December 2004 Archives

2004 Year in Review

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  1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?
    Met someone whose blog I read
  2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
    This year I made up a Bible reading plan that I managed to stick to, for the first time ever. I read the entire New Testament and a third of the Old Testament. For next year I'll be continuing my effort to be more relaxed and happy
  3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
    Yep, Jodi at work
  4. Did anyone close to you die?
    No
  5. What countries did you visit?
    USA and Canada
  6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?
    A boyfriend
  7. What date(s) from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
    Probably the 16th May, which was when we left for the USA (the day is also the anniversary of when I settled this place, and my friends got married, and I hooked up with Vic, and my brother moved into his place).
  8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
    Probably switching over to w2k3/active directory
  9. What was your biggest failure?
    File server disaster, with a corrupted file system and hours of down time
  10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
    I got sick twice, once probably from some old cheese, not sure about the other time. No flus which was awesome. Only real injury was a snowboarder wiping me out at the snow
  11. What was the best thing you bought?
    My Sony DSC-F828 camera
  12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
    um..
  13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
    Probably my father's
  14. Where did most of your money go?
    On the trip to the USA
  15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
    Probably the trip to the USA :)
  16. What song will always remind you of 2004?
    Double Trouble
  17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
    Happier or Sadder? - happier I think
    Thinner or Fatter? - much the same, maybe slightly fatter
    Richer or Poorer? - much the same, the trip to the USA kept me fairly even
  18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
    Sleeping
  19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
    Complaining
  20. How will you be spending Christmas?
    This year or next year? Silly question to ask for an end of year quiz
  21. Who deleted question 21?
    It wasn't me I didn't do it
  22. Did you fall in love in 2004?
    If you count crushes on Jason Isaacs and Dave.. otherwise no
  23. How many one-night stands?
    None
  24. What was your favorite TV program?
    Survivor or ER
  25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
    No
  26. What was the best book you read?
    Probably Prisoner of Azkaban, although I'd read that twice before
  27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
    Yvonne's keyboard
  28. What did you want and get?
    A new camera
  29. What did you want and not get?
    A dvd recorder
  30. What was your favorite film of this year?
    Peter Pan
  31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
    Went down to me little brother's place for lunch, then went to a dance party in town. I turned 31
  32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
    A boyfriend
  33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
    Jeans and a tshirt
  34. What kept you sane?
    dvds
  35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
    Jason Isaacs
  36. What political issue stirred you the most?
    The US election.. even more than our own federal election, go figure :)
  37. Who did you miss?
    Dennis and JC, they don't post nearly as often as they used to :(
  38. Who was the best new person you met?
    Dave!
  39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004.
    um..
  40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
    "Something gotta go wrong cause I'm feeling way too damn good" - story of my life - whenever I'm feeling happy something will come along to make me feel grumpy

So another year over. Another year older. I spent far too long rereading this years blog entries to get highlights and lowlights of the year. Strangely there were more highlights than lowlights. The lowlights tended to be just ordinary day-to-day rants. The only big disasters I had this year were the file server disaster, where we lost files and had daytime downtime for hours; and Faiele in Italy stole a big chunk of my money on ebay, and ebay refused to help.

At work, we upgraded our domain to windows 2003 with active directory, which we managed to acheive without too many dramas. I setup quite a few servers during the year, but my favourite was later in the year when I migrated our main production notes web server to new hardware in a total of an hour and a half from pulling out of the box to being live. We also got audited while I was overseas, and felt very happy that I'd done detailed documentation for all the servers before I left, which probably saved my boss. Lunches with Jim and John became the norm this year, as it was a lot easier to coordinate four people with Luc in our office than when he was elsewhere.

My cia work mostly dried up, after they hired Nhat to take care of Gamera. He had his trial by fire shortly after he started, having to rebuild the machine in the middle of the night when there was a multiple disk failure in the raid array. The relief of me not having to stress about the box anymore was enourmous.

My lego obsession kicked into high gear this year, with the completion of the classic space lego collection, all the Harry Potter sets, tonnes of plain bricks for making mosaics (of which I made four instructed ones and four of my own design), and later in the year getting Yoda and the Imperial Star Destroyer.

I had several fish losses during the year, but didn't really replace any. I did however get a tankful of baby kribs which was very exciting.

I saw David Bowie in concert which was phenomenal. Been waiting fourteen years for the chance, and it was very moving for me. Also saw the Lion King stage show which was fantastic. Quidam was good but not as good as Alegria.

Crushes included a massive one on Jason Isaacs, a little one on Dave, and the ongoing one on Jim. No prospects of any boyfriends tho.

Three decent trips this year - a short one at Easter to my uncle's wedding in Queensland, a six week adventure to the USA and Canada, and a three day skiing trip in September. The USA trip was amazing, probably the biggest highlight of my year. I took 3800 photos and movies on my wonderful new Sony camera, which I still haven't finished sorting out!!

The weather this year went Summer, Autumn, Autumn, skipped winter, went straight onto Summer, and now Spring.

And now I have to get ready for tonight's general partying. Happy new year to everyone!! :):)

26 Things

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26 Things from the month of December

I didn't realise when I started this how much work it would be. Also, I've posted next to no pictures this month, so here they are all at once :) Every photo here was taken on my Sony DSC-F828 camera in the month of December 2004.

Expand below to see all the pictures

Been there

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One of the rare times on the Amazing Race that I can say "been there" - the final episode, and they were running around Denver airport, and catching the little shuttle trains they have there.

Silly really :)

Five to two

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5am. Get up, turn off servers remotely, head into to work to turn off the remaining ones, the upses, the air conditioner, and several other computers around the place run by other people (power outage all day).
6:45am. Go home again and sleep for a couple of hours.
10:00am. Spend a decent chunk of the day cleaning up my hard drive and sorting out backups. Start thinking about the year's final blog entry, then literally half an hour later see Dave has found a meme version.
3:45pm. Head into work to turn everything back on. Ghost a few machines while I have the downtime.
6:45pm. Drop in on Jim and John who are jack hammering Jim's bathroom. Admire the carnage.
7:15pm. Decide the painting we finished yesterday isn't actually finished, and that the cutting in done with the last of the first tin is a different colour to the rollering done with the second tin. Ralph decides to come back down from the central coast to fix it up.
7:30pm. See someone do a u-turn at a traffic light, think "but you can't do that", then feel rather satisfied to see a police car follow them round and pull them over.
7:30pm. Eat dinner and catch up on crap.
9:30pm. Spend the next three hours redoing the cutting in with the correct coloured paint. Decide that the first tin must have been prepared incorrectly, because the new tin matches the kitchen a lot better.
1:20am. Send detailed instructions to the boss on moving some servers, as he wasn't able to make it in today to help me with it.
1:45am. Catch up on blogs. The old fashioned way, since FeedReader lost all it's settings when I moved hard drives.
2:00am. Crash into bed.

woohoo

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So in between waiting for coats of paint to dry, I installed a new hard drive, copied everything across, and reinstalled windows onto it. The amazing thing was the disk actually worked without a bios upgrade. yayy. Painting finished, rooms we did look good.

I'm Sold

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Thanks to Trainman, who recommended IrfanView. It's quick to load the program, it'll do batch resizes of horizontal *and* vertical images, letting you resize to the longest side, and it'll do redeye (with the downloadable plugins) without changing file date/timestamp. Rotating images is slightly more fiddly - you have to shift-j to do lossless operations, and then choose the rotation and hit start. Could get used to it though I suppose. It's also a little slow flicking between images. Acdsee seems to preload images for faster scrolling through images, and I can't find a way to do that in IrfanView.

So I'll probably use acdsee to browse and rotate images, and irfanview to do redeye and resizing.

Two days

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  • Big(ish) family gathering at the parents yesterday. My uncle's new partner likes the Toohey's ad (the one with the tongue) *and* Dragonheart.. I think I like her.. hehe
  • Painting all day with Ralph today. Much was achieved, at least by him
  • Comment spam has mostly dissipated
  • Downloaded and installed FeedReader to play with reading peoples' blogs by RSS feed (JC I can't seem to find yours and Bren's? and CC I can't find one for you either..)
  • Devastation in South East Asia. When I first heard the reports they were saying only a couple of hundred of people dead, now it's up to 15000 (!!) :(
  • Finally finished categorising my USA pictures. Now I have to decide which of the 3700 photos I want to display publicly

  • Christmas Cracker

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    The only funny Christmas Cracker joke all year:

    Q: If a little pig is a piglet, what is a little chicken?

    A: An omelet

    Blanket Banning

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    After comments had been turned off all day (I renamed the comment cgi but didn't rebuild), I turned it back on tonight and immediately the waste messages started coming through again (usually those sorts of scripts die after a while if they don't have access). So I've banned all of 66.*.*.* 67.*.*.* 68.*.*.* 69.*.*.* and 24.*.*.* as these were where the majority of the messages were coming from. I have no idea what impact such a big ban will have, so email me if you have any problems.

    Unfortunately it hasn't stopped all of the messages, there's just too many hacked computers all over the world flooding me :(:(:(

    It seems there is a new technique for comment spammers to get their revenge on those of us running mt-blacklist - spamvertise non-existent sites. Use compromised computers all over the world to create entries with random character urls, so that no two comments are the same, and therefore impossible to de-spam with mt-blacklist. All you can do is delete them manually one at a time >:( And of course the only way to stop an attack is to rename your mt-comments.cgi to something else.

    I can see no point in spammers doing this, other than pissing off bloggers that have mt-blacklist installed blocking their sites.

    Christmas Wrapped Up

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    Somewhat crazy day. Certainly busy. Lots of cooking, lots of eating.

    Headed out to the parents' church first thing. Definitely going to have to get the parents to come to my church next year. Their minister is very wishy-washy, hardly referring directly to the bible at all. And he has this thing for non-traditional Christmas songs, which are nowhere near as good as the classics.

    Raced home to finish cooking lunch. Left the pork on a bit too long (put it on before church), but it was either that or have lunch at 3pm. Aside from that, managed to coordinate everything else and had plenty of yummy veggies, scrummy meat, home-made apple sauce and perfectly crispy crackling. But after all the nibbles we ate before lunch I couldn't finish my lunch and put the leftovers in a doggy bag for later :)

    Also decided that the Christmas present idea I had is just *wrong*, on just about every level. Suggested going back to normal next year. Although I think the mother thinks she can get out of it cheaper by doing it this way, or kris kringle (how do you spell that?). *sigh*

    I was going to watch a dvd tonight, or sort out some of my videos, but a video stopped as the Hunt for Red October was starting and I couldn't seem to tear myself away from it. Love that movie. Will watch the end and crash (not much sleep last night)

    Strange Postscript

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    Further to the previous FridayQ entry, Strange, I have a couple of things to add to the strangest thing I've seen.

    All you have to do is stay up late watching tv.

    In this case, Video Hits Uncut.

    First, we have the eighties blast from the past with Feed the World. Go the mullets and 80s fashions. Followed by Bette Midler with From a Distance. Then some Christmas song I'd never heard of which I glanced up at and saw a parallel guitar (two sets of strings next to each other) played by two people - one in front playing one set, and someone else essentially hugging the first dude, with arms around him to play the other set of strings. Strange! Then The Little Drummer Boy performed by what looked like a drag queen. And now for Dave, we have a Depeche Mode song.. Personal Jesus.

    And on that note, it's midnight.. Merry Christmas!!

    Backups

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    So in the process of clearing out my home directory on the server, I thought I'd download the logs for my various sites so I could delete the archives. Not watching what I was doing I overwrote some of the files on my machine and then removed them off the server. No problem I thought I'll just grab them off the last backup (I back up my machine every night to another machine with windoze backup). Except that I couldn't catalogue the file. hrm this is not good. If I can't restore my backups, then what's the point of doing them. Until I realised by looking at the timestamp on the file that it shouldn't even have that time. Then I realised the time on the computer was almost a day out (I turned it off the other day during a thunderstorm, it must've gotten confused), and was running an active backup. Phew. Test on one of the other backup files, and it's all good. But it does mean to get those logs back I'll need to restore a previous backup from tape, which I keep at work. Still, it's a good test to make sure I'm doing my backups right. :)

    FQ TOPIC: Gifted

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    FQ1: What's an impressive gift ($50 US or less) on your wish list?
    See now this is where it gets difficult getting stuff for me. Anything less than $50 I tend to just go and buy if I want it. So whenever people ask when I want for birthdays/christmas etc I have trouble thinking of things. Silly really.
    FQ2: What's an expensive gift ($500 US or less) on your wish list?
    mmm dvd recorder (with hard drive, to replace my vcr)
    FQ3: What's an extravagant gift ($5000 US or less) on your wish list?
    Probably a decent home theatre system, everything of mine is second hand and for the most part very old.
    FQ Greed: Money is no object! What's the most outrageous gift money can buy on your dream list?
    A trip into space.

    FQ Topic: Strange

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    Damn I left it so late to do this I have to go back to the archives.. oops :)

    FQ1: What's the strangest thing you've ever eaten?
    I went to Chinatown with Luc and Cynthia one time and I tried quite a few things I've never had before.. like pigs ears and stomachs.
    FQ2: What's the strangest thing you've ever read?
    My brother had a manual for some electronic device, and it was the most badly translated piece of writing I've ever seen. It made absolutely no sense at all!
    FQ3: What's the strangest thing you've ever seen?
    The example I used at my Catchphrase audition was driving through Newtown in a blackout. This is a place that *always* has light and activity, even at 4am. It was the weirdest thing in the world to drive through it in complete darkness.
    FQ YOU: What's the strangest thing you've ever done?
    Probably something obsessive, like writing out the entire script of Labyrinth in longhand, or cataloging video and cassette tape collections.

    0644

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    Many thanks to Dave who pointed me at a site talking about an option in mt.cgi which lets me use suexec to not make the files MT creates be world writeable.

    Have also been through all my directories fixing up permissions on everything. Hopefully I haven't broken anything :)

    Testing the config with this post :)

    Anatomy of a hacking

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    Well Campbell found the site last night that had been compromised (running phpbb). Somehow, not sure how, it's then trawled through the file system on the server looking for files that were group writeable (all ordinary users are in the same group, so any group writeable files are writeable by everyone else on the server). Generally files shouldn't be group writeable by default, however MT in its default wisdom seems to generate all its files as *world* writeable. *sigh* It could just be the way directories get setup by default, will have to have a play with it - sorry if I break anything in the process :) Fortunately Campbell was online last night to mount the backup partition for me, and I got back my non-blog files that had been overwritten. If anything, it's a good motivation for me to clean out my home directory, as it's totally full of crap.

    And on that note, I'm off to bed.

    Hacked

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    This site is defaced!!!

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NeverEverNoSanity WebWorm generation 21.

    ...
    this is not good ... got hit 20 minutes ago, now have to go and find out how
    grrr

    Death match

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    Had a bit of a death match after work today. We played Quake 2 which I haven't played in years.. it was a total blast from the past, remembering maps and weapons not used since Unreal came out. My weapon of choice is the rail gun. We saw a BFG in one map but couldn't remember how to get to it. I used to be much more accurate on the rail gun because it takes so long to reload. The sniper rifle in unreal is much quicker so I've gotten out of practise of shooting accurately. And there's no alternate fire in quake! It's a pity the bots are so bad in quake 2, otherwise I'd probably play it at home by myself, although there's nothing like shooting your work colleagues (even though they shoot me more than I shoot them! - I did win one map tonight though).

    Have been tracing cables and doing pretty pictures of our server room in visio in the winddown to Christmas at work. Trying to get everything organised just so we can muck it up again and play musical servers with DR rooms.

    I have right speaker problems. Both on my computer and attached to the stereo, they're behaving intermittently, and at the moment neither are working. Makes listening to strongly stereo things sound very strange.

    Have also been looking for baked vegetable recipies to try out for Christmas. Aside from my favourite potato dish, I want to try making my own apple sauce for the roast pork, and an eggplant dish.

    Late

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    Stayed up to watch the late news cause there was a chance Nina would be on it.. but she wasn't.. oh well.

    Will try to sleep in again tomorrow....

    Unconscious Mutterings

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    Another meme, again from Fiona

    1. Perfect Gift:: World Peace
    2. Santa:: Clause
    3. Lucy:: in the sky with diamonds
    4. Buckets:: raining
    5. Recital:: concert
    6. Stamp:: stick
    7. Teacher:: learn
    8. Matchbox:: cars
    9. Spit:: gob
    10. Feeling:: mutual

    saturday-8 :: trimmings

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    As seen at Blogography, a saturday-8

    1. if you celebrate christmas, do you have your tree up yet? if not, what's your excuse?
    Yep, and it looks lovely

    2. christmas is in a week ... do you have you holiday shopping done?
    Pretty much. Still one person I want to get something for

    3. do you take time off during the holidays, or do you work straight through?
    We have a compulsory holiday between Christmas and New Years. I still sorely miss the three month holidays I used to get as a student

    4. do you take a winter vacation to go skiing or do the iditarod?
    mmmmm snow. Sorry we don't get snow in Sydney, even in winter

    5. in your neighbourhood, are there a lot of holiday lights up?
    A few. If you really want to see a lot of lights, go visit Bonnett Bay. Practically every house in the suburb is decorated. I did see on one of those lifestyle shows a couple of years ago a house in Newcastle that was just *covered* in lights. Can't remember whereabouts tho.

    6. do YOU put holiday lights up? if so, are yours up this year? if not, why don't you do it?
    "You can never have too many fairy lights"

    7. describe the most gaudy/tacky/cheap holiday display you've seen. where was it?
    I'm a huge fan of bright shiny coloured things, so you're really asking the wrong person. I did see something this year though - a front yard full of mega-sized inflatable santas etc. They look ridiculous.

    8. for this holiday, mr. laura is gutting my dining room and adding on a computer room, so my house will be full of drywall dust instead of holiday house trimmings. have you had a year in which you didn't or weren't able to decorate your house for the holidays?
    Never! Although I still haven't managed to get a small tree up at work - I've just been so busy :(

    Cleaning

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    I cleaned my shower today. Actually "cleaned" really isn't the word for it. I'm not sure that there is a word for scraping silicone sealant off with a razor.

    The people that lived here before me had a burst pipe, but before they knew that (or perhaps after, judging by the sealant covering the new tiles), they put silicone sealant all over all the grouting, and most of the tiles as well. Which wasn't a problem when it was new, however mould started growing *inside* the silicone. This meant that I couldn't simply scrub it off. The only choice was to scrap off the stuff with a razor. Yayfullness. Needless to say this is a very time consuming occupation, so I only did part of it. *sigh*

    Also watched "Iris" on telly, but it was too disjointed and I couldn't get into it.

    And then the weekend was over.

    Notes

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    Oh yeah, and the other thing I did tonight was move a notes server at work to new hardware. And it was the least amount work I've ever had to do to setup a server.

    Total work involved included:

  • Ghost server from an image I'd created for another server, and rename. Total hands-on time, about ten minutes
  • Fix up a few other minor issues, and install lotus notes to get the service and environment variables set, about ten minutes
  • Saturday night, while watching telly, shut down notes on the old machine, copy all the files across to the new machine (that's 72gb of data files, give it a generous half an hour to copy everything), then rename the servers and set ip addresses so they're swapped, and start notes. Total hands on time, half an hour while waiting for the copy, and half an hour to fiddle and test.

    So we're talking about an hour and a half to completely setup a new machine, and transfer 72gb of production notes server from machine to another, the majority of that time spent watching telly. I'd like to see anyone do *that* with exchange! I honestly did so little on it that's it's hardly even worth claiming overtime on it.

  • Where was I?

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    Never got around to posting last night. Sorry. The only thing to comment on really was that I really wish I'd taken my camera to another work lunch.. much frivolity and there would have been some classic photos.

    Today I spent half the day cleaning the flat, and the other half sorting out the lego I got the other day. Not in that order.

    Watched Carols in the Domain on telly tonight. Can't believe it's been five years since we watched them from the top of Sydney Tower at Luc and Cynthia's wedding. Was somewhat disappointed that they didn't do the Hallelujah chorus tonight. Usually the Melbourne one does that on Christmas Eve though, so will just have to content myself with the mp3 I have of it in the meantime.

    Bludge day

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    So today we had our office Christmas BBQ. Somehow I ended up organising the whole thing.. probably because I'm the only girl around while Jodi's away. blah! Tips for next year: don't forget sauces, nibblies for before lunch, more serving dishes/implements, and containers for leftovers.

    We found a very pleasant spot, although unfortunately the bbqs were a couple of hundred metres away, and being used, so we couldn't keep an eye on them to make sure noone else would come along to use them. So a couple of people went back to work and picked up a bbq to use from there. That worked really well, and we had a great spot with lots of shade, lots of space to play cricket and soccer, and lots of seating. All in all I think the afternoon went fairly well.

    Came home via the post office and picked up a couple of boxes of lego. Gonna have lots of fun building it all :) And going to try and convince the dude that sold it to me that overcharging me $46US on postage is not on.

    Just had dinner. I kinda forgot before because I wasn't hungry after such a big lunch :)

    Free Association

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    Unconscious Mutterings from Little Lioness:

    1. Plot:: Lose
    2. Farce:: Silly
    3. Unexpected:: Strictly Ballroom
    4. Siren:: Wail
    5. Ben:: Johnson
    6. Freshman:: Year
    7. Quicksand:: Sink
    8. 24 hours:: Day
    9. Spunky:: Cute
    10. Vicious:: Brute

    Autocomplete Alphabet

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    I meant to do this the other day but somehow never got around to it. Taken from Richard. The idea is to type a letter into the address bar of your browser and take the first url that comes up in the history.

  • a - A page I found that had someone's story of building their Lego Star Destroyer
  • b - Thursday Challenge - Light
  • c - CIADSL from when I was updating the site
  • d - Thursday Challenge - Light
  • e - Sydney TV Guide for Free to Air (the first link was to an ebay survey which no longer exists)
  • f - Striker's Blog
  • g - Thursday Challenge - Light
  • h - Paul's blog comments
  • i - Internet Movie Database
  • j - JGHS Reunion
  • k - My original homepage
  • l - Little Lioness
  • m - Old JGHS reunion site (my photos of the night are here)
  • n - Northpower lightning tracker
  • o - CD ripping software
  • p - Thursday Challenge - Light
  • q - Dave's Fart Quiz
  • r - Thursday Challenge - Light
  • s - 26 Things
  • t - BOFH story Luc sent me
  • u - CC's blog
  • v - Windows update
  • y - Weather Pixie for Sydney
  • x - Funny broken webpages
  • y - nothing
  • z - nothing

  • Shoulda stood in bed

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    Hailing pixie

    I shoulda known when I got up this morning, couldn't keep my eyes open, and had to sleep for another hour that I shoulda just stayed in bed. As it was, today totally sucked ass. Too tired and grumpy to concentrate on anything properly, the boss not helping, and then finding out I'd opened my big mouth and had told someone something I shouldn't have. Not that I knew that at the time - I was under the impression that what I said was a done deal, and she should have known about it, but she hadn't been told and was upset by finding out from me. Complained to the person who should have told her in the first place. Not happy! So today was a complete writeoff.

    My weather pixie was ducking under a tonne of hail this afternoon. Even drove through a bunch of it, although fortunately it wasn't too heavy.

    Had an owners meeting for the flats tonight. Was going ok until one of the owners and her sister came in late, rather angry about a few things. I really didn't think they handled the situation very well. They were agressive and bordering on defamatory. Pretty sad really, because I would have been interested in what they had to say. As it was, the secretary said the meeting was over (it had been declared over half an hour earlier) and we were all free to go, to which I took the opportunity to watch the last episode of Survivor. Pretty funny outcome to Survivor really. Was definitely not expecting a guy to win after how strong the women's alliance had been most of the way. Even after the last tribal council I couldn't pick who'd win.

    Speaking of tv shows.. Nip Tuck is starting again next Monday! A totally ridiculous but amazingly hilarious in places show.

    Bought some raspberries tonight... *love* raspberries :):)

    Christmas Party Number 1

    So Friday night was CIA's Christmas party. We went to Chan's Garden Chinese Restaurant in Burwood. Let me just say, if you're thinking about going there - don't! The food was ok, but the service was abysmal. We arrived at 7pm, but it was a full hour and a quarter before *any* food arrived. And then another three quarters of an hour before any food turned up for the vegetarians. So the entrees trickled out, and by 10pm we thought we were done. Then they brought out the mains. Yes, three hours after we arrived, and everyone had pretty much had enough to eat. Of course noone was hungry anymore, so we got a bunch of containers and took it all home. I have enough food for a week!

    Christmas Party Number 2
    Saturday lunch was a small gathering at James and George's. Very pleasant, and lots of food as per usual.

    Middle Harbour cruise
    After lunch, I trekked out to Mosman and went for a cruise on John's boat. We went all the way up Middle Harbour to Warringah Road. Was totally awesome. It's a pity he's planning on selling it :(

    Christmas Party Number 3
    After I got home, I sat down to eat dinner when Chris calls me up - party at his place. So off I head to that. Didn't think I was going to know anyone much, but a few people came that I knew. Managed to get myself a fantastic massage, best I've had in a long time. Also had a very interesting, if somewhat depressing, conversation with Alison. Got to bed about 2:30am.

    Afternoon breather
    Was planning to go to the parents, but plans were put off by the arrival of a thunderstorm which I wanted to wait out with appliances disconnected so that I could reconnect everything when done.

    Yet another dinner out
    Again at James and George's. Got counted as part of the family during grace *heh* Yet another yummy bbq.

    Finally made it home to watch the second last episode of Survivor.

    FQ TOPIC: Routine

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    For once, a Friday Q topic I don't have to think too much about! :)

    FQ1: Describe your morning routine on work/school days, from the time you wake up until you leave.
    * get up
    * check mail
    * have breakfast while reading whatever webpage takes my fancy
    * have shower
    * brush hair
    * have drink of oj and wash up my cereal bowl
    * put shoes and socks on
    * feed fish

    FQ2: Now describe your morning routine on NON-work/school days (weekends, holidays, etc.).
    * sleep till whenever I can (unfortunately this is rarely very late)
    * waste time on the computer
    * delete over quota mailboxes
    * eventually get breakfasted/showered/ready

    FQ3: And finally, describe your night-time routine before you go to bed.
    * check ebay (although I do this when I get home)
    * blog - write mine and then read others
    * brush teeth
    * get into pjs

    FQ Fantasy: You've won 100 million dollars in the lottery! Re-write your morning routine one month from now!
    Actually if I won 100 million dollars my morning routine wouldn't change much at all. I'd still have to have breakfast and a shower etc.

    Nothing to see here

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    Move along.

    Very sleepie day after very late night last night. Note to self: If must stay out til midnight on a school night, sleep in past 6:30am.

    Bridget Jones

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    Bridget Jones

    Saw Bridge Jones Edge of Reason tonight with George, which I thoroughly enjoyed and found it rather hilarious for the most part.

    Recognised Moaning Myrtle (Shirley Henderson) instantly from her voice, and it was kinda strange to see her all old like.

    Also realised it's been years since I've been close enough to someone to have trouble communicating true feelings.

    Want to see The Incredibles, and the Phantom of the Opera, although George says she won't go see it with me cause I'm likely to sing along with it the whole way through :)

    What to choose

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    Didn't really get much done tonight after getting home late from cia meeting, watching Survivor, CSI, and the end of The Thomas Crown Affair. I did manage to get a few more days of my USA photos categorised though. I'm only just keeping ahead of the six month gap. And thoroughly enjoying seeing the photos again. It's like revisiting everything again, and really getting to appreciate the beauty of everything. Every so often I'll get to a group of photos that I have no idea how to categorise. Like tonight - there's some photos of an old railway line that was dismantled years ago. But what category? It's not really trains, or buildings, or tunnels, or even monuments. In the end I made a new category just for them - old railways - to be reevaluated later if I can think of anything better!

    Oh Christmas Tree

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    Christmas Tree

    Finally got around to decorating the Christmas tree tonight, after being home for about five minutes on the weekend.. partying and putting up the parents' Christmas tree among other things.

    I'm of the opinion that you can never have too many fairy lights or too much tinsel. That said, I didn't actually put all the tinsel that I have onto the tree, as I was beginning to not be able to see green :)

    The picture of tree I could use for multiple categories in "26 things" - Tree, Season, Tradition, Light, Reach.. silly really :)

    Will take a small tree to work too.

    John mentioned this at lunch today, and Mushroom posted about it also. Unfortunately I missed the show :(

    Last night on the ABC, they apparently listed Australia's Top 100 Favourite Books, as voted by viewers. Below is the list, with the ones I've read highlighted bold.

    1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
    2. Pride and Prejuidice by Jane Austen
    3. The Bible (Various Contributors)
    4. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    5. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton
    6. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (Book 5) by J. K. Rowling
    7. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
    8. The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
    =9. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
    =9. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
    10. A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

    And the rest of the top 100 are:

    11. Dirt Music by Tim Winton
    12. 800 Horseman by Col Stringer
    13. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
    14. Zhaun Falun by Li Hongzhi
    15. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban (Book 3) by J.K. Rowling
    16. Captain Underpants And The Invasion Of The Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies From Outer Space by Dav Pilkey
    17. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
    18. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
    19. The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame
    20. The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger
    21. The Pillars Of The Earth by Ken Follett
    22. Magician by Raymond E. Feist
    23. Possession: A Romance by A.S. Byatt
    24. Dune (Dune Chronicles) by Frank Herbert
    25. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
    26. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
    27. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
    28. One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    29. 'Fighting' McKenzie Anzac Chaplain by Col Stringer
    30. Deltora Quest Series by Emily Rodda
    31. Tomorrow, When The War Began by John Marsden
    32. Perfume: The Story Of A Murder by Patrick Suskind
    33. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    34. The Ancient Future Trilogy by Traci Harding
    35. The God Of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
    =36. Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire (Book 4) by J.K. Rowling
    =36. The Power Of One by Bryce Courenay
    37. The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
    38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres
    39. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
    40. Anne Of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
    41. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
    42. Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon
    43. Persuasion by Jane Austen
    44. Ice Station by Matthew Reilly
    45. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
    46. Life Of Pi by Yann Martel
    47. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
    48. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    49. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
    50. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    51. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
    52. Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    53. Rage by Steve Gerlach
    54. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
    55. The Mists Of Avalon by Marion Zimmer-Bradley
    56. Cafe Scheherazade by Arnold Zable
    57. The Bone People by Keri Hulme
    58. Jessica by Bryce Courtenay
    59. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets (Book 2) by J. K. Rowling
    60. The Fortunes Of Richard Mahony by Henry Handel Richardson
    61. My Family And Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
    62. War And Peace by Leo Tolstoy
    63. Wild Swans by Jung Chang
    64. Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin
    65. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
    66. Eragon by Christopher Paolini
    67. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
    68. Memoirs Of A Geisha by Arthur Golden
    69. The Riders by Tim Winton
    70. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
    71. Angela's Ashes by Frank Mccourt
    72. The Age Of Reason by Thomas Paine
    73. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    74. Middlemarch by George Eliot
    75. Emma by Jane Austen
    76. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
    77. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
    78. Matilda by Roald Dahl
    79. Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
    80. On The Road by Jack Kerouac
    81. The Bfg by Roald Dahl
    82. Animal Farm by George Orwell
    83. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
    84. A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving
    85. Boyz Rule by Phil Kettle
    86. Scarecrow by Matthew Reilly
    87. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
    88. Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
    89. Watership Down by Richard Adams
    90. The Thorn Birds by Colleen Mccullough
    91. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
    92. Winnie The Pooh by A. A. Milne
    93. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone (Book 1) by J. K. Rowling
    94. The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
    95. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
    96. Heart Of Darkness by Conrad
    97. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
    98. Goosebumps by R. L Stine
    99. The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay
    =100. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
    =100. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

    not that many actually. But then I never was into reading much. I haven't even *heard* of half of them! Funny that all five Harry Potter books made the top 100 .. :)

    FQ TOPIC: Blogged

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    FQ1: Which entry in your blog is your favorite so far and why is that?
    Don't think I really have a favourite. One that I probably put the most effort into was Creative Cockroach Control

    FQ2: Which entry in your blog has gotten you the most attention and why do you think that is?
    Definitely my Aqua One AR-620T Support Forum. It wasn't originally called that, but people kept coming to it after a couple of people posted looking for information on this particular fish tank, and it snowballed from there. It's the only forum on the web dedicated to discussion of this particular aquarium model.

    FQ3: Which entry in your blog do you feel was overlooked and why should people have read it?
    I am still astounded that anyone reads about my boring little life at all, although I did drop a not so subtle hint one time that wasn't responded to :)

    FQ Reveal: Which entry in your blog do you think is most indicative of who you are and what makes it so?
    Dunno. I have censored the worst of my rants and self wallowing. One of my worst rants on how people easily piss me off is Completely Pissed Off

    FQ Topic: Unthankful

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    Nonsensical answers for the most part. Better late than never.

    FQ1: Name one thing you are thankful for that is kind of a silly thing to be thankful about.
    Fairy lights
    FQ2: Name two things other people seem to be thankful for which you are not.
    Blue vein cheese, chili
    FQ3: Name three things that don't currently exist which you would be thankful for if they did.
    Teleporters, thought operated appliances/remote controls, MacGyver on dvd
    FQ UNTHANKFUL: Forget about thanking others, what's something everybody else should be thankful to YOU for?
    Not much

    Fish disasters :(

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    My fish tanks are disasters at the moment.

    One of my angel fish died overnight :(:( She was the smallest of my very original fish (I always thought she was a bit stunted). She hadn't been feeding properly for weeks and last night I noticed she wasn't staying vertical very well, and this morning she was dead :(:( Very sad.

    Then in the krib tank, a few of the leftover babies were dead, and I noticed as I dumped the rest of the babies into the big tank with the rest of the babies that their fins look very sad. Worried I'm going to have a tank full of dead babies, and the parents will probably end up dying too :( Oh well, at least if the parents survive, they'll have a tank to themselves again.

    I also weeded the tetra/betta tank. It was a serious jungle - so much so that the surface wasn't flowing anymore, and mildew was growing on the surface - yuk! Hopefully the cleanup hasn't stressed them out too much.

    Disaster one nearly happened at the old SNASM clan Christmas bbq thingie. They all decided to play Munchkin before lunch, which at the moment is a symbol to me of how few friends I have, and that even then ones I do have I don't get to play games with. You see they all play it often enough to know the rules and what all the cards are, but I have played it about twice in my life, and then years apart, so I just can't play. Nearly lost it, and retired to the computer room for a while to recover. Aside from that, the day was fantastic, and much food was eaten by all. I even managed to get "Lavender's Blue" right repeatedly on the keyboard, which I've been struggling with for weeks. The scary thing is, I've played some of the songs in the book so often that I'm starting to remember the pieces by feel, and can play a couple of them without the music. I guess kids can do that a lot more easily, and it truly is a case of practise makes perfect, or at least better.

    Disaster two had nothing to do with me - kaos karked it in a heap, so I have no mail at the moment :( And I hadn't downloaded my mail since the 1st of December, so if they can't get the disks back I'll have lost three days of mail - doh!!

    Blink!

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    But it was only yesterday.. really it was .. the beginning of the year is so recent to me. Well especially the second half of the year. Six months ago I was half way through our trip through the US. Nine months ago I saw the Patriot for the first time. I've lost count of all the servers I've setup. The support dude from Dell called me today after having been in Phuket for a month. A month!! I can't believe it's been that long since our big disaster.

    Think we'll probably go with Double Take for replication. It seems to work well and manages failover beautifully. So just need to finish setting up the replica server, two notes servers, a cold fusion server, and switch over our file server documenation to a new database, all in 15 days :)

    Watching Peter Pan for the first time in weeks.. yummmmmmmmmmm :):)

    26 Things

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    Thanks to Fiona.. think I might participate in 26 Things.. if I get around to it.. I haven't even done the Thursday Challenge in weeks..

    The last two weeks have gone so fast at work. Last week in particular was very fast. I blinked once and suddenly a week had gone by. Guess that's a good thing, certainly better than it going slowly. I have an insane amount of work to do before the end of the year though. I wrote down everything I needed to do and sent the list to my boss. It was quite long. So much for an easy winddown to Christmas.

    She's in shorts!

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    41c.png

    The temperature in Sydney hit 41°C at the airport today, and my weather pixie put on a new outfit. Low humidity though, so going outside at lunch was bearable. Still trying to work out the pixie algorithm. Even at 41°C, my pixie still has several outfits to go. She also sometimes wears different outfits at the same temperature. And I saw one in Vietnam where she was wearing a swimming cossie at a mere 33°C. I'm guessing relative humidity plays a role in what the pixie wears, rather than just temperature.

    Back to looking at replication software today, after procrastinating all I could. Was looking at Double Take today. Expensive, but local support, and fairly good user guides. The alternative is SureSync, which is a lot cheaper, and cheap/easy to configure additional servers, but no local support (although the email support has been fantastic), and the interface isn't quite as nice.

    Urgh 11pm and have to do a load of washing. Yayfullness.

    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.

    Kazza the Blank One home