November 2011 Archives


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Second attempt last night to document lightning.  Better success this time!




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Depressing day today.

So much so that even with a fridge full of healthy food we ordered pizza.  And waited over an hour and a half for Crust to deliver it.  Shoulda gotten Dominos.

At least three brownouts tonight.  Stoopid storms.  We need to replace the batteries in our UPS.

And saw this bunny hopping around the front yard.  Stu didn't believe me, he said it was a rat.  I thought so too until I saw it hopping.

Wherein proving my camera has better eyesight than me - it was practically invisible where it was.


Convinced I'm Dying

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(TMI post, you've been warned)

So I'm convinced I'm dying.  Or at least have some sort of immunodeficiency.  I've been sick for basically two months straight.  I've never been this sick in my life.

To summarise:
* bad flu after Sydney in September that had me off work for most of the week
* ear infection, probably bacterial, took three weeks of antibiotics to get over
* gastro or food poisoning the night of our work ball (during the antibiotics run)
* weird eye infection just after I finished the antibiotics, don't know if viral or bacterial (both tests were negative)
* cold from one of the boys at the coast, done by the time I went to Melbourne
* bad cold or flu that started the Sunday night in Melbourne which made my training week pretty miserable
* persistent sore throat since about Saturday that I'm convinced is another bacterial infection (still coughing too)

Being stressed about being sick sabotages my means of getting better (ie, sleeping) and haven't felt up to doing any proper exercise in forever.


Sorting Sunday

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Spent some of this morning tidying up the area around my desk so that I could see the floor so that I could vacuum it.  Went to Fortune Box for lunch and wandered the shops looking for a present for the other Stu.  Went over to Annie's to drop it off and stayed and chatted for a while.  Came home and put up the Christmas tree! :)  Cooked a tomato bake and a cauliflower bake for dinner.  Didn't do much this evening.

Below is a picture of a photo we saw in the Asia Bookroom next to the Dumpling Inn.  They weren't exactly sure of the owner of the photo album - it was some businessman who worked a lot in Singapore.  They'd done a bunch of research and apparently they'd even identified some of the people in the photos.  The whole album was very well labelled.  I think my parents' photo albums will have plenty of historical value in the future since they're all so meticulously labelled.  Mine.. hrmm.. well I'm trying .. :)

But anyway.  This picture.  I showed it to Stu because he's been wanting to setup some sort of reading space somewhere.  We still haven't figured out where.  But if he decided not to have his desktop computer setup, we could turn that corner of the study into a little sitting room like this.. could be cool.. if it didn't get turned into a dumping zone.. and if we could find homes for all the stuff Stu has on his desk...

Sitting Room

Woke up pretty early and dumped forty litres of water collected overnight into the pool.  Pool is 1cm off being full (after I vaccuumed to waste the other week).  

Got ready and went and returned the oncall phone to Neil.  This was too early for the sweetie so went and did food shopping by myself since I was already out.  Ran into Damien which was nice.

How good does my shop look?

Grocery shopping
(that was everything I bought this morning.  A lot less impulse buys and fancy products without the sweetie around lol).  

On the way home I stopped to document Ginninderra Creek... do you think Lake Ginninderra might be a little bit full from all that rain overnight?  Normally the creek is just a little slow flowing creek way down low on the right.  Today it was flowing strong and *way* up!

Ginninderra Creek
Ginninderra Creek
Annie and Noah came over before lunch so that also was really nice.  Then have been pottering around the house, and feeling a lot better than I have all week.

Recurring Theme?

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Big work Christmas party today.  In my opinion too early for a Christmas party (and not helped by it being freezing cold today!)  But not as loud as previous years, so a much more enjoyable day.

In a repeat occurrence of last year, it rained lots and lots today.  So as we did last year, we hit up Scrivener Dam.  Not nearly as exciting as last year, but pretty cool nonetheless!

Scrivener Dam
Scrivener Dam
Scrivener Dam
Scrivener Dam
Scrivener Dam

Training, Day 3

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Day 3.. meh .. still not learning a whole heap.. just a few bits and pieces.
Not helped by not being able to breathe :/

Went and saw the DPC today which was pretty cool.

Got back to hotel at 5pm and it was still sunny, so headed out again for a wander.  Got some Haigh's chocolate, had dinner at a very mediocre Japanese restaurant (takoyaki was pretty dodgy and their okonomiyaki was ok but I think I like my (Lisa's) version better!) and walked around in squares around the CBD.

Only one more day to survive then go home.

Training, Day 2

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Felt pretty sick today.  If I'd been at home I might have stayed there.

Was an ok day two.  Learnt a few things, but not a whole heap that I hadn't already learnt by playing with the device.

Had lunch with Daniel and Pablo.  Stoopid cafe with far too many people that kept bumping into me - very stressful :( But a nice catchup after I calmed down.

Felt a bit better in the evening.  Went to the Mitre Tavern with Phil for a pint of Mountain Goat and salt and pepper squid.

Another early night for me though.


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Sick of being sick.

Fortunately today wasn't too taxing.  Small course, only four people, and I know two of the others.  Turns out Canberra was cancelled because the dude wasn't in the country or some such nonsense.  Whatevs.

So didn't learn too much today - knew most of what was being talked about. 

8:30pm.  Think will go to bed in a minute.


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So what do you do when work sends you to Melbourne for a week's training?  Why, you go down in the morning instead of at night the Sunday before and spend the day wandering around!

21000 steps, and an average of more than one photo per minute in twelve hours later, and I'm exhausted.  

Early night for me! :)

Flight Diary

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A few weeks ago I had the idea that I should digitise the flight log book my parents kept for me as a kid (after the Air New Zealand flight we got home from New Zealand in 1975 which gave me the log book).  

Flight Log Book

I entered all of those flights into an excel spreadsheet, and then kept going, digging out all my old boarding passes, photos and blog entries to figure out all the flights I've been on in my life.

As it turns out I've been on eighty flights in my life.  A few of those trips were on the same plane, so not eighty aircraft.  

I was telling Steve about all this and he showed me a magical site called flightdiary where you can enter all the details of all the flights you've been on, and it will show you all those flights on a map, as well as all sorts of statistics about your flights.  So awesome!  (and a total shock that Steve would have done anything that obsessive himself! :) )

So I went back to the boarding passes to get my seat numbers, and then entered everything into flightdiary (where I could - I didn't always get the registration of the plane all the time, mainly around that dark period around 2000 which was after I stopped using the log book and before I started recording things more obsessively).

It wouldn't count a flight on my uncle's plane because it didn't recognise the airport, so it only has 79 flights.

Some current stats:
79 flights (59 domestic, 20 international)
212272 km (5.3x around earth)
293 h 33 min (12.2 days or 1.7 weeks)
26.5 tons CO2 (1.44 kg methane, 1.18 kg nitrous oxide)
Top airport Sydney (obviously), followed by Brisbane, Canberra, LAX and Narita
Top airline Qantas, followed by Virgin Blue, then Ansett, Jetstar and TAA
Top aircraft - 737s, 747s, 727s and probably Dash 8s (but they get split up between the different sub series)
Top routes - Sydney to Brisbane and Brisbane to Sydney.  Pretty obvious with all the trips I did to visit Stu and later Chay and David.  Sydney-Canberra has had few goes now too.
2010 was my busiest year with 13 flights and it seems I've never flown in February!
Another funny thing I noticed was that in the first 32 flights of my life, not one of them was the same source/destination!  Some return trips, but never the same start/finish.  The first route ever to get repeated was the 2004 flight from Sydney to LAX.

Flight Diary

Flight Diary
Check out my full profile and stats on FlightDiary.

Tomorrow I get to add another flight to the list :)

Over the hills

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Dropped off Tony after a painful two hour meeting (Which started at 4pm. On a Friday. I know!!)  .. and ended up staying for a couple of beers and takeaway Thai from Mork's.  Lovely relaxing evening on the deck chatting, eating and drinking.  :):)

Air Force One

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Snuck out of the office after lunch with Windy today to go see Air Force One!

They'd been landing from the north all morning, but the wind changed and all the flights started coming in from the south.  So we went to Tennant Street Fyshwick which afforded an awesome view of the plane in flight.  My brother made it in time to go to Brindabella Business Park.  We thought about going there too, but were too worried about crowded roads and closures, so decided not to fight the masses and stayed where we went.

We had about 3/4 hour to kill before the plane arrived so took photos of planes, flowers, birds, bugs, and helicopters.  And listened to the F/A-18s flying around somewhere way above the clouds.

Qantas Dash 8 400 (VH-QOC)
Windy was listening to the Air Traffic Control on his phone, and we heard the pilots of Air Force One!

Isaac was the first to spot Air Force One in the distance.

Air Force One in Canberra

Air Force One in Canberra Air Force One in Canberra
It got pretty close!

Air Force One in Canberra

Air Force One in Canberra
Air Force One in Canberra

Air Force One in Canberra
It's gonna hit the ground!

Air Force One in Canberra
So yeah.. super awesome!!

We decided to go up to the airport to see it on the ground.  Bit of a mistake.  We timed it badly and had to sit on the Monaro Highway for about fifteen minutes while the motorcade left the airport.  Doh.  Saw it from the Costco car park.  Not a great view but traffic was so bad we decided not to go down to the Brindabella Business Park, and went back to work the long way around via Majura Road.

Air Force One in Canberra
Delta press plane
Nanette and the kids were lucky enough to see the motorcade outside the Hyatt later on while we were stuck in traffic.

I can still hear the jets! :)

11:11 11/11/11

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Well I thought it was fun anyway :)
Everyone in the office was watching for the minute our phones and computer clocks were on 11:11 11/11/11 :)



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After Fiona's post the other day about going to Kingsleys, I made a reservation for Kingsleys in Canberra :)

Kingsleys Canberra
I'd been wanting to try their wagyu beef for ages.  So in the end we got the two different kinds they had and shared.

This was "Oakleigh Ranch Wagyu Striploin, 350 day grain fed, marble score 4-5+"

Kingsleys Wagyu Beef
This was "Tajima Wagyu Flank Steak, 500 day grain fed, marble score 7-8+, onion rings, chimichurri"

Kingsleys Wagyu Beef
Both were delicious in their own ways, but the striploin was more tender.  Yum yum yum :)  I'm sure the sweetie will suffer for it tonight!

We also got a really nice beetroot, feta and rocket salad.

Kingsleys Canberra

Headed down to the coast for the weekend.

It was pretty much a case of the usual - eating junk food, eating pizza, drinking beer (and a sparkling shiraz), going to the shops for the paper, going to Myrtle Beach for a swim, jigsaw, wii, crosswords, kenkens, and of course, going in the spa :):)

Also had a play with the new Eee PC and got some stuff setup on it, including the GPS software so that made me happy.

On the walk to the shops, I took my new "random" camera to have a bit of a play with it.  Generally I'm happy with it (especially for macros), however its noise reduction is very aggressive, to the point where it almost looks like one of those "paint" filters in Photoshop where big gloops of colour are the same and picture quality is lost.

Coast Trip November
(this one looks better at higher res - irfanview is pretty sucky at saving big blobs of red)
Coast Trip November
Coast Trip November
Coast Trip November
Coast Trip November
Coast Trip November
Coast Trip November
On our drive to Myrtle Beach we had to stop and wait for the bridge over the Clyde to open/shut.  But we were so far back in the line of cars we didn't get to see it :(

Coast Trip November
A nice walk through the trees to the beach

Coast Trip November
Coast Trip November
We were actually worried that we were going to get rained/stormed on at the beach - this big storm was brewing to the west.  However it moved to the north and the beach stayed in the sun.  

These are some of the clouds on the way back.

Coast Trip November
After playing sports resort on the Wii if you just leave it it goes around the various sports locations and shows your Miis hanging out.  Weird..

Coast Trip November
We had three small pizzas - a meat lover's, a ham and pineapple, and a putanesca for the sweetie

Coast Trip November
The jigsaw I did

Coast Trip November
A weird but kinda cute concrete chicken that's appeared in the house since last time.

Coast Trip November
Aftermath of our beers

Coast Trip November
Coast Trip November
Of course the suckiest part of going down the coast is having to clean the entire house before you leave.  All my dreaded tasks (cleaning toilets, vaccuuming) and no way to escape.  Especially when it's so humid.  Blah.  Jumped in the lukewarm spa at the end to recover.

Also the boys both had colds which means I'm pretty much screwed... 

But otherwise, a lovely weekend.

World's Smallest Jigsaw

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Borrowed the cutest little jigsaw from someone at work today.  Except there's a piece missing.  The thing wasn't in a snap-lock baggie and I did get it out a few times to show people how cute it was, so there's every chance I lost it somewhere :(:(:(:(

World's Smallest Jigsaw

Eee PC - number 2

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So I might have accidentally bought another toy today ..

Eee PC
Another little Eee PC (the first one we got three and a half years ago between our wedding and our honeymoon).  While the first one was adorable, it was too underpowered to work with the photos off my new camera, getting photos off it was a pain (you had to do a cp -p to preserve the timestamps on the files), the screen was *tiny* and difficult to use Firefox on, and the final nail in the coffin - it runs Linux, but I need Windows or MacOS to run my GPS software.  

I wanted an SSD for it, but they're really hard to get in netbooks (apparently people want more space so they can use them for downloading holiday photos).  The Macbook Air certainly looked pretty swishy, but at three times the price, and the pain of me having to learn a whole new OS and find replacement applications put me off.  I decided I just wanted something reasonably cheap that wouldn't be the end of the world if anything happened to it while travelling.

JB HiFi had the R051PX for $397, Dick Smith had it for $399.  So Phil looked up MSY and they had it for $299.  So out to Fyshwick I trekked this afternoon :)

Haven't played with it much yet, just doing lots of updates.

Not sure what we'll do with the old one (which we paid $500 for - ouch!!), maybe give it to the kids for Christmas or something..??  
And I still have that old 98 laptop too - and it even still boots!  But couldn't get the GPS software working on that either - it installed ok but then wouldn't actually run :(

Who gets it right?

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Last night while I was looking for boarding passes for my trips to the USA in 2000 and 2004, I found the travel diaries I kept along the way.  There's some funny stuff in them.  One of them, from 2004, talks about "Who gets it right?" - observations I made about stuff and which country does it better.  The diary just had a list from each country, which I've expanded on here.


Pedestrian crossing buttons - presumably American crossings don't have buttons at all and you just have to wait.  Although I read somewhere that they don't really do anything in Australia.  Unless I suppose it's a dedicated pedestrian crossing where the lights will only change if you press the button.

No 1 and 2 cent pieces - omigosh this is so true!  I *hate* these coins and having to use them overseas - you end up with piles of the stoopid things because they're completely useless!  New Zealand has gone one step further and taken away 5 cent pieces as well.

Stop signs, or lack thereof - in America most minor intersections have Stop signs.  In Australia we have Give Way signs.  Which means you don't actually have to stop, but just need to make sure nothing is coming.  Sooo much better on a quiet intersection!

Number plate laws - not sure what I meant by this?

Toilet seats - again not sure what I meant by this.  Although I do think American toilets are weird with their huge bowls of water so that everything floats around - gross!!

Know how much you're paying - in Australia the GST (goods and services tax) is included in the price tag.  In America (at least the states that add sales tax) you never know how much something is going to cost until they ring it up at the cash register.

Minimum wage/tipping - in Australia people in the service industry are paid sooo much better than those in America.  They don't need tips to survive.  I figured tipping was basically like a service tax that went straight to the service staff, rather than the government.

Orange blinkers - I think in America a lot of blinker lights are red (or white).  In Australia they're always orange, so don't get mixed up with brake lights.

Metric - enough said

Seat belts - not sure what I meant by this

Footpaths - Americans don't believe in pedestrians.  They don't think they exist.  They assume everyone uses a car to cross a road.  At one point we were at this open-style mall with carparks and stores on either side of a busy road.  We wanted to get across to the other side.  We would have been safer getting in the car and crossing to the other side that way than to try and walk across like we did.

Self service service stations - presumably a lot of service stations in America have full service.  I *hate* that!  I never know what I'm supposed to do.  Just let me pump my own petrol!


Street sign labelling - in general street signs are much better in America (or at least better than Sydney!)

Freeway exit labelling - these are relatively decent in Australia now

Bags in supermarkets - not sure what I meant by this.  Maybe I meant the whole issue of taking backpacks into stores.  In America they'd never dare violate your personal rights by asking to search your bag on the way out of stores like they do in Australia.  In Canada they're a bit more forceful about not letting you take bags in at all, so I didn't even go in some stores.  As an honest shopper, I prefer the American way - I hate being made to feel like a criminal by having to open my bag on the way out.

Right turn on red after stopping - this is a given on just about all lighted intersections in America.  In Australia it's pretty rare, but should definitely be more common.

Busy Day

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Had a pretty busy day doing lots of bits and pieces.

Productive evening doing washing, cleaning the pool, yummy lamb leftovers for dinner, "life" paperwork, photo sorting.

And discovered that there really was a system change made to the web host for this site - as evidenced in a changed format of the log files from that night back in September.  I replied back to the last mail, dunno if I'll get any response.

Here's a couple of miscellaneous photos.

A nice sunrise the other morning
Dramatic sunrise
Cadbury Screme Eggs, seen in Coles Belconnen
Cadbury Screme Eggs
A poppy in the front yard
Dramatic lighting of trees next to Belconnen Way
Belconnen Way Trees
So had a pretty decent weekend.  Went out for brunch yesterday morning - into Civic and tried "Cafe Garema" which used to be "My Cafe" (which had given us pretty appalling service once so hadn't been back).  I had eggs benedict (my favourite cafe breakfast) which were pretty good.  

Cafe Garema Eggs Benedict

The rest of the weekend alternated between doing this jigsaw (5 hours, 37 minutes worth) - 

Raining cats and dogs jigsaw
and lots of housework, gardening (whoever had the idea to graft ornamental cherry trees onto aggressive root stock should have been shot), photo sorting, "life" paperwork, and finishing my lifetime list of flights (I've been on eighty planes in my life! (a few repeats)).

Cooked a heap more veggies for dinner tonight - a riot of colour!  Had a small amount of leftovers.

Capsicum, zucchini, mushrooms, red onion, carrot, potato, sweet potato, with fresh oregano and rosemary, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.. yumm!
Riot of veggie colour

I totally love the Movie Barcode site.  They take all the frames of a movie, then collapse them horizontally so you can see the entire movie all at once in one small picture.  This picture looks like a bar code, hence the site name.  You can see the colour scheme and darkness of a movie just like that.  Love it.

This week they did all the Harry Potter movies (go to the site to see higher resolution images):

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 1 (2010)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:Part 2 (2011)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 2 (2011)

Edit: they just did the whole series!!

Harry Potter- Complete Series (2001-2011)

As seen in Garema Place on Wednesday..

Magpie seagulls


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Went to Potty's for various curries tonight.  Jeff and Ruth were there.  We haven't seen them in the two weeks they've been in town (except the first time we all saw them two weeks ago).  Neither have Scott and Kerry.  Yeup.

So watched some inappropriate YouTube videos, and channel surfed on telly.  And fell asleep on the lounge.
..maybe people are more empathetic (not the sweetie, he's the bestest sweetie ever)


Team Blank FTW!!

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So we might have accidentally won at work trivia night tonight.  Just a little bit.  Whoops!!  (winning means you have to plan the next one - which is why we've come second or third for the last three ;) )

Fun fun fun and came home with wine and movie tickets!  Yayy!! :)

Thanks DC, Chris, Jeff, Neil, Rebecca & partner and Robyn :)


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Had a repeat of last year's floor party this year (wherein the entire floor came for booze and Kingsley's chicken before watching the race).  Was pretty awesome.  I was *slightly* better behaved this year (in that I made sure I got enough to eat at lunch unlike last year where not enough food meant champagne went to my head a lot more).  

Then walked henrch home only for him to discover he'd left his keys at work and had to go back - doh!!

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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