January 2013 Archives
Cute moth that had gotten itself inside. We caught it although it took me a day and a half to remember to release it outside.
Have been doing heaps of jigsaws lately. Here's some from the last quarter of last year.
This jigsaw had a 4x4 square of pieces that were basically the same shape (very similar, not identical). So when it got down to the last bit of yellow and green tree, I sorted the pieces into 16 piles. Then it was just a matter of picking the piece from the right pile and slotting it into place. Super fast - took about half an hour to do a quarter of the jigsaw!
The little brother was in town and helped with a chunk of this
And then he was back again the next weekend and did all of the building in this one
Jelly beans! This jigsaw cost me a whole dollar in Kmart :) I set it up at work before Christmas, and all sorts of people came to put in pieces :)
Australia Day morning we went to Black Pepper for breakfast, and then did some shopping.
In the afternoon we went out to the club with new tent in tow. Even though there were storms forecast. Hrmm.
So we got there and assembled the tent. It took quite a while because we'd never done it before, and the instructions were pretty crappy. Got a bit hot and bothered. So had a little break in the middle to have a drink and a chat with some of the people there.
Made it in the end.
Inflated the air mattress, and filled the tent with all our crap, then went up for a swim. And it being nearly 5pm, we declared it beer o'clock.
The swim was really nice .. until they setup the water volleyball net. Hrmm.
Dinner was a lamb broth for entree, then another lamb stew, and haggis! and tatties and salads. Lamb for Australia Day, haggis for Burns night. The haggis wasn't quite as good as I remember from Scotland, but not too bad.
Desert was a cranachan made by Chris
Did I mention the storm? It *poured*. And continued to rain for hours. Apparently not as bad as back in Canberra though.
So we got back down to the tent to assess the damage. The tarp on the vestibule had been covered in water/mud/leaves, but the interior of the tent was ok. Just the end of the mattress/sheets were a bit wet from being pressed up against the edge of the tent. Unfortunately neither of us could get to sleep. The air mattress is quite sensitive, so each little movement rocks the other person around. So I think we kept each other awake. For hours. Plus I was stressing about my bladder. And of course the more you worry about needing to go, the more you think you need to go, even if you don't really need to go. Blah. I think I got to sleep around 2am. Woke up at 4am for at least another hour. Then another couple of hours sleep til 7am. Yeah four hours sleep is probably not enough.
So we got up and had leftover haggis and tatties for breakfast. Stu fried it, so it turned out more like the haggis we'd had in Scotland.
Then back down to disassemble the tent. After removing spiders.
I wiped the tent down with a towel and we didn't try to properly fold it up, would do that at home after properly drying it all. Just a quick fold and put it in the back of the car, with all the rest of our crap on the back seat.
And then home.
To find the power had been out since 7:10pm the night before :( Fortunately the seals on the fridge are pretty good, so everything was still cold to touch, and stuff in the freezer was still frozen (a bit of meltage on the ice cubes but still mostly frozen).
Rest of the weekend was pretty quiet. We did go over to Potty's so he could build a Cornetto stand for the sweetie. Because he's a manly man. And has power tools. :)
So we were leaving Jamison this morning after doing our shopping and pulling up to the exit onto Bowman Street. There was a car in front of us so we slowed down, but then from our right this car was coming right for us. I freaked out because I thought it was going to hit us. Then the driver of that car blasted his horn at us and was going WTF? And we're going WTF??? YOU BUTTPLUG!!!!
So this was us as the red line. And the buttplug coming at us from the right as the blue line. We quite clearly had the right of way, and he was quite clearly in the wrong.
I totally hate people.
So there's this system at work that's been annoying me for literally *years*. I've begged various people to fix it over the years, but to no avail. So this week I thought screw it, I'll just do it myself. I started to write my own script, but very quickly realised that was a silly idea, when chances are there'd be plenty of scripts out there on the internet to do what I wanted to do. And sure enough there were. So downloaded one, hacked it a bit, and by this afternoon had something that will work. It's possibly not the most elegant solution, but it's certainly better than what we have, and that's got to be a win!
Last night I *finally* finished reading Time Enough for Love, by Robert Heinlein. I started this on Stu's ebook reader when we were in Japan. But with not catching the bus as much, and the fact that it was on an ereader (not nearly as friendly to read on), I just took forever to get through it.
I've actually read the book before - probably in about 1999 or 2000, along with Stranger in a Strange Land and Starship Troopers. All I remembered from the first time that it was three stories in one book, and there was a lot of interesting commentary on the human condition. My favourite quote from the book was "Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things" - it was my email signature for years :)
So now that's done, and I can finally give Stu back his ebook reader!
OK we weren't actually in South West Rocks at all this day. But it was the last day of the trip.
Got up and ready and had a quick walk down to the Warner's Bay foreshore.
Maccas at Warner's Bay for breakfast, then headed south.
All along the Sydney-Newcastle freeway there's sunflowers growing! And corn too. It's as if someone's just been driving along and tossing seeds out the window the whole way down. It was pretty cool!
Snapped this cool brick mosaic of Will and Kate outside Austral Bricks. It's made of something like 15000 full and half sized glazed bricks. Very cool!
Then lunch at Sutton Forest and home!!
So the last morning of our stay in South West Rocks and the sun comes out. Hrmmm.
So we went up to the gaol again to get a few photos of it in the sun.
On the way back to the highway I got some photos of some of the houses and how they elevated them to keep off the flood plain.
Some build their houses on a big mound
While others just go two stories
Had a maccas stop near Port Macquarie for lunch. This is on the roundabout next to it.
Saw some birds circling
The Rock! It's still there!
An F/A-18 near Williamtown
And arrival at our motel on Lake Macquarie around 4:30pm. It has a nice view of the lake.
Watched the storm roll in. Read a book. And just chilled out for a bit. Stepping out of the airconned-to-cold motel room was like stepping into a sauna. It was that hot/humid, even after the storm had passed.
So headed into Newcastle to meet up with Fiona. Was a lovely night and great to catch up with her again.
Went to Goldbergs on Darby Street.
There was cheesy olive bread
I had "black pepper marinated lamb fillet" on a smashed kipfler and apple rosti topped with sumac aioli. It was delish!
Stu had "lemon and thyme baked ricotta" with warm olive and pind nut salad, watercress, roasted capsicum and chilli jam
Fiona had a pretty amazing platter of goodies.
Then back to the motel to crash. The aircon worked super well and made the room lovely and cold to sleep!
Another quiet morning.
Packed a picnic lunch and headed out to Smoky Cape.
Walked up to the lighthouse and arrived just before 1pm, and noticed there was a tour at 1pm. $10 each though, which we thought was a little pricey. But decided we'd do it. Except noone turned up. Waited and waited and in the end gave up and headed back down. Only to find the tour was down at the bottom of the hill. Yay for telling us that on the sign, buttheads! Were a bit over it, so didn't bother joining the tour late.
This lizard was on the path up the hill
Next up was a walk down to that middle beach down there
Have I mentioned the humidity? It was horrible.
This was the beach
And the view back up to the lighthouse
We went for a dip, even though the surf was the most dangerous surf I've ever been in. Waves and rips going in all sorts of directions, holes in the beach etc. In the end we only went in a few metres from shore, as the water depth changed too dramatically to go out any further - we'd have been swept out to sea for sure.
Had our lunch, and another dip, then headed back up the hill.
Saw these lovely glossy black cockatoos on the walk back up the hill
Cooled off in the car ride back to the house, then headed out again for a little swim in the tidal creek.
Dinner was some amazing jewfish
Not much else for the rest of the night.
Overcast. Humid. Not hot, but oh so humid.
Did pretty much nothing all morning. Attempted to get some sleep. Not altogether successfully. Made up a picnic lunch and headed out.
First stop was Trial Bay Gaol. The buildings are remarkably well preserved. Although most of it is solid granite. It'll probably be there for centuries.
We spent a good hour and a half here. Well worth the $7.50 entry.
This was the mess hall
Cell block A on the left, exterior wall on the right, with a sign saying watch out for swooping magpies on the bottom left
The area between the mess hall and the cell blocks
Remains of the hospital building, with cell block B behind
Stu in one of the silent cells
View from the lookout tower. The prison was built to house prisoners to build this breakwater. But they never really made very good progress with it, and eventually abandoned the idea and closed the prison.
Looking down cell block A
During its time as a prison, they housed one prisoner to a cell on hammocks
During World War I, they reopened the prison and sent educated German men here to keep them out of the way during the war. They housed two per cell, which made the gaol quite overcrowded.
The kitchen building
Looking down cell block B. This was built later (1900) and is remarkably drab next to the lovely granite.
One of the baths in the bath house
Kangaroos next to the bath house
Looking down to the bath house
After the gaol, we ate our picnic lunch in the car and then went on the walk down to Little Bay and the duck pond.
Walking up to the German monument, they've cleared a long tract of bush out, so you can see all the way up to it. It unfortunately looks slightly rude from a distance..
The German monument, for the four Germans that died in the gaol during the war. It was blown up in 1919 by persons unknown, but eventually rebuilt.
View of Trial Bay Gaol
View across to South West Rocks
Kangaroo tracks in the sand
Big boy kangaroo. Look at the muscles on him!
Kangaroo and joey
Joey having a drink
The duck pond. Originally built as a water source for the gaol
One of the powder magazines used to store explosives for the construction of the breakwater
The other one. It was supposedly blown up as a test run by the same people that blew up the German monument.
Wandered back to South West Rocks and went down to the tidal creek
Where kids were jumping off the bridge into the creek..
Came back to the house for a very lovely chicken dinner. After dinner we watched the King's Speech, which we quite enjoyed, even though a few liberties were taken with the story.
Yeah so didn't get too much sleep. Too humid!!! Even with the fan on we were pretty uncomfortable.
The sweetie and Sally. Animals like Stu because he's so soft and squishy :)
Breakfast on the deck. Quite civilised really!
They wanted me to kill this march fly, but it was so cute!
So yeah a fairly slow morning. Debated going for a swim but I was a bit stressed about getting myself all messed up (we were going out to meet people later that day). So in the end we just did a big drive around South West Rocks.
We drove through the town and up to Trial Bay Goal and out to the Smoky Cape lighthouse.
Then back into town for lunch.
After lunch, we got ready, then headed out for a slow drive down the coast.
They have police radar traps even on the quiet back roads (not that they're that quiet - there's an awful lot of people camped up and down the coast).
The GPS originally said it would take four hours, but it kept revising it down. Here's where we hit some dirt road.
Nice view of the beach near Point Plomer
South of Point Plomer was where we were most concerned about the road. Then we saw this sign
.. and this mud ..
.. and decided we wouldn't tempt fate. So turned around and headed back to Crescent Head, then back to the Pacific Highway.
South of Kempsey, where they're building the bypass, they have this sign telling people to ignore their GPSes..
In Port Macquarie we went to Big W to pick up some stuff for Stu, then we headed out to visit Stu's mum's grave
Then went for a drive round Port Macquarie
Then to our destination for the evening - Finnian's Irish Tavern for a school reunion of sorts for Stu. He actually only really knew two of the guys there, and they were pretty cool. Had some squid and some wedges and a couple of beers. I also might have stolen some of Tom's steak after he declared himself done with only half the steak eaten.. it was nice steak, this would never do! ;)
We migrated outside when the band started up, as they made talking over the noise a bit difficult.
And then we headed back to South West Rocks for the night.
While everyone else went to work, the sweetie and I headed out of Canberra. It was hot and windy at 9:30am, and I had visions of a repeat of ten years ago.
Stopped at various Maccas along the way for breakfasts, coffees and lunches.
We happened to be driving through Sydney at the peak of the heat wave. We passed a sign that said 45C and we were all "what the??". The car didn't seem to be overheating (according to the heat guage), but seemed to be threatening to stall. So we were ok on the freeways, but that bit of Pennant Hills Road was a bit tough. We turned the aircon off and suffered, but didn't break down. When are they ever going to join up the M7/M2 with the F3 ????
It was so hot, we made a little hoodie to shade the GPS
Drove on and on. Went through Kempsey a bit after 6pm and then got to see the new Kempsey bypass being built. The bridge over the Macleay River and floodplain is 3.2 kilometres long and will be the longest bridge in Australia.
The sun and clouds over the Macleay River were pretty
Arrived at Stu's dad's place around 7pm, and had a lovely meal of freshly caught bream, as well as kingfish and trevaly (I think).
Then we pretty much just crashed. They have an amazingly well equipped self-contained flat downstairs, which was a lovely little retreat.
Saturday, 18 January 2003 dawned as a hot, windy and dry day. Temperatures as high as 40 °C (104 °F) and winds exceeding 60 kilometres (37 miles) were the main weather features of the day. Two fires continued to burn out of control in the Namadgi National Park, with the entire park, along with the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve being closed due to the threat. A second fire in the Brindabella Ranges was threatening to break containment lines.
By 9am on the morning of Saturday 18, burned leaves appeared on lawns in houses in the Weston Creek, Kambah and Tuggeranong suburbs bordering the western extremity of Canberra.
Throughout the day, the fires burned closer to the fringes of Canberra's suburbs, and there was no sign of authorities gaining control of the situation. By mid-afternoon, it had become apparent that the fires posed an immediate threat to the settlements near Canberra such as Uriarra and Stromlo as well as houses on the city's urban bushland interface. A state of emergency was declared at 2.45pm by the ACT's Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope.
The fires reached the urban area at 3pm.
By 3.50pm houses were alight in the suburbs of Duffy and Chapman, with the loss of a home in Holder soon after.
Due to fire damage to infrastructure and extreme winds bringing down powerlines across the area, large parts of the city lost power. Fires also started in Giralang because of powerline problems. Evacuation centres were set up at four schools - Canberra College, Ginninderra College, Erindale College and Narrabundah College. A dark cloud hung over the city, and though it was not in danger, Parliament House was closed.
By 5pm, houses were reported destroyed in Duffy, Chapman, Kambah, Holder and Rivett, as well as houses in the small forestry settlement of Uriarra. It was later found that the first casualty of the fires, an elderly woman named Dorothy McGrath, died at the nearby Stromlo Forestry Settlement. Escape for residents was hampered by poor warning and the location of the settlement in the pine forest. Fires spread through the Kambah Pool area and into the suburb of Kambah causing damage to many homes and one of the ACT's primary Urban and Rural fire stations.
Fire spread through parkland, crossing the Tuggeranong Parkway, Athllon Drive and finally engulfing Mount Taylor. Within an hour, houses were also burning in Torrens on the slopes of Mount Taylor and Weston. The fires by now had inflicted severe damage to the city's infrastructure. Power supplies were cut to several suburbs. These outages affected the Emergency Services Bureau's own headquarters in Curtin and the Canberra Hospital (running on back-up generators) which was under intense pressure from people suffering burns and smoke inhalation. In Curtin, the ESA headquarters was in danger from the fires. Water, gas and landline communications was unavailable to several suburbs due to damage to supply lines and city reservoirs. Mobile telecommunications were severally affected due to increased traffic, causing serious disruption to mobile phone networks and the ESA's own radio and dispatch networks.
By 10pm, one of the four evacuation centres in Canberra was completely full, and others were filling up quickly. Reports of looting also began to arrive from the damaged areas. While the very worst of the fires had passed, the situation was still far from stable, and going into Sunday 19 January, houses were still ablaze across numerous suburbs.
I was still living in Sydney in 2003. When this blog was a baby, I did comment on it.
For me, I was only affected by the things that were gone, things like Mt Stromlo observatory, and the pine forests (I still miss those!).
For Stu, his sister Annie was down at the coast for the day with husband Stu and baby Noah. They returned to Canberra in the afternoon to see smoke over the city. The only news reports they were hearing were to "return to their homes". But given they lived in Duffy they thought better of it and took Noah to Scott's. Stu was able to get back to their house. They lost their garage, but luckily for them a neighbour was at home and stayed to defend their house and saved it. Canberra was never the same for them after that, and they moved out to Yass for several years.
For my Canberra readers (most of you lurkers), I'd love to hear your stories. Where were you that day? How did it affect you?
So the London Burgers and Beers in Belconnen *finally* got their liquour licence, so we went there for Aquila's birthday lunch. I had a portuguese chicken salad ($13) which turned out to be bigger than the burgers! (it seemed)
Was quite tasty, and the boys liked their burgers.
Although they didn't have any British ales, which was a little disappointing, so I just had a cider.
I almost *never* have scary dreams. The last time I had one was the night before I started at my current job over five years ago. Before that it was even longer since I'd had one. Last night I had a dream in which I felt scared. Things that go bump in the night type scared. Firstly odd sounds, but I don't remember too much of that. Then there was this crackly buzzing, sounded a bit like a geiger counter, but more regular. Stu and I were in the bedroom hearing it come closer to us. Opened the bedroom door but nothing to be seen and the sound sounded it like it was coming from inside the room, but no matter where we looked we couldn't find the source. Then I woke up, and Stu's machine / breathing was making that exact noise. Freaky.
So a relatively quiet Sunday.
Well sort of!
This morning Doc came by to play with his Christmas present - a hedge trimmer! He hacked away at the side hedge, and only tried to electrocute himself once (the house decided it didn't want to comply). And he took me out to show me the free greenwaste recycling centre out at Holt - who knew!
Lunch of salad, then Doc and the family came by for a swim which was very pleasant.
Stir fry for dinner, to use up the last of the vegies, then Tristan came over to drop off some guppies before he moves to Brisbane. And there was much chattage and story telling for an hour or two.
And there's been rain! So much wonderful rain!! :)
And sadly the weekend comes to an end...
So one of my cousins has lived in Canberra for something like three years, yet we've still only managed to catch up with them once. Definitely something that needed to be rectified!
So today we went over for lunch - some thoroughly delicious pizzas (that were also so filling I didn't need dinner!)
Yum yum yum!
And there were Magnums!
After lunch we played a game of Alhambra
So yeah, a nice relaxing lunch/afternoon.
So I'm reading out a stack of movies that I'd be happy to watch with the sweetie tonight .. and it included the likes of Gladiator, The Hunt for Red October and Terminator 2 (amongst a bunch of others). So initially the sweetie picked Gladiator. But after we watched an episode of House, he said we could watch Gladiator or Terminator 2. And I'm like.. holy crap, you'd watch a James Cameron movie?? But you're allergic! It says so on the label! (him and DC think alike on this one). So as soon as he said he'd watch it I put it on before he changed his mind ..! heh
Yeah so survived the week.. spent two days fighting with documentation in a new system that's html-based and not nearly as friendly as doing doco in Notes (give me notes any day **please** !! ) and only achieved four documents out of a possible twenty or so. Guess what I'll be doing in the next couple of weeks (until other projects fire up again for the year) ...
Or perhaps I should say "an unexpected pleasure" - because that's what it was.
After hearing various reviewers saying how long and slow and drawn out and boring it was, one review talking about how the hobbit spent at least fifteen minutes of screen time deciding what to pack for his journey (I'm not kidding - I actually read that somewhere), I was expecting to fall asleep through it.
But as it turned out, I really liked it. I thought the pacing was actually pretty good, and while maybe *some* scenes dragged out a little, it really wasn't as bad as I'd been expecting.
So yeah, definitely enjoyed, but probably more so because of lowered expectations to begin with.
Although it's still hard for me to get past Bilbo being the "porn star" from Love Actually :)
I always say I should not make plans..
Today for example .. The plan was to have a day off and tidy up the fishtank stuff downstairs.
Except on Sunday I must have picked up a cold from someone when we were out doing our shopping. Because on Monday night I had a bit of a blocked nose. Yesterday I was quite stuffed up. And last night I could not get to sleep. I couldn't breathe so just lay there unable to sleep. For hours and hours. I don't think I got any sleep until 2am. Then got a little bit between 2 and 3, but not much. Then a bit more between 3 and 4. And finally got some solid sleep until about 7:30.
So today I spent most of the morning in bed and most of the afternoon sitting around feeling miserable.
Net result: nothing particularly useful achieved. What a waste of a day. Hurrah.
On a lighter note, I do feel a bit better tonight. Hopefully I'll be able to get some sleep ..
So this little blog turned ten years old today!
Happy blogiversary to me! heh
Ten years, or a quarter of my life in writing and online. Ten pretty big years with a lot of ups and downs, four big overseas holidays, a wedding, a new house, a new job. And mostly all chronicled here, to varying levels of detail.
I had no idea when I started this blog how dependent on it I would become. Simply as an easy place to find when I did things or find a photo to show someone. A place to put photos online for friends/family/strangers. My only regret with the blog is not starting it earlier (even though there really wasn't such a thing much before 2003).
I had wanted to update the style/design of the blog, but ran out of time, on account of being away the entire Christmas holiday, and having last weekend taken up by simply FTPing files up and down. So I may get something new online in the next little while. Maybe. The best I could do was update a few things like the footer, my blogroll and the site description, add navigation links to each entry, and republish the whole site (took twenty seven minutes this time).
Thanks to everyone that's come along for the ride, it's been great!
So Emergency Services are predicting a firestorm tomorrow. Which is particularly ominous considering that it was on January 8 in 1994 that bushfires hit my suburb in Sydney.
So even though we're not living in an area considered to be any sort of risk, there was the whole "reserve across the road going up in flames" over Christmas thing, which has made me all the more paranoid.
Quiet morning, not as hot as yesterday.
Went over to Annie's to drop off a jigsaw I forgot to give them the other night.
Then food shopping and back home to watch the clouds roll in.
Annie and the kids came over for a swim, and while they were here the change came through. But no rain here sadly (well a few drops, but that was it).
So after spending all day yesterday downloading a snapshot of my blog, and all of this morning uploading 5.2.2 to my host (their SSH appears to be down at the moment, so couldn't download and unzip on the host itself), I think I have upgraded this blog to Movable Type 5.2.2.
I had to upload the support/themes directory to get my old theme content, as well as the reCAPTCHA and Gravatar plugins directories but I think that was about it.
I've tested creating a new entry and commenting on it, but not comments on any old entries.
There's some more changes I want to make in the next few days, but if you notice anything broken in the meantime please let me know! (comments are currently broken on all old entries until I republish the site, which I'll do in a couple of days - I only want to do it once, as it'll probably take half an hour to run!)
This could be interesting...
The other day someone linked to a game called Sugar Sugar 2 on the RiotACT and I proceeded to play through all thirty levels. Tonight I went and found the original Sugar Sugar. Sadly now that's over, maybe there'll be a third? :) (looks like there's a Christmas version, will have to have a play of that).