Monday, June 18, 2007

winter ahead

I think "capricious" is the word I'm looking for to describe the current climate in Tasmania. Last Saturday my two sisters took me to lunch at the Waterfront Hotel in Bellerive, looking out over the marina. It was a pleasant sight, staring out over the yachts and the blue sky while we ate.

The following morning there was frost on the lawn when we left for church. By Tuesday there I could see snow up on the mountain when I stepped out the front door to bring in the daily paper.

Quite a shock after the "indian summer" we had in May. It's still a few days to the winter solstice but the cold is becoming a part of daily life. I've taken to wearing gloves if I go outside at night, and taking Gingko tablets to ward off chilblains.

Last night it went down to zero (32 degrees in the old Fahrenheit scale) -- I felt so cold I went to bed fully dressed and just pulled the blankets over myself till I warmed up.

At least I don't have to be up at sunrise anymore to attend the Job Centre. I had a second interview there and they explained that I've now graduated to a slightly different classification. I now have to show that I've applied for 4 jobs every week instead of 5, but I still have to keep track of my hours so they can tell when I've put in a hundred hours of job-seeking.

I won't say the extra money doesn't come in handy -- I can now just about make ends meet. Just as well I don't have expensive tastes though.

I've never had much luck using i-Tunes. Twice I've tried it out and both times I ended up uninstalling it. I just couldn't get the hang of using it.

But I have found a substitute that seems easier to use. Podcast Alley's website has a lot of the same radio shows available for download and is a lot simpler for me to use.

For example I can now easily download the Big Broadcast -- five hours of vintage radio comedy, drama and music produced and hosted by the award-winning team of Mark Magistrelli and Mike Martini. It can be heard live on Public Radio Station WMKV 89.3 FM in Cincinnati, Ohio on Saturdays from 7 PM - 11 PM (EST/DST) or streamed on the web at

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I was the midnight arborist

The weather gods play pranks on us at times. One windy night last week I drove my sister back to her house and I took her dog for a walk before I went home. As we turned for home the moonlight fell on her neighbour's driveway.

"Oh oh," I thought. "What's that big leafy mass down there?" Part of a tree had fallen from my sister's property onto the driveway downhill of her house.

So we gathered up a saw and a flashlight and started work. One of us would saw for a bit while the other held the light, then we'd change places.

It didn't actually take as long as I'd feared. I wondered if we'd find a really big branch in the middle, but it wasn't as bad as that. In less than half an hour we'd cut through the branches and dragged them out of the way.

The funny part is that my sister's neighbour may not have even noticed when he came out to drive off the next day. He might think to himself that those branches looked different, or wonder what that pile of debris was by the sidewalk.

But he probably would not suspect that two people had been out in the moonlight playing lumberjack so he could get to work on time in the morning.

I wasn't sorry when they told me on Friday at the Job Centre that I didn't need to come in every day from now on. "This concludes the formal part of the course," they said. I was diplomatic in my response.

What actually went through my mind was that I no longer had to get up at sunrise in the Tasmanian winter. That could only be a good thing.

I've been so tired the last three weeks that it wasn't funny. The size of the sleep debt I've been building up must be massive. The occasional nap before dinner just wasn't helping.

From now on I'm supposed to seek employment under my own steam. I don't see it will make a lot of difference to the results.

My only shot at a job interview seems to have come to naught. I suspect that they looked at the date of birth and said "We wanted someone mature, not halfway to senility."

Melbourne radio station 3AW has celebrated 75 years on air with the launch of a book about the station's history. Margaret Campion, the author, said 3AW is Melbourne — 75 years of Radio began as an essay for a history assignment at TAFE. "I heard on radio there wasn't a history of 3AW," she said, "so I wrote one."

3AW remains the most-listened-to station in Melbourne despite a recent fall in ratings (especially among older listeners for some reason). The Australian recently commented that "The music-led recovery has failed to eventuate for
commercial FM radio stations in the latest radio ratings
survey, as talk stations in Melbourne (3AW), Sydney (2GB)
and Adelaide (5AA) continue to lead their markets."

Personally I can't remember the last time I listened to a commercial music station. Oh yes, I do recall it now -- it was the time there was a power failure at the transmitters and all the ABC stations went off the air.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

on the air

On another site, someone asked if there was a list of stations that you can pick up that still play the old time radio shows.

These are the ones that I know about.

And of course there are also