14 Jan 2017

The Other Eye

The new year started off in a very busy way for us, with events conspiring to keep me off the world wide web for quite a few days.

One of the things we did was to make an unforeseen and quick trip to Singapore to visit a couple of gravely ill relatives.

Apologies to my healthy friends for not contacting them, as we did not stay long, having to return to Perth in time for my second cataract operation.
Happy to be on-line again!
About the only thing we managed to do in Singapore was to spend a very enjoyable few hours at the National Gallery.   We'll have to visit there again, as our time was way too short.
More on the Gallery in a future post.

22 Dec 2016

Playing With Fire

Last winter, I came across Grandson R collecting fallen twigs from our Chinese tallow tree and putting them in a pile so that he could have a pretend campfire.

So I came along and said "Why have a pretend one?  Let's have a real one!"

And I set fire to his pile of twigs.

He enjoyed the fire, but I didn't realise how much.

The next time he came, he went round collecting twigs again, and when Grandma C asked why, he said "So granddad can set fire to them!"

When I went in to get my matches, he ran off and returned with his fireman's helmet on.  He was going to hose down the fire like a real fireman.

This little activity of his suddenly reminded me of a little psychological phenomenon we have here of arsonists joining the volunteer fire brigade.

There has been quite a few cases of arsonists lighting bush fires, which are terribly dangerous in our hot dry climate, and these fires can spread and threaten property and even lives. 

These firebugs then join the fire team and seek heroic status in fighting these fires they themselves have started. 

I haven't made cinemagraphs for quite a while.   My last one was here, showing a much younger Grandson R.

This fire fetish of his gave me the opportunity to do another one:

8 Dec 2016

A Ride on a Driverless Bus

The RAC in Perth is currently conducting a trial run of an electric driverless bus, and offered members a ride on it.

Grandma C and I did the ride a few weeks ago, despite Son No 1's remonstration: "What's the point?  It's like riding on a bus, but much slower!" - failing to understand we're retired folk with time on our hands.

This is what it looks like and it seats 10 people

The bus is French-made by a company called Navya.

 The bus also has 2 LIDAR units at the top front and rear to detect traffic and obstacles and a front camera to read street signs, traffic lights etc.
The LIDAR unit on the roof of the vehicle
The Camera - and it's windshield wiper
It was explained to us that the bus follows set GPS waypoints along its route, very much like a tram on invisible rails.  It was also programmed to go as far left as possible, and indeed, I found it quite disconcerting as to how close to parked vehicles it went (barely 15 cm clearance!).

Interior shots:

The bus was air-conditioned, but the a/c unit wasn't up to the task, as it got really hot in there.  And the day itself wasn't particularly warm, too.

The bus has a maximum speed of 45 kph, but for this trial, it only went at 14 kph.

At one point, while passing under some trees, it lost the GPS signal for a moment before regaining it, and you can then feel a sudden lurch, as it starts to stop and then re-starts.

So here's a little video I took of the ride on my phone.  Watch out for the cyclist overtaking the bus at the end.

30 Nov 2016

Morning Visitors

I heard these guys in our tree the other morning.
One of the rainbow lorikeets looking shyly at me
What'cha pointing at me, mate?

Well, ok. Here's my good side.
And a few mornings ago, I awoke to this fellow outside my bedroom window.
Now that it's nearly summer, there was enough light for the photo at 6:25 am.
His underside - probably not the better side!
 Sadly, a little later, I forgot he was there and walked into his web, destroying it.  Hopefully he did another,  and didn't go hungry that night because of me!

Finally, for my friends in tropical climes, here are a few shots of our native frangipani (Google tells me, it's not related to the ones we know.)
It's a tall tree in our backyard, and flowered prolifically a few weeks ago.
Some flower buds

24 Nov 2016

Oi! Finally.

Last April I took part in a crowdfunding venture to fund a newly designed bicycle bell called "Oi".

The bell was supposed to be manufactured and then delivered by July this year.

There was delay upon delay; reports of manufacturing problems, bad batches of bells and then, when first delivered, unhappy customers who said their bells were duds or not loud enough, or rang with every bump in the road.

Mine finally reached me in early November ( I had ordered 2; a black one for Son No 1, and a copper coloured one for myself).
The box was a little scratched, but the contents were fine.
Side view.  I'm quite pleased with the way it looks on my bars.
Front View
View from the saddle
For me, there are no complaints.  It works well, looks good.   A black one would have looked less prominent on the black handlebar (which was what Son No 1 wanted) but I couldn't resist the copper colour.
It worked out well for me, but I have looked at some projects on Kickstarter where supporters have waited over three years and delivery is still outstanding!