December 2007 Archives

2007 Year in Review

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2007. Interesting year. A year of upheaval.

The biggest thing to happen this year was quitting my job of ten years, moving to Canberra and starting a new job. Quitting my old job was tough, and I'd been putting it off for two years since I met Stu as I knew it was going to be difficult. I'd had it in my head that I'd stay for the full ten years and then move. Well last year they announced that there were likely to be mass redundancies, so I thought it would be a good time to leave, as I could also score a large payout. Except the redundancies never came, and in fact a couple of weeks ago they announced the plan to outsource had been scrapped. But I'd decided to leave anyway as I'd been offered a job in Canberra. Anyway, after six weeks at my new job I'm still not entirely sure what I'm meant to be doing. The whole place is very overwhelming and their server infrastructure is huge. In my first week I told someone to ask me again in a month how I was liking it. I should probably extend that for another couple of months.

On a lighter note, living in Canberra is nice. The traffic is infinitely better. Although I'm actually catching the bus to work so that I can read - something I've not done in over ten years. Is letting me actually get some books read, as I don't read at any other time. The main annoying thing with Canberra is major services and shops are only in a few select locations, which are quite spread out. And petrol stations are few and far between.

As far as wedding plans are going.. after being engaged for a full year now, all we've managed to organise is a wedding dress for me (found on eBay in February) and set a date and book a church. Reception, honeymoon and other important details have yet to be organised. Four months is plenty of time.. right..? ;)

I'm writing this in Queensland at our friends Chay and David's place. It's actually the third time we've been to visit them this year, driving up over Easter and then flying up in July. Traditionally we drink a lot, eat a lot and generally be merry, usually in the form of a lot of singing of Sing Star songs. This trip has been no exception, although we did bring a couple of board games to play this time. It'll be nice to spend New Years Eve with them, so long as I can watch fireworks at midnight :)

During our Easter trip we also got to stay with my fifth cousin twice removed Diana, and see lots of places close to Stu's heart.

The other major travel we did this year (other than the every other weekend trips between Canberra and Sydney) was five days on Lord Howe Island. It was as good as I remembered it twenty years ago, but with a lot more cars :) Stu loved it too, and we're sure to be returning to it one day.

In preparation for the move, I culled boxes and boxes of high school and university notes. I gave away and sold lots of toys and other bits and pieces from my childhood. I also freecycled a lounge chair, a table and a desk. My little brother replaced all the taps in my house, a Sydney Water plumber installed a water saving shower head and washers, and a tiler regrouted my shower. I was kicking myself that I didn't get the shower fixed a long time ago, it would have made it sooo much nicer. As it was, my shower was pretty disgusting for most of the six years I was there, until the very last week. Oh well. I still had a tonne of stuff to move though. What I couldn't tetris into Stu's place got put into storage. We have a twenty cubic metre storage unit that is very full. We hope to start looking for our own place after the wedding/honeymoon. Then we'll reevaluate everything we have.

All my fish survived the move. It did take a good half a dozen trips to get them all down though :) My major addition before moving was another white angel fish, this one a boy, to go with my girl angel. She laid eggs a couple of times after he arrived, but while he had successfully bred before and knew what to do, she had been single for so long, that she kept telling him to piss off away from her eggs, and then ate them all herself. Silly fish :) We currently have fourteen tanks with fish in them, and four that don't. Stu sold some of his juvenile Julidochromis transcriptus fish for $7 each. We're going to have to take good care of the other fry we have, as they seem to be little money-spinners :)

At the beginning of the year, I saw comet McNaught, after not thinking that I'd get to. We also saw the total lunar eclipse. And we had two astronomy nights in Spence in Canberra at someone who has a telescope mounted permanently in his backyard.

Our Christmas involved lunch at my parent's place the Sunday before Christmas (actually we were up for Jake's wedding reception on the Saturday and bundled the two). Then it was back to Canberra for Christmas day at Stu's.

Other things I did this year:
* decided to cut down the amount of orange juice I drank per day and lost two kilos
* went on lovely cruise on Lake Burley Griffin as an engagement present from Damien
* went to Cancon
* more poker nights at cia and work, with mixed success (success at work ones, failure at cia ones)
* saw the Queen Mary 2 and QE 2 in Sydney
* went up Sydney Tower with Mum and Stu
* discovered Google Sketchup
* walked across Sydney Harbour Bridge on the main deck, on the weekend of its 75th birthday
* dragged Stu up Black Mountain Tower to take photos
* participated in Earth Hour to save turning the timers on my fish tanks back an hour ;)
* saw the Amazing Human Body exhibition at the show ground
* saw the very last flight of Qantas' very first 707 jet
* saw the Kitty Hawk in Sydney
* read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the day (and day after) it came out
* dragged Stu to the Blue Mountains, down the Giant Staircase and up the Scenic Railway
* did a day trip to the snow to go skiing
* babysat Josh and Rachel at Questacon all day
* got the hiccoughs for the first time in a *very* long time
* shut down my eleven year old photo server conspiracy, after moving all the photos to a virtual host
* had a farewell at work that not too many people came to (probably about a quarter of the people that were invited)
* got a new computer
* decided very quickly that Vista sux
* met another blogger (Lil Lioness)
* got the latest Hogwarts Castle Lego set
* got the Millenium Falcon in Lego
* had about five different work end of year parties, but felt left out because I couldn't go to my old work one
* got my own Blackberry, switched to Optus only to find they are just as crap as Vodafone

Things I miss about Sydney (in no particular order):
* my job
* walking with George on Thursday nights
* lunches with Luc/cards in the office
* dinners at Alan and Marylon's
* living right next to a big airport
* my flat
* easy access to petrol stations (especially my regular one and the dude there)
* family and other friends

Things I don't miss about Sydney:
* the traffic
* my bumhead neighbours (we just have bogan neighbours here)
* Freecycle Sydney Central moderators

Have a safe 2008 :) Happy new year!!

Pork was good

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David's roast pork was delicious as expected :)

Afterwards we played a game of Ticket to Ride, which Chay won with some lovely high-pointed Eastern European routes. Then a couple of games of Condottiere, of which I won the first and Chay won the second. Then a game of name that tune 80s, which David won.

This morning a bit of a slow start. Finished taking notes while reading through my past year of blog posts. I really do write a lot of really boring crap. Really don't know why anyone reads it :)

At some point today I'll attempt to get a year in review post done. If I have time amongst all the new year celebrations :)

So we went to the doctor yesterday. He took one look at my throat and said, yep that looks bacterial, and prescribed me some antibiotics. Within 24 hours the sore throat has almost gone. I also now experience the joyful side-effects of the antibiotics - runny poo! But I can handle that to be able to swallow again.

In the afternoon yesterday we went shopping for a fish tank, as they are inheriting a big angel fish, and don't really have a tank appropriate for it. So they found one they liked, and David played a good game of tetris getting it and the stand into his car. Then we all varnished it. Even the kids. There should be some photos of us all at it heh. It'll need another coat though.

Dinner was lots of evil pizza, followed by Name That Tune 80s and Buzz Hollywood. Then the others piked and David and I did much of Sing Star 80s. He of course won most of the songs, but I did beat him in one or two.

This morning we did take two on attempting to get to Ascot Provisions, this time succeeding. They've changed their kranskys which is a bit sad. Then wandered up to Sandgate to almost get blown into Moreton Bay. Then to pick up some supplies for tonight and tomorrow.

But right now there is a leg of pork roasting away, and I can smell it from down here... can't wait... :)

Dying

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I think I'm dying of a sore throat. It started off two days ago as the sort of sore throat you get when you're coming down with a cold or flu. Except the cold/flu part never came, and the throat keeps getting sorer and sorer :(:(

We had offloaded the kids last night, so had all these plans for last night and this morning. Most of which have been stuffed up by me :( Yeah so I feel like crap now, in more ways than one.

So instead of going to Ascot Provisions without the kids for breakfast, I'm off to the doctor.

Yay.

Christmas - Part II

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So, Christmas Eve. I cleaned. All day. Stu cooked. All day. It was a marathon effort.

Stu chopping up rind for the cumberland sauce

Chopping rind

We had to buy some Grand Marnier specifically for the sauce.. a tragedy really ;)

Grand Marnier

After the sauce was done, Stu began work on the ham. We got a gammon ham which is partially smoked, but can still be baked. We baked it for a couple of hours in the dough, and a bit longer for the glaze.

Ham soaking..

Ham soaking

Wrapping the ham in dough to keep the juices sealed in (except it burst during cooking)

Wrapping ham

The dough was like rock when it came out of the oven. We tried several implements to break it open, the most successful being scissors.

Attacking ham

Next we score the skin

Scoring the ham

And put cloves in

Cloving ham

Glaze with a mixture of mustard powder and golden syrup, and sprinkle rapadura sugar on top

Glazing the ham

When finished, it looks a little like this. Stu was annoyed at himself for using the fan forced oven setting, which gave it an overdone look, but it was still fine.

Finished ham

Stu also made a potato salad, using parsley from our herb garden, and a pasta salad with pesto, which we used our own basil for. He also did a delicious caesar salad.

Potato salad

After all this work, we kinda collapsed. We had a couple of beers and watched Carols in the Domain. It was the first time I'd ever watched carols with a little alcomohol in the system, and it was very nice. There was also a full moon rising out the window, so it was all quite special.

Carols by moonlight

We were going to go to church at 11pm but we were just too exhausted. So thought we'd go in the morning, but were too exhausted for that too. Oh well.

The table set for lunch, with lights brought out from the study to decorate the room

Table set

Stu's meat platter consisted of his ham, some smoked duck, and a stuffed turkey roll. Also some olives and vine leaves.

Meat platter

So this was Stu's Christmas dinner. A heck of a lot of work, but everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.

Christmas dinner

Noah brought along a lego plane he got

Noah's lego plane

Scott put on Stu's dork glasses and played the dork

Scott the dork

After lunch we migrated to Kerry's for dessert. This was just part of it.

Dessert

Noah's plane again

Lego plane

As soon as we got home, I cleared the table and began work on the Millenium Falcon. But that is for another post :)

Merry Christmas to all. Was going to blog two days of photos, but spent all evening (four and a quarter hours) building Lego, and somehow didn't get around to photos.. oops.. :)

Merry Christmas!

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Have a merry Christmas everyone!

In 15 minutes, Stu and I will have been engaged for a year..!

Have a good one :)

Christmas - Part I

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So Saturday .. was that yesterday? Seems so long ago..

Got up and got ourselves ready before heading to Parramatta Park for Jake's wedding reception thingie. Was quite pleasant, and the food was fantastic. It threatened to rain for most of the afternoon but held off until near the end. Not that it mattered much, being under one of the nice big pavilions.

Profiterole cake

Wandered back to James and George's for a bit of a sleep. After dinner we all played another game of RoboRally. This time Stu won, after a hard battle for the second flag, the rest of the game was fairly easy.

RoboRally ending

We went to bed *very* late (even Josh stayed up til after midnight). So we were a bit tired this morning. Said goodbye, then trekked the entire way across Sydney to my parents place for lunch.

Me in the Bah Humbug hat

Bah Humbug

Stu and me (laughing at my brother baring his chest to make us smile)

Stu and me

The cockatoos are multiplying

Cockatoos

On the way home we came across these poor people who had overturned their car and caravan. Ruining their holiday fairly decidedly. That purple car with a P-plate is an unmarked police car .. is that even legal..??

Accident Hume Highway

Stu decided to take a scenic route home, so we went down the left side of Lake George, through Tarago. It was very pretty.

Tarago drive

Smith's Gap coming up the end of Lake George

Smith's Gap

This is one of the Christmas presents I got today - a Rubiks mega cube. I'm dreading mucking it up, because I don't think it'll ever go back together again..

Rubiks mega cube

After our dinner we went for a drive to see some Christmas lights. Firstly in Gungahlin

Lights Gungahlin

And then Amagula Ave, Ngunnawal, as recommended in the Riot Act. Truly spectacular!

Amagula Ave Lights

The whole front room of the house was converted into these little displays

Amagula Ave Lights

My tree at home doesn't look nearly so exciting now

Tree 2007

I still like my study lights tho...

Study lights

Ups and Downs

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Bit of a topsy turvy emotional day today. Got ready and drove to Sydney, stopping at Goulburn for lunch. Then did a drive-by of my old unit. Stocked up on fish food at the pet store near my house (which is about half the price of Jem Aquatics). Visited the local servo to say hello and refuel.

Then onto uni for afternoon tea. They'd all basically knocked off for the day, and Jodi and Jim came to visit and I got very sad that I'd had to leave the place. Stu even said that the work environment seemed even *too* good. Anyway so I was a bit delicate after that.

Trekked north to James & George's, anticipating horror traffic but instead got a dream run. Then the boys upset me by their lack of sympathy over my vista dramas. Sigh. Boys suck sometimes. Then had dinner which was very nice, and played a game of Roborally. I've played that game once, maybe twice, but like ten years ago. I remember it being fun then, and it was fun this time too. I actually even won, but it was pretty close.

Very late, bed time.

Old Johnny

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John Williams

My favouritest ever composer is John Williams. Totally love the guy. Of course every so often I have to check IMDB to make sure he hasn't died or anything (he's nearly 76 after all). As much as I love his music, I have to admit it all does sound the same. Well aside from the main themes that is. The background music blurs together and you listen to it hearing bits of other movies. Like I'm listening to Episode I and can totally hear Harry Potter in there. Other soundtracks have bits that totally sound like Superman. etc.

I was just annoyed that he only did the first three Harry Potter movies before doing other things. And did you know that he's done every Steven Spielberg movie except Duel and The Colour Purple?

Long live John Williams!

Sometimes

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Sometimes you have an ok day. A few things fall into place at work. A couple of small successes. You have fun doing Christmas shopping for your parents based on the same quite successful idea of last year. There are even nice Christmas carollers in the shopping centre. An instant roast dinner of leftovers is very yummy.

But sometimes even just thinking about Certain People and the massive todo list lurking in the background is enough to make you just sad.

Fun night

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Had a fun night tonight.
Starting at Scotty's for a lovely dinner cooked by Kerry.

Then off to Michael's for an astronomy night. When I left work I didn't think we'd be able to see anything, as it was completely overcast, but the clouds cleared later in the evening and we got to see the moon, and a double star, and Mars, which passed the closest to earth tonight for this orbital cycle.

Thirty second shot of Mars streaking

Mars streaking

Ten second (I think) shot of Orion's sword, including the Orion nebula (upside down of course, to Northern Hemisphere astronomers ;) )

Orion's sword

Ring around the mooney..

Moon ring

So I *finally* today took ownership of my mobile phone number from the uni. I chose Optus because the Vodafone access in my building *sux* but I generally hate Telstra as a company.

Optus is no frigging better than Vodafone!! :(

Will keep testing it all day tomorrow but it's looking likely that I will have to go with Telstra (who have repeaters all through our building)

*sigh*

It was me!

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Just in case you were wondering, all the rain in Canberra this weekend is entirely my fault - I hung some sheets out on the line on Saturday, and we had plans to tidy up the garden this weekend. Rain has drenched my sheets, and stopped us doing the gardening.

So Friday night was beer and pizza night here (to the edge!!). Saturday was tidying then drinkies at Libby's where we ate and drank quite a lot (mostly champagne cocktails). Today was more tidying and cleaning and took another car-load full of stuff to the storage unit. We have over 6 cubic metres of crap in there. Dunno how we're going to fit it into a new house unless we get five bedrooms.. hrmm...

There's a roast pork and an evil potato bake in the oven. Getting hungry.....

Tragic..

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Someone brought these into work the other day..

Don't Worry Be Happy

Born to be Wild

Met me little brother at Central Cafe and ate too much for dinner.. oops..

Tired

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Feeling tired tonight. Can't possibly be anything to do with a long day having lunch at the Hyatt and kicking on afterwards. I ate so much for lunch I didn't need dinner.

Bella Vista

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So we'd both been at work late tonight, so we decided to go out for dinner. We went to Bella Vista in Belconnen.

It was fantabulous!

The food was great, the wine was spectacular (a Mt Majura pinot gris), and the service was excellent.

Highly recommended.

Obviously other people thought so too. It was full, even on a Tuesday night.

Heard this on the radio this morning... :)

TO KEEP MY LOVE ALIVE
From the show: A Connecticut Yankee 1927
(Lyrics by: Lorenz Hart / Music by: Richard Rodgers)
Ella Fitzgerald


I've been married, and married, and often I've sighed
"I'm never a bridesmaid, I'm always a bride"

I never divorced them, I hadn't the heart
Yet remember these sweet words, "`till death do us part"

I married many men, a ton of them
Because I was untrue to none of them
Because I bumped off every one of them
To keep my love alive

Sir Paul was frail, he looked a wreck to me
At night he was a horse's neck to me
So I performed an appendectomy
To keep my love alive

Sir Thomas had insomnia, he couldn't sleep at night
I bought a little arsenic, he's sleeping now all right

Sir Philip played the harp, I cussed the thing
I crowned him with his harp to bust the thing
And now he plays where harps are just the thing
To keep my love alive
To keep my love alive

(bridge)

I thought Sir George had possibilities
But his flirtations made me ill at ease
And when I'm ill at ease, I kill at ease
To keep my love alive

Sir Charles came from a sanitorium
And yelled for drinks in my emporium
I mixed one drink, he's in memorium
To keep my love alive

Sir Francis was a singing bird, a nightingale, that's why
I tossed him off my balcony, to see if he, could fly

Sir Atherton indulged in fratricide,
He killed his dad and that was patricide
One night I stabbed him by my mattress-side
To keep my love alive
To keep my love alive
To keep my love alive

Date

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26.4.08
Nice and even.

And other nonsense

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Didn't really think I'd get time to build the Millenium Falcon this weekend. I knew days ago. Sure enough, we were out most of the weekend doing shopping/church/removalist type stuff. And even if I had the time next weekend (which I don't), we don't have any spare horizontal surfaces to put it, except the dining table which will be required at Christmas. So it's going to have to wait until after Christmas when we have some time off.

Make it stop

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We went and got Scott's fish tank off them today, to be given to Annie next time we see them. Except that we simply don't have the surfaces to spare, so it's sitting on Stu's old desk outside by the back door. Where it will soon be invaded by the resident spiders, so it can't stay there too long.

Worried they won't allow my to have my macquarium at my new work, but we don't have a permanent home for that here either.

The little multies finally had a couple of babies a while back, but we don't have the space for them to stay in their own tank on the kitchen bench, so looking at a new home for them too.

We currently have 15 tanks with fish in them, and three others that don't. It's all getting a little silly...

Or bowls to be precise.

Yet another work Christmas party today. It poured. Well really, it only poured for half an hour or so while we had lunch, then it cleared up somewhat and we could play bowls. A lovely lady from the bowling club tought us how to do it, and I did flukishly well at it - winning about five rounds of the 10-15 or so I played, even hitting the jack once. Jack hit the jack twice, which we all found rather amusing.

My neck is a little bit sunburnt tho :(

Christmas.. hrmm..

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So we were planning to have all Stu's family over on Christmas day. Except in-laws are coming which is going to change the whole dynamic of the day :(

Oh, and we've set a wedding date.. It's all official-like and everythink.

Lamb Roast

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Went to Melita's for a lamb roast tonight, to farewell Xander. The roast was excellent, and Xander will be missed. Housemates really don't get any better than him, I'm sure.

12 Kilos

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Can I just say right now, that Dave rocks. Without him, this 12 kilos of Lego would have cost me $150AUD more than it did...

12 kilos

Can't wait til the weekend.... ;)

One Sleep to Go

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Til I pick up my *special* Christmas present :):):)

And since I don't get the surprise of it, Stu will instead, as I've not told him what's coming.. :)

My going away present for my last job was some cash to put towards some Lego. One of the Lego things I got was the the third Hogwarts Castle. I finally had some time today to put it together.

Lego Hogwarts Castle version 3

Lego Hogwarts Castle version 3

There were a couple of funky new things. One of them was a Speckled Black-Silver Halberd (I've not seen that colour pattern before), and a "Wave Angular (Electric Zig Zag, Castle Magic Spark) with Marbled Trans-Purple Pattern", which is new this year to Lego.

New Lego stuff

And another new thing is minifig hands with fingers!! Apparently only on the Hagrid minifig, but cool nonetheless.

Hagrid's Lego minifig fingers

Umbridge up close..

Lego Umbridge

Time Waster

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I've been playing a lot of Hearts in the past few weeks. Not sure why. Probably because my todo lists are so long and overwhelming that I think I'll just play another game and avoid thinking about things for a while longer.

Today, on Boing Boing I think, I found this cool game - Chat Noir. The idea is to surround the kitty so it doesn't run away off the screen. Quite addictive, you have been warned :)

I got the Christmas tree put up today. Doing this required boxing up some of Stu's books to put into storage, tidying up that corner of the lounge room, and vacuuming. We also did a big grocery shop, and had lunch out.

Yesterday was the first of several work Christmas parties. I got appropriately sozzled (the last two drinks I wasn't planning on tho, honest ;) ). It was a pleasant enough afternoon. Then met up with Stu and we went to Damien's and then out to dinner at the Dumpling Inn. Great food - their shredded beef Peking style is unreal, and watched all the lightning out the window. Had ice cream at Damien's while er.. enjoyed.. a bit of a hangover headache. Oops.

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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