December 2008 Archives
The first big news story of the year was that I got married to Stu in April. I spent several months planning the thing, and planned pretty much everything myself. In the end, the day went pretty successfully and everyone seemed to have a nice time. I got the wedding I wanted for the most part, although I did get very stressed out by the reception venue, and they ruined the enjoyment of the reception for me.
Following the wedding we took off on our honeymoon, spending a night in Japan, then a month touring Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. Took six and a half thousand photos between us and generally had a blast. Lots of places we'd like to go back to!
The other really big news story of the year is that we bought a house here in Canberra. And seemingly at just the right time - right in the midst of the world financial crisis which was very scary, but the subsequent drop in interest rates will save us something like $12000 per year!!! We still have a couple of messy rooms, but are very much enjoying the house and we've had several groups of people stay with us.
Work has been a bit variable. The first couple of months of the year I was still feeling very overwhelmed by the place, yet didn't have too much to do so was very lost. After the honeymoon I was put on call, which meant learning a lot of things by being thrown in the deep end. I was also dumped on severely with work, and found it very stressful from time to time. Can't see any sign of letup any time soon :( After a particularly crap day one night in July, I starting drinking with the guys earlier than usual and finished relatively late, which really launched the weekly drinking sessions (which up until that time had been a lot shorter and quieter).
Other travelling included the trip over new years last year to visit Chay and David, a weekend at the coast with Scott and Kerry, a weekend in Sydney in March and another in July to attend my Nana's 80th birthday party, visit James and George, and see Stu's grandmother and aunties. Two days and ten hours of driving was pretty tiring. Chay and David came down just after Christmas to stay, which meant we spent two new years in a row with them which would have been cooler had I not collapsed in a grumpy/depressed heap.
In fish news, we cut the number of tanks from fourteen down to seven. Fourteen was far too much work and fish were getting severly neglected. Seven is a bit more manageable but we may still cull further. Moving all the tanks to our new house was definitely not fun, but we got most fish moved with only a few casualties. One of my original angel fishies is still alive, making her six years old now. She has appreciated the big water change of the move and laid several batches of eggs after the move.
Eating out, we tried a few various restaurants. We discovered Satis in Watson in the middle of winter. Satis is vegetarian and we have been there three or four times, although not since we moved. Then there is the Kingsland vegan restaurant in Dickson which is fantastic. Have only been there twice, but will definitely be going again. And Fortune Box in Gungahlin is still a favourite shopping day lunch spot. Bella Vista in Belconnen and the Dumpling Inn in Jamison are favourites as well. Fanciest restaurant we visited all year was Watersedge on Lake Burley Griffin. This was two weeks before the wedding after I'd had my hair and makeup trial, so we got dressed up and went out for dinner. Was very nice, but of course very expensive!
We tried to see Stu's brother every week for a "sci-fi" night. We watched all of Firefly, Serenity and some Battlestar Galactica. But towards the end of the year this all got too hard. Hopefully we'll do something next year.
Movies seen this year:
- Juno - pretty good, if a little unrealistic
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - fun but too ridiculous and too much on the "yeah right" scale
- Appleseed Saga: Ex Machina - very well done, but hard to keep up with the subtitles and watch all the action
- The Dark Knight - good movie, but dark and very long
- Quantum of Solace - ok, was too tied to the last movie
- Australia - very enjoyable, but very long (really it's two stories back to back), so don't know how would stand up to repeated viewings
- This blog had its 5th blogiversary and was celebrated with a new design
- Visited the Planetarium before it closed and met Andrew
- Little Squishy was born
- Went to the balloon fiesta
- Bought an Eee PC
- Set off fireworks on cracker night
- Went to a six-day SANS course
- Got excited by snow falling in Canberra!
- Went to an astronomy night at Mt Stromlo
- Went to two trivia nights - one with Nat and Andrew, and one at work
- Had the house wired with cat 6 by my brother and Shane and Chris
- Took the booze train to Tarago
- Played Zone 3 for the first time and actually won a game
- Big family Christmas with all of Stu's family and Kerry's family
First my camera ... which fortunately only seems to have damaged the UV filter.. the zoom is a little sticky, but still seems to be able to focus ok ..
Then everyone seems to be tired and grumpy with each other.. actually no it must be just me that's tired and grumpy, and so everyone is sick of me.
On Saturday I had the urge to play some Unreal Tournament, having not played it for quite a while. Mostly I did crap, but sometimes I did well..
Tried to play with Stu, but either or both of our firewalls got in the way, even when bypassed/disabled, and we didn't feel up to fighting with it.
There's a bunch of photos sitting in my intray that I've been meaning to upload for months. And a whole stack of other photos I haven't even sorted yet :/
Here's a few of them anyway..
Some Jelly Bellys
Some flowers from our old garden
A very agro young galah that screeched and flapped its wings at us when we walked under it
A storm that passed over us last weekend
Looking north(ish) from Mt Ainslie
Chay and David got us Eternity II for Christmas .. I think they just got it to torture me heh
Sunday morning saw me up relatively early to go pick up Chay and David from the airport. Had a bit of a slow morning, then headed off to the Dumpling Inn for yum cha and then did some shopping. Had a swim in the afternoon then ordered pizza for dinner and played SingStar til 1am.
Monday we watched the wedding video, finished the jigsaw of Bran Castle, then wandered into town, stopping into Stu's work to feed the fishies, the Wig and Pen for some beers (including a couple of summer ones including a very sweet berry-flavoured one which didn't really taste like beer at all) and some wedges.
Wandered around the Canberra Centre, looking at DVDs, Singstars and other bits and pieces then came home.
Had another swim and David and I made a stir fry for dinner. Most of us (except David) didn't feel up to drinking much and I was falling asleep on the couch, ended up going to be around 1am.
Tuesday was a quiet day. Chay and Stu rested a lot while David and I played Carcassonne and Cribbage. Went to Kingsland in Dickson for dinner which was fantastic. We definitely need to go there more often. Food was excellent. Then we toddled off to the Dendy to see Australia. The Dodgy Dendy struck again, this time giving Chay and David tickets to the wrong movie. By the time it was all sorted out, the only seats left were in the front row.. doh! Three hours of neck craning wasn't much fun, but we did all enjoy the movie. Ended up going to bed around 1am.
Still cut up about it.
So when I log on this morning and see comments about evicting people and complaining about lack of feedback, I get pretty pissed off.
Might blog properly later.
Is very tiring .. :/
They've gone to bed now, so have the computer screen to myself briefly to blog ..
Early morning tomorrow.. some of us need to be at the airport at 8:20 .. and I get the easy end - Chay and David have to be at their airport at 5am ?!??!!! *comfort* in advance guys! :)
That's not to say we didn't *do* anything, we just had nothing planned. No going out, no shopping, no visitors. Just a total veg day.
Watched some videos, had a swim, did some jigsaw, looked for images to mosaic, read some news feeds. It was bliss!
Slept in a little after getting to bed late. Then did some last minute tidying and wrapped the kids' Christmas presents.
Then over to Scott and Kerry's for a slightly late but very large lunch. Was pretty awesome.
After lunch the kids opened their presents and were generally cute..
So everyone left a bit after six and we just collapsed in a heap.
Tomorrow is a quiet recovery day I think... :)
(Had another lunch with the remaining working guys in our section, followed by a beer at the next door pub, then braved the shops to do some last minute chocolate shopping, and home early to clean and tidy the house)
Apparently this is a list of the top 100 money-making movies.. (I've done the IMDB top 250 before too).. bolded the ones I've seen..
Adds to my collection of Twelve Days of Christmas variations :)
"And yet another partridge in a pear tree"
A Cautionary Tale for Christmas Showing that it is Better to Give than to Receive
My very dearest Algy,
How can I begin to thank you for your charming Christmas gift? What luxury! My very own pear tree, with that dear little pheasant in it - or is it supposed to be a partridge? You really are a foolish boy! Actually, the birdie isn't wildly attractive, but the pear tree should be lovely - when pears are in season again.
Thank you, my darling.
All my love - forever.
Your ownest affectionate,
My dearest Algy,
You are quite impossible, my love. The turtle doves are adorable! They're already cooing away like anything; and, I must say, their amorous behavior leaves very little to the imagination. But I expect they will settle down in time.
Thank you, my sweeting.
PS: I almost forgot to thank you for the second partridge-in-pear-tree thing: it balances up the other side of the fireplace so nicely.
You know, poppet, you are simply going too, too far! Your latest gift has just been delivered: what an imaginative boy you are to think of sending me something as unusual as three French hens.
I'm only sorry that I hadn't told you that I am allergic to eggs. Never mind I can always sell some to the neighbours who, incidentally, have been much entertained by the sight of the postman struggling along each morning with the pear trees.
I suppose it's silly of me, but I am seriously beginning to wonder whether you aren't trying to get me to start an aviary. Your four 'colly birds' have just arrived and could, more aptly, be described as 'call-y birds', since that is what they seem to do best! Perhaps you could let me know whether colly birds are in the laying business or whether they are intended for human consumption; Mrs Beeton is, I find, surprisingly silent on the matter.
I can honestly say, Algernon, that I'd always thought birds were rather pleasant little creatures,
until you gave me this opportunity of observing them at such close quarters.
PS: I do hope you got a reasonable discount on all the pear trees.
Thank you for your latest gift of five curtain rings, a somewhat curious present but, nevertheless, a refreshing change from all those very pretty, but somewhat noisy, birds you will keep sending me.
I doubt if I should have bought so large a turkey for Christmas had I known what you had in mind. Could we ease up a bit on the fowl, do you think?
Dear Algernon Fotherington-Smythe,
I see we are back with the birds again! Your six geese a-laying have just arrived, and are happily doing so for all they're worth. I rather thought I'd mentioned to you how it was with me and eggs...
Thank you for putting me right about the curtain rings - I never could tell the difference between brass and gold. Of course, I am very pleased that you should have thought of sending me another five, just so that I have one for every finger. But as I now have more hens, doves and partridges than I rightly know how to cope with, and as they aren't too fussy about personal hygiene, I seldom seem to have my hands out of a bucket of water long enough to try them on! Yours, Cynthia B
Dear Mr Fotherington-Smythe,
I have just succeeded in accommodating your seven swans a-swimming in my bath - which was no mean achievement when one considers the number of pear trees on the landing! Regrettably, the geese got to the rings before I could, so that's probably the last we've seen of them - would I could say the same for the geese! I must now ask you to desist from sending me any more of these well-intentioned but slightly impracticable gifts.
PS: I hadn't realised just how messy moulting partridges can be, or how badly they seem to get on in captivity with other birds.
Fresh milk is one thing, eight enormous Friesians in the drawing room is something else altogether!
True, the milkmaids have a certain rustic charm, but you wouldn't believe how much they eat. You may also care to note that my bath has only so much room in it for swans with a seemingly insatiable urge to be a-swimming, and it will definitely not hold fourteen of them! Take that from one who has tried!
Please call a halt to this absurd behavior.
Miss Cynthia Bracegirdle
Thanks to your weird sense of humor, my house is now in utter chaos! As if it wasn't bad enough having sixteen cows producing milk by the gallon, we now have nine 'ladies' - as you amusingly call them - dancing here, there and everywhere, one of whom seems to be working out a somewhat extraordinary routine involving several doves and a goose!
The most charitable view I can take of your actions is that you are out of your tiny mind.
PACK IT IN!!
Miss C Bracegirdle
PS: Fortunately, one of the partridges has just drowned itself in a bucket of milk.
Your misguided generosity has apparently now led you to suppose that I could find some use for ten Lords a-leaping. They might lend a hand with cleaning up all the rancid milk and bird-lime - if they'd only stop leaping around after the dancing girls for five minutes!
I understand the entire neighborhood is now up in arms about it all and the Residents' Association has sent a petition to the local Member of Parliament.
Thumping on the front door at this precise moment are no less that two dozen representatives from various government bodies and from the Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to hens, doves, geese, swans, cows, partridges and, for all I know, pear trees! And the bizarre inter-breeding amongst the birds is to be the subject of an article by a leading ornithologist in the next issue of Bird Monthly!
The recent outbreaks of crop-blight, fowl-pest and foot-and-mouth disease have now reached epidemic proportions; and if the antics I witnessed behind the pear trees this afternoon are anything to go by, several of the milkmaids should soon find themselves in, what polite society calls, an interesting condition.
For your information, I have now reached the end of my tether - which is more than can be said for those damn cows of yours!
C Bracegirdle (Miss)
Have you got even the remotest idea what eleven pipers piping sounds like at two o'clock in the morning? Of course, it only adds very slightly to the hideous cacophony of noise that I must now daily endure. I swear there's more mooing, cooing, honking, clucking and calling here than in the zoological gardens. If there were any room left, I might seriously consider opening the place to the public.
Your latest shipment of lords, ladies and livestock is now settled into the furore and by the same post came received a letter advising of a visit which the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries intends to make this afternoon - supposing he can get in the door that is!
One good thing at least is that the latest influx of birds have put the cows off giving milk; I can hear them now - uprooting the pear trees in the orchard I once called a living room!
My landlord has taken out an eviction order against me, as he claims, somewhat surprisingly, that the terms of my lease do not cover utilisation of the premises as a menagerie, dancing school, smallholding or annex of the House of Lords.
PS: Please be advised that all future correspondence between us will be handled by my solicitors, Messrs Grabble, Twister and Fleecem.
Graball, Twister and Fleecem
(Off the Eastbourne Road)
Dear Mr Smith,
Re: Miss Cynthia Bracegirdle, deceased
We are the executors of the estate of the above-named deceased, and are writing to acknowledge receipt of your recent delivery of twelve drummers drumming.
You will no doubt be distressed to learn that, shortly after the arrival of these gentlemen, our client, in what must be described as a somewhat deranged state of mind, travelled to Eastbourne and threw herself off the top of Beachy Head.
Before taking this step, however, she left instructions with ourselves for the adding of a codicil to her Last Will and Testament, under which you become her sole beneficiary and legatee.
I am, therefore, arranging for the following items to be delivered to you later this day:
12 drummers drumming
22 pipers piping
30 lords a-leaping
36 ladies dancing
40 maids a-milking
42 swans a-swimming
42 geese a-laying
40 gold rings
36 colly birds
30 French hens
22 turtle doves
and 11 partridges with 12 accompanying pear trees.
With our sincere congratulations on your inheritance and assuring you of our best attention at all times,
Graball, Twister and Fleecem
From Brian Sibley's actual home page!
Stu and I went and saw Quantum of Solace tonight.
It had some good chases and action in it, but the story was a bit meh.
I think I actually enjoyed the making-of documentary that was on a few weeks ago better! heh. The documentary focussed mostly on the location shooting, with all sorts of trivia on how they got shots and other info about the locations. Much more interesting I thought :)
Really quite enjoyed it :)
They had a bit of a finale with the Salvation Army choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus during the fireworks.. except they didn't show the fireworks!! Doh!! But I'm really not complaining because they often don't do the Hallelujah Chorus at Carols in the Domain, I usually have to wait for the Melbourne Carols by Candlelight.
The bestest ever Carols in the Domain I saw was at Luc and Cynthia's wedding nine years ago when we were up Sydney Tower and got to see all the candles in the domain and the fireworks from up Sydney Tower. Very cool night :)
ok I have that in my head from the other night too... oops... ;)
Started early today by tidying up downstairs, sweeping and vacuuming the house. Then things slowed down a bit and did a bit of news feed reading. We also went shopping ($275 later oops) and went for a walk.
Can't wait for Chay and David to be here so we can sing lots of sing star .. (with the proviso that they bring their ps2 and singstars with them... ! heh)
Tonight we felt it was beer o'clock so went and got a six-pack. And afterwards thought we could open a bottle of wine. So several hours and about eight standard drinks each later .. oops... :)
Watched the Mythbusters Christmas lights episode .. which was a little silly cause I'm sure they didn't test how things happened in the real world. Yes Christmas tree fires happen, but probably not they way they tried it. I'm a little paranoid about Christmas lights, but probably unnecessarily cause with low-voltage lights these days it's probably not such an issue.. I remember being very careful about hanging lights on my parents' Christmas tree to make sure the bulbs weren't touching anything, but the lights I have these days are very low voltage so the chances of fire are probably very low...
Oysters tonight on Iron Chef... didn't really feel a great urge to watch this one..
(the first oyster I ever ate was straight off the Great Barrier Reef when I was about six years old. Had another one about twenty years later, and a few at Pulp Kitchen a year or so ago on a steak). Maybe I should try them again..
After dinner (and after Stu fixed up their mail and address books) we showed them the "highlights" of the honeymoon photos, which they quite enjoyed. Reminds me I have to really redo the first half of the highlights, which were done by selecting photos from thumbnails, which didn't always pick the best of the batches.
Today was supposed to be a quiet day at work catching up on stuff that's been hanging around too long. Instead I had to fix a bunch of problems. There ought to be a law against people building systems and releasing them into production, then immediately going on leave. *sigh*
And who said it could be a mere 11C tonight? It's summer for heavens' sake!! :)
I couldn't possibly have that in my head cause that was the last Singstar song we sang tonight.. ;)
So after work drinks a bunch of us went back to Bruce's for Singstar which was an awful lot of fun. I even managed to set a few records :) JJ would have definitely won for spirit, as he was entirely too enthusiastic :)
Bruce needs to get himself some more Singstars tho... :)
Link of the day (sorry, it's a month old, but I'm still a month behind with my news feeds) - Monty Python's YouTube channel!!
And my main email address is getting a whole stack of spam bounces. Also most annoying.
Coolest website of the day - http://syd.webtrak-lochard.com/template/index.html !! Insanely cool! Damn I miss living next to the airport :(:( Daniel somehow managed to get tracks out of it and laid them over Google Maps .. must ask him how he did it..
The downstairs room is somewhat more organised, although had to sacrifice my model bookshelf to do it. Guess the models won't be coming out of storage for a while longer. And a trip to Ikea will be necessary pretty soon.
Having trouble copying files from our vista machines to the old w2k box. Not sure if is problem with the old machine itself (although Skype seems to work quite happily) or some weird interaction between vista and w2k. Wouldn't surprise me if it was vista...
Prior to that I was at Dave's for a Christmas/house warming drinks/afternoon tea thing. I drank a little too much champagne .. oops..
Prior to that was tidying up the house/unpacking etc.
Yesterday was more of the same (unpacking and tidying that is). As well as lunch at Fortune Box and Melita over for afternoon tea.
I still haven't sorted out photos from the past couple of weeks, even though that was on the todo list for today too.
The gutters are in a worse situation than we thought when looking at them recently. Will spend some of the next dry weekend clearing them out...
Other than that, second Christmas party of the week at work today, although no drinking at this one (it was byo, but all too hard)
Then after that everyone came back here for eating and drinking and being merry and it was all very fun, but I still can't find that door key which leads to alcohol crash and I just want to go to bed now and work sucks and I can't make things work and CH made some stuff work but I don't know if the rest of it is working and if it's not I'm going to be very depressed tomorrow because this was supposed to be working yesterday but I'm epic fail and it was so stressful getting home from work so late and then having to clean the house and then go shopping but I think I slept mostly ok certainly better than the night before last but I still don't want to go to work tomorrow and I'll have to copy logs and chase people and it's making me depressed just thinking about it and I'm rather thirsty and the place is a little bit of a mess from having lots of people over but not too much cause we used paper plates etc but even so it's messy and I think I might just go to bed soon...
Spent the entire day trying frantically to get an application released into production.
In the end, both the front end website and the authentication server had problems that we couldn't resolve.
If I can't get them going by lunch time tomorrow I'll be very sad :(
So this morning I felt like a complete zombie :(
Not helped by working a ten hour, stressful day at work :(
Can I go home now?
* drop off boxes at Di's
* drop off electric screwdriver at Damien's
* head for Tuggers to drop off trailer
* organise trailer at storage unit
* get stressed out cause Potty said they were doing something else and unable to help
* get stressed out when they change their plans so they can come help us
* drop off trailer at Libby's
* come back to storage unit and load up car and trailer with boxes, wardrobe and shelves
* stop twice on the Barton Highway because the wardrobe was threating to fall apart and blow bits of wood all over the highway
* get home and unload trailer
* have a nice lunch (but slightly rushed) with Scott and Kerry of veggie hot dogs
* head into work to kick broken proxy servers
* drop trailer back at storage place
* went shopping for beer for bbq tonight and a birthday present
* come home
Yup, we were on the go pretty much nonstop for six hours :(
After we got home I did actually manage to tidy up the spare room downstairs. I didn't really do any unpacking, just rearranged the boxes and the crap, and stacked everything neatly along the walls instead of haphazardly in the middle of the floor. The room actually looks like a nice room to be in now which makes me feel good. Stu was pretty impressed too. Then I cooled off by scooping crud out of the puddle with the net.
And instead of getting a night off, we went over to Windy's for a birthday bbq. Noone else from work went tho, so didn't know anyone else, but was still a pleasant evening. Too many evil nibblies tho, ate far too much methinks ;)
We watched "Made of Honor" first. I must have been in the right mood for it, cause it was pretty lame and schmaltzy, but I still had fun watching it.
Then we watched "Flawless" which I actually really enjoyed. Except for the part about being tense most of the way through the movie wondering if they'd get caught .. !
Work Christmas party today (first of several). Ate far too much dinner tonight and have been bloated ever since - doh :(
In the fullness of time.. :)
Altho we did get the pool vacuumed and the shopping done.
Cool news for today - we got a rack setup in the garage, with patch panel and everything. Now we just need a rack mountable gigabit switch.....