January 2006 Archives
Fairly yukkiferous day today. Actually it really started getting bad around 3pm when I just couldn't keep awake at work. Then had to go pick my car up. Fortunately a pleasantly uneventful trip. $630 later on the car. But at least the cleaned (most of) the RI dust off my wheels. Feeling tired and just wanting to go home by that point, but had arranged dinner at the parents, with the main reasoning to pick up my 21" monitor that dad had been looking at. So had dinner and brought monitor home. Was so tired I mucked up plans for meeting Luc for the manual labour, but got there in the end. Then get the monitor out of the car to find a shift going round a corner had shattered the mounting stand claws. So got the thing upstairs and just sat it on the stand not properly clipped on, plugged it in, and discovered all the edges, particularly the left and right edges are significantly fuzzy. Back to looking at getting an LCD. Yay.
I suppose I shouldn't complain too much. Dave had a far worse day today with an email conversation he had back and forth with his former flatmate. Gosh that's a messy situation :( Two weeks til he gets married now though.
I just feel like going to bed.
So got to work today and found a couple of puddles of brown liquid. Bad. Very bad. I looked up and there's waste pipes from the labs that run over my head, apparently one of which had leaked all over my desk. Not good. Called the facilities people, who sent two people up over the course of the morning, yet still noone has told me what the brown goopy stuff was or whether I'm going to die from touching it. Grunties.
Bookcrossing meetup in town. Didn't pick up any books! woohoo! heh
Have D&Y staying the night, so I'm back to my single bed for the night heh :)
It's really really rare to see good on-screen kissing. Really only two on-screen kisses have ever stood out for me.
The first was a very long time ago in Top Gun in the love scene between Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis. It was only silloutted, but you could tell there was tongue involved.
The second was just last year in Lost. It was the "promised" kiss between Kate and Sawyer, and it was HOT as! By far the best screen kiss I've ever seen, and rather a turn-on :)
So it's been twenty years since the Challenger disaster. When everyone tonight heard this they all went "twenty years, what the..??" I was in year 7. My parents heard it on the radio when their alarm went off in the morning, and then told me about it. 20 years.. wow..
It being the last Sunday of the month, I was somehow invited to dinner .. not sure how that worked.. perhaps spending the afternoon playing Star Wars Trivial Pursuit with Josh and J&G. Josh did incredibly well (for a 7 year old!) but in the end James won. Much fizzling was involved at Alan and Marylon's (can't type still), and still waiting for Stu to come home from his own wine and cheese evening. Now watching Top Gun (even though I have it on dvd heh).
Not much happened today.
Although did go to the parents and D&Y were there which was cool.
Other than that, pretty boring really.
I'd upload some pics but I was about to go to bed .. oh why not, I'll upload a pic ..
Close up of a cockatoo. The actual photo was twice this size, you could see every grain of feather and the reflection in his eyes
A cockatoo having a go at a macadamia nut. Another is looking on hopefully.
Gosh well that was unexpected. I actually won a poker night! Won a whole $20 .. woot! (made back the money I lost at the last poker night heh)
It was a very long night, and the lead changed quite a few times. I was leading for a while, then dropped back to third. Was still in third place at the final three, then Luc got wiped out by Sami. Had a run of semi-decent hands, so bet hard and in the end forced Sami into an all-in where I had three fives which won the hand and the game. Was quite exciting heh. I actually had a disproportionately large number of decent hands tonight, which probably helped my position significantly.
Very late now though.
I didn't have any lamb handy so didn't get to celebrate Australia's birthday with it. I thought about going shopping yesterday for some, but in the end didn't bother. I may also have had some buried in the freezer, but my freezer is too much of a mess at the moment - many many meals worth of leftovers in there I'm working my way through :)
So yesterday, with only one neon tetra left, looking terribly lonely, I bought half a dozen more. (The last tetra is over two and a half years old!! which is really old for a neon tetra). I also bought a new filter for the tank to replace the incredibly noisy one, that probably contributed to the deaths of the other three tetras. They're looking ok so far, even eating hungrily. If they survive for a month I'll consider getting some more small fish for that tank...
Don't you just hate it when you have something in your teeth, but noone tells you about it, so you have it in there all night?? :(
This is the carpet they laid in our office today. It's called Surf. It actually is not too bad, considering we had to pick from whatever they happened to have in stock cause the order last year got mucked up :( They lay it in tiles these days too rather than rolls. Makes for much easier delivery, laying, and future repairs.
So went to a time share presentation tonight. Seems that Luke gave them my details the other week. When they called they said they'd give me a 1-4 night stay at one of their hotels in exchange for coming along to hear what they had to say. So I thought I had nothing to lose, so I went along.
Well it was interesting. I'd never had time share explained to me properly before, so really had no idea what it was all about. I can certainly see its benefits. You could certainly save a lot of money on good accommodation, especially overseas, although local is also very good (free in fact, conditions apply heh). The problem is that you're kinda locked into staying at one place. Which is not how I travel. When I travel, I like to stay at relatively cheap places, and use where I stay as merely somewhere to sleep, and only stay for a short time, maybe one or two nights, before going to the next place. The sort of thing you get on timeshare holidays are resort-style accommodation where you stay there and do activities there. So I don't know that I'd get a whole lot of benefit out of it.
The other gotchas include yearly strata fees. Which are $300-$600 per year depending on your package. Which kinda cancels out a lot of the benefit you'd get.
It actually was cheaper than I thought it would be. But I was not prepared to say yes to their offer. More on principle than anything else. I really really hate those offers that you have to sign up on the night right then and there to get the benefits. If you don't have the time to go off and think about it and read their documentation, then really I think you're acting a little foolishly. Of course they get a little bit rude with you after you say no. And then try and give you other options - oh you can have six months to pay the deposit, or you can "rent" points, or you can go away on a little holiday, and if you decide to join after then you get the cost of the holiday off the membership. And they question you why you don't want to do it and don't you think it's a good offer, and by this time you've been there two hours and your parking is up and you just want to get out of there. So I did, with voucher for free accommodation as promised in hand :)
So after not getting to sleep for ages last night I got woken up at 1:30 by a whole stack of pages in a row. Most of my servers were down. At first I thought something had freaked out the UPSes and they'd all shut down in error. But I looked more closely at the logs of the servers that I *could* reach. Sure enough "UPS on battery" on the ones connected with smart signalling cables. So power had gone out in just one section of the building. Checked with Jim what we should do. Decided to just go in early in the morning to turn everything back on. Watched as the upses drained themselves and turned the servers off, then went back to bed.
Woke up at 5:15. Looked at the two machines that aren't connected by serial cables to upses. They were still up. I assumed that the power had been restored before their ups died, so I got ready and went into work.
Total blackness. Everything was still dead. Even the machines that I'd checked before I left - their ups lasted over four hours!!
So called security who got onto the contractors who eventually came out. Watched them as they flicked some very big switches - so big they needed to use a metal bar wedged in them to turn them. Very cool. Seems that some big device in the building took out the earth leakage circuit for the whole section of the building. Yay. So power was out for most of the night. Hope people's freezers didn't warm up too much. Kicking myself I didn't call security at 1:30. But I blame only two hours sleep and not thinking straight on that one.
But the coolest thing is, all of the servers I connected up with their serial cables on Friday shut themselves down nicely. Still a couple of little issues to work out, but it was a good real-life test of the shutdown system.
I'm *very* sleepie now.
Pretty sucky day actually.
Don't want to go to work tomorrow. Was there too much this weekend :/
Sitting here waiting for Dell dude to arrive with a replacement hard drive for our mail server. This would be the third time I've driven into work today :(
So first trip to work meant a 5:30am wake up for a 6:30am shutdown of everything. Oh backtrack to 4am where I was awake in the middle of the night so I got up and wrote a script to shut down all my servers at once. Except the ones on different domains. Well the script worked nicely altho some machines still take a long time to shutdown. Was out of there by ten to seven.
Second trip was to turn everything back *on*. While everything was off decided to test some of the UPS shutdown setups. Well some of them worked, but others didn't. Still, it's a start. Turned everything back on and was getting ready to leave when noticed an ominous amber light on the mail server. The power off had caused it to lose a disk. Not happy. Still, got onto Dell, who agreed to replace it even though we didn't actually buy it (long story). So here I am waiting so I can install it. Driving to work three times in one day is all rather boring.
Well the dude turned up and new disk is in. Waiting to see if the raid rebuild is going to work...
Realised just after the rebuild started that the Saturday-nightly defrag was running. Bad. Very bad. Much disk activity involved. But the defrag runs nt defrag as a scheduled process, with no gui to shut it down. Worried that killing the process would break file(s), decided to reboot the machine. Well aside from it stopping at the PERC controller part of bios, and waiting for me to hit a key, it rebooted ok and continued rebuilding the array, without the hinderance of a defrag running. So I'm home now. It's up to 16%. I'll relax when the array is no longer degraded...
Hate alcohol crashes. You can be feeling just happy and then *splat* you're nearly as low as you can go *sigh*
Got shelves installed in the garage today (thanks Luc and James!) .. I'd post a pic but I don't have the energy
Did you know that you can't see the "Power Options" control panel on a windows 2000 server via terminal services or remote desktops? You have to actually be at the console to see it. Not terribly helpful if you're trying to configure the UPS settings remotely.
So I was in Big W today and saw Coma for $6. So thought I'd get it. For $6 it would have been worth it.
So I was standing in the checkout queue just reading the packet, and noticed it was region 4, but NTSC, and I'm like "wtf???" Why sell NTSC in Australia? Not only is it crap (pal is loads better), but lots of tvs don't even support it (including mine).
So I put it back on the shelf and walked out annoyed.
Lost two of the glass catfishes today. Or maybe last night and just didn't notice them. They were three years old. They turned opaque when they died.
Only three fish left in that tank now - two angels and a glass catfish. When I first started I had 29 fish in that tank.
It seems rather ironic that I run (or host rather) a forum on my particular fish tank, when I can't actually keep fish alive in it :(
You can't organize clutter; you can only get rid of it! - FlyLady
Well not entirely true. You see I have inherited a good combination of clutter genes from the parents. I have inherited my father's hoarding genes, but also my mother's neat-and-tidyness genes. So I collect a lot of crap, but I'm also pretty good at storing it well.
Which presents me with a problem at the moment.
At the moment the house is fairly tidy. I can see all my floors. There's not too much crap floating around on the other horizontal surfaces. Which means I look around and don't feel cluttered. Except I know it's all there - hidden! All my clutter is stored neatly(ish). Which makes it hard to get rid of, because I think well it has a home, so why bother trying to decide what to do with it. And digging into a draw or a cupboard to clear it out just *makes* mess. And I'm presented with the whole attachment-to-inanimate-objects problem that I have.
I also hate hate hate throwing out things that other people might want to use. So at the moment I'm piling stuff I don't want up in a corner, and whenever I can think of who might want it, I give it away. And things I can't think of someone to give it to, I'm either donating to the parents' church's opp-shop, or saving for a council cleanup so I can put it out on the street and whoever wants it can take it :) Maybe I should put a page up on my blog with stuff I want to give away, and the first person to ask for it can have it. Or join FreeCycle or something....
My hump my hump my hump .. no wait .. arrgghhh! Something set me off today and I started singing that .. dammit!! Then Luc played it just for fun.
I like four day weeks. Three day weeks are even better. This one was five. Doh!
I really have nothing to say.
Has anyone used FreeMind?
They painted our feature walls at work today. "Stream". Aka darkish blue. Looks half decent actually. Pity we'll be covering them in shelves and whiteboards and the like.
Ate far too much today. Feeling flabby. Might have to start thinking about flylady's body clutter heh.
Just when you thought the number plate situation in NSW was beyond ridiculous, the RTA have exceeded all silliness.
It used to be that NSW had two types of number plates - black text on a yellow background with three letters and three numbers for normal plates, and white text on a black background with two letters and three or four numbers for personalised plates.
Then in 1988 they released Bicentennial number plates which had the letters on top of the numbers and a logo.
In 1991 they introduced black text on a white background.
1997 saw special edition RSL plates
1998 saw special edition Olympics plates
2001 saw special edition Centenary of Federation plates
In 2002 they introduced "European" style plates
Also in 2002 came regional plates, the first being New England
In 2003, when I thought they couldn't possibly do anything else, due to an astounding variety already, they introduced multi-coloured plates - purple, red, green and blue.
So imagine my astonishment yesterday when I get home and find my new rego papers, with advertising for metallic gold and silver plates. And not just one way around, but positive and negative.
So to summarise, in New South Wales, you might find number plates in any of the following combinations:
black on yellow; white on black times two or three; black on white in about four configurations; green on yellow; white on green times two; white on purple; white on red; white on blue; gold on black; silver on black; black on silver; black on gold
Hands up who thinks that's all just a little silly?
Full details are on the RTA website.
I first subscribed to FlyLady late last year when I first met Annie who had also recently subscribed. I liked the whole philosophy of "a little bit at a time - you can do anything for fifteen minutes". That, and the first daily habit was "shine your sink" which I'd been doing to some effect at least - washing up after dinner to remove food from the cockroaches.
So I subscribed, and watched the daily emails go by and thought "I really should start doing some of those".
Well tonight I actually did one! Zone 3: Mission #2 Tuesday. The mission was to throw out empty detergent bottles etc from the laundry, wipe down the washer/dryer etc. So that's what I did! Well actually I only threw out one thing - the first ever detergent bottle I bought when I first moved out of home in 2000. Which I don't actually use anymore because you needed two caps to do a load of washing which I thought was a little silly. But I did wipe down surfaces that hadn't been wiped down in nearly five years, so that felt pretty good.
Don't know if I'll manage to do one of these every night, will depend on what else is happening I guess. But it's a start.
Drove under the M7 today. The last time I was there it was just a tract of land that was starting to get bulldozed. Now you come over the hill at Seven Hills Road and there's this whopping great overpass bouncing along the valley. Looked pretty cool.
And plenty of other roadworks all up and down Old Windsor Road with uncompleted road towers poking out of the ground looking a little lonely. Cool stuff.
I shoulda put my music on yesterday. I'm sure it would have made a difference to my mood. John Williams, for one, does it for me. Just give me a bit of Indiana Jones, Star Wars and Harry Potter (etc) and the whole world is a better place.
I finally got the "evil" sudoku out that I spent an hour staring at yesterday.
I can see my floor for the first time since last year.
And opened my gingerbread house and demolished it:
still alive, Stu's still around, guppies aren't
feeling a bit better today
You know, from Finding Nemo, the "fish killer". One of the blue guppys was dead this morning and the other one didn't look happy. Moved him out of the cursed baby tank into the tetra tank, but don't think he's any better off there. I don't have the heart to buy any more fish anymore, not when they're going to just die on me. Thinking about just letting them all go and getting rid of it all.
That and my baby seedlings keep dying for no known reason (too much water? too little water? not enough light?), and everything else just not working, and I've felt like crap all day. Yay.
Had a poker night at CIA tonight. It was a lot of fun, even though I came equal 5th out of 6. I actually lasted a lot longer than I thought I would. Khan got knocked out quite early, then Kirk and I went all in when we were down to a small amount of chips left, and both lost. Marc went onto win. For some reason I knew he would. Maybe it was this post of his the other day :) I should have bluffed more though. A couple of times when I felt I had a hand good enough to call on, the others just folded out. Oh well.
Was a good night.
How gorgeous is this? Pity they only had males and not some females to make more really pretty babies....
I'm very tempted by a computer in the latest Officeworks catalogue.
It's an Acer with 3.06 (?) GHz processor, dual layer dvd burner, 512mb ram, 160gb hard drive, 9 in 1 memory card reader and a 19" widescreen lcd monitor.
I never play shoot-em-up games. The most graphically intensive thing I do is Google Earth :) So I don't need the latest and greatest video card. It'd be out of date within a few weeks anyway. If I want to play games I'd just use my work computer heh :)
Just a few pics from Christmas/New Years/Queensland. I did have a few more I wanted to post but culled for brevity's sake.
This was in a Christmas Cracker opened on Christmas day at my parents
A traditional view of the water jet in Canberra
Although I like this one better
A spaniel provoking a black swan. I wonder which creature would win if it came down to a true fight..
Yes, I painted my fingernails and toenails with blue glitter for new years :)
Some of Stu's cardinal tetras
The fantastic marine tank display at Clayfield aquarium
A turtle we saw at the wetlands overlook
And the wetland lake itself
Stu has already posted some of the better pics we took while birdwatching here, but here's an ok one of a seagull in flight
Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!
Drove the longest drive of my life today. Well I've been on drives of equivalent length before, but always as a passenger or co-driver, never by myself. ~970km in 12.5 hours, including a couple of brief stops.
Gosh it was a long day. Started at 8am Brisbane time, which was actually 9am real time (doh). Two and a half tanks of petrol (~$75 worth I guess).
The first half was pretty disgusting. Lots of roadworks, lots of rain (bucketloads), lots of really sllooowwwwww people. Single lane road most of the way with overtaking lanes few and far between. And the road clogged with butthead drivers who would drive 10-30km/hr under the speed limit when you couldn't pass them, but then would speed up to the speed limit at the overtaking lanes so you couldn't get past. It was infurating. One beemer driver was sitting at 90 in a 100 zone, until the overtaking lane where he sped up to 110 so I couldn't get past. Bastard.
After Taree the road was mostly dual carriageway and a lot less traffic, plus the sun was going down, so it was positively pleasant driving conditions.
I also foiled my body's post-lunch slump by only feeding it a salad for lunch. Normally I collapse after the sugar high runs out, but without any sugar there was no such high/low. So it was all good. Meant I didn't really get tired til near the end of the trip.
Fish and plants mostly survived. Had a few fish losses and the tetra tank is very sad, as is the baby krib tank. Might get up early and do some emergency maintenance. But for now it's time to collapse into bed.
er.. yesterday.... gee I wonder what we did... um....
gosh that took us a moment to remember.
Started off in the valley, wandering through the markets, and getting a coffee (well a baby-cino for me :) ). Didn't spend toooo much on knick-knacks heh :)
Then instead of going straight home, we meandered up to Nudgee beach, stopping at a wetland lookout point to look at the birds and the tortoises in a lake. Nudgee "beach" was not much to behold, but the drive was nice.
Came back and had a quick bite of lunch then headed out for coffee with Chay and David and the kids. Went back to their place for beer and roast meats and Firefly.
Today after breakfast we went for another drive, this time up to Sandgate to do a bit of bird-watching on the sand flats. Then continued north up to Redcliffe. Had some sushi from Morgan's for lunch. Followed the North Moreton Bay tourist drive for a bit, before turning around and heading back. On the way we stopped in at a little aquarium we saw on the way up. It turned out to have a very good selection of cichlids. Stu was quite impressed. I've also fallen in love with Maingano cichlids, I'm going to get some when I get home and put em in with the other yellow cichlid and the catfish.
We were planning to go out for a steak for dinner, but decided to have cheese kranskis and salad instead. And ice cream and Star Trek.
And now I'm sad because I'll be gone in a few hours :(:(
Better get a bucket. :)
No really today was a whole lot better than yesterday. Yesterday sucked. I woke up grumpy and was grumpy all day.
Today was all good. Got some Star Trek watched in between going to the shops and buying coffee and other nice kitcheny bits and pieces, and looking at fish and ordering a 4' fish tank, and drilling the stand for the fish tank then giving up and just using nails and hoping it was all level and stable, and getting a dominos pepperoni pizza on a triple cheese base which was *evil* I tell you, and pottering while Stu tidied his study.
All in all quite a satisfying day :)
The last couple of days have been a bit of a blur.
Yesterday after breakfast Stu said he felt like a kranski. Well that was enough to make me want one too :) We had to get some groceries anyway, so we went to Ascot Provisions for lunch. Their kranskis aren't on the lunch menu, but I asked for one anyway, and got it along with a plate full of vegetables - roasted capsicum stuffed with other vegetables. Was very yummy. And my weeks worth of vegetables right there :)
An afternoon spent pottering and watching Firefly and/or Star Trek. Stu put a coat of varnish on the fish tank stand.
Then to Chay and David's for an utterly delicious (as always) roast chicken and vegetables, followed by music trivia (which I mostly sucked at, but did a lot better in the second round), followed by Sing Star 80s (which I had a lot more fun with than the newer music versions where I don't know half the songs), followed by David and I belting out Queen karaoke songs as only drunk people can :) Got to bed very very late.
Also got up very very late. Late enough for me to feel a bit grumpy about half the day being "wasted" (I tend to feel cheated if I lose daylight hours to sleep :) ). We were going to go for a swim, but decided against it. Instead just watched Star Trek and Firefly for most of the day, did my longstitch, while Stu tidied and varnished.
And now it's now. :)
I keep having to ask Stu this :)
Got up when I felt like it. Um. Lazy morning. Went to Bunnings to get stuff for a small compost heap maker. And also came back with nine cardinal tetras. They're very cute. Had lunch (sort of). Then pottered and worked on my long stitch and sorted coins out for Stu while he worked on cleaning the study.
Had an early dinner (chicken stir fry, very yummy), then went and saw Narnia, which was awesome. Have never read the books. Must do that some time :)
I need to win a few million dollars so I don't have to work again and be on holidays permanently. It really is the best way to be :)
Slept till I felt like getting up. Pottered. Looked at photos of Stu as a kid. Went food shopping with Stu. Worked on a jigsaw. Worked on my longstitch. Watched a couple of episodes of Firefly. Started reading through this years blog entries for a wrap-up entry. Had a yummy dinner of steak (that I cooked) and salad (that Stu made). Watched a couple of episodes of Star Trek. Went for a walk on the bay at Sandgate.
Now it's 10pm (here) and I feel like I've had quite a good day.
So after getting back to the motel yesterday, we went and picked up Arian for a grand tour of Armidale. Swung by the uni and walked around all the various buildings that they lived/studied/worked in over the years. Then drove around town seeing various places people had lived. It was pretty darned hot, so we decided to go for a swim, at a place we dubbed Swan Cove. It was lovely, although Stu apparently picked up a bug from the water and was sick for the next 24 hours :(
So after the swim we dropped Arian off, I washed my hair of swan poo, and we watched Mars Attacks while waiting for the hordes to return. Which they eventually did. We got chinese and lots of wine for dinner. Was a pleasant, if somewhat rowdy at times, evening. Except of course for Stu being sick, which he didn't find pleasant at all :( Counted in the new year with Mr Wilkins, and watched the Sydney fireworks (best fireworks in the world :) ). Eventually the hordes left and we crashed out.
This morning Stu was even sicker, which really wasn't much fun for him. Although he did feel up to travelling, so we dropped by Arian's for a cup of tea before making a dash for Brissy. Got here about 5:30, NSW time. Got myself all confused about what the time actually is. But for the purposes of this week, I don't think it's going to matter :)
Sadly, many of Stu's fish didn't survive the week. Papa guppy, the corys and the rasboras except one were all decomposing and the tanks smelt awful. Was really really sad. We think it was the heat. The water was over 31C. They're down to 28C now. On a lighter note, his mama guppy had her second lot of babies, and two of them were still alive - they're so *tiny*! And the nine guppy babies I brought from work not only survived a week in a plastic bag, but survived two days in the car travelling. And next to the other babies they are *huge* :) We're currently slowly mixing the water, as the pH was a full point different, and just chucking them in would have killed them.
So then tonight we went and got an Al Funghi pizza from Pizza Capers, and watched Encounter at Farpoint on DVD. And watched the lights turn green twice :)
Now, the computer clock says 10pm. I guess that's 11pm in real time. No wonder I'm so tired..! :)