Rise of Skywalker

The other week we went to the Dendy to see The Rise of Skywalker.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

As a popcorn Hollywood blockbuster.

The main thing I noticed during the movie is it was very *busy*.  But then you look back at The Phantom Menace where exactly two things happened (a pod race and a big battle) and someone's gonna complain no matter what.

I mean sure it has its problems (aforementioned busyness, Rey's progress at learning to be Jedi is just too damned fast, Palpatine wtf, her heritage wtf).  You can see the conflict in direction between the directors of the last two films.  They'd have been better off with some consistency.

Anyhoo.  

Like I said, for pure entertainment it's fine, if you don't have high expectations.

Pavlovian

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Before Christmas I bought a 500g carton of egg whites, with the view to making a cherry layered pavlova for Christmas lunch(es).  But it was basically all too hard, so I didn't.  Come the new year and those egg whites still needed using up, and we'd had the cooler off for a day so it wasn't *quite* as humid in the house as it had been for the rest of the break, so off I went.  I followed this recipe (basically).  Since those things have a habit of disappearing off the internet, this is what I did.

I used half the carton of the egg whites, beaten.  Mixed in 1 1/4 cups of caster sugar until glossy.  Mixed in 2 teaspoons of cornflour, 1 teaspoon white vinegar and half a teaspoon vanilla essence (other recipes suggest putting those three in before the sugar, I might try that next time).  Plonk onto some baking paper and bake for 1 1/2 hours at 125C.  

Pavlova

The thing rises up as it's cooking, so will collapse as it cools, but that's not really a problem.. 

Pavlova

.. because we're going to top it with whipped cream (300mL plus a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar).

Pavlova

These don't look like much - but they'd been in the pantry forever and I wanted to use them up.

Pavlova

The boys liked it so much that ten days later I used the rest of the egg white carton and made another one.  This one topped with frozen strawberries and raspberries that had been in the freezer forever and needed using up.

Pavlova v2

Pavlova v2

Nom nom nom!

Hail storm

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Monday I was just having my lunch when it got loud.  Really freakin loud.  I thought the glass roof was going to cave in.  It didn't, but it did leak in places. 

Then I went outside.

Hail

Hail and shredded trees

Hail drifts

Hail drifts

Later we went and did our food shopping.  Aldi was closed.

Aldi closed

And Pizza Artigiana's awning was shredded.

Artigiana pizza damage

We were super lucky, but the carnage throughout Canberra was insane.

Can this summer get any crazier?  (I shouldn't say that, that's totally tempting fate...)

Urgh.  I hate Apple.  But more on that later.

Monday I finished blogging our Hong Kong and Singapore photos and got them online which was good.  Finally I achieved something.  Hurrah.  Logged onto our Disney+ account and had a look around.  There's a bunch of the new live action movies I want to see (although not Lion King), and Toy Story 4 is coming in February.  But there's a bunch of things I want to watch before we take a break from it.

Tuesday.  Blerf.  Stoopid insomnia.  Couldn't get to sleep *and* woke up for ages feeling uncomfortable.  Spent the day deleting All The Things.  Had EPIC steaks for dinner (I didn't eat all this! Not even one of them! ;) ).

Epic steaks

Wednesday I extracted all the geodata out of Google Earth (myplaces.kml) from the geotagging I did of our flights across America in 2000.  Used exiftool to take that geodata to geotag the files, and then fix them up slightly (because annoyingly the data has tilt and range, it doesn't have altitude in the geodata, although I did calculate it trigonometrically).  

And it rained!  A bit anyway.

And people that spit chewing gum onto the ground have to be up there with the most disgusting ferals on the planet.  Right up there with those who leave their dog turds on other people's front lawns.

Then Echofon lost its auth, and Internode started blocking me from sending mail via its smtp server.

So a bit of fun, but also a lot of pain.

Thursday we had a bbq at work to finally finish off all the sausages from the Christmas Party.  Stu wanted to have drinks after work so I went to get him, but first we had dinner of pizzas at Grease Monkey.

The lake was very low last week...
Low lake

Pizzas at Grease Monkey

Cute stop-go people

Friday might have shared some wine with Neil at Grill'd.  Made tacos for dinner.  Watched the first episode of Who is America, which was extremelly cringey (especially the gun fanatics).  

Grilld

Saturday morning (after waking up at 3:50 #grunt) I spent much of the morning filing and organising my old photos (mainly the ones taken on my Olympus camera between 1999 and 2004, as well as a bunch taken on the Sony in 2004).  Making sure everything had the date in the file name (so I can find them for the This Day in History project) and just general neatness.  Also with a view to sorting out all the kids' photos for Ryan's 21st.. hrmm.. 

Then we headed out to the club.  Had a swim then a bit of an antisocial with a bunch of people that were out there.  The new carpet and kitchen bench are amazing.

New carpet

New bench top

Sunday morning I spent ages going through the "tool shed" in our van, taking of stock of what's there and sorting things out.  Then came home and spent the rest of the day doing photo filing and sorting.

Monday had a super intense hail storm.  Luckily our car was under cover, and it all missed our house.  But the carnage in Canberra was crazy.  Hundreds if not thousands of cars, awnings and gardens damaged or destroyed.  I'll put up some pics in another post.

Did some food shopping in the afternoon and marvelled at the blue sky, which we really haven't seen in nearly two months.

Blue sky

Came home and then went into battle with Apple.  As per usual, downloading even regular videos caused the device is not attached to the system error.  Had to reboot the phone because it refused to show me the file system at all afterwards.  Twice.  Had to do *multiple* reconnects of the cable to even show the file system.  Then when I got (most of) the files, most files' timestamps were changed by Apple on the phone and had to be manually fixed.  Took literally all evening to get all most of my files.  Transferred some with Google Drive, but even one of the regular videos (not a timelapse) won't play. F#%$ I hate Apple.

Tonight I got home and did a water change in Chrissie's tank and cooked and ate dinner and then it was like 20:00.  #grunt  And then I spent the next hour or so continuing to fight with Apple.  I should paste the table of crazy inconsistent behaviour.  In the end David used his Macbook to recode the couple of videos that I couldn't get to play.

You're lucky you got this blog entry at all.  Two nights battling with Apple is killing my will to live, or in fact do anything.  And I have a billion things that need doing, and none of them are getting done.  I'm dying from the stress of it all.

I don't think I saw any movies this week.  Sad times.  

Thirty years ago today we went as a family on an early bushwalk as part of the St Clements bushwalking group.  That bushwalking group is still going in some form, although I don't think we ever went on a bushwalk again as a family...

Angophora on Lady Carrington Drive, Royal National Park
Angophora on Lady Carrington Drive, Royal National Park

Group from St Clements Bushwalking Club sheltering from the rain on Lady Carrington Drive.
Ted, ?, Graham Reid, Evelyn Street, Peter Hanna, David, Pam Hanna, Diana Reid, Karen
Group from St Clements Bushwalking Club sheltering from the rain on Lady Carrington Drive. Ted, ?, Graham Reid, Evelyn Street, Peter Hanna, David, Pam Hanna, Diana Reid, Karen

Four years ago today the sweetie and I headed overseas again, this time to Hong Kong and Singapore for a couple of weeks.

Back in October I started labelling all the photos on my computer, finishing up on Christmas Eve.  I spent a bit of the break culling them down for display on the blog and finished up on the weekend.  I finished getting them all up on the blog last night.

Phewf!!

So here's the whole blog, including photos, from that trip!

http://kazza.id.au/hongkong_singapore_2016/

Relatively quiet week this week.  Had a fair bit of insomnia - not being able to get to sleep and/or waking up and not being able to get back to sleep.  So frustrating.

My phone upgraded itself to 13.3 this week because I forgot to disconnect it from power overnight.  So far a couple of retarded bugs.  The first is that if you have two phone numbers associated with a contact, Apple will now merge them together in sms messages, and I can't see any way (within the sms app) to choose which number to send it to, short of making a whole new contact to separate the numbers.  And my scheduled reminders stopped working, although it was happy to pop up old reminders that had long gone.  Apple is so retarded.

Edit: you can start a new message in the SMS app to whichever contact you like, but you can't just hit reply to an existing SMS because you literally have no idea which number it will use.

David brought his super fancy vacuum cleaner up, and on Thursday and Saturday he moved out the lounges and vacuumed seven years of accumulated dust.

Vacuuming under the lounge

On Thursday night we watched The Last Jedi.

Friday night we all met up in the city and had a lovely dinner at Kinn Thai, then saw The Rise of Skywalker.

Kinn Thai Wagyu steak

David at Star Wars

Saturday was just house stuff during the day.  Was quite productive in the morning, not so much in the afternoon.  In the evening was a bbq at Brett and Sharon's.

Blood sunset

BBQ at Brett and Sharon's

Today I finished culling photos to show for our Hong Kong/Singapore trip.  And finished a yukky jigsaw.  And made another pavlova.  And we did some food shopping at the markets.  

But disaster!  Saigon Streetfood and Groceries is shut!!

Saigon Street Food shut down

And my computer bluescreened this arvo when I plugged in my camera's SD card.  Not Happy Jan!

Blue screen of death

And I still have no idea where these little terrorists are coming from :(

Mosquito

Let's see how well an early night will work...

Playdough Mermaid

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During the 90s some time I made this playdough "Little Mermaid" during a craft session with a lady from our church (the minister's wife, who lost their home in the fires, but I can't remember if it was before or after the fires).  I painted it with poster paints and had it on display for a few years.  But it was getting damaged and on this day in 2000 I photographed it in the back yard on the concrete before throwing it out.  Presumably I was clearing out *stuff* before moving out of home, which was in February 2000.

Playdough mermaid

January 8

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As always, on January 8 I remember three things..

This blog is seventeen years old today!  I wanted to get a mobile template applied to this blog over the break, but I just had too many things to do.  One day ..

David Bowie would have turned seventy three today.  Someone at work pointed out it was Elvis Presley's birthday as well.. which I knew but I've never mentioned here because I'm just not all that interested heh.  Edit: actually, I did, in 2015 :)

Bushfires raged through Como destroying many of our friends' homes and our church twenty six years ago.  The current bushfires are hence all too real for us.

January 1994 bushfires

The last week of our break was overshadowed, quite literally, by the catastrophe of the bushfires.  I watched them get closer and closer to Kit and Pete's place, then it skirted round their town, but they're not out of danger yet.  It's still very close to David's place at River Island.  It got very close to DC's place at Malua Bay, and Fiona's place in Newcastle.  @CLBradley's place at Kangaroo Valley is still under threat.  Lisa's family lost a farm house and a camper.   Connor's inlaws' land was burnt out, but the shed was ok.  Chloe's land got burnt out and their shed and tractor are gone, but the house they are building was untouched.  And that's just people I know.  People have died.  Many homes, farms and historic buildings have been lost.  The toll on the bush and the wildlife is incalculable.  The smoke we've been breathing for the past few weeks is the remains of millions upon *millions* of plants and animals.  It's utterly devastating and heartbreaking.  I really fear that this weather is the new "normal" and wonder if it will ever properly rain again...

So New Year's Eve was very hot and very windy, and I was *super* nervous about fires starting.  We were going to go out to the club but decided not to.  EffanC also decided not to go, so we went over to their place instead as conditions eased. 

New Year's Eve smoke

So it was fairly quiet evening of just chatting and watching the Sydney fireworks.  Even David joined us after his shift finished which was nice.

The smoke got thick again as the wind changed in the evening.  My first photos of the new year are of the smoke on the way home..

New Year's smoke

It was a pretty late night so Wednesday, New Year's Day, was a slow, quiet day.  Did a bit of photo processing, blogging, some jigsaw, and we watched Die Another Day in the evening.

New Year's Day smoke

Thursday ended up being another quiet day.  Didn't get a whole lot done.  Stu signed up for Disney+ and we watched The Force Awakens in the evening.  Of course our introduction to Disney+, literally the first thing on the screen, was Error 43.  Fricken useless.

Second January smoke

Blood sunrise

How cute are these!?  Stu got them in the mail (before Australia Post stopped deliveries because of the smoke).

Living stones

Living stones

Friday with the cooler weather I took the opportunity to check on the gutters.  They weren't too bad.  David also couldn't help himself and pulled apart our cooler and gave it all a good scrub.  Bestest brother ever!

After lunch Kit called.  They were in Canberra - they'd come up Thursday night with all the animals (two dogs, a cat, two birds, three frogs and a snake) leaving behind the chickens and the fish.  They came over in the afternoon and just chilled out for a couple of hours which was nice.  Pete had a lot of fun watching the wedding videos, while Kit monitored the fires and social media.  We dropped their car back at her mum's and had a drink.

Kit and Arthur

Then Stu picked us up and we all went to Bella Vista for dinner.  

We had Garlic and cheese foccacia to share $9 which was delicious (Kit said it was the best cheese and garlic bread she'd ever eaten heh).

Bella Vista garlic cheese foccacia

For dinner I had Vitello Saltimbocca: Veal escallops with sage, Prosciutto and mozzarella cheese in a white wine reduction sauce served with creamy mash and green beans. ($35)

Bella Vista veal

Then back to our place to chat for a while.  It was nice that they felt they could just come and hang out and relax with us.  We think they made a sensible decision getting to safety ahead of the predicted craziness on Saturday.  

So Saturday.  The hot north-westerly winds picked up again, fanning the flames of all the fires going on at the coast.  I was tense again.  I spent the morning putting away all the Christmas decorations.  Didn't get much done in the afternoon, although I did finish blogging our Melbourne trip, where we went and saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  Link is here - http://kazza.id.au/oz_holidays/ - if you wanted to have a look (last entry is first on that page so scroll down to see it in order).  We watched Casino Royale in the evening.  

The wind did blow all the smoke away for the day, but it came back again around 10pm.

Smoke on the 4th

And when I say it came back, I mean it *really* came back.  We could smell it as soon as it hit, and it was swift and all consuming.  In the morning it was like waking up in hell...  the phone wouldn't get the white balance right, I had to fiddle with the DSLR to get this.  

Welcome to hell

Played through an escape game on my phone, but otherwise only got little bits and pieces done during the day.

In the evening a bunch of us went over to Rob and Lyn's for dinner which was lovely.  The temperature had cooled down significantly so it was nice outside, just very smoky, so we stayed inside, which was a lot hotter.  But had a very pleasant evening.  Rob cooked some quite delicious steaks and there was heaps of other food.

Dinner at Rob and Lyn's

Dinner at Rob and Lyn's

So back to some sense of reality on Monday.  My "essential" todo list kept me going til 10pm but then I couldn't get to sleep (a mosquito buzzing around certainly didn't help, not to mention where the f@#$ did it come from, given there's no standing water anywhere in Canberra at the moment).  So today was a bit of a zombie day, but was able to do lots of cleaning which was good.  And tonight processed photos, and have spent an hour writing up this entry.  

Stay safe everyone...

Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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