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Hubert the hawk, then ‘Waltzing Matilda’.

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King parrots

Rainbow lorikeets

Finches

When I look out the window into the garden and see all the wild birds feeding, it occurs to me that all the humans who spend most of their daily lives worrying about the performance of the FTSE and Dow Jones Indices are missing out on something vastly more important in life.

When Hubert the hawk, circling at 500 feet, looks down into my garden and sees all the wild birds feeding, it occurs to him that here is a banquet, a smorgasbord, fit for a bird of his dominance and distinction, and whilst dive-bombing at 100 kilometres per hour towards them he thinks to himself  “Hubert baby, this is going to be my lukky day.”

Yesterday, unfortunately for Hubert, he made two slight errors of judgment.  (Plus one of spelling.)

Firstly,the birds saw him coming and took evasive action.

Secondly, Hubert, (having failed miserably in his physics exams at the Avian Academy)  in pulling out of his dive failed to understand that the reflection of clear sky in a glass window was fraught with impediments to high-velocity flight.

Something had to give way.

It was not the window.

Hubert was not a well hawk for at least an hour, but after Dr GOF pulled Hubert’s head back out from way down somewhere near his  gizzard, then gave him two panadeines, a healing blessing, a pat on the head and a sip of altar wine from his apostolic goblet, Hubert wobbled his way back up into a nearby tree to contemplate what might have caused things to go so pear-shaped on what was going to be his ‘lukky day’.

Semi-comatose Hubert

healed Hubert giving thanks

(all photographs by Mrs GOF)

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Plus there’s more;

Today I am handing out gifts.

One gift to Gominoklahoma  and another one just for you.

GOM has now been a blog friend of mine for almost 4 years. There is no finer Drabble (story told in precisely 100 words) composer or witty commenter in my blog world. It is time for me to reward him with a special cultural gift of song from Australia, and one for you too in recognition of the time you waste  spend keeping me company in The Bucket.

Waltzing Matilda’ is Australia’s unofficial National Anthem.

‘Banjo Patterson’ (1864-1941), the principal folk poet of Australia  composed the lyrics in 1895 at Dagworth Station near Winton in Queensland’s outback.
Patterson’s image appears on our $10 polymer bank note.

The first of the following gifts is for GOM who has suffered with great dignity and tolerance through so many of my references to this ‘singer’ over the years.

The second is for you.  (Please share it with GOM too because he deserves better than what I just gave him.)  Noel Watson has been called a  “Genuine Aussie bloke with a voice that’ll pin your ears back.”
Plucked from obscurity, he rendered this extraordinary live performance  sung from his heart at the Aussie Rules Football Grand Final in 1988, and it still gives me goosebumps 24 years later.

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Building a flight simulator cockpit

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My long and faithful obsession with all things Elle MacPherson eventually ran out of steam when she decided to marry some mangy rich French git instead of me.

As payback for her disloyalty I heaved all my collection of her calendars, fashion shoots, and dirty pictures other memorabilia into the rubbish bin, and added that hobby to my comprehensive catalogue of life’s pointless pursuits.

One distraction is inevitably replaced by another.

In March 2006 Cyclone Larry huffed and puffed for about six hours and blew everything (except the house) down on GOF’s Place.
(An event unrelated as far as I can tell to my act of sweet retaliation against Ms. bloody Perfidious MacPherson.)

It rained continuously for the following 63 days, and the 1.93 metres (77 inches) of rain made any reconstruction attempt futile, so to distract myself from all the scrap metal and splintered shed framing that lay scattered around in the garden and beyond I decided to build a flight simulator cockpit.

Flight Simulator 2004 is the most extraordinary piece of computer software I have ever known.

How is it possible for a (now) $50 program to provide a realistic simulation of the geography of our entire planet, along with 20,000 airports, navigational aids operating on real-life radio frequencies, communications with Flight Service, plus a hangar full of aircraft whose flight performance and cockpit gauges operate with amazing accuracy?

I never understood it then……nor do I comprehend it now, all these years later.

The program was advertised as being “as real as it gets“, but for me it had two major limitations;

A.  It required “unreal” operation using computer keyboard
commands.

B. “Real” flying doesn’t have a dog, cat and Mrs GOF constantly
providing peripheral distraction.

Herewith one solution;

1. Build a box cockpit with an extendable curtain in
which to hide yourself away.

2. Shove a monitor in at the back, along with an out of sight cooling
fan so the little sucker doesn’t overheat.

3. Sacrifice your beer money for a long time and buy three pieces
of USB commercial hardware;
rudder pedals,
yoke,
throttle quadrant.

4. Design a fanciful cockpit console and collect an assortment of
$2 switches and LED lights, then go find a handbrake lever at the
auto wreckers.
Cut up 100 metres of plastic coated wire into the correct
lengths,and drive yourself crazy soldering them onto all the
switches, lights and handbrake.

5. Get your hands on a Keyboard Encoder, (mine came from the
USA) mount it on top of the cockpit, and join the other ends of your
bunch of spaghetti wiring into all it’s terminals.
Program the encoder, and be frustrated at what doesn’t work as
you thought it should.

Then, read the instruction manual. Follow it.  Program each
individual task (notepad document) with the correct language.
Then be amazed at how everything DOES work.

Magic.   Absolute magic.

A Flight Simulator which does not require direct use of a keyboard.

🙂

(If any Flightsim enthusiasts are reading this and would like detailed information, please feel free to contact me at the email address located via the “contact gof” tab above.)

Interior

Console wiring, fan and LED lights

Yoke

Rudder pedals

Throttle quadrant and comms box

Handbrake

Right console, lights, radio and autopilot

Left console, engine switches

keyboard encoder wiring

Final approach Cairns at dusk

Short final YBCS runway 15 at dusk

Well I’ll be damned…….seems like I have a couple left over.

Movie Review; Sirens

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(Ed;  The Bucket originally received GOF's review of this movie 15 years ago.  The Editorial Committee at that time considered its content inappropriate for publication, and suggested that perhaps he would like to seek employment with one of the journals normally sold from under the counter in tamper-proof packaging.)

Sirens is a delightful yet controversial little celluloid masterpiece which honours the life of renowned Australian artist and sculptor Norman Lindsay.
Set in the grounds of Lindsay's original home in the Blue Mountains, the cinematography effectively captures the exceptional natural beauty of this historic area of our country.

Sam Neill's portrayal of Lindsay, the eccentric, is, like most of his dramatic acting, of the highest quality.  He is more than adequately complemented by Hugh Grant who plays the role of the local parish minister who has taken on the rather onerous task of modifying Lindsay's debaucherous lifestyle.

Perhaps the only flaws to be found in this film are the frequent lengthy appearances of Elle MacPherson, naked in the house, naked in the gardens, and naked frolicking with other nymphs in bedrooms, creeks and on rocky outcrops.
All the superfluous nakedness and frolicking tends to detract from what otherwise would have been groundbreaking cinema.
Despite my numerous entreaties to the Chief Censor, these scenes remained uncut for each of my 9 subsequent viewings of this film.

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Happy Birthday Eleanor Nancy Gow

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Happy 45th today Eleanor.  Thank you for the part you have played in my life.
Please call me when you are next in my neighbourhood.

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Elle and GOF; A texting love story

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Herewith continues the long running romantic saga of GOF and Elle.
The Bald (ing) and the Beautiful.

For over 20 years I have been subjected to much hurtful ridicule from my friends who did not fully understand my obsession  academic interest in Elle's career.
Poor sad GOF.   😦

When I recently saw an advertised service offering to predict romantic future simply by texting first names on my mobile phone and paying a very reasonable fee to the nice people there, I saw it as an opportunity to bypass the biased, uncaring, and unwanted opinion of these friends.

What more information would these incredibly gifted telephonic clairvoyants possibly need to have, in order to make an intelligent and realistic prediction of our impending hot and steamy love life, than first names?    I am a trusting human soul.

Txt;     GOF  AND   ELLE     (my mobile phone is 10 years old and only texts in capital letters)

Response;   "What the hell ridiculous name is GOF and it's high time you acted your age and stopped pestering retired supermodels"

So which one of my stupid friends is operating this stupid service anyway?!!!!

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The ultimate birthday gift

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This story requires a little background information and a somewhat circuitous explanation.
It will come as no surprise to readers of my bloggery that I have had a certain academic interest in the career of one Ms Elle MacPherson.

It all began 25 years ago, when (regurgitating an extract from my blogging discussion of another topic);

" And if I dig really really deeply into my television watching memory bank I can recall a 19 year old Elle Macpherson strutting her thinly veiled magnificence along the beach.  It was a performance destined to take her to supermodeldom, and cause old men, young men and some very naughty boys to dream of things that had nothing to do with the product she was advertising."

No, lets call a spade a shovel, and admit that occasionally my interest has deviated from the academic, and perhaps may have even, despite my Methodist upbringing, nudged the boundaries of erotic fantasy.

I have discovered the reason for my puerile behaviour.
It was all Mrs GOF's fault.
I was too obsessed with work matters at one time, and in my pre-midlife she suggested I needed a hobby.  It was difficult to generate enthusiasm for collecting stamps, matchboxes or souvenir teaspoons.  Thus began the collection of Elle MacPherson pictures, calendars and memorabilia, acquired with such zeal and enthusiasm, that, had I shown an equivalent amount of devotion towards my business interests, I would probably now be a very rich man.

And so it came to pass that I should receive the ultimate birthday gift last week.  Daughter Globet strode across the arrivals lobby at Cairns airport and presented me a glossy document with a picture of a beautiful 44 year old Elle MacPherson on it, and emblazoned to one side were the words;

"TAKE ME, I'M YOURS"

WOOHOO!!!! after waiting 25 years for Elle to visit me, or at least telephone me in acknowledgement of my long term devotion to her, I was finally in receipt of her ultimate instruction.

I was not immediately certain how the transaction was to be completed……whether this was a voucher to be redeemed upon presentation, or more a "lay-by" arrangement for a future date.
Nevertheless GOF's happiness at that moment knew no bounds.

Extreme happiness is inevitably a relatively short term condition.  Some episodes shorter than others.  Preceding my instructions for eternal bliss was also some fairly compelling written evidence that the document in my hand was the VirginBlue Inflight Magazine.

A couple of confessions.  Firstly, over the years, I have delighted in exaggerating the extent of my Elle collection to deliberately fuel the fires-of-scorn heaped upon me from female friends who were convinced my deviate behaviour would lead my marriage into ruin. Thank you to Mrs GOF for being complicit in these winding-up-people operations.  And no, for those who have enquired, I sadly do not have 2736 Elle pictures.

Confession number 2;
The real reason for my airport happiness,( and this whole smokescreen of storytelling), was that Globet had chosen, (in deliberate contravention of my specific instructions and Fatherly logical advice) to travel all the way across this great land to be with me for my birthday.

Some offspring earn a level of parental love, affection and respect far beyond their genetic entitlements, simply through the honorable way in which they conduct their lives, and treat other humans.

Thank you, my dear Globet for caring. 

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Elle (002 of 2736)

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….and this one goes in here…….

002

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