May 2013 Archives


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Had a pretty unsettling day at work today.  Much like the time a few years ago, where we all disappeared for an "offsite" at the local.

Tonight we watched some Firefly and then The Hunt for Red October, and feel somewhat better now.

In other news, based on the photos from my USA 1983 trip, Stu said that we all obviously look older, except my mum who he thinks really hasn't aged at all :)  I credit my mum's awesome hair which hasn't turned grey, even though she's nearly 67.  How cool is that??

Thirty years ago this month our family took a five week holiday to the USA.  It was the first of four "flying" holidays that the were the most memorable and exciting of my childhood.

So I created a blog for it :)  

I took a combination of my parents' photos and added some of my own memories.

It took me ages to scan all mum's photos at 600 dpi.  But I've decided my scanner is retarded.  Mum's photos are a bit age-coloured, but not as bad as the scans make it out.  I think its colour balance is way off, scanning way too much yellow :(  

Dad's slides were scanned thirteen years ago by Dad on a flat bed scanner that wasn't really designed for slide scanning - the pictures are very pixelated.  But when you resize them to a max 500 pixels you'd never notice and generally the colour is a lot better in those.  Unfortunately with Dad's photos, he put everything in theme and "show" order, which meant things weren't in chronological order, which made it super annoying to try and fit into the nice chronological order that my brain likes!  Spent ages and ages trying to figure out where to put his photos so they were in the right order!

And I might have spent entirely too long trying to find the *exact* locations of some of the photos.  I may as well have geotagged the whole lot and be done with it! heh

Also, Movable Type is completely retarded, and it won't save the blog to a nice chronological order of entries.  So you'll just have to start at the beginning and click your way through. If you even care.  I'm suspecting that noone apart from my brother and mother will.  The rest will end up as Google Image Search fodder.  (Not to mention the blog using the butt ugly "Rainier" theme which came with Movable Type 5.2.  I really hate it but don't have the energy to fuss with it).

If anyone cares, here it is:

..Oh, and the guys and work didn't believe it was me in all the pictures - they couldn't believe I could have been so skinny as a kid!

Coast Weekend

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Went to the coast on Friday night for the weekend.

Saturday was lovely.  Walked (ran) the dog, did a jigsaw, went for a swim at Myrtle Beach (swimming in the ocean in late May - unheard of right??) and watched the moonrise.

Ruby running

Ruby running


Kittens jigsaw

Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach




As for the rest of the weekend, probably the less said about that the better.


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I think I'm getting sick.


I haven't even fully gotten over the last cold, and here I go getting another one.  Sick of it.

Bella Vista

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Last night, to try and get my money's worth out of my Entertainment Book (not going to be bother getting one next year - we're not going out as often so it's harder to get the value out of it), we went to Bella Vista for dinner.  One of our favourite restaurants, although we don't there as often as we could, not helped by the fact it's fairly expensive.  But oh so good!

For entree, the sweetie had "Capesante Alla Grilgia - pancetta wrapped canadian scallops grilled, served with a miniature cucumber and tomato salad and lemon butter sauce"

Bella Vista

I had "Gamberi Impanati - parmesan and herb crusted king prawns deep fried to golden crunch, served with roman lettuce, prosciutto crisps and a garlic aioli"

Bella Vista

For mains, the sweetie had "Piato Misto - lamb cutlets, pancetta wrapped chicken tenders and king prawns, served with mash, avocado tower, miniature salad and mustard, lemon and aged balsamic sauces"

Bella Vista

I had "Filetto Di Agnello - grilled lamb back-strap fillet marinated in garlic and rosemary served with fresh pan-fried caponata (ratatouille) and creamy potato puree"

Bella Vista

For dessert, the sweetie had "Creme Caramello - classic cream caramel served with a brandy snap basket and vanilla ice cream"

Bella Vista

And I had "Morello Cheesecake - white cheesecake on a chocolate biscuit base topped with morello cherry compote, toasted marshmallows and a chocolate 'stick'"

Bella Vista

The staff even took a photo of us :)

Bella Vista

A lovely evening with my sweetie :)

Last night we had our work ball, which was Alice in Wonderland themed.  Definitely a lot more people dressed up for this one than the last one.

Seven of our group.  There was a lot of red!  Doc's Mad Hatter was pretty awesome.

Got to wear the Lego heart necklace Nat got for me a while back

A cheshire cat and another mad hatter

The room and tables looked lovely

For entree I had "wood roasted hot smoked king salmon, cucumber, red radish, dill scented creme fraiche, betroot jelly", which was very nice

For mains I had "prosciutto wrapped corn fed chicken breast, broccolini with almond broad bean and herb risotto, chervil oil" which was also pretty nice

Desert was the same for everyone - "chocolate pecan tart, chocolate fudge, clotted cream".  I'm not a fan of pecans so this didn't do it for me.

Stu hid out in one of the side rooms for a while to escape the noise and crowds, and ended up playing a couple of games of chess (which he won).

The band was pretty good and not too loud which made for a nice change - didn't have to yell to hear each other.  Only complaint was a tad too much emphasis on seventies music.

Was a great fun night, with good company, food and champagne, singing and dancing.

Today we didn't do much, other than going to visit Noah and Stu and do our food shopping.

Into Darkness

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Star Trek Into Darkness

We went and saw Star Trek with Potty tonight.

* loved it * !!


OK so it's all Hollywood blockbuster with big CGI and battles and a pretty simple plot, but hey, it was fun.

And there's plenty of nods to The Original Series.

And of course you can see things coming a mile off.

But I thoroughly enjoyed it.


(and Dave2, the lens flare is there and pretty annoying/distracting, you've been warned!)

Been Busy..

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.. with something that was going on thirty years ago this month.

All shall be revealed on the weekend.  Hopefully.

Not that anyone except my family will likely care..

And just to keep some colour in the blog, here's some pics..

Some leaves that were in our trolley at Coles the other week.  I thought they looked pretty.
Leaf Art

iPhone sunset shot
iPhone Sunset


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Did actually leave the house though.  Yesterday to go to Fortune Box for a shared lunch, then do our food shopping.  And today to Bunnings to pick up some bits and pieces.

Otherwise, we've been pretty boring.


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So after discussing the hottest 100 earlier, and then playing Finlandia by Sibelius on YouTube, I suggested to the sweetie that we should watch Die Hard 2.  He said "whatever you like", so I did :)  And there was much rejoicing :)

So Stu told me about this a couple of weeks ago.  I didn't bother nominating anything because it looked like it was pretty much all covered from a John Williams perspective ;)

Tonight I voted:

  • Titanic by Horner, James as performed in Titanic
  • The Hunt for Red October Score by Poledouris, Basil as performed in The Hunt for Red October
  • The Man from Snowy River Score by Rowland, Bruce as performed in The Man from Snowy River
  • Back to the Future Film Trilogy Score by Silvestri, Alan as performed in Back to the Future Film Trilogy
  • Shakespeare in Love Score by Warbeck, Stephen as performed in Shakespeare in Love
  • Music from Harry Potter Movies by Williams, Doyle, Hooper, and Desplat as performed in Harry Potter
  • Jaws Score by Williams, John as performed in Jaws
  • Jurassic Park Score by Williams, John as performed in Jurassic Park
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark Score by Williams, John as performed in Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Gladiator Score by Zimmer/Gerrard as performed in Gladiator

omigosh it was hard!  My first cull had over thirty movies in it.  Got it down to twenty three.  Then cut out music that was not written for the film (which sadly included things like Symphony No. 3 by Camille Saint-Saëns from Babe, Finlandia by Jean Sibelius from Die Hard 2 and everything from Fantasia 2000).  Cut a couple more.  And eventually decided on the movies above.  

These were my runners up:

  • Batman Score by Elfman, Danny
  • Inception Score by Zimmer, Hans
  • James Bond Theme by Norman, Monty
  • Music from Star Trek Movies by Eidelman/Giacchino/Goldsmith/Horner/McCarthy/Rosenman  <-- be good if they'd narrowed this down to Jerry Goldsmith's
  • Star Wars Score (includes music from all 6 films) by Williams, John    <-- I'm hoping this will be popular enough to make it in from other people's votes
  • Superman Score by Williams, John  <-- and this too

Thursdays are usually pretty winning days, on account of beer o'clock at 4:30 and all .. but last Thursday had tangible wins.  Firstly, drinks were partly paid for by a vendor.  So I used a goodly chunk of the saved money to contribute to a charity that was running some events on the night.  One event was a $2 raffle with a $100 prize for the winner.  Which (after they called it as another Karen, but realised their mistake ten minutes later) was me!  Epic win!  And then another event was throwing gold coins at a bottle of booze, closest coin wins the bottle.  After several goes at three bottles, I got the closest coin to the last bottle!  Win!  It was a bottle of Greek brandy, which we sampled.  It's ok but slightly odd.

Jigsaw making has slowed down quite a bit in the past couple of weeks - it's just been too cold downstairs and I stalled on one I was doing upstairs.

From work - Keukenhof Gardens.  Dave2's been there and I'm pretty jealous.
April Jigsaws

One I got from Marylon in Sydney when we used to do jigsaws together on Friday lunches.  She didn't want this one, but it's taken this long to get around to doing it.
April jigsaws

A little 300 piece puzzle from work.  This was slightly unusual in that all the pieces were the "odd" shapes.  But the pieces were pretty badly cut so kept making mistakes even on something so simple.
April jigsaws

Another in the series of the 4x4 (16 total) repeating pattern of pieces.
April jigsaws

A1500 piece jigsaw from work that they couldn't do because they don't have the space for it.  They hadn't even opened it! It was a bit hard because of all the purple and brown.
April jigsaws

Last Saturday we went up Black Mountain Tower (I don't call it by its official name, no free advertising for that company on this blog thankyouverymuch).

Spent half an hour outside taking photos.  As you do.

Scrivener Dam from Black Mountain Tower

Gridlock Interchange from Black Mountain Tower

Mount Stromlo from Black Mountain Tower

Arboretum from Black Mountain Tower

Belconnen from Black Mountain Tower

Mount Majura from Black Mountain Tower

Mount Ainslie from Black Mountain Tower

Civic from Black Mountain Tower

Lake Burley Griffin from Black Mountain Tower

Woden from Black Mountain Tower

Black Mountain Tower

Black Mountain Tower

Black Mountain Tower

Black Mountain Tower

Wren on Black Mountain


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Ever wonder what approximately $15000 in cash looks like?  Wonder no more!


Luc had withdrawn it for some reason or another I can't remember (it was while I was still in Sydney).  I remember feeling super nervous carrying a couple of thousand dollars of shop takings to the bank when I was young, but this was just insane :)

Found the photo during a lot of work I've been doing recently sorting out photos into something more meaningful than by month.


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Well that was interesting.  While posting the last entry, I tried to post the word p0ker (spelt correctly obviously).  But I got an "access denied" error from my web hosting server.  Didn't seem to be a Movable Type error, just a plain server error.

So it seems my web hosting company will not allow me to post the word p0ker on my blog.

Paranoid security, much?

Let's see if this entry posts ..  nope... not until I change p0ker to something else.


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Friday night saw us heading to North Cooma (aka as far south in Canberra as you can go) to have dinner at Andrew and Jen's.  Richard and Tracey came too so it was quite the party.

And how cool is this - Andrew's building a 747 flight simulator, complete with physical controls and switches and computerised flight systems that plug into Microsoft Flight Simulater.  Extremelly cool!

747 flight simulator

And there was quite the feast of food, including a rather tasty dish of chicken, prawns and bacon .. sounds strange but it was very nice :)

Andrew's feast

After dinner we played p0ker until Tracey's chips ran out (and they had to get kids home to bed). Then we played Cranium which is a mashup of Pictionary, Charades, Trivial Pursuit and Rapidough.  The game play was a bit confusing and odd, but that might have been because we just hadn't read the instructions thoroughly.  It was fun anyway.


Saturday night we went to Josh and Ally's for a lovely evening of chatting and a very yummy middle eastern fish dish.

Ally feast

Ally feast

Thursday morning I headed up to Sydney.  Stopped in at Picton and watched David feed all the snakes.


Then we headed to the parent's place for lunch with Aunty Rhonda.

Sympathy cards

And then across to Rookwood for Nana's funeral.

The whole family was there which was really nice.  The funeral itself was lovely.  My mum and uncles read a beautiful eulogy and Ken had put together a wonderful slide show of Nana's life.

Nana's funeral

Nana's flowers

Lots of people hung around for the wake in the Reflections cafe.

But the shocker of the day for me was finding out I have another cousin.  


Mum was reading the names of all the grandkids during the eulogy, and it included a name I'd never heard of.  Later I asked mum about it.  Turns out my uncle had had him after he'd separated from his first wife but it was all a bit awkward so he doesn't get talked about in the family.  But how did I not know about this at all??  Sheesh!  Apparently he was at the funeral too.  So that was all very bizarre.

So then we battled peak hour traffic and went with Diana and Graham to the Tradies for dinner.  Every time I've been there in the past few years it's been different.  Seems they've completed their renovations now, and there's a huge front entrance now.  The roast of the day was pork, so five of us except David had it :)  


Then back to my parents' to pick up stuff, then back to Picton to pick up my car, and then home.  I was super tired, but made it safely, with Harry to keep me company.  Got home a bit after midnight.

Car Costs

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My brother and I had quite a lot of time to chat last week, and one of the things we talked about was car costs.

Now thanks to my genetics, I inherited my parent's obsessivness, and so ever since I've had a car I've kept a log book of petrol costs, as well a spreadsheet listing rego, servicing, and insurance costs.  I updated the last two year's worth of petrol costs this afternoon, and so here's a breakdown of how much this car has cost me since I got it in February 2001.

Running Report    
Costs: Petrol only: $10,400.28
  Insurance, Servicing, Rego etc: $24,021.76
  Total Post-Purchase Expenses: $34,422.04
  Car Purchase Cost: $4,300.00
  Grand Total of everything: $38,722.04
Mileage Stats    
Mileage:  Current mileage (started at 122334 in 2001) 232842
Litres:  Total petrol put into car (L) 9541.3
c/km: Petrol only: 9.40
  Total - car cost: 31.14
  Total: 35.04
m/gal: 32.74
L/100km: 8.63
km/L:   11.59

So this car has so far cost me $39000 in twelve years.  9.4c/km for petrol only or 35.04c/km for total cost (which would be less if I drove it more).  

Some of the stats are affected by how I've driven it over the years.  From 2001 to 2006 I was commuting to work in Sydney.  From 2006 to 2007 I was going to Canberra once a month.  From the end of 2007 I stopped driving to work, so usage dropped off dramatically.

And just for fun, here's petrol prices for the past twelve years.  Noting that in recent years, Canberra prices are typically 10-15c/L higher than Sydney, as you can see by the little dips on those last two Sydney purchases in the past month!

Petrol costs

Cross stitch

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For Christmas in 1992 I received a small counted cross stitch kit.

I finished it last weekend.

Butterfly cross stitch

(sorry about the dodgy photo)

Club Night

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On Saturday night we went out to the club for the afternoon/evening.  J&H did a roast of epic proportions - a heap of pork and lamb as well, and lots of yummy roast veggies.  Played cards with A&J afterwards.  And I might have had some leftover pork the next morning for breakfast :)

Sunset from our caravan

Club roast dinner

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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