2011