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December 2012  WOT CoversFingers, toes, legs... everything crossed!  January 8th is the official release date for the final book in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series (  W.O.T. ).  The Publisher has announced that the e-book version will NOT be released until May... so I will be forced to read the dead-tree version and add to our planet’s destruction!  Many trees will die to make enough paper for 4 million very large books – that’s how many they are expecting to sell of this ONE final book in the series.  The e-book version uses no paper at all, but Publishers still see e-book sales as an evil threat to their traditional business models, trading methods and profits.  I wonder if there was a species of Dinosaur that tended to bury its head in the sand when threatened?  All that will happen is that Pirate e-book versions will become available a few days after the first p-book is sold, and the official Publisher will simply miss out on all those sales anyway.  Stupid!

December 2012  I have been forced to buy a new coffee grinder.  This was top-priority news in this household when it happened, because I suddenly couldn’t make coffee!  But the sheer, blind panic is subsiding now that I have a replacement grinder for the one that broke, so this item has now been added to the existing ‘making coffee’ page under the Sidebar’s Sundry Stuff! menu.

December 2012  BRPI wrote a critical item about the brilliantly-successful French-Canadian firm BRP, who manufactures the Can-Am Spyder that I ride, but also has strict ideas about how customers should pronounce their name.  The item just got longer and longer as I dug further into the background.  So I have now moved it to its own page under the Sidebar’s Bike Stuff! menu.

November 2012  Ouch!  I developed an abscess under one of my teeth and I was dimly aware that it was slowly getting more uncomfortable, without being quite sure what it was.  A club ride over bumpy back roads was just enough to turn it into a full-blown face-numbing episode, and it became fairly obvious what was wrong.  So off to the dentist I went, to receive the news that I needed root-canal work to drain the abscess, followed by a massive filling job.  Except that the tooth broke off completely while they were exploring the root canal.  So now it just has to come out...  and that has just happened. I’ll have to learn how to work the expression “H’yuck!” into conversations, now, to go with my new hayseed look.  Bummer!

November 2012  Now I don’t know whether we’re coming or going!  The weather-forecasting ‘Experts’ have been assuring us all year that the La Niña weather pattern that has been giving us floods and torrential rain for the past couple of years was about to end, thankfully, but that an El Niño pattern was about to start in its place.  So we were expecting to change from very wet to very dry!  They had been tracking the large pool of warm surface water in the Pacific that causes the phenomenon as it drifts back and forth between South America and the Indian Ocean.  It seemed to be migrating from the South American side of the Pacific, back to the north of Australia, exactly as expected.  That’s the normal way the system vaccilates between the two extremes – it migrates all the way to the Indian Ocean before swinging around again.  While it is over on this western side of the Pacific we have an El Niño pattern, with dry weather here – in Chile they get cold, wet weather with fantastic ocean upwelling.  They love that!
That would mean that this summer would be dry and hot, and we could expect high bush-fire risk and about 7 years of drought conditions before the warm pool once again migrated east, out into the Pacific and over towards Chile... but no!  The experts are now saying that the warm pool has inexplicably stopped... it seems to have changed its mind, and is now heading back towards South America, instead.  So the latest theory is that we won’t be going back into El Niño after all.  We will be stuck in an extended La Niña with more persistent rain and flooding, while Chile will get more hot, dry weather.  Bummer!

October 2012  Using Latitude & Longitude in a GPS.  This item was really a bit too big for this News page, and has now been moved to its own page under the Sidebar’s Bike Stuff! menu.

October 2012  Some things just get under my skin and won’t stop irritating.  I met a local biker recently who strongly disapproved of me riding a Spyder.  He personally rode an off-road style Beemer and had no problem accepting other people riding Sports bikes, Tourers or Cruisers but, as far as he was concerned, Spyders have 3 wheels, so are therefore specifically for octogenarians or invalids – using them for anything else is evil.  The fact that they perform as well as sports bikes, corner as well as sports bikes ( way better than ANY Cruiser ), are more comfortable than most bikes, have a reverse gear, are far more stable than ‘tweelers’, are impossible to ‘drop’... none of that mattered at all.  I was simply letting the side down, insulting all ‘proper bikers’ by riding a ‘Motorized Walking-frame’ while I still had all my limbs and faculties.  He just couldn’t believe that somebody might actually like them!
Perhaps he worried that some faceless official might think that they made good sense, and then ‘proper bikers’ like HIM might be forced to ride one?... what a dreadful prospect!  I suppose that I should have been able to take a philosophical view about this, just shrug it off, but somehow... Grrrrr.

October 2012  Newsflash!  If you are reading this, you will know that my little website is back up and running.  After working with Fiona on yet another website ( this time for Deloraine Creative Studios, where she rents a studio for her art work and sells directly to the public ), discussion turned to cheap site hosting.  Alister chipped in to recommend freehosting.com and they proved to be a reasonable choice.  I was able to register the domain name of www.lindsayroland.com with them and they charge a lot less for domain rental ( only US$13 / year ) than other ISPs with whom I have dealt.  The actual site hosting is completely free!  Image loading is a little slow, so the bandwidth is probably lower than other ISPs, and the whole site seems to be inexplicably offline from time to time, with very slow technical support, but it should still be quite good enough for this little site.

September 2012gif  Novel #10 is finished!  Sometime in the next few weeks I will finish proof-reading the e-book and upload it to Amazon to join the other 9 already there.  Shadow Hacker was the first one written entirely as an e-book, so the production phase was a lot smoother than all the previous ones.  Not needing to satisfy a traditional publisher, I made no attempt to ‘format’ the content... each chapter was just a continuous stream.  The actual formatting happened at the HTML stage, using the CSS style framework that had been laboriously developed for all the earlier books.
You can see more details about this novel under the Books page.

August 2012  My second winter in Maleny is just about over, thank goodness.  It’s quite windy at times up here, and the house is perched just on the northern side of an east-west ridge at 440m elevation, so I get plenty of sun with the northerly house aspect, but the prevailing south-westerlies tend to howl over the house at times.  A tree right on the ridge was blown down recently.  I attached a rope to the remaining branches and pulled them over completely with the ride-on mower, so at least that’ll be enough firewood to last until next winter, because the tree was completely dead.  By the time next winter comes along I hope to have acclimatized a bit!  At least the Pacific currents associated with the La Niña that Australia has been caught in for the past few years, causing very wet weather and flooding, are finally changing direction.  We are now expecting to go back into an El Niño pattern, which means that we will experience drought conditions for the next 7 years instead of floods!  It seems we have to have one or the other...

April 2012  logo More practice at writing html, now with integrated StyleSheets as required by modern websites.  Fiona has designed the art for a personal website hosted in Deloraine, Tasmania, to showcase her art skills.  I wrote the code for the site, since I had updated my html skills during the e-book experience.  It’s been rewarding to watch the site grow and finally go online.  I really should do something about getting my own site ( this one ) back online... but I am stuck with BigPond for an ISP, because mobile reception in rural Maleny is awful.  BigPond has better phone coverage here than other providers and ISPs.  However, they do not allow html sites, only pre-formatted blog pages.  No, thank you.  I’ll wait until I find an ISP offering cheap hosting for small html sites.
Take a look at Fiona’s site at: http://www.fionafrancoisart.info.

November 2011  At last!  I’ve coveted one of these ever since they were first introduced in ’08.  Traded the yellow Yamaha TMax on a Can-Am Spyder, because one came along at the right price.  A good price, despite it having only 6k on the clock, because it is a manual, and the semi-auto models ( push-button clutchless gear-changes ) are proving more popular than the manuals.  photoIt’s been a blast from the past photo learning how to ride a manual all over again!  A Spyder ain’t a bike, because it doesn’t lean into corners, but it ain’t a car, either... it’s a bit like a quad-bike on steroids.  Very different, demanding quite different riding techniques, and it takes a while to get used to it!  BRP, who manufactures it, is working on a leaning version... that would be fantastic, but it’s years away, yet.
Of course, Spyder owners like to customize their rides, and I am no exception.  Mine is the RS ( sports ) model, so I immediately bought 3rd-party accessories to allow me to sit up straighter... bar risers, mirror extenders and a taller screen.  Much more comfy than riding hunched over, especially for highway cruising.  To hell with looking ‘sporty!’  But it hasn’t stopped there.  All sorts of extras have now been bolted on.  I designed some ‘tats’ and had them printed on car-wrap film by a Sunshine Coast sign firm, and these give the bike a distinctive appearance.

July 2011  gifAfter more than 20 years, the first nine of my novels ( well, one is just a novella ) have been converted into e-books and listed on Amazon.  Although the decision to abandon the prospect of getting them published as p-books was easy enough, it was a hard slog doing the conversion.  Even though I am comfortable writing html ( e-books all have html core documents ) I discovered that my knowledge of it was woefully out of date!  So it’s been a case of learning about StyleSheets, since that is the main difference between modern code and the old stuff I used to write for websites.  However, it is finally done, and any future books will be converted much more easily now that I have a style framework suited to the job.  Just as well, since novel #10 is now under way.
See: Roland Lindsay on Amazon to see the books listed.

February 2011  photoJust in time!  I finally bought a car again.  Having just a scooter is not really enough for those times that I need to carry something bigger than a couple of small shopping-bags.  So I now have a Proton Savvy, and it’s a real Noddy Car.  Positively tiny!  However, it is quite big enough for my village needs, and also very timely, since I finally get my hernia repaired this month.  Driving a car to Brisbane and back again after the op will be much easier than riding there and back on a scooter.

January 2011  photo Whoopee!  Moved into the new house over the Xmas period and I am getting settled in, despite the constant rain... that’ll end soon, I hope.  Well, it’s always cooler and wetter up here on the Blackall Range than down on the flat in Brisbane, but the rain is not usually like this!  Maleny had more than 1.5 METERS of rain in 2010, most of it during November and December.  It’s all related to the huge weather fronts that have caused such extensive flooding throughout southern Queensland this year, with whole towns going under.
It’s so wet!  Last week I bought some new riding gloves and they are now spotted with mould!  But, in the longer term, Maleny ( I think it should be renamed Mareny! ) is perched on a ridge of the Blackall Range, so is not a flood candidate... but we sure get our share of rain, up here with our heads in the clouds.

December 2010  photo I have found a house in Maleny and I am now waiting for all the legal stuff to be settled, but meanwhile Fiona & Chris have moved to Tasmania!  With Eric in Canada, Fiona in Tasmania and me in Maleny, only Alister remains in Brisbane, and him in the extreme south-west, about as far from Maleny as possible – over 2 hours away.  Here we are just 2 days before Fiona & Chris flew out from Samford, tired and frazzled... although they don’t look too flustered here!

November 2010  photo Well, the family home in Alderley has been sold and I have moved to the small town of Maleny, about 90 minutes drive north of Brisbane.  Temporarily, I am staying with old friends, Graham & Jenny, while I look for a suitable house to buy.  This means getting used to life in the country.  In the garage in which all my furniture and stuff is stored, a snakeskin appeared one morning... you will see that it ain’t no baby worm, so I’ve been sharing the place with a 3-meter carpet python, it seems.
photo I have also been able to resume playing darts, since Graham has a board ( it will be a high priority getting a board at my new place when I find a suitable house ).  My game is still inconsistent but my grouping is quite reasonable – usually when I’m not on target, though!  I am the King of Jag – “Ooh, look, a triple-20.  Yes, yes, I know that I wasn’t actually aiming for it, but the score counts, right?”  Here is a triple-15 the hard way... unfortunately, when you “Robin Hood” a dart, it doesn’t score anything because it doesn’t actually reach the board.

August 2010  photo Nearly at the end of his stint on the Guardians film, Eric made a flying visit from Sydney just to say Hi–’bye before flying back to Canada in early September to resume his normal post-production work.  His Saturday visit coincided with ‘Festivalley’ at the school that Erin attends, so meeting up was a fête fate.  Here, Erin isn’t fiddling, she’s just fresh from her Year 7 string ensemble recital.  Fiona & Chris are now committed to moving to Tasmania.  Chris has been offered a job there and they are now planning to move from Brisbane to the Devonport vicinity during December.  With Eric in Canada, Fiona in Tasmania, Alister in south-west Brisbane ( nearly at Ipswich ), and me looking to go live in a village to the north of Brisbane ( probably Maleny ), the family links with the suburb of Alderley, where all the kids grew up, are fated to become somewhat diluted... end of an era.

August 2010  photo Eric has always preferred to work on “long-form” ( movies to you & me ) rather than “short-form” ( TV ads to you & me ), plus the team that made Happy Feet learned that having him on the team for colorist duties during the production phase rather than just the post-production phase would save them money in the long run.  His contract with AlterEgo Post in Toronto allows him time off to work on movie projects as they happen, so he has been in Sydney since July for the tail-end of the production phase of Legend of the Guardians, a 3D animated movie.  The post-production phase will span August, so he is currently very busy!
Here he is caffeining up outside Animal Logic in Sydney for the post-production grind to meet the September release deadline.
See the trailer for the movie here.

August 2010  photo Fiona helped to design a mural to be painted on the street wall frontage of a homeless persons’ refuge in Fortitude Valley, and they had a team of volunteer painters... but most of them had never painted anything except architraves and fences before, so it was a slow business.  She called around to gather some volunteers with some actual art experience, and I spent an enjoyable couple of days helping the much-reduced team to complete the work, which will be on permanent public display for many years.

June 2010  photoIt has taken a few months for me to recover enough to repair the scooter damage and get the beast back on the road, and it’s amazing how much I missed the simple pleasure of riding – it is so good to experience that again.  Because there was so much front-left ‘tupperware’ damage I bought a complete after-market body-panel kit and took the opportunity to change the scoot’s colour from the standard drab grey ( Yamaha calls it silver, but that’s really just tarmac colour with a metallic sheen ) to something a little more noticeable.  Bright Ferrari ‘Scuderia’ yellow with orange contrast panels should do the trick.  You’ll definitely see me coming.

February 2010photo   Scooter club Maxitag ( www.maxitag.org ) organised a 14-day tour from Brisbane to Tasmania and back.  I was part of that intrepid group and we all set out in high spirits.  However, on only the second day of the trip I had a bingle just south of Sydney, damaging my scooter and also myself.  I copped a dislocated right shoulder, broken left toes and left fingers, slight damage to left knee.  Bummer!  Oh, well... Tasmania is still there, I suppose.  I can go another time.
But the most amazing thing happened when I was in the Intensive Care Ward of the hospital in Newcastle ( near Sydney )... in walked Eric, who I thought was living in Toronto, Canada!  He had flown into Sydney to work on a film and had heard about my accident from Fiona who, in turn, had heard about it from the hospital.  Very timely!  He arranged for me to fly back to Brisbane for the surgery on my fingers and toes.  That was a weird experience, swathed in bandages and splints, covered in bruises and scrapes.

October 2009  I have become a pensioner!  After Ann passed away I was 64 and re-employment was a dim hope.  So I starved until I turned 65 then became a pensioner – plenty of free time but not plenty of free money.  I am thinking seriously of down-sizing, wearing a cardigan and smoking a pipe... if only I smoked.  Certainly I’m considering selling the family home and moving to some small village-sized place out of the city.  I have been into the city only a couple of times in the past decade even though I live just 10 minutes away from the CBD!  Since I’m already living the ‘quiet life’ I have little to lose, and apart from my scooter club commitments I don’t have much social life, anyway.  I could enjoy living in a small place.

July 2009  Scooter club Maxitag is occupying more and more of my time, which suits me well enough.  It was founded by a guy with lots of enthusiasm for scooters ( and other types of bikes ), but no computer expertise, so the club website was built in 2005 by his son, who lives in Victoria and has no interest in scooters, but had retained overall adminstrative control of the site, which was awkward.  After a few administrative ‘issues’ over the past couple of years, we have finally persuaded him to hand over complete control, since the whole site is now very dated and not very user-friendly.  It is based on a phpBB forum, which is a Public Domain structure that can be freely installed by anyone provided that their ISP can provide the Server-side database support to allow the forum to operate.  But it was not very well implemented and had several serious flaws, including frequent attacks by hackers, who just left smutty messages and links to porno sites throughout the forum and gallery, since it is a ‘Public’ site.  Alister was able to advise on ‘hardening’ the system to deny hacker access and convert the forum into a ‘Private’ structure, and I have set about learning php scripting to correct the parts of the site that did not work properly, also revamping the look of the php/html parts of the website and adding animated ‘smilies’ and buttons – right up my street and an enjoyable task.

January 2009  No pictures here, either, and you wouldn't want them.  I have just had triple-bypass heart surgery!  Caring for Ann aggravated a post-op abdominal hernia that I have had since 2003, so I decided that I should go get that fixed, start to rebuild my life a bit.  The surgeon said that the op would be a simple one, but because I had admitted that I suffer from angina, I had to take a stress-test to determine whether it was safe to operate on me.  Well, I had a bloody angina attack right there on the treadmill, so my hernia op was immediately canceled, and I was whisked away to Prince Charles Hospital for a checkup.  The result was that I was scheduled for immediate heart surgery, and that has just happened.
With an operation of this type, they use adjoining operating theaters.  When I was wheeled in, there was just one anaesthetist and a couple of orderlies there to prep me for when the surgery team had finished in the other theater and was ready to start on me.  It’s a weird experience, and I felt like a lump of meat on a dissecting table, so I thought to make some polite small-talk... How do they actually get through the bone to access the heart? One of the orderlies replied, ‘Oh, they use a jig-saw.  Much like your Black-&-Decker, really.  It’s quick and efficient.’  Okay, no more small-talk!  Just knock me out...  Although I am still in the early stages of recovery, it is already becoming obvious that this has been the best thing that has happened to me for years.  My general wellbeing has improved out of sight... now I just need to have that damned hernia fixed.

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