December 2011 Archives

2011 Year in Review

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So the year began with a small pool party at our house, with beer, pizza, games and good friends.

We didn't travel much this year.  Well, we did a bit, but no big international holidays.  We did a long weekend trip to Queensland in July to visit Chay and David which is always nice.  The only other flying I did was for some training for work in Melbourne.  We went to Dave's coast house in February, April, June and November.  Again, always great weekends away.  

Did several trips to Sydney throughout the year:  
  • In August for my birthday to see a John Williams concert and visit friends and family
  • In September to play tour guide to Dave2 and be a tourist in my home town
  • In December to repeat the tourist trip with Kore

And a few smaller trips - to Yarrangobilly Caves, Parkes for The Dish 50th Anniversary open day, and Jindabyne to see the dam spilling.

At work I actually had a good beginning of the year.  We got some new staff and for a few months I had time to step back from project work and get some operational stuff done.  But then Phil went away for three months and it got super busy again - doh!  Had a bowling night in June where I *didn't* come last!  Team Blank went to three trivia nights: we came third in April, second in August and first in November!  Of course that means we need to plan the next one!  Planning to have that in March next year.  Had a Hollywood-themed ball in October that I was sick for and was pretty miserable the whole night.

Speaking of sickness, it was one of the worst years I've ever had.  Had a cold in February, with an ear infection and conjunctivitis as well.  Got pretty severe gastro from Violet in March.  Another cold in May and another in August.  And then two months of various colds/flus/ear/eye infections from September to November.  Finally healthy at the moment, but it hasn't been a great year :(

Didn't see as much of Nat and Andrew this year.  The default activity for Saturday nights was watching Buffy and Angel with DaveC, so it took energy to do anything different, hence it didn't happen very often.  We did have a couple of Singstar/video/games nights though.

Not a lot has changed on the fish front.  We (I) made a rule some time back that we wouldn't buy any new fish until after Stu's Japan trip next year.  So numbers have been slowly dwindling there.  We had another heat wave that required regular dumpings of ice to keep tank temperatures down.  

Although we had a couple of record lows in winter, the days were generally warmer, and the pool only froze over a couple of times.

The only new Lego this year was a few Harry Potter sets.  Just trying to remember if the Toy Story 3 Lego came out this year or last year.  It certainly didn't all get put away until just the other week!  We went to the Lego Brick Expo in Woden which was pretty awesome.  Also saw Nathan Sawaya's "Art of the Brick" exhibition in Sydney this week.  And an unexpected bonus of lots of Lego displays at the Aquarium yesterday.

Only real toys this year were a new random camera, and a little Eee PC for use when travelling (and in fact I'm using it now!).  I had a play with a macro lens and an L series lens.  Still using my original lens though.  On my phone I played with HDR and Instagram apps, as well as doing my first time lapse videos of Lego building, jigsaw building and clouds.

I had a lot of fun with origami this year - making several "phizz" balls of various sizes.  Also some smaller geometric shapes (technically not origami).  

I did some big jigsaws this year (and a stack of little ones).  I did my 3000-piece one that I've had for years but never made.  And then the first quarter of an amazing 24000 piece jigsaw!  Hoping to do the next quarter early in the new year.

After the big La Niña of last summer, got to see Bendora Dam overflowing in January, as well as the aftermath of the floods at Coppins Crossing.  Watched the progress of Cotter Dam and went to an open day in April (didn't go to another open day in November because it looked like they weren't preselling time slots and that didn't work very well at the first open day I went to).

In culinary adventures this year, I tried my hand at quite a few new recipes (and a few old ones).  These were mostly desserts - Anzac Biscuits, Violet Crumble cheesecake slice, Apple pie, Caramel slice, Melting moments, Chocolate dipped fruit, Christmas cookies, Gingerbread.  That was a lot of fun and will continue next year.  Also did quite a few slow-cooked dishes, and rediscovered the simplicity of roast vegetables.  Another new favourite of ours this year was okonomiyaki, thanks to Lisa.  I also tried crocodile for the first time (it was a bit tough) and had my first McFeast (pretty good).  Our favourite restaurants are still Black Pepper, the Dumpling Inn and Bella Vista.  Tried a few new places as well including Courgette for our anniversary, Rice, Alice's and Kingsley's.

Shows seen this year:
  • Weird Al Yankovic
  • Folk Festival
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Jesus Christ Superstar
  • John Williams at the Opera House
  • Za Kabuki
  • Floriade Nightfest

Movies seen this year (at the movies):
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2)

Books read this year:
  • Hook by Geary Gravel (and got a comment by the author!)
  • Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Mallorean series by David Eddings
  • National Velvet by Enid Bagnold

Other Stuff:
  • Got lots of my photos onto the RiotACT
  • Saddened by the Queensland floods
  • Lots of scanning of old photos
  • Got a GPS and had some fun
  • The little brother came to stay a few times with various people in tow (or by himself)
  • Balloon fiesta including going up in one!
  • Skyfire
  • Walk around Government House
  • Saw Peter Russell-Clarke at the mall
  • Enjoyed the third season of Masterchef but decided not to watch the second kids series
  • Walked up Black Mountain again in May and went up the tower this time
  • Watched Amazing Race Australia
  • Did the Mount Majura to Mount Ainslie walk
  • Missed two lunar eclipses (4am the first time, clouds the second time)
  • Met Fiona again (x2), and Lisa and Chris
  • Radio silence in July when our internet went out for two weeks
  • Skiing in July
  • Trivia night for Stu's work
  • Geotagged UK photos, but didn't get them all online
  • Walked up Mount Taylor
  • Stu's sister bought a new house in Canberra which makes visiting somewhat easier
  • Hanami party in September, would have been better a week later
  • Two games nights at Mishi's (only played games on one of the nights)
  • Blog got screwed over (again) by my hosting company
  • Saw the Queen
  • Saw Air Force One come to land at Canberra
  • Got some cool photos of lightning

As usual I don't really make new years resolutions.  I think if anything I'd still like to try and spend less time on the computer - eg two hour chunks in the evenings.

We're having a quiet party in our hotel room tonight.  Just a little champagne and nibblies in our room.  The thought is to watch the 9pm fireworks from the hotel pool, and maybe go out at 11pm to see the main fireworks from Lavender Bay....

Happy New Year!!

Sydney Day 6

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New Year's Eve started relatively early, as we headed out to Kogarah to meet Fiona for brunch (after documenting the statue of Bruce Lee that was put there earlier in the year).

Bruce Lee

The first cafe we went to refused to give us any service and the menu didn't look inspiring so we left and went to Alexander's.  I decided to go for a lighter breakfast since I was going out for lunch.  So had waffles which were pretty good.

Waffles at Alexander's

It was great catching up with Fiona again.

Fiona

Kore and Stu headed back into town (they wandered around bookstores) and I walked over to Luc and Lizzi's for lunch.  It was great catching up with those guys too.

Santa Yoda

I stopped in at Woollies at the station to pick up some supplies for the evening before training it back into town and a bit of a snooze (don't think I actually slept though).

View from Citigate Central hotel

So our new year's evening was spent having a quiet party at the hotel with some champagne and lots of nibblies (not all consumed though - there was heaps!!). 

Party

At 9pm we went onto the hotel pool deck (which was even on our floor) and watched the fireworks over Darling Harbour (shoulda taken the tripod out, oh well).  

Fireworks

A bit before midnight (a bit later than I was hoping), we hopped on a train to North Sydney and walked down to Lavendar Bay to watch the fireworks.  This would have been a great spot, except we were so late getting there (we arrived at 11:50) that the only place to stand was quite obstructed by trees.  But Kore certainly got the idea which was the main thing.

Fireworks
Fireworks
Fireworks
Fireworks
Fireworks
Fireworks


Headed back to Central, and Stu went back to the hotel while Kore and I went off to find me little brother, who had brought a train up from Canberra.  Had a drink with D&Y on the train which was great.  Left the train around 2:30 when it was scheduled to head back to Canberra.

Train from Canberra

So all in all a pretty good end to the year :):)
We headed pretty much straight home to Canberra in the morning, dropping Kore off in Mittagong to go to River Island with D&Y for an extra night.

Sydney Day 5

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Beer Line Walk

So after pondering over beer bottles and brewing equipment in Haymarket and the pink dots, I went online and found out the little pink dots all over Sydney were part of a street art project called "Beer Line - from Barley to the Bottle".  It started in Haymarket with some real barley planted in planter boxes.  Unfortunately the barley had been harvested when we were there and it was just grass left.  This morning I went to the start of the line and found some more information.  It was partly in memory of the Castlemaine Brewery, and went in two directions - right towards Redfern, and left towards Circular Quay.  I had intentions of walking the entire line, however I only managed to get as far as Wynyard before I had to get back for Art of the Brick, and then the rest of the week was too busy to finish it.

Beer bottles
Beer line beginning
Barley planter boxes (harvested, just grass now)
Grass
Start of the Beer Line
Pink dots
Space invaders in Haymarket
Space invaders
Footsteps on George Street
Footsteps
Hopscotch outside the QVB
Hopscotch
Near Wynyard there was a branch off to the left with basketball lines
Basketball

Here's some of the other stuff I stopped to take photos of along the walk

The hear/see/speak no evil monkeys had santa hats on
Monkeys
Queen Victoria statue outside the QVB
Queen Victoria
Dog sculpture outside the QVB
Dog sculpture


Art of the Brick

This was all kinds of awesome, but I'll put that in a separate entry


Bondi Beach

It seems Sydney Buses forgot that hundreds of people want to go to the beach during the school holidays, and were running a regular weekday timetable (actually there was probably a few extra buses that day otherwise we *never* would have gotten there).  So we queued for like half an hour, then had to squeeze onto a bus and stand the whole way.  I didn't have my swimmers since I'd been at Art of the Brick and was expecting Stu and Kore to have gone a lot earlier.  So I sat under a tree.  And got very grumpy at someone who was completely unsympathetic to my not being able to take photos at Harry Potter.  So sat there feeling pretty miserable.  Blah.  Had a snack later with Stu and Kore before heading back to the hotel to recover.

Queue for buses at Bondi Junction
Queue for buses at Bondi Junction
Squeezed onto a bus
Kore on the bus
Super crowded Bondi Beach
Super crowded Bondi Beach

Sydney Aquarium

Too many annoying people, but there was a whole collection of nautical-themed Lego setup which made it pretty awesome.  Apparently the company that owns that Aquarium also owns Legoland, so they were doing a promotion.  Worked for me :):)

Triton in Lego
Triton
Freshwater crayfish
Crayfish
Some sort of dragon
Water dragon
Either a Murray or a Trout Cod
Cod
Eastern Water Dragon
Easter water dragon
Minifig with penguin
Minifig with penguin
Red Indianfish
Red Indianfish
Cowfish
Cowfish
Little Penguin
Penguin
Common Sydney Octopus
Octopus
Jellyfish
Jellyfish
Mermaid in Lego
Mermaid
Dory the blue tang
Dory the blue tang
Fish in the dugong tank
Fish in the dugong tank
Fish in the dugong tank
Fish in the dugong tank
Fish in the dugong tank
Fish in the dugong tank
Dugong
Dugong
Stingray
Stingray
Cuttlefish
Cuttlefish
Shark
Shark
Turtle
Turtle
Nautical-themed cupcakes
Cupcakes
Shark in the final tank
Final tank
Sawfish
Sawfish
Fish in the final tank
Fish in the final tank
Kore in the final tank
Kore in the final tank
Kore about to be stabbed by a sawfish
Kore about to be stabbed by a sawfish
Kore found Nemo (well Marlin actually)
Kore found Nemo (actually Marlin)
Clownfish
Clownfish
Super awesome Lego display at the end - the white whale made out of Duplo and the biggest Lego mosaic I've ever seen in the background.  The baseboards had been spraypainted with the colour to be used, and plates attached on top.  But the plates weren't glued down, so there were patches around the edges (and even in the middle) where people had pulled off the plates and stolen them :(
White whale

Dinner at Eat Love Pizza

Had a few super yummy pizzas and a couple of drinks and had a nice chat

Crazy pizza stands
Crazy pizza stands
Salumi and prosciutto - sopressa, prosciutto crudo, mixed mushrooms, roast garlic and fior de latte.  This pizza was awesome!
Eat Love Pizza
Kangaroo - potato base with marinated kangaroo, roasted pumpkin, pine nuts, feta and chopped parsley.  I also really liked this pizza, and it was Kore's first taste of kangaroo.
Eat Love Pizza
Marinara - tiger prawns, mussels, vongole, calamari, chili, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.  I didn't actually have any of this one, not a bit fan of seafood pizzas.  I'm told it was good though.
Eat Love Pizza

Pyrophone Juggernaut

As we left Eat Love Pizza we saw a bunch of people seated watching the Pyrophone Juggernaut.  There were people there testing the flames etc for tomorrow night.  Unfortunately no show, we would have had to come back the next night :(

Pyrophone Juggernaut
Pyrophone Juggernaut


Sydney Day 4

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Had a crap night sleep last night.  Don't know how much longer I can keep this up.  Woke up at 5:30am this morning.  Got up at 7:00 and did all yesterday's photos for the blog.  I may as well have gotten up at 5:30 :/

So we went to Maccas again, and the little brother met us again.

Pink dots are all around Sydney.  Possibly part of Street Works
Pink dot

Had a bit of a wander through Darling Harbour, including climbing a rope pyramid.

Billions of bins
Bins
Tumbalong Park
Tumbalong Park
Me up the rope tower
Me climbing a tower
Me up the rope tower
Me climbing a tower
The rope tower
Up the tower
View from the rope tower
View from the tower
For Dave2: the Hard Rock Cafe building
Hard Rock Cafe
Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour
Brolgas dancing at Cockle Bay Wharf
Brolgas
Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour

Then to Wildlife World.  Spent a couple of hours there with Kore squeeing over kangaroos and koalas.

Fluttery
Flutterby
Kore and a flutterby
Kore and a butterfly
Koala
Koala
Gak gak bird!
Gak gak bird
Didn't catch the name of this guy
Some sort of dragon I think
Zebra finch
Zebra finch
Cunningham's skinks
Cunninghams Skinks
Kookaburra
Kookaburra
Yellow-footed rock wallaby
Yellow-footed rock wallaby
Wombat
Wombat
Bull ant
Bull ant
Cassowary
Cassowary
A tiny dragon (kid's hand next to it)
Dragon
Central bearded dragon
Central bearded Dragon
Ridge-tailed monitor
Ridge-tailed monitor
Kangaroos
Kangaroos
Face-plant kanga
Faceplant kanga
Juvenile emu
Juvenile emu
Emerald dove
Emerald dove
A few seconds later - the dove being chased out of the food by an emu!
Emu chasing dove
Stu, Kore and emus
Stu, Kore and emus
Salt water crocodile
Salt water crocodile
Yvonne could tell me what these finches are...
Finches

Nom!
Nom
Salt water crocodile
Salt water crocodile
Didn't catch the name of this monitor either
Monitor
Kore and bat
Kore and a bat
Kore touching a stick insect
Kore patting a stick insect
Koala
Koala
Fiona the curlew upstages the koala keeper talk
Fiona the curlew
Capture!
Capture!
Rainbow lorikeet
Rainbow lorikeet
Frilled-neck lizard
Frilled-neck lizard
Kore and a kangaroo
Kore and a kangaroo
Salt water crocodile
Salt water crocodile

Was later leaving there than we hoped and had to meet David and Yvonne at a Korean place.  Our original instructions were "on Pitt St, south of Town Hall near Capitol Square, on the right".  As we were walking I asked what the name of the place was.  NaruOne.  OK, so into Google Maps.  No probs.  Except Google Maps was wrong by a whole block.  Got the address (375 Pitt St, Lower Ground) and then had to go back a block (after Stu led us downstairs under 395 Pitt St).  So anyway.  Fifteen minutes late, hot and stressed.  *sigh*

Had bibambap at Yvonne's recommendation.  

Bibimbap bits
Bibimbap

So left there at 2:00 and headed down to the Powerhouse museum for a special exhibition, which might have been awesome, had it not been for stoopid money-hungry corporations.  Made me very upset.

So came back to the hotel and crashed, because frankly both Stu and I were completely done with the afternoon.

Although Kore and I did pop out for takeaway - we got some Turkish because she'd never had pide or dolmatas or falafel before.  

Watched a heartbreaking documentary on the township of Iitate in Japan that was affected by the Fukushima reactor disaster.  

Sydney Day 3

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Didn't sleep very well *again* last night :(:(  Blah.
Headed out a bit after nine and met the little brother at the local McCafe.  Had brekky (bacon and egg mcmuffin and a hash brown.. yumm) then wandered through the Devonshire Street tunnel to the station to buy our tickets.  We decided to get a MyMulti (Zone 1).  
Art in the Devonshire Street Tunnel
Devonshire St tunnel
Devonshire St tunnel
Headed to Town Hall.  I went down and got myself a ticket to the Art of the Brick show on Friday morning! 
Kore's first ever train!
Tangara

Deck chairs outside Town Hall
Deck chairs at Town Hall


Then we had a wander through the QVB.  Stopped in to look at HobbyCo.  Nearly didn't get Stu and Kore away from the anime section ;)

Old freight trains
Model train in the QVB
Thomas!
Thomas
Crystal pavilion thing in the QVB
Crystal Santa room
Crystal Santa room
Christmas Tree in the QVB
Christmas tree in the QVB
Left there and went and got our tickets for the Tower/Wildlife World/Aquarium from NRMA (10% discount - same as online).  Then to Sydney Tower!  I didn't worry about panoramas this time since I did that last time.  Just zoomed in on all sorts of things, and did the tour guide thing for Kore.  And far out it was crowded!  Queued to go up, queued to go down.  And then got stuck in the lift.  Well not really, it just didn't start.  Ended up just hitting the door open button to get out.
Sydney Tower from King Street
Sydney Tower from King St
Sydney Tower under construction
Sydney Tower under construction

In the "4D" show
In the "4D" show
Harbour from the tower
Sydney Harbour
Don't know what this kid was looking at..
Not sure what this kid was looking at..
Kore up the tower
Kore and Kurama
Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour
Pacific Jewel
Pacific Jewel
Highest post box.  Except you can't actually buy stamps up the tower.  Pointless!
Post box
By this time it was lunch time, so we went to the Westfield foodcourt.  I had subway! heh. Poor sweetie.  Sydney is super crazy busy at the moment, and even at 2pm the food court was packed.  Basically the sweetie's idea of hell :( 
Then headed across to Hyde Park to see the Archibald Fountain and St Mary's cathedral (didn't bother going in - since "pics or it didn't happen" would mean it didn't happen heh).
Kore and Stu inspecting the wicker concrete on a building in Market Street
Concrete on Market St
Kore in Hyde Park
Kore in Hyde Park
Archibald Fountain
Archibald Fountain
St Mary's Cathedral
St Mary's Cathedral
A bit of a wander down Macquarie Street.
Hyde Park Barracks
Hyde Park Barracks
Stu picks hogwart's nose
Stu picks Hogwart's nose
Parliament House
Parliament House
State Library
State Library
Ibis
Ibis
I told Kore they look better in flight
Ibis in flight
Conservatorium of Music
Conservatorium of Music
And down to Circular Quay, to go see the Opera House.
Obligatory Harbour Bridge photo
Harbour Bridge
Opera House
Sea Gull
Kore at the Opera House
Kore discovers the Opera House is tiled
Kore discovers the tiles
Kore at the Opera House
And back to Circular Quay and the Manly Ferry!
Freshwater
Circular Quay station with barricades up to stop people watching the fireworks there
Circular Quay station
Circular Quay
Sydney from the ferry
Sydney from the ferry
Opera House
Harbour Bridge
Sydney
Sea plane
Lighthouse near the heads
This was Kore's first ever ferry
Kore on the ferry
Sailing boats on the harbour
Manly Wharf
Manly Wharf
Wandered up The Corso to the beach.  
Smiley face in sweat
Smiley face in sweat
Bubbles!
Oz Bubbles
Church
There are several taps along the Corso for filling up water bottles.  Best idea ever!
Water filling station
The Corso
The Corso
Manly men in Manly
Manly men
Manly beach
Manly beach
Kore dipped her feet in :)
Kore in the ocean
Then back to the Steyne hotel for a beer.  We originally had a table in the middle, but then noticed a window seat was free, so we all moved over there.  I tell you what, a nice cold beer, seat by the window with a lovely sea breeze and a view of the ocean was AWESOME!!  Really really nice.  Even the sweetie felt better after the stressful morning.  Decided to get "fish and chips" there because that's a traditional beachy thing to do (and Kore had never had it before, in fact she'd never even been to a pub before!).
Beer at the Steyne Hotel
Fish and chips
Then wandered back to the ferry, which we timed nicely for some lovely sunset pictures over the harbour.  
Pacific Jewel
Kore on her second ferry
Harbour sunset
Pacific Jewel leaving
Harbour sunset
Harbour sunset
Harbour sunset
Harbour sunset
Harbour sunset
Sydney
Opera House

Harbour Bridge
Circular Quay
They haven't finished the barricades on this side yet
Circular Quay station with barricades for the fireworks
Kore's second train
Train
And finally back to the hotel.  
Had to point out that the moon is upside down here
Moon
Bat!
Bat
Took over 1100 photos today .. whoops!!  Not sure how my experiment to deal with photos on a daily basis is going to work!  OK so an hour and a half later and I'm still not finished processing photos, let alone select some to blog, resize, upload and enter them into the blog.  Might work on that tomorrow morning if I get a decent nights' sleep and wake up early enough.

Sydney Day 2

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So day 2.

Didn't sleep very well :(  Three nights in a row... starting to get to me!! :(

Got ready then watched Kore's plane enter the country on Plane Finder - which was SO COOL!!  As we were approaching the airport I lost my internet connection, but I looked to the left and there was her plane arriving!!  :)  Best app ever :)

Plane Finder
Qantas A380

So we got to the airport and waited a little while for Kore to arrive.

Headed off, and decided to go to Coogee for brunch at Coogee Yeeros.  Had a reasonably decent Eggs Benedict.  

Coogee Yeeros Eggs Benedict
This is Kore's $20 phone - so cute!
Tiny phone

Went for a walk to the beach and up to the headland.

Coogee
Coogee
Coogee
Kore in Coogee
Coogee
Coogee
Kore and Stu

Then wandered back to the car and headed down the coast.  Stopped at Maroubra beach to have a quick look.

Maroubra

Rubiks Cube on Maroubra beach

Then down to La Perouse and Bare Island.

Bare Island
Rocks at Bare Island
Fort near Bare Island

Then down through Brighton..
Brighton play equipment

..and back to my parents' place to pick up all our luggage before heading into town to check into our hotel.  Was a bit disappointed with the view from our room (the last time we were here we had an awesome north facing room, but this one has a view of some shrubbery).  Oh well.

Hotel room
Hotel view

So settled in for a bit before heading out again for dinner.

Found a little Japanese restaurant (Kura Kura) which was really good and ate and chatted. 

Pork belly at Kura Kura

Then a bit of a wander through Chinatown and back to the hotel.

Stu and Kore in Chinatown

Duck!

1927!!!!
1927 supporting Roxette


Sydney Day 1

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Was aiming to be out the door by 9:30 but it was actually closer to 10am. Went through maccas drive through for brunch and then hit the Federal Highway.

The clouds over Lake George (and Mt Majura) were pretty spectacular.

Clouda

Clouds

Clouds
Clouds

Traffic was fairly heavy heading out of Sydney, with some fairly long queues on the M5 before and after Campbelltown.

M5 traffic

Alfords Point Bridge

Alfords Point Bridge

Arrived at my parents' place a bit after 1pm. Had nibbles followed by roast pork and lamb. Nom nom nom!!

After present opening we just chatted and watched slides of our USA 2004 trip and I processed the day's photos and we watched Kore's plane take off from LAX with Plane Finder.

Christmas dining table

St Andrews Cross spider

Cockatoo

Cockatoo

Feeding the budgies ;)

Cockatoo

I got a super cool Lego camera -

Lego camera

Pictures aren't super awesome, but it's a fun toy :)

Lego camera

We christened mum and dad's new electric frypan with some zucchini fritters (I had brought up a zucchini that needed eating).

Electric frypan

And then before we knew it it was bed time...


Forrest

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Coming soon.
Maybe next year.

Random Cameras

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New and old.  I actually like the feel of the old one a lot better.  And then the sweetie tells me he wants a random camera to take to Japan next year.  Hrmm.

Random cameras

Penumbra

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About as much as I could see of the last lunar eclipse

Penumbra

Christmas Cookies

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Actually made in late November.  Have been too lazy to make anything else since then.

Christmas cookies

Canberra Sculpture

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Taken in October

BFG??
Bum
Bum
Here and now
Corrogated iron spinning top

August Flooding

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In August there was a tonne of rain.

Lake Ginninderra flooded, so much so that the hole they were digging filled up with water, and they had to pump it all out again.

Ginninderra Flooding
Ginninderra Flooding
Scrivener Dam was overflowing too

Scrivener Dam

Placeholders

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Putting in some placeholder documents.  Might fill them in later if I could be stuffed.

Yep.

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Well at least that's over.
Super busy day today.  I started off with 25 items on my todo list.  That expanded as the day went along to nearly 40.  I got a good chunk of it done which was good.  

Apart from general house cleaning, there was Christmas present wrapping and a bunch of food preparation for tomorrow (a couple of sauces for some proscuitto-wrapped prawns - 24 prawns is a lot of work to de-head and de-poop!!).  I had to use two egg yolks for one of the recipes so had to separate my first eggs.  Ever.  Yup, never done it before.  It was actually pretty easy.  But that left me with two egg whites.  What to do!?  Meringues!!  Found a recipe online, and they turned out a lot better than my last attempt.  And they also didn't last very long.  I went back to the oven just then and the rats had been to steal a couple ;)

Evening viewing was Carols by Candlelight (it's a tradition!) and another Christmas movie - Die Hard! :)

Merry Christmas and all that :)

The end

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End of work for the year - hurrah!

I didn't get nearly everything done that I wanted to.. hope noone needs anything too urgently in the new year..

Then went over to Tony's for a bbq lunch that lasted all afternoon and into the evening.  I dread to think how much I'm going to weigh tomorrow.. was eating (albeit mostly fruit) all afternoon.. oops..

Came home and watched Love Actually because it's totally my favourite Christmas movie :)

Almost there..

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Started freaking out last night about how much was left to do before Christmas, including just about all our Christmas shopping and a tonne of stuff to do at work.

Had a relatively successful day today, and most of our Christmas shopping is done.

Went to the Dumpling Inn for dinner - had the mixed chow-mein and shredded beef peking style.

Dumpling Inn
Dumpling Inn
But while taking those photos I've discovered that something is seriously wrong with Random Camera :(:(  The other day (can't remember when, maybe when I was trying to take photos of the bugs on the cherry tree), random camera wouldn't turn on.  Just dead.  So I swapped out the battery and all was good.  Charged it up and forgot about it.  Then tonight I tried to turn it on, and dead again.  Swapped the battery to get it to work.  So something is draining the battery completely even while the camera is off.  Most distressing and means I might have to go through the whole hassle of trying to get it repaired :(:(:(

Siren Gungahlin

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So a bunch of us went to Siren in Gungahlin for Potty's birthday tonight.

The sweetie and I got four tapas dishes (Zucchini puffs with Siren's own tzatziki, grilled halloumi on a basil salsa with grilled vienna bread, braised pork belly with pear puree & crispy crackling, grilled chorizo with tzatziki and grilled vienna bread) and they were *awesome*!!! - really enjoyed them (except for maybe the chorizo which was just a tad on the spicy side for me, but still super tasty).

Siren Tapas
The problem with the dinner was with the organisation.  The dude (Daniel) opposite me ordered a steak rare.  Clinton was a bit late but ordered a well done steak.  Well Daniel got a steak that was well done. About twenty five minutes later (after we'd pretty much all eaten) Clinton got a very rare steak.  But by this time we were all over it and ready to leave so Clinton just sent it back and had it taken off the bill.  Soo annoyed that this beautiful piece of steak was wasted and two people were unhappy :(:(:(

Not well done steak at Sirens Gungahlin

Went home sad about the steak (cause it was so beautiful and Daniel and I totally would have eaten it).  Plus the place was pretty loud and all the hipsters were hanging out there. .. 
yeeup ... 

Pear and Cherry Slugs

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So did a bit of research this afternoon and discovered the little bastards that have shown up again this year demolishing our cherry tree are Pear and Cherry Slugs.  I'd even gone to the trouble this year of keeping the root suckers down, and keeping the branches trimmed short to keep them off the ground, but it seems like it's made no difference :(:(:(  So need to investigate getting the tree fumigated :(:(

Pear and Cherry slug

Memories of Carols past

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Every year when Carols in the Domain come around (always the Saturday before Christmas unless Christmas is on a Sunday in which case they're eight days before - since they never compete with the Christmas Eve Carols by Candlelight in Melbourne.. moving on..), I'm reminded of the year I went to Luc and Cynthia's wedding (up Sydney Tower!!) and got to see the Carols (and fireworks) from up the tower.  It was pretty damned cool!

Happy anniversary for tomorrow guys :)

Carols in the Domain

Today we had Damien over to play war games with Stu, and then Tony, Heather and Jess came over for roast pork for dinner (which was probably slightly overdone, but with enough gravy and apple sauce you didn't notice too much).  So yeah roast pork plus lots of nibbles plus a little beer and wine plus Carols in the Domain and it totally feels like Christmas!! Hurrah!! :):):)

We had a game of Carcassonne after dinner which was fun, although I might have accidentally won.. whoops.. :)
Monday epic sucked.  Just a tonne of crap and not a fun day.

Tuesday heard some very sad news about a guy at work.

Wednesday went by relatively quickly.  Had a couple of wins but still a ways to go.  

So much for a nice quiet run down to the end of the year.  (Actually when has that *ever* happened?  Never in this job as far as I can recall!!)

This is a baby gak gak bird seen outside work last week.
Baby gak gak bird

New Lego

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Lego is always bringing out new bricks.  Here are two new ones I've never seen before, in the latest Harry Potter Lego..

New Lego
New Lego

Stormy Sunday

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Well not hugely stormy here, it was a lot worse further south.

Took this this evening.  It's really only interesting at the beginning.


Didn't do much the rest of the day.  Just pottering around the house really.

Oh, and stayed up the watch the eclipse last night.  Saw the beginning of it (the penumbra stage) but then the clouds closed in and I missed the rest :(

Still partying

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Yesterday we had our section Christmas party by the lake.  Rain that was forecast during the week never eventuated, so it was a perfectly pleasant afternoon.  Lyn and I spent our budget of $370, and I thought there was going to be a *tonne* of leftovers, but in the end it wasn't so bad.

Section Christmas Party
Section Christmas Party
Of course I took lots of photos of the local birds.

Section Christmas Party
Section Christmas Party
Section Christmas Party
Section Christmas Party
Section Christmas Party
Today I went and helped setup the "family" Christmas party.

Family Christmas Party
Got to have a quick go on the jumping castle before they'd finished inflating it.

Family Christmas Party
After we'd finished setting up I went for a wander around, and had a go on the dodgem cars, since I missed out last time because the queue was too long.

Family Christmas Party
Family Christmas Party
They'd double booked the hall which was a bit unfortunate, but not a big disaster.  Got to see the bride arrive (to a full brass band playing "All you need is love").

Family Christmas Party
One year I'll go on the horse and cart..

Family Christmas Party
I think my favourite thing was the "Patting Paddock", so many cute animals :) 

Family Christmas Party
Family Christmas Party
Family Christmas Party
Family Christmas Party
Family Christmas Party
Just got back from unloading the truck.  Phewf.  (Although not nearly a long a day as the others!)

One hour days

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Decided to try something new this week.  Instead of just having a huge todo list, I thought I'd plan out each day, putting a few of the things from the big todo list into the day, broken down by hours.  This way I'd have more chance of getting the less agreeable tasks done because I'd have a set time to do them in.

Well this worked fine for maybe an hour or two both days.  Because after that all my plans got derailed by the various problems that come up every day.  I can't win really.  Will have to do what I read somewhere once - schedule time for disasters.  

Busy Sunday

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Had quite a productive day today, including having the house to myself for the afternoon while the sweetie went to see Wagner.

Did a bit of planning for the next month, burnt backup DVDs of photos, cleaned my desk (somewhat), vacuumed half the house, vacuumed the pool, cooked a bunch of veggies for dinner, and a few other bits and pieces as well. 

I still have lobster legs today :(:(

Catchup

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Had a catchup night at Mishi's tonight which was lovely as always.  Lots of chatting and eating, and a couple of games (had two games of Split Decision, and later a game of Oh Hell (which I won, but we only went half way, from one card to ten cards) ).

My knees hurt!!  Stoopid sunburn :(:(

Sterile

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I always thought our weeping cherry tree was sterile, because I'd never seen any cherries on it.

Turns out it does make cherries after all (just itty bitty ones, and very few of them).

Weeping cherries
Shown here at slightly bigger than life size next to a regular cherry and some blueberries.
Weeping cherries

In other news, I got sunburnt clearing out the gutters (including the scary back ones).  Didn't get to properly clean out the downpipe at the back, it was a bit dangerous.  Might have another crack at though with some longer tools. Didn't do the front left half either because I'd been in the sun too long (hence the sunburn :( )

Kylie, Debbie

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Had another work Christmas party on Wednesday.  Came home pretty depressed that it wasn't the weekend :/

So put on Kylie's Showgirl DVD I'd borrowed off Chris a while back.  I have to say I was a little disappointed.  The whole act was quite wooden (on Kylie's part) and over choreographed.  Very little *energy* and she's not even that great a singer.  Until near the end when she did some of her very early songs.  The variation of "Locomotion" was, er, interesting, but it wasn't til she dumped her rent-a-dancers and was just herself being a bit more relaxed doing "I Should be so Lucky" that I actually enjoyed it.

Last night watched "Singin' in the Rain".  I couldn't help but just watch Debbie Reynolds.  She does look a lot like Princess Leia in places :)
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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