May 2009 Archives


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Since I got most of what I wanted to do this weekend done yesterday, today I was free to do whatever I pleased.  Of course that really just meant I could sort out my hard drives :/  

Late this arvo we took some of the remaining beer out to Yass, and Annie did a yummy slow cooked lamb.  And then we watched Master Chef where the main ingredient was lamb! Woot! :)

Ate and drank far too much this weekend .. oops...

I've had that song in my head since last night.  Can't possibly be because we watched The Meaning of Life last night could it..? :)  

A couple of weeks ago, Neil and I decided we needed to have a Monty Python night.  We'd get some Monty Python Holy Grail and watch the movies.  So had him and a couple of Davids over.

And there was much rejoicing.

Altho the others didn't drink nearly enough.  Damn that whole having to drive home thing :/

Some good news

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The data back up I did last week was done the night after I finished renaming my Japan photos. I also did a backup of those Japan photos to the same disk (which I wouldn't normally do because I do photos to a different disk).  So even though I was able to recover those files off my dying disk, I know I have a clean copy of them.
An eleven step process was completely mucked up and I had to do it in the order:
2, 7, 5, 3, 4, 6, 1, 10, 8, 9, 10, 11

I was not happy about this.

I remember earlier there was something interesting I wanted to say tonight.

But I can't remember.  Maybe cause people pissed me off tonight.  Or maybe just one people.

Not Stu.  He's the bestest sweetie ever.

Crapfest day

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Had a crap crap crap day today. 

A simple oversight (basically from me not RTFM) caused hours of stress while I tried to figure out why something wasn't working :(  Complete waste of time, and it was all my fault :(

The computer shop didn't have a screwdriver capable of opening the faulty Seagate disk (enclosure).  This is a disk that was dying with bad sectors so we took it back to Officeworks where we bought it, but they said it was fine and gave it back to us.  It was *not* fine, and subsequent attempts to format it resulted in all sorts of horrible noises coming out of it.  But because Officeworks is a pain in the rear end to get to, and we'd left it so long, and we hate that sort of thing, we never ended up getting it replaced.  So just want to rip the thing out of its enclosure and replace it with something else.  If we can get the screws out.  Have left it with them, they are going to see what they can do.

Spent the evening fighting with hard drives and computers.  Discovered I could have actually mounted the external hard drive with a writable ntfs mount.  If I'd done that it would have been much easier to get the files off it now.

Basically a grumpy crappy day :(

Turned on my monitor this morning and found the puta had dropped off the network.  Had to hard boot it again.  This is unacceptable and unusable.  Will do a bit of investigating, make sure there's no driver updates etc, but if it keeps up I'll be going back to Vista ( **shudder** )..

Windows 7

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Well today I went and bought myself a new hard drive (500gb Seagate for $139). 

Brought it home but didn't get to touch it, as Caroline came over for dinner and was busy cooking and eating and watching tv and playing Wii.

Finally got around to installing it.  Didn't take too long to figure out how to pull apart my case (which turned out to be rather simple).  Swapped out the old drive for the new one.

And ran Windows 7 setup.

There was a tense moment as it seemed to have hung in the same place it did last night, but it carried on and installed fairly quickly.  Once in windows it took a hard reboot to kick the network interface.  But apart from that it seems to be going ok. 

I'm a little worried about attaching the USB hub.  While I was having all these other troubles, the computer hung at the Dell splash screen when the thing was attached.  Whether or not it'd do it now I'm not sure.. I'm almost not game to try - what if it kills this disk too??  I'm sure I'm being paranoid.  Pretty sure the disk problems started happening before I first attached it.... Wonder if I could retrieve the old disk's windows event logs to see....

So anyways.. we'll see how this goes..

So tonight I thought I'd have another go at installing Windows 7 but as a new install instead of an upgrade (which wouldn't work because you need to be in windows in order to run the upgrade).

But after some time of it extracting files, it gave this lovely friendly error:

Windows cannot access the installation sources. Verify that the installation sources are accessible, and restart the installation.

Googling tended to indicate that probably the hard drive was fubar.  Fine.  Well lets see if I can boot off a live CD and mount my drive and see what can be salvaged.

The two knoppix cds I have refused to boot (the old Neither of my Knoppix cds boot. Can't find KNOPPIX filesystem, sorry. error) so tried a Suse cd Simon burnt me last year.  This thing *just worked* first go, even on the network. 

So figured out how to mount the internal drive  (
mount -t ntfs /dev/sda3 /mnt ) and then attached a memory stick.   Was able to retrieve the file I most wanted to.  But had all sorts of problems with the drive staying online (and getting lots of I/O errors in the syslog).  Stu brought home a large hard drive for me to copy files to, but Suse kept wanting to make the NTFS drive read only.  Tried a few things, but in the end just formatted the disk as linux.  Will be able to copy off from a live CD if need be.

So I'm currently copying off what I can from stuff I know I've modified in the past few weeks.

The plan is to buy a new drive as soon as possible, install Windows 7 on it (Windows will be on a separate partition this time!!), then restore/retrieve my data from backups.  The medium term plan is to get a file server so can actually do daily backups, instead of backups every couple of weeks when I bring home hard drives to backup to.

I kinda like this Suse thingie too.  May even setup a virtual machine with it on at some point.

So today I thought I'd install windows updates.  I started the process, but left it as we decided to go shopping.  When we got home the computer apparently had restarted with some error. (There might also have been an error about disk space, but the computer had six gig free).  I didn't think too much about this, and ran windows update again.  It did stuff like install IE 8 so it was definitely doing something.  It got to the end and wanted to restart, however it said there was a failed patch and gave an error code, which to be honest I didn't pay too much attention to, I just thought I'd try again after a restart.  Now to complicate matters, I'd also attached a new USB hub, but I can't remember at what point I attached it - whether it was before or after I went shopping - but probably after.

So restarted. 

The Dell splash screen came up, but then got no further.  Tried hard booting it, same thing.  No response on keyboard.  So attached the keyboard to a real usb socket and disconnected the hub.  This time it got further, but restarted, and came up with a screen saying windows failed to load.  I could try again or run the setup repair.  Trying again didn't work so tried the setup repair.  It tried to repair errors, but still wouldn't boot.  Tried repairing again (actually a couple of times).  It decided to do chkdsks.  That didn't seem to go well.  Tried using the vista repair options.  Got a dos prompt and tried a manual chkdsk.  It finally complained about not having enough space to fix errors in hiberfil.sys.  Cleared some space and tried again.  This time it completed, but the setup repair still wouldn't work.  Only messages include things like "bad patch".  Tried restoring to a system restore point of the 23rd.  Still no luck.

At this point there seemed to be no other option than to reinstall windows.  I unpacked my system cds a while back, but really have no idea where I put all the cds.  Plus I'm always paranoid those things are just going to wipe your whole hard drive and restore a stock standard image.  So I thought this would be a good opportunity to try out Windows 7.  So Stu downloaded it and I just tried installing it.

Except it seems you have to be inside a working verison of windows vista to actually run the upgrade in place.


So looks like will have to do a custom install and start again.  Except I don't have the disk space to spare.  Not without deleting a bunch of stuff. 

Really need to get that file server up and running.....

Epic fail!

Dining Table

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Stu decided.  He wanted a dining table.  Today.

So we went to Fyshwick (Hardly Normal).

Most didn't strike our fancy, but one did.  It's perhaps not 100% what I would have chosen if I'd had more choices, but it doesn't seem too bad.  Pretty expensive tho :/  Altho not in comparison to the ten thousand dollar massage chairs....!

Anyway, so we should get it in a few weeks.

New dining table


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Watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tonight.  I saw this at the movies in 2005.  At the time I couldn't remember much about the book.  But as it happens I'm half way through reading the book *right this moment*.  And I was actually surprised how faithful to the book (to the point of quoting text line by line) it is.

... oh.. except the ending and Willie Wonka's dad stuff... :)

Willie Wonka, Willie Wonka, the amazing choclatier......
It's only a small start.  And there's still more I want to do (like actually labelling photos for my own records and locating them on Google maps) before progressing into further days..  And it's not like any of these photos are even from Japan...

But anyway, I've uploaded a few photos from Day 0 of our Japan trip into the travel blog (with a link to more (and bigger) photos from the day). 

Do people care?  Should I keep linking to the trip as I do each day?  Will anyone actually go and look? (Just asking so I know whether I should bother linking from here or let Google searches be my only traffic ;) )

Shop at home

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On the weekend we thought we'd give Coles shop at home a go.

We weren't really sure what we were doing, so just thought we'd stock up on some of our staples and non-perishable stuff.

Good points:
  • can shop at own pace, from home, no crowds, online - the way we like to deal with people (or not ;) )
  • pricing shows price per unit on different products, and you can sort by that too.  This is actually really cool and saves having to calculate it in the shop
Bad points:
  • you can't read product labels.  All you get is a picture.  So you can't see the ingredients, which means we have to stick with what we know
  • too many plastic bags! (ten for this shop - cause can't use green bags obviously)  Far too many bags than we'd ever get through. 
  • fresh stuff came cold but don't know how much I'd trust things like ice cream
  • we still need to do fruit and veg shopping every week (but can go to the markets for that)
  • can't just browse and see what's available easily
So we may do it from time to time, but we'll need to build up a repertoire of "safe" food, and better plan the shops so don't forget things and have to go to the supermarket anyway!
  • decide on when we were *actually at* locations in local Japan time (except for Sydney and first plane trip photos which are on Sydney time)
  • put the date/time stamp on everyone's photos and put that into the file name of each file in consistent format
  • fix problems with cameras still set to Sydney time, problems with times being an hour out because of daylight savings
  • script renaming files by an hour or two or three where necessary (which included movies that didn't have exif data so were renamed in the first instance by date modified)
  • fix mistakes in renaming by adding back an hour where necessary
  • fix script problems that sometimes renamed 00 to 0
  • fix days that sometimes went into the next day
  • sort each day's photos into day directories
  • triple check I haven't missed any
  • fix problems with some of Sandra's files that lost exif data
  • sigh over Sandra's camera being twenty minutes slow
Yeah so that about sums up my brain.
On the plus side, I now have all photos with a consistent and accurate time/date stamp on them, so will make sorting them out and picking highlights that much easier .....  (for me anyway - anyone else would just pick the ones they liked and be done with it ;) )

And here ends another weekend :/

Our cherry tree that last weekend was mostly all yellow leaves, had lost just about all its leaves by this weekend..

Naked cherry tree

Still lots of colour on some of the other trees

Autumn glory

This afternoon we went to the Belco markets for our fruit and veg, and a hot chocolate. 

Belco markets

Belco markets

Belco markets

Belco markets

There was a nice doggie there
Belco markets

I had to perform surgery on my toaster oven today.  The rivet holding the door on a spring snapped off, so had to pull the thing apart and reattach the door to the spring.  Hopefully this mechanism won't jam as much as the rivet used to.

Broken rivet

Tonight Stu cooked some brussel sprouts with a hazelnut in burnt butter sauce.  Was surprisingly delicious.  But after watching Master Chef we were still hungry, so I fried some portabella mushrooms in butter - yummm :)

Weekends definitely go by too fast.. *sigh*

16th May

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The 16th of May is burned in my brain for several big occasions.  In 1999 Gavin and Fran got married.  In 2004 we flew to America.  In 2001 my flat in Sydney settled. 

Also in 1999 I went over to Vic's place and had my second ever beer.  In honour of the occasion I went and got some of the same beer.  Cheers Vic! :)

Hahn Premium, 1999 Hahn Premium, 2009

For Dave

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While in Fukuoka, Dave wanted me to say hello to the Hard Rock Cafe there.  Well we had so little time there that this was not possible for me.  But as it turned out, Natty and Sandra went past it earlier in the day... :)

Hard Rock Fukuoka

I finished STVI a couple of weeks ago and would have watched the movie last Friday night except we had the Japan catchup night.

So we watched it tonight.

Star Trek VI by J.M. Dillard is one of my favouritest ever books.  I've read it like four times, even more than the Harry Potter books.  I'm not entirely sure why I like it so much.  Probably because I can picture the movie (which is maybe my second favourite Star Trek movie after The Voyage Home (or even equal to)), but also because of the wonderful character development.  In fact it wasn't until reading this book that I really understood what character development really was.  (High school English essays might have benefited from this knowledge! ;) ). 

I was always so surprised in the movie how hostile they were to the Klingons, especially after the end of STV where they're all chummy and drinking with them at the end of the movie.  In the book of STVI they continue with the Carol Marcus thread (which hadn't been seen in the movies since STIII).  Carol is injured in a Klingon attack and Kirk doesn't know if she'll survive.  All the media about the event also influences the others' opinions too.  So this stuff in the book made the story make much more sense.

So anyway.  Great movie, great Friday night :)


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Feel somewhat bloated tonight.  Can't possibly be anything to do with the beers and turkish bread I had tonight...

Anime Night #2

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So peoples came over for another anime night. 

Decided to cook a bucketload of pasta, with two different sauces for dinner (as we'd had pizza last night ;) )

Watched another couple of episodes of Abenobashi, then a couple of Starblazers (!!! haven't seen Starblazers in like twenty five years), and one of Speed Grapher. 

And then we played Mario Kart, which of course Nat won most races of ;)

Bin night

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It's bin night tonight.  I don't think there's actually anything in the bin to be taken out.  One bag maybe.  And one or two inside. 

ok how boring am I when that's the most interesting thing I can think of to blog about tonight?  I don't even have any new photos..

oh all right, since you insist.. here's a photo Andrew took of us at Kinkakuji (the Golden Pavilion) in Kyoto.. :)

Kinkakuji, Kyoto

Easy solution.. just post photos.. :)

These things look pretty impressive but aren't hot.  Grew these myself and used them in a stir fry the other night
Bullhorn chilis

It be autumn around here..



And one solitary crysanthemum plant did its best for Mother's Day..
Mother's Day crysanthemum

And a slightly better pic of the danios..

So it seems my mother found my blog by putting my conspiracy address in the search bar instead of the address bar.  Damn my google rankings!  Luckily it's dropped off the first few pages, so you never know, it might take her a while to find it again ;)

New fish

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Bought some new fishies today...

Neolamprologus leleupi
Neolamprologus leleupi

Leopard Danios
Leopard Danios

Star Trek

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Star Trek
Went and saw Star Trek tonight.

Fricken awesome!

Really enjoyed it.  Well, most of it .. :)

(potential spoilers in extended entry)
Had everyone over to Nat and Andrew's for dinner and a Japan/China catchup.  Saw Natty's photos of China, and I showed them my 1300 Japan photos.  Was a pretty good night, but did go quite late.

Have several dvds of photos to look at now :)
Still can't get that out of my head... trivia question from last night... I could swear I knew it but couldn't place it.. was so frustrated when I found out what it was :)

Think I had a few too many beers tonight... :)
Had another work trivia night tonight.  As per last time, there were the usual last minute cancellations and running around the office trying to find replacements.  In the end Nat and Andrew came.

Had pizza for dinner and ended up only having seven on the table (someone else didn't show up and we never heard from her that she wasn't coming.. shrug).

But thanks mainly to Stu, Dave, Prescott and Andrew (I got a couple of questions but not many) we actually won!!! :)  Pretty exciting :)  Of course the prize was wine and movie money, but Nat, Andrew and Dave don't drink wine.  Ooops!  We'll have to get them something .. or their pizza.. heh :)

Pretty cool stuff :)
So just got really depressed.  Natto wants to have a catchup night on Friday, so thought I'd make a push tonight to get through the first cull of photos.

Except I only got down to just under two thousand photos.  :(  That'd take about two hours to go through :(

Problem is, I'm going to have next to no time at my computer in the next 72 hours, so don't quite know how I'm going to get it all done in time... *sigh*

But here's our only other group shot of the trip, taken at the hotel in Hakone by Mac the owner, with his bonsai behind us:

Japan Group Shot (2)

Arms still hurt .. doh ..

Culled a bunch more Japan photos tonight. 

We had to go shopping tonight, so went out to dinner first.  Went to Central Cafe in Gungahlin again.  A tad on the pricey side, but not bad otherwise..

I had the chicken kiev (queen size)
Central Cafe Chicken Kiev

Stu had calamari
Central Cafe Calamari

And a few more photos from the past week..

Pretty clouds..

Stuffed portabella mushrooms (stuffed with the stems, tomato, zucchini and cheese)
Stuffed portabella mushrooms

Red leaves on a tree outside
Red leaves

A ripening lemon
Ripening lemon

Arms hurt..

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My arms hurt from all the exertion yesterday .. hrmmmm...

Wasted plenty of time today.  Got a few things done too, but not much.  Got about half way through going through my Japan photos and selecting highlights for showing people.  Well a first pass go through.  They will still need more culling so people that we subject them to don't die of boredom.  And then when that's done will pick out the best of the highlights and update the blog entries.  I said I'd do that with our Europe photos too, so that will have to be next...

Electric blankie is waiting for me... :)


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Not too much happening today.  Apart from stimulating the Chinese economy ;)

Did some pasta for dinner and then had Nat and Andrew over for some Wii-ing which was a lot of fun :)  And stayed up way too late.. oops ;)
Had a relatively relaxing day at work.  Which was weird considering I got dumped with a big project that *had* to get done today.  I wasn't meant to be looking after it, but the person who was had to go home to look after a sick child.  In the end it all went relatively smoothly and so one more thing gets ticked off the big todo list.

Tonight we watched Star Trek V.  I remember quite enjoying this when I saw it at the movies, simply because of the chemistry between Spock/Kirk/McCoy.  The movie itself, especially the end, is quite lame of course.  The book had more character development, some extra stuff with the Klingons, but not too much extra.

Electric blankie goes on the bed tomorrow!
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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