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SLAB

There is a lovely Aussie tradition of mates helping each other out on big projects and this film is an example of that tradition made manifest. My brother Peter has built himself a super new shed to keep his vintage cars in and today he organized the pouring of a concrete floor for about half of the shed ( the rest will be done in a few weeks time) after setting up the boxing laying the moisture barrier and steel reinforcing mesh he also arranged for a whole tribe of his mates to come out and help lay the slab. Fortunately his mate Charlie has done this sort of thing before so the end result was the beautiful floor that you see in my final shot. In keeping with another fine Aussie tradition after the work was done it was my job to cook everyone burgers and snags on the barbie and most importantly a few ales were shared to celebrate the end of a job well done.

Cheers Comrades

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Colour of the past

For a change of pace I wish to share this story of newly rediscovered colour pictures from the eve of WW2 in England. I just love this sort of thing in general but this in particular because the car featured is none other than a Morris Eight.

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Click Image for source piece and more pictures

Cheers Comrades

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Hell in the shadow of the high rise

Yesterday I visited the bowels of hell and it is actually a rather dull and dreary place that is far from being as glamorous as its public image would suggest.

You see I had to go to Surfer’s Paradise   so that my daughter could spend some time with her friend from Tasmania who was on holiday with her family there. The drive there and back  was nice for the conversation with my daughter , terrible for my back ( I am likely to be bed bound all day today as a consequence of the journey) but as it has been many years since I have spent any time on the Gold-Coast  I spent some of my time there at looking at just what sort of place it has become in that interregnum.

The overwhelming impression  one gets is of squalor with a veneer of tat  and pretence.  The footpaths are an unending patchwork  of different surfaces and pose a great risk to anyone, like yours truly,  who walks with a cane.  Once you raise your eyes to the many people on the streets its hard to see much real joy among them.  It seemed to me that most were trying very hard to  “have fun” with a rather grim determination.

To give my daughter the most time with her friend I spent most of my day reading  ” Dexter is Delicious”  I finished the book as it happens and in many ways it was a most apt read for the day because the Miami setting Of Jeff Lindsey’s novels are so very similar to the place were I was reading his clever prose. I also could not help but wonder about the lives of those people who serve the tourists because I did not see even one person in the shops and Cafes who looked even vaguely happy or even marginally cheerful .

By my calculation it must be more than thirty years since I have been to Surfers Paradise  and if I manage to go another thirty years before I again visit I will consider that  to be too soon for this old codger.

Cheers Comrades

Now this is a proper holiday destination.

Now this is a proper holiday destination.

 

Succumbing to the perversion of pre-packaged meat

 

You don’t know what you’ve  got until its gone ” is rattling around in my head this morning and that is because I am actually rather more, well, distressed  may be a bit extreme, but I am quite bereft to be honest and its all about meat and the things that we hold onto in a quest for some certainty and predictability in our lives. Regular readers may recall that I previously mentioned that the butcher shop that I have been patronising for more than twenty years was to shut forever. well it has come to pass and I find that there is no seamless moving to another purveyor of the fleshly foodstuffs for me. When I did our shopping this week I went into another establishment that I have scoped out as a possible replacement I found the public part of the shop was lined with self serve  cabinets  and most of the meat was pre packaged. After about three seconds I just turned around and walked out profoundly disappointed. Yesterday I had to resort to buying meat from Woolworths   even though I don’t like the way that they package their meat either.

The search will continue until I find a suitable replacement source for the family meat because I just can’t bring myself to continue  succumbing to the perversion of pre-packaged meat. I feel the  need to pick both the precise pieces of flesh that I want and to have it cut and presented as I like it. I don’t know any way to put it but the closure of may favourite Butcher shop has utterly disrupted my conceptions of the culinary arts and its going to take awhile to find that inner peace once again.

In mourning Comrades

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Absolutely Retro Minimalist Simplification

I'm using a set of these instead of fuel injection.

I’m using a set of these instead of fuel injection.

Off to my brother’s to pick up an engine so I expect to be out for the better part of the day (even missing “The Insiders” and “The Bolt Report” also calling in on brother number two to pick up a set of Honda side draft carburettors which should mean that I will then have all of the ingredients for my  Absolutely Retro Minimalist  simplification of my sports car. I have lined up a place to weld up my manifold which will be a cut and shut of the Honda and Nissan elements. a Morris distributor with an electronic ignition upgrade will eliminate the computer entirely I have a new low pressure fuel pump to match the carbs and I have even managed to find the much longed for speedo drive gear for my transmission which means that I will no longer have to rely on my Sat Nav for my speed measurement.

Oh yeah I almost forget the count is on in the WA uber By election and guess what, not much has changed !

Cheers Comrades

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Reasons to be cheerful part seven

Sorry for my rather slim postings of late but I have been quite distracted by a bad trot in the back department,  a problem with my sports car and well just feeling a bit down over all.

To deal with the last first there are times when chronic pain just gets you down and no mater how well you have intellectualised that you have the right stoic attitude so that you can endure and still find purpose and meaning in your life it does not take much to tip you onto the unwelcome slippery slide. this time it was being told that I had to get a pain specialist to give me the tick of approval for the continuing prescription for Norspan patches, so like a good patient I duly contacted the pain clinic and after some weeks I got a letter back telling me that they did not want me to be a patient there. The upside is that  I have discovered that all I need is the approval of a second GP to continue to get the medication. I know very well that there has to be adequate controls on S8 drugs however its not as if I am asking for self injectable morphine here. Worse still though is the feeling of vulnerability you have when it looks like the medication that you need may suddenly become unavailable to you. Simply put its a worry I could well do without. It will probably surprise no one that as a consequence  it feel even more disgust and disdain for recreational users of opiates because its their propensity to lie cheat and steal that have made such control measures  a necessary impedimenta to those who have a real medical need to use this class of drugs.

My sports car  has been running like a total dog lately and it to has been doing my head in. There is a problem with the fuel injection system that means it just refuses to run smoothly and it just keeps cutting out and refusing to run at all  well above idle. I have tried mucking ar0und with the  the throttle position sensor as broken wires (since fixed) caused similar symptoms but  that has not solved the problem. It could be a wiring fault elsewhere but the complexity of the wiring from the donor car is mind bogglingly horrible. After much thought I have decided to seek a rather radical solution by going totally retro in the fuel delivery department which will mean that I can have an amazingly simple wiring loom in the car .  to make this happen I have just bought a Nissan N15 engine (the whole car for $100!) that will mate up to my transmission the same as my N16 motor does but instead of  a computer triggered ignition system it has a camshaft driven distributor  to provide the sparks. on the intake side I am going to completely remove the EFI manifold and replace it with the twin Carbs off a  91 Honda civic this will necessitate me having to make or modify an inlet manifold. My plan is to make a new manifold in steel because I can weld steel and fabricate the whole thing myself without having to shell out hard earned cash  to have it made in aluminium. This should not be that hard to do I will just have to cut two flange plates from 4mm sheet and then cut and shape the four tubes from each port to meet with the two carb throats . Living in Queensland there will be no real need to provide an coolant supply to the manifold and as my braking system is not  boosted I won’t even need to have a vacuum take off for that either will need a vacuum supply to the Trimatic  though and it seems that the wisdom is that there should be  a connection between the two pairs of inlet runners to equalise them .  Though there is a weight penalty for using steel the manifold and carbs air cleaner et al  will undoubtedly weigh less than intake runners and plenum that they will replace and as ditching the EFI for simple carbs will mean that my electrical system can likewise be minimised  I am thinking that I ought to be up to 10kg better off overall.

As for tuning the carbs to the Nissan engine  well I know that they were working fine in my brother’s Honda until it did its timing belt and went bang so I won’t fiddle with them any more than I have to and as the Honda engine is only 1oocc smaller  than my Nissan lump  I doubt that they will be that far off in terms of the jetting.either. The result I am looking for is a car that is much more amenable to user maintenance, that has some weight loss and better usability over all. Now that is not too much to ask now is it?

If all of this works then I will be a some what happier camper but at the moment I am feeling rather, to put it politely hacked off about life in general  there is not much joy when you have everything around you seems to be competing for my attention and requiring me to do so many things at the same time. Oh I will get over this temporary ennui as soon as I have something that is going my way  for a while…. speaking of which my better half has just come to me telling me that the damn washing machine is not doing the  right thing either! Its not my day today …

Wish I could find something to cheer about Comrades

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Some thoughts about mooted changes to Media ownership law in Australia

 

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People are creatures of habit and it is only that so many people are habituated to buying the news papers that any are still being sold at all. Just take any kind of commute on public transport and consider how many people are reading a paper and how many are staring at a screen instead. Some certainly may be playing games or even watching video but I expect that they will be out numbering those who are still reading dead tree editions of the MSM.

Then there is the things in the paper that people buy them for, most papers are not exclusively about politics and current affairs anyway, so some readers will be buying the paper for its coverage of sport, lifestyle or even just for the crossword puzzles.  My point is that the political classes (in particular those from the left ) just look at the raw sales figured and they think that every reader of the Herald Sun is in the thrall of Rupert Murdoch and that the owners dictate to their readers directing their opinions. The reality is that all media entities write to their audience. If they don’t their audience wither away quite quickly.  With the coming of the internet this is even more how things work Online entities are even more in an endless quest for readers so you have to play to what your readers want rather than thinking that you can manipulate their thinking. I have been writing a blog for nearly a decade now and I have noticed just how quickly particular readers flit in and out its the same now with the way that people read things online from the likes of Murdoch, Fairfax or even the Guardian People don’t just get their news from one source any more no matter what the subject is they will read what several sources say about it and then make up their mind. This behaviour is the same when it comes to broadcast TV people flit form one channel to another seeking different perspectives. My argument is simple, if the media  consumers have changed their habits then perhaps there is something in the notion that media diversity laws from the last century should perhaps reflect those changes as well.

Cheers Comrades

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A nice shipping container house

Regular readers  may recall just how fond I am of the re-purposing of shipping containers to create low  cost housing so when I came across this vid I thought that it would be good to share it with the Sandpit’s dedicated readers.

Cheers Comrades

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