Posts Tagged ‘Milo’

The torture of Dept. of Human Services

April 6, 2017

 

photoSalvia Nr 1

Salvia

Our day will involve getting our travel concession travels sorted out. I  felt so proud a few weeks ago. I finally managed to get our Opal travel cards. This is the card you need when catching trains, buses or even a ferry. You get to tap it on a metal pole at the beginning of the journey as well as at the end. The pole seems to recognize your unique profile and deducts the cost of your travel from this magic card. It seems rather lugubrious that we are now identifiable by plastic cards that we store in our wallets. What happens to my ‘profile’ after I am gone? Will I just be remembered by my Opal card?

It wasn’t an easy journey to finally get this card. A big problem with modernity is that no matter where one goes or what one intents to achieve, one needs to log on to something. The logging on is presented as a heaven on earth. ‘Just log on to some dot.com. and the world is your oyster.’ As if! What they don’t tell you is that as soon as one tries and ‘log on’ it asks for your profile. This is some kind of internet mug shot. To establish this profile one needs a password. This password needs to be well hidden and it is suggested to write it down. I had a booklet of those passwords but I have lost it. Almost all dotcoms tell you to never let anyone know your passwords.  As soon as I got yet another password I quickly used to write it down in my special red coloured password booklet. But this booklet was so well hidden, it is lost.

This in reference to a letter addressed to ‘Dear Gerard.’ from the Dept. of NSW transport. It seems  we are no longer eligible for the Gold Opal card. (because of a change in our circumstances.) We both need to act and cancel our Gold Opal card and change over to a different Opal card. If we don’t we will not only lose our Gold Opal card but also lose any credit that still exists on our present cards.

The sting is that to achieve the change you need to log on to opal.com.au. As my passwords are so well hidden they are lost I can’t log on. However we could also go to a real office and get it changed manually by a Government employee. In an effort to squeeze more money out of the taxpayer many departments are now bundled together into just one. It is called Department of Human Services. I have some experience with it. Human services my a*”se.

A while ago I was fined twice for illegal parking. I checked it out and both parking infringements posted out to me occurred on the same day and at the same time within the same second and minute. How could that be? However, in my gallant effort to get one of those fines cancelled, I just about lost the will to go on. I desperately tried to log on  to the Infringement department of the Motor Transport, even to the extend to request a new password. ( the old one was hidden, remember!)  It was hell, and I was reduced to just incoherently tapping over my computer. Milo looked up and knew something was terribly wrong too.  After recovering I ended up going to the Human Services and had the fine cancelled. The Human Services girls were dressed up in a cheery red uniform but were as difficult to contact as it was on the internet. One told me to stop shouting. I wasn’t shouting.

So, in about an hour or so and after a shower we will go to this Human Services office to try and sort out our Opal travel card. I will keep you informed. I do hope we won’t need our passwords.

 

Why is everything so much more complicated?

 

 

This Australia country is Crook as Rookwood

March 22, 2017

IMG_1087Milo 2017

There we go again. It seems that the refugee swap with the US is under some cloud. Australia claims it needs to cut back on spending. It could save billions by just finally accepting the refugees held on Manus and Nauru  on Australian soil. What seems more logical? The oft repeated mantra of keeping control of our borders is just ludicrous. Can someone point out which country borders us?

Our minister, Mr Dutton, for Torture and Unlawful Detention (TUD) should brush up on his geography. We are girthed by sea and in any case Facebook, Twitter etc. doesn’t respect national borders and makes a mockery of land borders. As it is, the world is becoming borderless. We are supposed to revel in being Australian and associate ourselves with ‘true Australian values’ but what are those values if not the same as those of most civilised countries?  What are Australian values that are so unique?

Treating asylum seekers as sub-human is a festering sore that will keep Australia on the international shame list while it lasts. I can’t possibly dance around a national Australian pride pole while refugees whose refugee status has been accepted are kept detained. They are not illegal and no charge has been levied against even a single person.  They are in their fourth year of unlawful detention.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-22/us-refugee-deal-architect-says-based-on-australia-doing-more/8375250

It seems  likely that the  trade in refugees between the US and Australia will at best limit itself to just a few of the seventeen hundred that are still locked on Nauru and Manus in exchange for perhaps fifty or so refugees from Central America. There are rumours that the refugees on Manus and Nauru have been fingerprinted by US officials. Heaven only knows what must go through those tormented souls? Fingerprinted once again!  The indignity of it all.

Many of the refugees are well educated and sometimes seem to have a better commend of English than their torturing privately funded interrogators. How could we have got it so wrong? I know the answer. We lack leaders that are decisive not divisive. There is our PM Turnbull, grandiosely  slapping himself on the back saying that Australia is the most tolerant, the most successful multi-cultural country in the world. Yes, but what about all that what happened within our child support detention camps. The people employed to look after the welfare of those children asking sexual favours. Suck my dick video has just turned up at the Royal Commission.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-20/don-dale-officer-filmed-himself-asking-children-for-oral-sex/8369284

How could things go so off the rail?

 

Milo seems to have an answer. Just look into his all-seeing eyes.

 

 

 

What price Freedom?

February 27, 2017
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Mum in Holland with a Hoover electric vacuum cleaner. (not cordless)

We are all not so sure anymore if it is safe to visit the US. A pity. We have never been there. Perhaps it might be possible take a cruise and visit New York without getting off board and risk going through Border Control and be detained. When Ali Jr hardly got through how about anyone with a non-Anglo name? I visited Egypt back in 1961. This might well come to punish me. No doubt the FBI or secret service have kept a tab on that visit.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/02/25/customs-alis-son-wasnt-detained-because-hes-muslim/98419924/

While ‘Oosterman’ doesn’t sound Arabic, it does smack of something sinister. Oost is easily an East, and we all know what that means, don’t we? And what about that ‘man’ at the end?  A man from East? Say no more; detain him.

All kidding aside, and with all respect to my US based friends rest assured that the same is going on here in Australia. We don’t detain for a few hours, our prime minster Turnbull detains people for years if not life on Manus and Nauru. Woe those daring to enter Australia and not having drowned. You will be punished.

When I visited Egypt so long ago it was still allowed and possible to get right inside the Pyramid of Cheops. There was a tunnel that led one right up into the Queen’s chamber. It was quite a hike up and then down with a never ending stream of tourists doing the same. Afterwards there was the obligatory camel ride. I took a bit of stone from the pyramid and kept it for years together with a fez that I had bought in Port Said on our migration trip to Australia in 1956. So, our involvement with the middle East started early. The fez and pyramid piece of stone have long gone, possibly pinched by our children when young, showing off to their friends how well travelled their parents were!

http://www.guardians.net/egypt/gp4.htm

Rumblings of Turnbull’s demise and Trumps impeachment are growing fatter and gets richly fertilized as time goes by. We shall see. In the meantime I am still kept busy with another type of freedom; the Hoover cordless ‘Freedom.’ I have just done ( vacuumed) our whole house with one charge. What do you think of that? Of course, the battery is a lithium. It is now the new catch word in electronic jargon. People ask ; How are your lithiums going?

We were in Sydney yesterday having a lunch with daughter and one grandson. The other one is fighting with his mother over not being home ‘on time’ as promised. We know that problem well. However, it is their turn now. We are old and beyond feeling guilty about grandchildren behaviour, especially teen-grandchildren. There are lots of books about teen problems now. Just don’t read them.

Ever since we started brushing Milo, the hair load on our floor has eased. We brush him twice daily. He likes it and actually leans against the steel rubber tipped hairbrush. I then have the job of unpicking Milo’s hair from the brush. It is quite a job. (twice a day) I was surprised therefore that even with all that brushing I had to empty the ‘Freedom’ cordless twice as the canister was chock-a-block with Milo’s dust and hair. Milo just studies my vacuuming and then yawns.

That’s freedom for you.

 

And now for the good News

February 24, 2017

 

Almost ThereThe last few posts have been the work of the curmudgeon supreme. Jerimiah seems to have  reached a new level in delight and joy, highlighting the never ending stream of all that is going wrong. Sorry for the bleakness, but somebody had to do it. I don’t know why I watch the news. Relentless Trump and Turnbull. Neck on neck trying to outdo each other in a race to the bottoms-up, dehumanising their patch. Surely, there is something more cheerful to write about. Those grim purple faced bishops fronting the Royal Commission. Footage of one eminent church leader dipping a large feathered brush in Holy water sprinkling the congregation. Oh, such folly of voodoo and chicken feathers dressed with mitres and in flowing robes. Are there Technical tafe courses in becoming agnostic?  I am sure many are now queuing up.We need many more doubting Thomas’s.

 

The good news came from our National Library of Australia in Canberra.  ” Dear Gerard Oosterman.” “We would be DELIGHTED to receive a print copy of your book  ‘Almost there.’ Our records showed that this title is now published.”

Can you believe it? All this apart from both my books also having been entered in two of the State Library literary competitions. I am so happy that, after I posted the book at the Post office, I promptly shouted myself a nice  micro-wave heated up sausage roll. The word ‘delighted’ really did it. It was about time somebody got delighted.

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I walked with my fat sausage roll to a park bench in Corbett Gardens, Bowral. The same park where the three elderly sisters were hit by  lightning  last week.  I sat down with Milo. He looked keenly at my poly-styrene package holding the sausage roll. It was a mini celebration. I would like you all to share in my joy.

I gave Milo about half my treat.

It was so lovely and good.

A Happy Holiday (Christmas)

December 18, 2016

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With the issue of a school in Queensland not toeing the Christian line, I thought it best to use both forms; A Happy Holiday and a Happy Christmas.
http://theaimn.com/you-better-watch-out/

Christmas (without snow) is almost here. Yesterday we bought the pavlova and, as is now an Oosterman tradition, we will be roasting the Indian Raan dish. The lamb will be marinated for a couple of days in the yoghurt and lemon mixture with the usual spice of garam masala which includes cinnamon, cloves, chilies and whatever I feel like chucking in. I rarely measure quantities which gives an uncertain and exciting edge to the end dish. Sometimes it bombs but at other times it will surpass even our wildest culinary imaginings. A good Raan in the middle of a hot Australian Christmas is to be applauded and revered. It is really the true spirit of Christmas. It used to be possible to buy a large shoulder of hogget or an ageing sheep. Not anymore. It is all lamb now. A hogget is to be preferred for slow roasting.

But I am straying.

You know how it is! We used to walk with our dog Milo past a house which has a large window reaching to the floor. Very often it showed an old man reading and three small dogs all seated on a variety of cushions. The man and his book on a recliner chair. A charming and intimate picture. Milo would run up to the house and the man and his three small dogs, framed in this large window, would all be aroused by Milo’s short burst of furious barking. The three little dogs did likewise. It would just last a second or so and Milo would dart back to us. It was a little tradition without fail each time. The man would laugh and we would wave to him. It was a neighbourly bit of fun. Then, without warning, the dogs and this man were gone.

The grass at the front of the house is now overgrown and the man’s car hasn’t moved. The curtain, that was never used before is now drawn across the large window. We are not sure what has happened. Milo still expects a return of the fun, but it hasn’t. He looks disappointed each time we pass the house. It has been at least a month since the last barking and waving-back exchange. I hope things are alright and it will all come back, but that’s not a given! Sometimes things don’t return to what was. No matter how one wishes.

Another strange thing which doesn’t bode well is that the chickens on the other side of our fence have stopped cackling. Worse, the door of the pen is open. I suggested to Helvi that perhaps the owner has died. ‘It is more likely that the chickens have died’, Helvi said. I responded, ‘only three days ago they were full on after having laid eggs. The chickens were cackling like mad,’ I added. The owner of the chickens is also an old man. His name is Harley. He has a wooden sign ‘Harley Davidson’ screwed on the outside wall of his veranda. Perhaps he used to ride a Harley bike. I will ask him next time I see him.

Harley always dresses in neat long sleeved shirts and wears jeans. A reserved man with a good sense of humour. He loves his dogs. They are a very large Bernese, and a lively small Jack Russell. Harley also does the gardening, feeds his chickens and reap the eggs. All of these would be combined each afternoon with Harley sauntering around his garden while sipping a glass of white wine and puffing a cigarette, overlooking his domain. A picture of a contented man. No doubt his wife would not have him smoking inside. That’s how it has gone now. I hardly ever see the wife, but she is there. Harley and I sometimes talk a bit and each time he would shake my hand.

I do hope to see him soon and look forward to wish him a Merry Christmas.

I also wish all of you, dear followers and friends, a Happy Christmas AND a Happy Holiday.

Communion with a Frog.

November 22, 2016
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Milo at peace with the world

 

The event of my friendship with a stingray following me in the water along a stretch of beach at Bendalong was perplexing enough, but yesterday we had a frog visiting us inside our home. How often would a frog end up inside our homes? It would have to be a deliberate choice; surely?

It happened during last evening’s TV hour of Rick Stein’s ‘Venice and Food.’ He seems to be joining several TV cooks combining culture and food, or at least linking food having its origins in making do with whatever was available at earlier less affluent times . Good food is the result of poverty more than wealth. Herbs were added to basic ingredients to make tasty and often nutritious food by peasants. Of course, at least in Venice, the peasants have disappeared or are rich. The real peasants have morphed into hordes of belching tourists.

Last night’s Rick Stein’s tour along Venice’s Grand canals were interspersed with sea-food risottos or pastas dished on mouth-watering steaming plates, all so colourful, with just the right amount of a verdant green sprinkle of parsley, with Venetian sienna accented intonations by a smiling waitress.

When everything was steaming along on TV, I noticed Milo, our much revered Jack-Russell Terrier, carrying something around in his mouth. As it was dark outside I did not think it would be a lizard. During daytime hours, one of the less social acceptable amusements is Milo chasing lizards and performing amputations of their tails. He is totally flabbergasted that there are now two wriggling beings instead of just the previous single one. We don’t encourage him.

I told Milo to drop his pray. He did instantly. On close inspection I thought it might be a young bird. It kept moving about. I lost sight of it in the semi-darkness of our lounge room. We usually spent evenings in subdued lighting. Milo though, all excited, wasn’t about to loose his pray and directed me to this missing little animal hopping about. It had now jumped into our bedroom. I looked and discovered it was a fairly large frog. I tried putting a dish-washer cloth over it. It jumped away before the cloth hit the floor. It had jumped into the bathroom. Perhaps it needed water?

I managed to find it again underneath a rack of towels. This time I covered the frog with a wet towel. I told Helvi about the frog, but she did not seem interested, and kept looking at Venice and listening to Rick Stein’s cooking commentary on the telly. I duly and with some magnanimity carried (proudly) the frog to the other side of the house and to the safety of a tangled Jasmin bush. During the last few years  this jasmin managed to scramble over the paling fence shared by our neighbour. It was also near an outside light which had a crowd of insects buzzing about. I hoped this frog would find a nice morsel as well. It should not just be the domain of Rick Stein. I then took it a small saucer of water.

After the show was over, I urged Helvi to take a look outside at the frog. It was still there and looked happy. As far as it is possible to detect happiness in a frog.

Good boy, Milo. Good boy, for not pulling the tail off a friendly frog.

Word drought in The Highlands but spring is knocking. ( seniors)

August 14, 2016

IMG_0918 front garden August 2016

‘It won’t be long now.’ This is a saying that people use when expecting something to come along. It is sometimes used when on the Nr 1 platform waiting for the train to arrive. ‘The train is coming soon’, often spoken aloud by a brave soul to break the silence between waiting travellers, especially when a chill wind is blowing here in The Highlands. Most often, there is a response; ‘Yes, I think it is due in one minute, according to my timetable.’ This answer gladdens the heart, gives hope to the other fellow.

Those snippets of exchanging words to each other is so welcome. There can never be enough words getting exchanged between people, irrespective of waiting for a train or getting served at the Super-Market conveyer-belt. There is nothing more uplifting than getting a few words, after having gone through those endless isles of mind-numbing dairy goods/personal hygiene/ split peas/. There are now endless choices of toilet paper. We are figuring out the mathematical challenges with being confronted by the cost per hundred sheets per roll! No wonder people are becoming silent.

I could be wrong. Is there a shortage of spoken words being exchanged lately? If we feel like a good fill-up for spoken words we need to take Milo (our dog) along. He elicits the words from others so much better than if we walk without him. The word drought in public seems to be getting worse. I am curious if others have noticed this too? Most times, we used to strike it and get to hear words from others. They seem drawn to our Jack Russell more than us. Totally understandable in my own case, but with the welcoming and smiling Helvi, it used to smooth things out so much better.

It seems the problem might lie elsewhere. Often, people look serious when approaching. However, if they allow themselves to change their thought-train away from paying gas bills on line or texting and coping with obstinate or nasty relationships, and allow themselves to focus their sight downwards away from their gadget holding hand, and spot our Milo, an involuntary smile often escapes. Not only that, but many will actually stop, say a few words and pat him. That is the magic of the Jack Russell. We are still in touch. Are spoken words to adults getting less though?

I get the feeling that many are so mute now because their puckered up faces are so often close to their IPhone. I too have become a bit drawn to this gadget and at times open the IPhone without even being aware of it. Helvi gives me warning every time I slip into that. Certainly on trains we now rarely see passengers looking around or in conversation. Most stare seriously on what is in their hands.

I know, I speak and show my age now. It is all old hat. ‘Get real, Opa. This is our world now. Move over rover!’ The grandchildren have no trouble with it. They tell me that ‘Social Media’ is what is being practised. One hopes that this new form of mute media is not going to impact on relationships. I notice that so much modern TV drama is very intertwined with noise and deafeningly loud threatening thundering gun-fire type music, substituting drama where there might be none… It makes us tense and restless in expecting something, but it rarely comes or satisfies.

The words are just drowned out now.

51alYWDUUGL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_oosterman treats

Sustainable future by remaining upright.

June 2, 2016

imagesautumn
The man in the park looked wishfully at his surroundings. It had just rained and the trees were not only shedding the last of the leaves but also heavy drops of water. The creek was running fast, yet the ducks had no trouble paddling upstream. No doubt the first of the eggs had been laid. The drakes were on guard, and only the reeds knew where they were hidden.

I recognized the man and his grey little dog. Both are regular walkers. He might know me too but I am unsure. Perhaps he remembers a few years ago when he had slipped in the wet grass, and was struggling to get upright again? There isn’t a lot of dignity in having reached a stage in getting older, when being upright is starting to fail. Perhaps that’s why he might prefer to remain anonymous to his sole witness. The ageing gracefully extracts a price when prostrate on wet grass with curious ducks looking on.

As I said earlier, I had noticed him before on my own walks. He walked with some difficulty. He took little steps. He once stopped and told me he walks each day. ‘I still walk for miles,’ he added proudly. People on the whole still get around, but mainly by cars. Walking is now seems the sole privilege of the old. The young drive or are being driven.

I noticed him lying on the wet sloping grass. He must have slipped and had let go of his walking stick and dog. He had trouble getting up. I asked if I could help. He did not say anything but I got him upright anyway and handed him his walking stick, and his dog with a lead. The whole procedure was then keenly watched by some ducks, and Milo our own dog. The ducks are fed regularly by other walkers, mainly mothers and young kids. The ducks must have thought it was taking some time for the old man to give them the food.

I haven’t reached the age yet of unable to get up from the prone position. But, it is strange how of late I do study old people and their ways of getting about. I keenly observe their gait. Are they using aids? Do their partners nudge them onwards, prop them up a bit, are they a bit wobbly? Do they look vague? Shops are more and more selling equipment for the elderly.

Aldi is at the very cutting-edge of elderly care. They sell everything from mobility scooters, to hydraulic toilet-seat lifters, Chrome bathroom grip holders, tri-pod walking aids, incontinence pads for the bladder-intestinal-harried sufferer. People are not shy. I noticed an elderly gentleman throwing his packet of incontinence pads, with cheerful abandonment, on the conveyer belt. I am as yet not that brave nor incontinent. But, it will happen,… eventually.

On my last medical visit, I was given a thorough check-out. I did not ask for it. It is now a Government initiative to get the old on-board. ‘You don’t suffer Alzheimer at all,’ the old doctor informed me. This was based on my ability to follow an order and fold a sheet of paper in half and put it on the floor in front of my feet. I also remembered three words; ‘chair, sea, and dog,’ after a delay of more than 3 minutes.

Amazing!

No escape from Ducks and the ‘Book.’

May 19, 2016

BookCoverPreview

It now seems the latest version of the book ‘Almost There,’ is for sale, both in paper-back and electronic format, and has trickled down into many outlets, including Amazon, Lulu and our own Australian kindle format for Authors by ASA. (Australian Society for Authors)

There is no escape and one can live in Spain, Germany, Italy, France or the UK, sooner or later you will come across the chance to buy and read it. Don’t hold back.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0994581033
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0994581033
http://www.amazon.de/dp/0994581033
http://www.amazon.es/dp/0994581033
http://www.amazon.fr/dp/0994581033
http://www.amazon.it/dp/0994581033

The US has also not escaped with; http://www.amazon.com/Almost-There-Fragments-Restless-Life/dp/0994581033/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1463626908&sr=1-4&keywords=Almost+There

Australia as far as I know doesn’t yet have ‘print on demand’ facility, so for those living in Australia I bought forty books from the CreatSpace in the US which will be here within a couple of weeks and can be bought direct from me even cheaper than from the US, including postage.

Bowral Ducks

Bowral Ducks

As for the ASA electronic book in Australia, it is for sale here: https://authors-unlimited.org/book-member/almost-there

Almost There

Almost There

It was a fine moment indeed to see the book in print and on the Kindle device. The hard part is to sell the book and for buyers to read it. I would be so pleased if some of you, after having perused a few chapters, write a review. (It doesn’t really give me much joy in asking) It might give the book a ‘leg-up.’

In the meantime I am somewhat pleased with the above photo of the ducks in the creek not far from our house. Consider that Milo was pulling me almost into the water. I really love that photo.

The conversion to ePub plus MOBI.

April 13, 2016

‘Tantalising close,’ would be an understatement. ‘What price would you like to sell your eBook for, Gerard?’ Can you believe it? Yet, this was the question put yesterday while filling in a form to convert the book ‘Almost There,’ to a format called ePub plus MOBI all done by the Australia Society for Authors. It hit like a bolt from the sky. But that wasn’t all. Try and understand how it felt when reading on the same form; ‘Please provide details of the bank account into which your sales revenue should be paid.’ Your name of account, the BSB number and account number. ‘Your sales revenue?’ Joy, oh joy!

I could hardly believe it and neither did Milo. Out of the goodness of my heart, I gave him not one but two raw chicken necks. He looked perplexed but did not muck about, burying one neck for later consumption. He is prudent when it comes to his food larder. Only yesterday, while digging at the front garden I uncovered one of his beloved pig’s ears. He was watching me. I left it near where I found it and after leaving the garden I observed him re-burying it again. I suppose, it had not quite reached the level of dead carcass decay that Milo likes when consuming a pig’s ear. It explains where that broodingly dark smell comes from when Milo is sitting between us on the console of our car just inches away from our own faces.

We are al prepared and ready for the onslaught. The grandkids are coming over. The school holidays are on again. We have stocked up on half a litre of cod-liver oil and promised if they behave they will get a nice treat. Last time, just a few weeks ago at Easter, they managed to use up our monthly allocated Telstra data in just two days. We only ever use up about 1/10th of our monthly data. Just imagine how quick kids can rack up bills for their parents? In our days we would be lucky to get a spoonful of cod-liver oil for our birthdays. Or, when times were really good, get a pair of hand-knitted grey coloured socks. By the way, cod liver oil as sold in the past in liquid form is now mainly dispensed in very silly and expensive little gelatine sugar coated capsules. However, Price-Wise chemists still sells this wonderful golden nectar in its full liquid form. So, rip into it while it still lasts.

The latest controversy about the effects on health by eating sugar might well bring the liver oil back into vogue. I can see people crossing the street, slurping it up. Cafés will be selling it as ‘liver oil latte.’ And liver pizzas. The return of slim people

Anyway, the book is ‘Almost There.’