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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am comfortable writing html ( e-books all have html core documents ) I discovered that my knowledge of it was woefully out of date!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.
photoIt’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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