The ultimate address

Today is my final author talk.

You can read about it on my ‘Atlmd’ Events page, right down at the bottom, where you will find the Castle Hill Library’s very nice publicity poster about it.

Yup, this is IT – there will be no more unless someone pops out of the woodwork and puts in a request that’s irresistible.

It’s been a most interesting year of talking about my book, with the starting point being my total lack of knowledge as to what one actually talks ABOUT … I decided at the outset that people coming along to their library to listen to an author of whom they had never heard were very probably there because they, too, wanted to write a book; and that’s what gave me the framework for my talk.

It’s been absolutely successful, she said modestly. Well, it bloody HAS ! – from the audience reactions, not a single library could possibly have regretted having had me along to do my hectoring best; there hasn’t been a single day when I haven’t been thanked by several (what does that word indicate, max., I wonder ?) of their members.

I haven’t heard a peep from Sutherland, btw, regarding the video. Makes me think that maybe I broke the camera’s lens …? Naah: it’ll turn up, at some stage.   :-\

Anyvays … When I get back home this-arvo, there will be some weight off my shoulders: no more lengthy train or bus-rides, no more starving because I forgot to have breakfast|lunch. No more being far too embarrassed to even try to sell copies of the book – DEO GRATIAS !!!!

Today’s birthday (Sucheta)

Sucheta lives in the western area of India, pretty close to Pakistan. I’ve been following her blog for a couple of months now; and so, of course, I’d be really happy for those of you who don’t know her to pop over and say hello, as well as wish her a happy birthday.

And those who do know her may not know it’s her birthday – so there you go !   :D

She has introduced me to several new blogs through her own interests, which means she must have damned fine taste, don’t you think ?   {grin}

So: a very happy birthday, Sucheta – and here’s your cake to share around:

The greatest punch-line ever

Kanzen’s re-blog from someone she follows relates, a little, to a short video I saw many months ago; now found in lots of places, it was through my subscription to Open Culture that I discovered it.

It’s from the late, amazing Alan Watts, a British philosopher who was (and still is) described as “a zen philosopher” – hence the music over the opening titles. This was a man who could speak in such complexity as to bewilder; but mostly did so with such simplicity as to fascinate.

Even though I, in my usual fashion, forgot it, it had insinuated itself into my mind; for reading the start of Kanzen’s friend’s post let me hear an echo … and I spent a good while searching for whatever it was I’d read on Open Culture. And, in triumph, I found it.

A young Italian man has posted it in HD, so of course I direct you to that version … And if you think it looks familiar, that’s because the accompanying animation was created by the men who make “South Park”. But I vastly prefer to close my eyes and simply – listen …

Talk about camouflage !!!

For we Aussies

A cry from the heart (again !)

I’ve posted about this before – twice – and I shall post about it again, some time in the unforeseeable future (isn’t that ALL of it ?).

Image editing.

It’s something that would be so EASY for everyone to be on top of; and that’s probably why it’s so annoying, she said intolerantly …

You want to insert an image into your post: so you go to Media \ Add New:

You follow that link to see:

and choose and upload the image to your Media Library.


When you click the editing pencil on the top left, the new image you see is this:

Please go to the enlarged version by clicking on the image: you can see that the ‘hand’ icon shows up when you put your cursor anywhere in the vicinity.

This is the key section:

The Align button is, of course, your choice. The Size button is also your choice; but depending upon what you choose, the ‘Link To’ button either will or will not come into play …

Bottom line: if you choose ‘Full Size – <whatever it is, but it will need to be not much more than 500px wide, depending on your theme>, then from the Link To dropdown choose ‘None’. PLEASE ! – pretty please with icing on !!!!

To clarify the issue: look at where I said “Please go to the enlarged version {…} the ‘hand’ icon shows up when you put your cursor anywhere in the vicinity”, yes ?: in every instance where the hand icon is seen, it means that A LINK EXISTS.  When you choose not to use the ‘None’ in Link To, you are leaving a link on your image – a clear indication that there is another, presumably larger version of the image available.

It’s so bloody easy, team ! – and, of course, most of you are doing this already. But I would BEG those who haven’t thought about this to do so: there is nothing in blogging quite as infuriating as seeing a lovely|interesting|weird photo or image of a smallish size but bearing the link ‘hand’, clicking on it joyfully to go to the bigger version, and finding nothing but a replica of the original. It maketh one fairly mad. Madder.

I must be fair

A young bloke from Kogan called me: boy, is he good at his job (which is, I have to assume, soothing irate customers) !!!

I am soothed.

He has agreed that the “user manual” is basically a pile of shit – although it may have been I who used the phrase, come to think of it {grin} – and that they have to pay attention to that. He has also agreed that the griller is useless for grilling steaks, even though the second screen-grab in my previous post shows, at the top, that Kogan clearly claims otherwise.

However, I remain soothed because he has assured me that the convection oven will do things like roast the various vegies I want roasted (pumpkin, e..g., and tomatoes) in much less time and will start doing it much more quickly.

And the best part is that he, Thomas (see ? I haven’t forgotten your name, Thomas …) is going to send me email with his ’phone-number in it, so that I – oh, here it is ! – can ’phone him if I need help with anything. Which I am going to, as I entirely forgot to clarify the issue of “what is combination cooking FOR ?”.

So it’s sorted. It’s not perfect, and only the gods know how long it will take before a real user manual is produced (but on the other hand, no-one is going to thank me for that); but it’s a lot better than it was.

You’re now as up-to-date as I am !   :)

My encounter with

Here’s a piece of heartfelt advice to anyone thinking of purchasing from an online trading company called Kogan. You will find them just about everywhere; so this is not a warning aimed merely at my compatriots !

(Oh, before I forget: Kogan is linked up with Google – and you may make what you wish of that. To me it should have rung very loud warning bells: I am no fan of Google’s.)

This is the ad on their Oz site for the thing I bought (it was cheaper then, but there was a large delivery fee, so I ended up paying about $20 more !).

I bought it because, as I was going to be eating meat again, I thought how good a thing it would be to have a machine that grilled as well ! – not to mention including an oven. (“‘Convection’ ? – dunno. I’ll find out about it,” I told myself.)

It was an uncarryable parcel for a woman; but my luck was good,  and a new resident in this building was kind enough to carry it upstairs for me – we do have a terrific lift, btw ! – when it was delivered by Australia Post. He also placed in on my kitchen benchtop, as it was only going to be from that level that I could get it unpacked (the young man’s kindness was great, just not that great).

It was completely impossible to get it out of its box, of course: it weighs a ton. I had to slit the box down all its corners and kind of wangle it out horizontally – no alternative, and I mean NONE. Having been a fan of our ABC’s “The Checkout”, a consumer advice program, I knew that the nonsense of “must be returned in its original packaging” is a completely false claim, anyway: that isn’t supported by law. So I hacked and heaved and pulled, and eventually managed to get it out.

I checked out the grill feature – my main interest, in light of my recent re-conversion to – omnivore-ishness …

The “grill rack” is a thing more like a cake stand than anything else: made of that fine cake-stand chrome wire and each strand about an inch apart – NOTHING like a normal grill of any kind.

Here’s what the “user manual” tells me, in re the grill and its functions:

“How long for ?”, I wondered. Leafed through the “user manual”: nothing about times. Came in here and looked up ‘steak grilling times’ and found that I should grill for 4 minutes each side to achieve a medium steak. I like mine rare; but there was a suspicion lurking …

Cooked the first side for 4 minutes and turned it over. It was virtually raw on the cooked side. Cooked the second side for another 4 and looked at it: the meat had begun to cook, but only just.

At which point I took a cast iron pan from my cupboard, put some evoo in it and flashed the steak in it, each side. Nearly set myself on fire – you shoulda seen the flames !!!

It was delicious. But the Kogan thingy hadn’t made it so.

I went online on the Monday morning and had a ‘chat’. The moment I raised the point of the grill’s not cooking in any known length of time, and how the devil was I supposed to know how long to cook anything for ?!, the person being chatted with said my query would be passed on to the Support team and they would get back to me, and vanished.

I sent them an impassioned whinge about their “user manual”: “it does nothing but inform the user what the various controls DO !”, I cried; “it doesn’t actually tell the user how to use the machine at all. For instance, what the devil is Combination Cooking, what is it for and when is it used ?!”

They did, eventually, get back to me. Two days later. Had I tried cooking anything else ? By that time I had tried grilling another steak, this time for 5 minutes a side, and had been obliged to do exactly the same with it – flash it in a pan. But the light had dawned: I realized that nothing in this world is going to make this machine grill meat; for the “grilling tray” IS TOO FAR FROM THE GRILLING ELEMENT. It’s that simple. Presumably one could grill a sandwich or such, but meat ? – never.

I advised of all this. No reference was made to my eureka moment: it was never mentioned.  They said by email:

I replied, inter plura alia,

You can see Kogan are always polite – killingly so; just totally unhelpful. There is (of course !) no way in the world that I am able to return this appliance. I couldn’t get it back to them if they occupied the flat next-door.

I am now left with a large appliance that’s a microwave – but I HAD a microwave ! I didn’t need to spend well over $100 on this large, cumbersome thing without a user manual enabling one to use it.

So: what’s a real user manual …?

That is. That’s for my even newer Breville Thermal Pro Grill. I got it from the Breville Factory Seconds shop for AUD39, and I am in love with it.

So: the moral of the story, dear readers, is that unless what you buy from is something you fully understand the workings of, don’t go there. Their Customer Support will be infuriatingly slow, endlessly polite and completely useless. (As well, you’re bound to find that whatever you bought a week ago is now being offered for a much lower price: and that drives me MAD !)

Take a walk on the … political compass side !

Black & White Sunday: Beauty in the beast

This is today’s non-challenge from Paula.

Her own post – in which beast there is a whole lot of beauty to be found – is here:

I’ve posted from the little Lazio town of Casperia before, I know; but I feel this particular photo is entirely apposite to Paula’s theme for today. Well, it would be, but for the preposition …


You have NO IDEA how awful these moggies were: even I, a proclaimed cat-fanatic, was unable to find it in my heart to want to pick one up … not that I could’ve done !   :-\

Just pretend I haven’t said that, OK ?   {grin}

The Smallening (6)

This-morning I weighed in at 99 kilos.

Almost nothing gone, last week. Well, half a brick’s worth. Shit happens.

As has been boringly explained, the perfect progress is loss of a brick per week; so the total number gone means I do not need to shed tears or wring my hands, let alone slash my wrists over this very small movement downwards.    :)

It certainly gives some well-deserved rest to those unfortunates parting with moolah on my account !

Youse may be relieved, however, to learn that I have an appointment on Monday to discuss with Emily, the women’s trainer at the gym that will be opening on the ground floor in two weeks, what can be done for me in terms of an exercise plan. Until then, I will continue with my pathetic little walkings, and dream …



More shame


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