66 shades of grey

66 shades of grey
66 shades of grey ... this pic of me was shot by Kim, of Kim Thomsen's Photography at Daly Waters in the Northern Territory. Kim just wandered over and asked whether it was OK to get some character shots.


The cross is in front of the church in Karumba and it seems TV antennas have a greater reach for the sky.


I went fishing out of Nhulunbuy on the Gulf of Carpentaria. We anchored in a bay about 10 hours from Nhulunbuy and went ashore. This poor fella had been snared in the locals' overnight net and then had a run-in with the resident 14-foot saltwater croc - named Nike by the local indigenous fellas - and came off second best.

the rock

the rock

oodnadatta track

oodnadatta track
What a tough place to live ... this is out on the Oodnadatta Track


My photo
G’day, I’m Michael and I have two fantastic grown-up kids. I’m a jeans and singlet/T-shirt, cowboy boot, tattoos sort of fella, who knows a bit about this and sometimes a lot about that. I'll have a crack at most things, although having a relationship? ... well that ship has sailed. I'm past my use-by date anyway, so I'm gonna make it all about me and surviving life as I know it ... or make it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Suddenly it all just clicked

OK, the internet is a convenience (so is a public dunny … and I’m sure there are parallels) for many and varied reasons, not the least being a contact tool for when one is laid low.
So it came to pass this past week when the flu … and this dose was an absolute doozie … took control of my system. I’m still amazed that these bloody germs could live with more than the odd drop of alcohol in there with which to fight. The flu, however, fought the good fight and won handsomely.
A week away from the rigours of work may seem, given that it’s so bloody cold out there, a godsend. Not so.
Here I was between coughs and wheezes, waiting for SpinTel to call and tell me that the internet installation was going ahead at a great pace. Much and all as the internet shits me, it would have been nice to have the odd chat with people, given my confinement.
A week and a bit after the company was due to call, I figured I’d check in and find out what the hell was happening … well at this stage, that amounted to bugger all in large quantities. Yeah, thanks for that.
I called, followed the “if you’ve placed an order, press whatever” prompts and waited. Then that stupid robot voice says “log on to this or that and do whatever”. Jesus wept, I don’t have the internet.
Finally, a human deigned to talk to me.
“So what’s goin’ down with my account? You guys were meant to call just over a week ago?” After hanging on while the young fella checked my details, he came back with a “Sorry, but we can’t connect to your address. We have to do a full installation. That’ll cost you about three hundred bucks.”
Yeah, thanks for that. This was despite it all being hunky-dory when I placed the order. “Yeah, there are no problems … your address is compatible with what we do” was the loud and clear message when I’d signed on the dotted line a week before.
“Was anyone ever gonna call me,” I asked, “I was told that would happen after two days.”
“I’m sorry,” was the response, “We should have called.”
Too bloody right you should have. “That really tells me that your company doesn’t really follow through,” I suggested. Out, gone, got him.
Long story short, I cancelled the deal, bit the bullet, and called Optus to organise (hopefully) an ADSL service.
That was Wednesday, the Optus service was installed on Friday by a gun operator called Sean … and the deal was better than I’d hoped for.
Finally, I’m back in the game with a service that’s faster than shit off a shovel.


Being the diligent single that I am, the day before the flu kicked in, I’d done a decent shop at the market, hell bent on cooking laksa (see recipe below), a winter staple … the chilli content is what does it. I made enough broth (four litres), flavoured with lemongrass, galangal, ginger, chillies, garlic, spring onions, dried mandarin peel, whatever, to go the distance. Tonnes of noodles, Chinese broccoli, bean shoots (always keep them in the fridge in a container filled with cold water … they stay fresher longer), poached chicken fillets, prawn and crabmeat dumplings, deep-fried shallots, fried tofu, coriander and spring onions complemented the brew.
Despite it being monotonous to have laksa every night, it was made easier going the chicken and seafood for alternative feeds. I stored it all in one-litre containers in the freezer. Too easy and so good.
I did throw in the odd night of ex-freezer, homemade minestrone (with lots of freshly grated parmesan) cos, well, a bloke’s gotta have veggies, eh?
When you’re a single bloke, the next best thing to a girlfriend is your freezer. It too can sustain you when you’re time poor or laid low or just feeling lazy.


I don’t get to the doc too often, testing the blood pressure notwithstanding. Whenever I need a prescription (as well as the flu, I needed one this week for a thing … it’s nothing infectious, just an unwelcome visitor every year or so upon which I had surgery a few years ago. Despite the surgery, it always makes a comeback for a week or so), I just leave a note for my bloke at the surgery and pick it up later in the day. Too easy.
My doc is on holidays for five weeks, so I explained the deal as in “I just need a prescription.”
“Sorry but you’ll have to come and see the doctor. But there are no appointments today. We’re full.” I wished I was full (OK, not really, it was early in the day and I was feeling poorly).
They did, mind, call later in the day to say that there was a cancellation. I was in.
Good young fella, the locum, who knew all about my revisiting thing. He joked about the joy of surgery on it … not.
He wrote the prescription, confirmed that, yes, I had a dose of the flu “your throat’s pretty inflamed although your lungs sound clear and clean”, he checked my blood pressure … 130 over 80 “that’s perfect” … and I was on my way.
I was in there for 5-6 minutes and I departed 66 bucks lighter in the pocket. Little wonder he smiled the whole time I was in there.


I got one phone call during the flu-dominated week … from a woman who works for a company that looks after copyright payments for journalists. She asked my name and confirmed that I had worked for Fairfax. “We’ve got some outstanding money owed to you,” she said. “How much?” I asked. When she answered, I thought, Jesus, that’d be more than handy, given that I was absent from the office and when I don’t work I don’t get paid. It really is outstanding.
Then she mentioned the stories to which the payment applied. “Sorry, but you’ve got the wrong bloke,” I said.
There’s another bloke with my name who works/worked for Fairfax and who is going to be one happy camper when he gets a call from this woman. It’ll be a grand (many times over) feeling. Good luck to him.


Speaking of Fairfax, I logged on to The Age site this morning to see what was happening in the world. Yeah, I can do it now I have the interweb thing.
It was 7.34 Saturday morning. God knows why I was up at that hour … probably something to do with spending most of the week in bed.
Anyway, The Age site proudly boasted (OK, that’s just me having a dig) that there were 137 people online at that time.
Jesus, that’s only marginally more than there’d be at a Bulldogs/Gold Coast game. The site had swelled to 391 about 80 minutes later.
So, the future is online, eh?
I’ll bet there were a few more reading the real paper at that time.


Finally, amid the drudgery that is the flu, I did something I have been meaning to do for months. In my dining room, there are many hundreds of CDs that are all over the shop. When the singing syrup kicks in while I’m playing music, the need to put them back in their covers is no longer a need. Bloody things were everywhere. Behind a cupboard, where they’d fallen due to the excessive vibration that comes from the stereo, some in the wrong covers …
I went through them, disc by disc, put them all into the right sleeve and sorted them into alphabetical order and put them back into the shelves.
Artists starting with A are vertical, the Bs are on their side, the Cs are vertical and son on … and on and on.
It took hours but was well worth the effort and should be, wine notwithstanding, easy to maintain.
I managed to find several that I’ve been looking for yonks.
Not the least being Little Richard, recorded live at the Club Okeh in Hollywood in the late ’60s. I saw the man in concert a bit later and he remains in the top three concerts I have seen. He’s a genius.
I also found a recording of the Rolling Stones live at The Palais in St Kilda. It is from 1965 and the Stones were the main support act for Roy Orbison … it was my first concert. There are a few tracks from the Stones live in the early seventies and it’s some of the best Stones I’ve ever heard.


It was Saturday night and I’d rather have been out somewhere, but that has to wait (until Sunday night and a function at a wine bar) for the flu to become a thing of the past.
I was souped out, so I ordered a pizza (sensational it was too) and washed it down with a bottle of chianti. It was Chianti Classico, 2008 and imported by a company called Heart & Soul at Newtown. A bloody cracker.

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