Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 256

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The Martinshof Story - A Philosophy of Happiness - Life Awareness - Maps, Text & Photo series

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Tuesday - Friday, August 21 - 24 2012 (diary)

Van der Meij' s meadow in winter The Weather Bureau has forecast increasing humidity and the beginning of a relatively long Build-up period this year (much humidity but little or no rain preceding the wet season). But so far there has been as yet little sign of it. We had a couple of foggy early mornings this week (quite picturesque) which quickly cleared to the usual bright blue sunny sky by 9am.

The fog however took me back to my childhood days just after the war (WW2) when often during the common early evening (Autumn ?) fogs we ran across the meadow of Van der Meij opposite our home Martinshof, playing hide and seek.

I have been doing my regular half hour walk 4-5 times a week, alternating between the Marlow Lagoon and Durack Golf course and feel much the better for it.
When leaving for Europe 3 months ago I was in a very sloppy physical condition and rather lethargic as a result of it. Now after my regular walks in Europe and here I feel and behave much more energetic, doing, amongst other things, several chores (like washing my car, cleaning my cabin) I rather neglected previously.

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Saturday - Monday, August 25 - 27 2012 (diary)

Moccasins Watching the Men's Olympic Marathon in London on TV a few weeks ago, one of the commentators, Robert de Castella (Australia's triple World Champion Marathon runner of the early 1980s, commonly known as "Deek") made an interesting comment.
There is a growing realisation that the best way of running is on bare feet (not in shoes of any kind). After all evolution has shaped our feet for this very purpose.
This pleases me, as I have been walking on heelless, very flexible, thin soled moccasins for the past 10 years or more, feel very comfortable with them and have had no foot, leg or back problems whatsoever.

So I will not purchase (as I was considering previously) a pair of those fancy gym shoes ("sneekers" ?) almost every John, Dick and Harry is walking around in these days, but continue my daily walks on my good old leather moccasins. Now I am used to walking on these concrete paths it feels perfectly OK. I will of course still wear my Hush Puppy boots (I left in Germany with my sister) whenever I do walks on rough surfaces through the forests or bush in Europe.

One of my great disappointments when visiting Spain this year was the total absence of shoeshine boys (or rather -men) on the streets in the bigger cities. There used to be many of them in the 1950s and 60s when I did my geological mapping and field research there as a student.
Elegant San Sebastian, but no shoe-shine boys anywhere in the city
I remember one day in Santiago de Compostela, after a shoeshine man had completed polishing my shoes to a brilliant shine I asked him to exchange seats, he on my chair on the Cafe terrace, and I on his little box-stool. Having observed the correct procedure from him I then proceeded in polishing his shoes in the same way, then I paid him. He got up, picked up his box-stool and with a big smile on his face walked away, looking again and again down at his now shiny shoes.
Sadly, those days appear to have long gone. No doubt at least partly because so many people now wear non-leather shoes.

When I grew up in Holland a man was judged by the shoes he was wearing. Amongst the older generations (at least in Holland and a few other European countries), that is perhaps still true, at least to some extent.
In Australia one tends to wear casual shoes, sandals or even thongs. But when I go out in the evening I always wear quality leather shoes, and (according to one lady of my own generation) am one of two or perhaps three in the Bridge Clubs who do and does have them polished and shiny.

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Tuesday & Wednesday, August 28 & 29 2012 (diary)

My mobile phone Suddenly, late Monday evening, the battery of my mobile phone (handi) packs up. Annoying, as I use the phone as modem to go online. So I have to go into Darwin (a 65km round trip) just to get a new battery, a real nuisance.
Tuesday morning I first have an appointment with my GP in nearby Coolalinga for my 6 months repeat prescription and when I have finished there I see almost next door Outback Batteries, a new shop opened only recently. They do have the right battery for my mobile, great !
I have had my LG phone for 4½ years and it is now on its 4th battery, each one lasting about 18 months.

Darwin region Coolalinga is on the point of exploding in size. It already has a large Woolworth supermarket and a number of shops as well as my Bendigo Bank, but another shopping complex (with Coles and Kmart) plus a housing Estate are on the drawing board for the very near future.
There are a lot of people living in the bush here, most on large 5 or 10 acres blocks. So the additional shops will be most welcome here, saving a 20 km round trip to Palmerston.

Past Saturday were the Northern Territory elections and after 11 years in power the Labour Government was finally kicked out. The NT is now the 4th state in Australia were the conservative Liberal party has regained Government. Next year the Federal Labour Government will most likely also be gone and thanks goodness for that.

Darwin (full of public servants) has always been (and still is) traditionally Labour, while its satellite city of Palmerston is a (conservative) Country Liberal (CLP) stronghold. This time round the rest of the Northern Territory has also firmly voted for a CLP Government. I don't believe that the past Labour Government has done a bad job, but I do feel much more comfortable and in harmony with the region with the CLP in charge.
I have never voted in Australia these past 46 years I live in this country (although a permanent resident I still hold the Dutch nationality), but I am at heart a conservative and always have been. It is in my nature, my DNA.

(Perhaps a rare exception is my present strong preference for President Barack Obama winning the upcoming elections in the USA in November. I do believe that the conservative Republicans are not in tune with the present real world and, seen from a distance, Romney looks like a rather insincere fake. Besides, the strong Christian religion influenced nature of that country is a real worry for the rest of the modern affluent world, and with Romney in charge we are bound to get even more of that !)

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Thursday & Fridday, August 30 & 31 2012 (diary)

Telstra : the IT billing saga continues !
Yesterday I received a bill from my Service provider Telstra which was $335 over and above my regular monthly contract payments of just $30 (for calls and 150MB data). And this was only over the 2 weeks (July 25 - August 11) that I have been back in the country ! So once again I had a long discussion over the phone with a very friendly and polite Telstra representative, who ensured me that I did download all those Megabytes.
I was (as with Vodafone last week) totally baffled how I could possibly have accumulated that with email messages only, as all my photos and large file uploads were done at the free Palmerston Library hot spot. In the end the Telstra consultant offered to give me a credit for 50% of the overpayment, which I accepted (as a written request for a full refund, he said, would almost certainly be refused). The question as to where all this data usage came from was not resolved however.

Thinking about it later I suddenly remembered that a couple of my Bridge friends last week told me they had received warnings from Telstra to switch off the automatic download on their iPhone system and security programs as this could result in high telephone overpayments.   (Automatic downloads happen un-noticed in the background while you are doing other things online, like picking up emails for example.)

And this (I now believe) is exactly what happened to me, both on my Ultrabook while on Vodafone Global roaming in Europe (16 automatic Windows system downloads within 10 days) and later after my return here on my regular laptop at home with Telstra. My laptop at home was of course switched off for the 9 weeks I was in Europe, and as a consequence downloaded 2 months of accrued Window system updates as soon as I got back and the computer was switched on and I went online again.

You can check those automatic downloads on the Windows Control Panel via > Action Center > Windows Update > View Update history.   You can also switch off the Automatic Download here (via Change setting), which I did as well on my Norton Security program.
From now on I will only switch the "Automatic Download" back on when I am at a charges free hot spot (like the Palmerston Library for example) to keep my system and security programs up to date. Then switch it off again before I return home. I am confident this will solve my problem
As they say : "live and learn"   and I certainly have done that, but it has been a very expensive lesson !

I am still non-plussed why neither the consultants from Vodafone nor the one from Telstra did not mention this likely over-usage problem, as I am sure that many of the overpayments complaints they receive must be caused by it.

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© 2012 Michael Furstner