July 2009 Archives

Feels like a really long day .. although I didn't actually *do* anything...!

Did a little bit of work in the morning before an all-official-like morning tea with the big boss.  Ate far too much yummy food there.  Because then we had a farewell lunch, which of course I wasn't hungry for.. oops!  Had a couple of beers and a salad I couldn't actually get through - tragic really.  So that went for ages, then we went to JB Hi-Fi and Windy bought Abba Singstar.  I was going to go home at that point, but Stu wasn't up for coming to get me, so decided we should go play Windy's new Singstar :)  So we did :)  Did pretty much the entire Abba disc, except for a couple of the ones that have parts - which are evil!  Also did some of his other ones.  We ended up singing for about two and a half hours - oops!  

Then had some dinner and a few beers while singing along with The Sound of Music  ;)
At least, most of it.. we decided to call it a night after the wedding, as we were getting tired and the movie still had like an hour to go.  They should *totally* do a Sound of Music Singstar ;)

So all up quite a fun day :)

Hiragana

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I finished memorising (well mostly) the 46 hiragana characters last night.

So today at lunch I was trying to read the characters on the side of the Sizzle Bento place.  
And saw these characters:  
うどん  
.. which looked a lot like "udon" to me.  And that would make sense, it being a Japanese restaurant and all.

Scariest thing is, I was right ... !

Next: katakana .. and then maybe actually learning some real words heh

VBScript

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Since I probably should have been home today I didn't feel as guilty about having a play with some vbscript.  That, and I didn't feel up to doing any *real* work! ;)

Not that I was very successful.  I've never learnt any vbscript, so I didn't really come close to achieving what I wanted to.  Not sure how much time I can get away with playing with it for before I revert back to some sort of hacky dos batch file.
Pretty sure this is a White Plumed Honeyeater - cute huh?

White Plumed Honeyeater

Snow, take two!

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It wasn't on the plan to go skiing two weekends in a row - but the trip a week ago had actually been planned for a week prior.  And this one was pre-paid, so I couldn't get out of it.  Which considering how sick I was on Friday was not such a good thing.  So I went along, thinking I'd have to take it easy as I doubted I'd be able to breathe.

Got up at the same time, had a bit of breakfast, and Steve gave me a lift to the bus stop.  Coach was a little delayed, and got progressively more delayed as we waited for people.  We got to Bullock's Flat just before nine o'clock, however we arrived just after all the other coaches.  So it was absolute chaos in the rental shop.  They rushed us through getting boots, then we stood for forty minutes queuing for skis.  It was an absolute nightmare, I'll definitely not be doing that again.  I'll do what I've done previously - drive myself, have brekky in Cooma, hire gear in Cooma or Jindabyne and rock up all casual like for an early Ski Tube.  

So managed to get on the 10am Ski Tube and went straight up to Blue Cow where I went and got breakfast.  I figured if I had breakfast at 10:30am I wouldn't need to stop for lunch.  (Steve caught the 9:20 Ski Tube)

Ski Tube
Ski Tube

Had a couple of runs on Pleasant Valley by myself, then down Roller Coaster and up the Ridge Quad, where I met up with Steve and Al.  Did a couple of runs each on Side Saddle and Zali's.  Then they went off to get some lunch, and I went back to Pleasant Valley to get my confidence back (which I lost a bit on those scary blue runs ;) ).

Pleasant Valley lift
Pleasant Valley
Top of Pleasant Valley
Top of Pleasant Valley

Met up with Steve and Al again and we did Pleasant Valley and Roller Coaster and Side Saddle and I think Zali's again.  Then we did Excelerator (!)  Managed to do well enough until right near the bottom where I stacked it in front of the lift queues - doh!!  That was my fourth and final stack of the day, so didn't do too badly.

Al and Steve on Summit Quad
Al and Steve
Blue Cow
Blue Cow
Steve at the top of Excelerator
Steve

So then meandered our way back through Blue Cow, Pleasant Valley, Copperhead Road, up the Pretty Valley lift and back down to Front Valley.  By this time it was nearly 4pm and they wanted us on the 4:12 Ski Tube back down, so I called it a day.  

Front Valley
Front Valley
So the day actually was pretty good after a grumpy start.  I got boots that were the same make as last week, and in fact a size smaller (25.5 instead of 26.5) and yet these ones weren't as uncomfortable as the ones last week which really hurt my legs where they squeezed tight around my lower legs.  Didn't spend as long on the snow, but then didn't get as exhausted either.  The conditions were a lot better, although that meant the snow wasn't as good - getting slushy in places and icy in others.  This and last weekend were the first times I'd ever been to the snow on a weekend - I've always only gone midweek before.  But the queue lengths weren't really any worse.  The Ridge Quad late morning had a ten minute wait, but everything else was quite quick.

Coach ride back was pretty uneventful, and even managed to doze a little - after my coughing fit.  For some reason I didn't cough too much during the day, and didn't feel short of breath either - go figure!  It did catch up with me somewhat yesterday day though.  Starting to feel better now finally.

Japan Day 2

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The blog entry for Japan Day 2 has been done for a while, but I've finally labelled the photos on conspiracy (link at bottom of entry).
Discovered Picasa's "Where in the World" game tonight quite by accident.  It's surprisingly addictive.  My best score after ten rounds is 2136.

Edit: round 18 - 2647 :)

Danny

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argh.. what is it about Tim Burton that attracts not only Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, but Danny Elfman as well?  

It's like Steven Spielberg and John Williams ... there's just not one without the other!

Think I might have to see this one :)

Phone

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The phone going off all the time is wearing me down.  Not sure how much more I can take :(

Blah

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Putter, unzip, stress, RAGE, demolition, blah, ow, free lunch, blah, stress, Nerds!, blah, copy, fraggle, stress, crap, RAGE, misery.

Yup, that pretty much sums up my day.
4:25am my alarm went off yesterday morning.  After only managing four hours sleep - urghh!

Got ready and went and picked up Steve, then went to Nat and Andrew's to swap cars.  Got away at 5:15 from their place.  Arrived at 6:35 at Cooma where we went and hired our gear.  It was really cheap - $38 for my skis/boots/poles, minus a 10% discount that Steve could get us.  Although the boots were a bit loose around my feet and really really tight around my legs (my legs still hurt from the pressure!).  Dropped into The Scottish Restaurant to pick up some takeaway brekkie but had to wait about fifteen minutes in the queue :/  Got away from there at 7:30.

Coming into Jindabyne.
Lake Jindabyne
Arrived in Jindabyne at 8:10 where we got our lift passes.  Then headed up the mountain.  We were going to Perisher and it was cheaper to pay the park entrance ($27 for the car) than four lots of $27 for the ski tube.  But the cost of that was an incredibly slow drive up the mountain.  We couldn't get Nat and Andrew into the morning lessons, but that was probably a good thing, as we wouldn't have made it in time.  As it was, we made the 9:34 Ski Tube up to Blue Cow.

Nat and me on the Ski Tube

So we get out of the train and the whole place is just white.  Snow white.  Air white.  Couldn't really see a thing.  On a lighter note at least the snow was really good!  Just couldn't see it!

We went to the really flat bit just above Blue Cow and tried to teach Andrew the snow plough :)  Did a bit of going up and down around there, then had a couple of goes on the early starter slope.  So for Steve and me it was a pretty easy morning.  Had a slightly early lunch then Nat and Andrew went off for lessons.

We had a couple of goes on Pleasant Valley - which I normally hoon down, but there was so little contrast I was going really hesitantly.  

Pleasant Valley lift
Pleasant Valley lift

Then we had a go at Roller Coaster, which for some reason I've never been on before.  This run was under the cloud line and has an amazingly pretty view.  I was pretty hesitant the first go, but later on we came back to it and I went a bit faster.  The top bit really is like a roller coaster - very cool.

View on Roller Coaster

Did the Ridge Quad to do Zali's a couple of times and the Summit Quad to do Side Saddle.

Steve on the Ridge Quad
Steve on the lift

View on the Ridge Quad
Ridge Quad

Ridge Quad
Heading for the clouds on the Ridge Quad
Ridge Quad
At 3pm we met up with Nat and Andrew who had finished their lessons and had a few small runs with them on Early Starter.  They'd improved enormously with their lesson.  Then we left them to have a couple of runs by themselves with the plan for them to catch the Ski Tube down to Perisher and we'd ski across.  

So we did Pleasant Valley, Copperhead Road (I'd forgotten now long that run is!) and up Pretty Valley lift.  Took me ages to find my way across to the top of Front Valley cause I'd basically forgotten where I was from last time.  Eventually found it though.  Had a couple of runs on Front Valley before finally heading back to the car just after 5pm.

Front Valley
Made our way back to Cooma to return our ski gear and pick up some Maccas for dinner.  And home about quarter to nine.

Had a lot of fun.  Fell over a few times, the most frustrating on Zali's cause it was quite steep and the snow was really slippery, so took ages to get myself up again.  Steve was very patient with me though, waiting at the bottom of each run for me :)  Pretty crap conditions, but really good snow quality.  Aching quite a bit from the traversing.  

And I'm doing it all again this Saturday.  I must be insane! ;)

Snow

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Would blog.  Too tired.
Altho really most of them were all on the one day..

First up, we have the Immigration Red Nose..

Immigration red nose
Before going to see Harry Potter (since it was a 9:30 movie and we weren't going to spend all that time having dinner), we dropped into the Wig and Pen to try some of their winter beers.  On the left is the Russian Imperial Stout, and on the right the Spies'd

Wig and Pen beers
Next it was off to Shogun Japanese restaurant for dinner.  It was pretty good!

Shogun dinner
Then we went for a wander around Civic

Civic trees
Civic UFO
And back to the Canberra Centre

Canberra Centre
Stu contemplating the gym..? :)
Stu contemplating the gym
Captured some ghosts outside the Dendy

Dendy ghosts
Dendy ghosts
This kid had a broomstick.. although perhaps not your traditional broomstick!

Broomstick
This morning Mt Ainslie was missing for a good chunk of the morning..

Mt Ainslie is missing!
And finally the fondue candle and Hedwig

Hedwig candle

To all those people who keep not coming over, this is what you've been missing out on ;)

Fondue for two
Fondue for two
On account of having been stood up two weekends in a row, we decided we'd do our own fondue anyway.  It was fricken awesome! ;)  Altho I did mean we ate over half a block of chocolate each .. oops!! ;)

Friday Veggies

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For some reason (can't have been Masterchef I'm sure) .. most likely because I'd eaten *crap* all day.. I felt like cooking veggies tonight.

So this is what I made:

Friday veggies
It was all really just experimenting.  I fried some onion, garlic, oregano, Greek seasoning and some of the mushroom in some oil, while cooking some portabella mushrooms and capsicum halves in the oven.  Then I mixed  the stuffing mix with some cheese, breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.  Plomped the "stuffing" on top of the mushrooms and in the capsicum halves and cooked for a while longer.  I also cooked some bok choy which was getting old in the fridge in some butter and garlic.  It was all pretty tasty, but quite a bit of work (took over 3/4 hour to prepare and cook).

Then I made Stu watch Babe, cause he'd never seen it   (!!)
I think he liked it :)

The Larch!!

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So the last two Roald Dahl books I've finished reading were Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, and Danny, Champion of the World.

The Great Glass Elevator was actually pretty lame.  Really only two things happened - a silly story about saving a space hotel from aliens and another silly story about sending old people to the minuses and back again.  Danny, well I guess not a whole lot more happened, but it flowed so much more betterer as a story and I enjoyed it a whole lot more.

At the end of Danny there was a reference to some larch trees.  Which wouldn't have meant anything to me, had it not been for an episode of Monty Python the other night that kept referring to The Larch trees. 

Ok, so small things ;)
Half Blood Prince So, it being opening night and all, and the fact that I'll be on call for the next week, and the fact that Windy will be covering Sunday for me so I couldn't ask him again and and and

Anyways, we went and saw Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince tonight.  

It was pretty good.  There was a lot of humour, which I suppose offset the darkness.  Voldemort really didn't feature at all except to be talked about.  They finally had to give Draco's mother a face (but sadly no Lucius - him being in Azkaban and all). Ginny got much more screen time this movie which was great, considering she was shafted in the last movie.  The movie flowed pretty well and I think did ok at condensing rather a long book into the movie.

But of course I kept thinking, especially towards the end, "that's not how it happened" .. "that's not how it happened" ..!  Especially the climax.  Where was the battle?  There was supposed to be a battle!  And in the end you never find out *why* he's (not mentioning any names) the Half Blood Prince.  

So all in all not bad, but don't think as good as the last one.
If anyone's interested I've put some more photos up on conspiracy - Canberra Airport Open Day 2008, Booze Train to Tarago 2008, and Canberra Festival Balloon Fiesta 2009.

The Airport Open Day last year was totally awesome.  And yet for some reason I never blogged about it?? Go figure.  The best part was getting up close and personal with some of the jets that I've flown on.  My favourite of course being the 767.  They told people not to touch, but I couldn't resist.  I was walking under its belly and it was *just there* so I had to give it a pat :)

The Booze Train to Tarago (actually the "Dance Train") was definitely an experience.  Me little brother begged us to go to make up numbers, so we went along.  Fortunately Y was there as well. Unfortunately for her she had a sprained ankle at the time, but it did mean she sat with us the whole night ;)  I have to say though, I've never seen so many Canberra bogans in one place.  Most of them were pissed before they got on the train.  They drank what they could all the way out to Tarago where they all got off to go down to the local hall with their entire eskies full of booze.  We stayed behind and enjoyed the atmosphere of the train with the staff who were all having their dinner.  Then the power went out and my brother scrambled off to fix it.  Then all the bogans came back.  Some of them continued to dance in the dance car, and others passed out in their seats.  If we could get cost price again and good company again I'd probably go again.
Tonight Windy and I went on a mission to photograph Black Mountain Tower in different colours.  We mostly succeeded.  Windy was more successful than me tho... oh well.... 

Blue tower Pink tower
Green tower Red tower
I took some photos of stars too, here's the Southern Cross (on its side :) )
Sideways Southern Cross
And then we went up Mt Ainslie
View from Mt Ainslie at night
View from Mt Ainslie at night
View from Mt Ainslie at night

We were going to get up close to the tower next, but of course we didn't realise that the lights all turn off at 10pm - doh!  So just came home.

More macro!

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This arvo I had another play with the macro lenses, this time being a little more systematic and writing everything down as I went.

Took fourteen rounds of photos of four objects using some of the different combinations of macro lenses and zoom settings on my camera.  I've just included the extremes here.

The first round shown here is about the best my camera can do with macro photos by itself.  Photos are simply resized to show how much of the frame they fill.  The zoom is about "50mm" (equivalent).

Macro Macro Macro Macro
The next four are the far extreme - the macro lens, the 4+, the 2+ and the 1+, and zoomed to about 100mm equivalent.  The depth of field here is about as shallow as you can get, and the camera had to be within a certain distance range or it just wouldn't focus at all.  Again, just resized for comparison.

Macro Macro Macro Macro
And here's a cropped version of a couple of them, actual pixel size...
Macro Macro
Because of the distortion with all the additional lenses attached, I think I'd just use the "macro" and "4+" ones in combination if I was going to do general macro photography.  You don't get a whole lot extra by adding the other two, and it does weigh the camera down somewhat.

Fun fun :)


Omelette!

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I felt like cooking something warm for lunch today.  Thought I could give an omelette a go.  I don't think I've ever cooked an omelette before!  And I've only ever done scrambled eggs half a dozen times *tops*.  So I really had no idea what to do.  Internet to the rescue!!

This is everything in the pan cooking
Omelette
And the finished result
Omelette
Stu thought it was excellent.  Which is the main thing I suppose heh.
I made another one after that for me, and I thought it was yummy too, but awfully filling..!

Macro!

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The other day on a whim, I bought a set of macro lenses for my camera.  This morning I finally got around to having a play.  Of course I should have written down which lenses I used for each shot, for future reference and all .. But anyways, here's some of the results:

Macro
Macro
Macro
Macro
Macro
Pretty funky!  

Apple Sauce!

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We were all set for a dinner party tonight, except our guests couldn't come at the last minute.  So we cooked the roast anyway ;)

One thing I decided to do this time was to make a real apple sauce for the roast pork.  Just three apples, a little sugar and water, and a sprinkling of cinnamon.  But sooooo yummy!  So much nicer than the stuff you get in a bottle, and much better for you too probably.  

We have plenty of leftovers for the week now.. :)

Ice Ice Baby!!

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A couple of mornings ago our pool froze over overnight.  I didn't think Canberra really got cold enough for such large bodies of water to do that, but apparently so!  Must have been very still in order for the surface to freeze..

Pool ice
Pool ice
It's only wafer thin!!
Pool ice

Piffle!

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*piffle* is all I want to say about the ridiculous idea to ban climbing Uluru aka Ayers Rock.  I climbed it as kid and the thought of not being able to climb it again ever again just pisses me off.  Tossers.
Decided today after buying Veronica Mars Season 2 (for a good price - $33 at JB HiFi) that I really need to watch some of the tv series I have on dvd.  I decided I may as well watch Monty Python, which DC loaned me some time ago.  

Forty-five-odd episodes .. could keep me going for a couple of months :)

Charting

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Have been charting our mortgage balance over the past eight months.  It looks relatively healthy when it spans only $100k .. but over the whole thing it doesn't look like it's moving at all :(

Sleeeep...?

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Woke up at 3:30 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep :(
Hoping to not have a repeat performance tonight......

Fondue!!

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Last night a couple of Chris' and families and Neil and I went over to Windy's for a fondue night.  It was a lot of fun but I ate and drank entirely too much!  Mainly ate too much - was still feeling bloated at 4am .. whoops :)

After we were completely stuffed silly a few of us played Singstar, which was also a lot of fun, but it meant rather a late night.  Stu bailed and went to bed, so had to get a lift home - thanks Chris!

Beginnings of the cheese fondues
Fondue

Starting to melt
Fondue

Windy stirring the fondue - nice strings on the swiss one!
Fondue

Let the dipping begin!  The Leicester didn't really go stringy unfortunately 
Fondue

Chocolate fondue!!  So much yummy food, it was evil!
Fondue

Windy has a Trekkie uniform!!
Windy has a Trekkie uniform!

Leleupi

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So apparently the two leleupis we got a while back were in fact a male and a female.  Because we have a bunch of grains of sand with eyes that are being guarded by the smaller one.  :)
We (I) used to cook pizzas every Friday night.  Until I got sick of them.  We haven't had any in probably a year or so. But last time we went shopping we picked up some pizza bases (just lebanese bread) and so I made some tonight.  They were pretty good.  Best not to overdo things though methinks.. :)
So we had another bunch of single malt whiskies to try at work tonight..

Whiskey 2009
The Suntory (Yamazaki) was very clean and easy to drink - "Soft" as Dave and I called it
The Hellyers was Australian and pretty raw and pretty average really - and the last one left at the end of the night
The Balblair was a nice and interesting Scottish whiskey
The Ardbeg was my favourite - a nice smokey Scottish whiskey - I *love* a good smokey whiskey
The Connemara (the Irish one) was a bit hard done by because it was my fifth drink and I'd already had a few to drink, so can't really comment on it ;)

Zombie Town ...

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Zombietown
Zombietown

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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