Simon and Holly: greengrocers to the stars

Our dining
room, full of fruit and veg

We're in this little fruit and veg co-op with a bunch of mates. Our turn to head out early in the morning to Flemington came up, and here's all the veg divided up. It's a great time for produce, with a huge variety in peak condition at really cheap prices. We didn't manage to spend all the $30 per household budget before filling the little car.

A DVD player that doesn't suck?

DVD players seem to be disposable devices these days. You really only get a year out of one before it starts randomly skipping on brand new discs. So I'm in the market for a new one.

This time around, I'd like one that doesn't insist on following the studio's instructions. When I press the "root menu" button, I don't want to be told "Operation not allowed by disc" given that I own both the disc and player.

So does such a device exist? Are there DVD players that obey their owners?

Laminate flooring and Udden bench and drawers


Today we got a lot done on the house. We laid a laminate floor in the kitchen and built an Udden bench with drawers. Above is the "before" shot. Note the disgusting lino and the oh-so-chic bachelor pad cum ski lodge wood-panelled cupboards. We ripped up the lino and pulled out the cupboards.

Sun Herald
27th January 1980

We found this nugget of history under the lino. January 27 1980. The Sunday Herald hasn't changed, with its screaming headline about us selling Titanium ore to the reds, while we couldn't sell wheat to them because they invaded Afghanistan. Underneath Macca is getting deported from Japan for forming Wings. Or something.

and flooring go down

The underlay and flooring go down.

The trim
goes down

The trim goes down, to hide my sins.

finished kitchen

And here it is finished, with the Udden bench and drawers. Lovely!

Lessons learnt: Measure twice, cut once is very optimistic. More like measure twice, get someone else to check your measurements, stop and have a think, measure again, then cut. Sometimes you get it right.

But this laminate flooring is great. We bought a very cheap type of it, as we plan to completely redo the kitchen soon enough anyway. All up it probably cost about $120, including some tools I had to buy.

I took a bunch more photos too.

Next job is fixing shelves and stuff to the walls.

Productive DIY day

Four bikes
on racks

I'm starting a new category, DIY, to capture improvements we're making around the house.

I had a very productive day of DIY yesterday. I made and installed a couple of flyscreens for our bedroom and the lounge room. Flyscreens are amazingly simple to make. All you need is a hacksaw, mitre box and a special tool for stuffing the spline into the slot which costs about two bucks. All the materials for the screens themselves can be bought at your local hardware store. The most important thing, though, is to get your measurements right. Geometric transformations in your head, the classic tool of IQ tests, are needed to ensure you're cutting the aluminium in the right direction.

After the screens we grabbed four bike storage hooks from Cell Bikes down on Parramatta Road and I installed them. This allows us to store our four bikes in a very small space. Hanging from the front wheel isn't ideal, but we need the space. I made a bit of a mess of the wall getting the holes drilled with my crappy non-hammer cordless drill, but once we get a shed built we'll repaint the room anyway.

before the makeover

The next project will happen tomorrow. We've bought some laminate flooring and a bunch of Ikea shelves. The laminate needs to acclimatise to the kitchen for two days, so that means we can't lay it until tomorrow lunchtime.

Apart from the floor and all the shelves, the crappy cupboard and bench in the middle there is coming out to be replaced with the Udden stainless steel console we've already got, supplemented with two drawer units. With those drawers and all the shelves, we should find ourselves with much more kitchen space and certainly it'll be a lot nicer.

Wall fastening

A question for any DIYers out there. I'm going to be installing an Udden shelf tomorrow and I'm wondering what kind of fastening to use. Ikea are very coy in their instructions: "Choose screws and fittings that are specially suited to the material in your wall/ceiling and have sufficient holding power." Which isn't very helpful.

I was thinking of using green wall plugs and 10G x 50mm screws but that shelf only has four screw holes, which would place quite a bit of load on such fixings. I've been trying to find some specs on what you can load on such screws, without much success. Given that we'll probably be storing glases and plates on it, I'd want something that's well and truly strong enough.

Should I consider one of the more technical fixings like Dynabolts and similar? There are varieties that don't seem to need special tools, and their web site gives excellent technical and installation information, not that I know how to interpret the technical specs.


All coppers are corrupt

I'm rather forthright with my opinions of our servants in blue. They're all bent as a peg. My reasoning here is that I've seen enough petty and very serious corruption, whether it's collusion to suppress evidence to cover up for cops who assaulted people (there's names for that: conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and plain old perjury), passing a blind eye over major offences, letting off their mates and the like, to allow me to reason that every NSW copper has either been bent, or has witnessed and not reported bentness.

Yes, I hold coppers to a high standard. A higher standard than for ordinary citizens. I think that's reasonable when you consider the enormous amount of power we give them individually and organisationally.

Now we see a report showing coppers in revolt because a number of them have been accused of very serious dodginess. These are the same fuckers who would use the "if you've got nothing to hide..." argument, so why are they scared of a little investigation?

One line from one of the coppers describing the Police Integrity Commission (hmmm, just like Military Intelligence) could just as easily describe the NSW Police Service: "It's damaged careers and reputations, for what? Someone needs to pull this organisation into line."

I don't know what the solution is to the bentness of coppers, but certainly the government should back the PIC to the hilt. I doubt they will though. A Wood-scale Royal Commission every five years would probably be a good idea.

The key problem is that the sort of people who want to become coppers, low-intelligence frustrated bully-victims-turned-bullies, are the last people you want as coppers. NSW Police recruitment processes have an upper as well as lower IQ range, from what I've heard, with the excuse that smart people would get bored being coppers. My interactions with most coppers bears this out.

As BDP put it: You were put here to protect us, but who protects us from you?