October 2013 Archives

Club Halloween Night

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Last Saturday night was a halloween night at the club.

In the afternoon some of us went out bird watching.

Bird watching at the club

We heard more birds than we saw, but did see some kangaroos.


Lots of cool decorations ..

Club halloween night

Club halloween night

Some cool costumes ..

Club halloween night

And some yummy food ..

Club halloween night

Club halloween night

Death du Jour

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Last week I finished Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs - her second book and the third of hers I've read.

Again, a great read, but this time I was a little bit annoyed at all the coincidences and how everything tied together.  Just seemed a little forced.  But enjoyed the ride anyway.

The Naked Husband

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No, this is not what you might be expecting :)

This was a book I picked up and read at the club a few weeks ago.  The book tells the story of Mark D'Arbanville and an affair he had and the tragic consequences.  As I was reading it seemed a little too truthful to be entirely made up, especially since the character of the book is the author himself - Mark D'Arbanville.  So I googled it, and sure enough, it was, as he described it, "fiction based on fact".  Basically the feelings he experienced and struggled with when he was in the same situation.  I found it quite compelling reading and started it Friday night and finished it Saturday morning.

A little while back I finished reading "I Hate You - Don't Leave Me" by Jerold Kreisman and Hal Straus.  This was a book Fiona lent us to help us understand her Borderline Personality Disorder.

It was an engaging read, and made all the more personal by her highlighting of a lot of passages - it was like reading her mind in a lot of ways.  One thing that stood out for me (although I don't know how much to Fiona - it wasn't underlined) was a description of BPD as being like emotional third degree burns - where even the slightest touch can cause agony.  But yeah, not a fun mental disorder to live with.

Definitely recommended if you know anyone with BPD.


The latest drama: trying to unlock my phone from Optus.  Apple in their infinite wisdom dictated that the only way to unlock your phone from your provider is to do a backup and then a restore of the phone.  How retarded is that on every level?  The last time I tried to do it it wiped an app off my phone and I lost all my UK 2010 GPS tracks.  I was devastated.  

Tonight I was having another go at it on my new phone.  I dutifully backed up the phone, then hit the restore button.  Except I got an error:

"iTunes could not restore the iPhone "Kazza the Blank One" because not enough free space is available on the iPhone".

Except there was over a gig free.

So I *BATTLED* clearing things off it.  Photos are easy enough through Windows Explorer, but podcasts, music and audiobooks play hard to get, and it's not intuitive how to do it.  Had to fight and fight with it to remove the files.

Got to nearly 3.5 Gb free.  But do you think the phone will restore? NO!  I renamed the backup file directory and did a whole new backup.  Both directories were only 6Gb in size.  Still it wouldn't restore.

So now I'm going on yet another trip where my phone won't onlock and I'll be forced to use Global Roaming if I want to use my phone at all.

Apple, you SUCK!!!!

Edit.  I deleted another couple of gigs of photos to get it to more than 6Gb free, which was the size of the backup directory.  Now it seems to be restoring.....  Let's see if Apple screws me over in some other way next ...

Went to Sydney again on Sunday.  Went over to the home, and took dad out.  We went up to the local shops and bought him hot chips and a milkshake.  He liked them a lot, and liked the chance to get out of the home.  Still didn't stop him ranting about stuff like the other home residents and politicians.  Sigh.

Dad day out

During the week Mum and I tackled the work shop - clearing the foor and chairs and some of the work bench.  We're starting to see a difference in there.  We also threw out a *lot* of 3 1/2" disks.  Legitimate copies of things like dos, windows, office etc.  But so old *noone* would ever want them.  So they all got turfed.

Software chuck

Disks chuck

The drive up was pretty eerie - sections of the Hume Highway had bushfire damage either side and there was very heavy smoke around.  But got to Sydney ok.  Had no troubles getting home last night, as the major fires are up in the Blue Mountains and the southern ones were nowhere near where I needed to go.  The skies on Sunday and Monday were full of smoke and very eerie. 

Sunrise on Monday morning:
Eerie sunrise

Video Night

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Last Saturday night we had a couple of Davids and a Chris and a Neil over for a video night.

It was a good fun night and there was lots of nibbles and wine and pizza and beer.

We watched Ghost World which was ok, and Dogma which was completely ridiculous.

Video night pizza

Another Sydney Week

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Sunday morning I headed up to Sydney again.

But instead of visiting Dad straight away we ended up getting invited to Andy R's engagement party.  Which was basically just a family thing that mum got invited to as a good friend of "Aunty" Di's (not my aunty, but that's how my friend Crust (Chris) referred to her as).  Anyways, I've seen Graham and Di many times over the years, but I hadn't seen Andy and Dave (and Suzannah and Robert) in probably close to twenty years.  So it was a little odd (I felt like such a ring-in at a family event), but good to see everyone again.  


Milly and Andy

Then we went off to see Dad.  The butthead he shares a room with got grumpy when we made him turn his tv volume down.  Whatever.  Stayed a little while then went to Aldi to buy mum her first ever sim card, to go with her first ever (brand-new-second-hand) mobile phone.

Mum's phone

Evenings were spent clearing crap out of the garage.  I continue to be astounded by dad's box fetish.  It seemed any box that passed his way he'd keep "for storing things".  So we found boxes and boxes and boxes hidden away and in alcoves.  Not only that, but he used to make little boxes to go in bigger boxes for storing little bits and pieces.  So there's was piles and piles of cardboard, some of it already cut up and ready to be folded into little boxes.

Boxes of boxes

We are starting to feel somewhat overwhelmed by it all.  We've been at it for weeks but it seems we've barely made a dent :/

Monday morning I dropped my car off at Bargwanna's and said *please* fix it!  It turns out that the alternator was just wired incorrectly.  They fixed that up and made sure it wasn't drawing any current.  They also fixed a few other things that probably should have been done ages ago but just *weren't*.  I'm still undecided whether I'll ever go back to Melba Motors.

In the city, there's snails everywhere at the moment.  Although when I researched it I found out the display is finishing today, so alas I won't be able to go find any of the others.

Orange snail

Blue snails

Yellow snails

Martin Place has a stack of plants in front of the fountain, making it feel somewhat tropical.

Martin Place tropics

The monorail is almost completely gone too.  This is pretty much all that's left - stumps.

Monorail stump

Wednesday I had lunch with @StuartCRyan again, and we had Peking Duck again.  It was pretty awesome.

Peking Duck again

Came home Wednesday night, with Harry to keep me company again.

Cactus flower

Filling in

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Wednesday saw us at Windy's for dinner.  Nanette cooked a pretty awesome butterfly lamb, and an equally awesome almond praline cheesecake.  The lamb was demolished in short order (the remaining pieces below were also finished off) and the cheesecake made a great morning tea the next day.

Windy Dinner


Thursday I started feeling a bit off colour and by the afternoon was definitely feeling wrong.  Struggled through the two beers of the week then went home feeling pretty miserable.  Watched Annie on dvd before collapsing into bed but being very uncomfortable.  Friday was also a bit blah - the bowels still weren't happy with me.  

Friday night after work I met Stu out at the club.  We had the place to ourselves which was pretty nice.  I started reading a book and finished it Saturday morning.  Also started a jigsaw and had a swim before we came home.

Last night we got pizza and watched Star Trek and played Diablo and did jigsaws while I generally stressed about having to go to Sydney.


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The other week when Fiona was here, before we had breakfast at Pulp Kitchen, we tried to see the Skywhale in Ainslie.  Except we arrived about five minutes too late, and only just managed to see it in the air as it was coming down.  We did get to grope its boobies though!








Tom Weekend

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Friday night we went and picked up Stu's old school friend Tom from the station.

Saturday morning they headed into town to see some anime at the Dendy.  I took the opportunity to get the house in order.  In the afternoon Damien picked me up and we went to the Wig & Pen for drinks, and then Stu, Tom and I went to Happy's for dinner.  Came home and watched Star Wars.

Sunday morning we went to Black Pepper for breakfast.  Afterwards, David came by to look at my car (see here for more on that).  Then we took Stu to the airport and Tom and I went to see Garden of Words and Ghost in the Shell: Arise with Gaelian and Steph.  I thought The Garden of Words was lovely, stunningly beautiful and detailed, and the "been-there's" were pretty cool too.  Ghost in the Shell was a lot harder to follow who was on who's side, so didn't get into that one as much.

Garden of Words Ghost in the Shell

We had a late lunch/early dinner at Ali Baba, then came home with drinks and nibbles and proceeded to watch Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

This morning got up at stoopid o'clock to drop Tom off at the station, then came home to get more sleep.

With only 1100 steps on the pedometer by 5pm and it being such a beautiful day and all, I also went for a walk, although only put another 4000 steps on the pedometer in forty minutes.

Mount Rogers walk

Mount Rogers walk

And some cool clouds and rainbows out the back

Ainslie Double Rainbow

Car Dramas

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All of this actually started in March. My alternator died so I had to get a new one. Then in August that alternator died. So I had to get another one, which I was not happy about. Fortunately I didn't have to pay for the alternator, just the labour.

The next weekend I went to Sydney. I noticed the engine seemed to be running pretty rich, and the car was using more petrol than it should. Then on the Wednesday night when I went to come home and the car wouldn't start - the battery was pretty flat and wouldn't turn the engine over. So I clutch started it and came home without any issues.

A couple of weeks passed by and a couple more trips to Sydney.

Then three weeks ago I was about to leave for Sydney when my garage door broke. The power had tripped and when that happens, the door goes up and down to figure out if it's up or down, and in doing that it broke off the bracket that holds it onto the motor. So Damien and Stu manually wound it round so I could get out, but then my was *completely* dead. No power whatsoever. So I thought it was the battery. Because I had a new alternator and all. So got NRMA to come out and give me a new battery.

Off I went to Sydney again, and came back no problems. Left the car parked outside because the garage door was broken. A week later I went to start my car. Dead. Dead dead dead. Brand new battery and it's flat. Stressed about how much damage I've done to a new battery, that I probably didn't actually need a new battery after all, that I needed the car on the weekend and it wasn't working. I caught the bus to work, and Stu connected up my charger. But no lights came on. And in fact when I got home on that Friday night, there was still absolutely nothing. Super super stressed now to the point of feeling queasy. But then Tony was able to come by with his charger and it seemed to work. Same brand, but a different model. So I'm thinking my charger is dead too. Yay.

The Saturday morning I had to go to work, and luckily Tony's charger had worked and I was able to start the car and go to work. I took the "scenic" route to make sure the battery was fully charged. After work it started again no problems, and I went out to the club. Next day came home no problems.

Potty came over with his manly man friend, and they were able to fix the garage door! They reckoned that if I'd had to get a professional, they probably would have declared it too hard and wanted to sell me a new door. So that was pretty awesome.

But my car problems remained: the engine was still running rich and my battery kept flattening. Something had to be done.

So I took it to the mechanic the Tuesday after Family and Community Day and told Mick of my dramas. I told him that I wanted a *real* laser alternator that has a third wire to power the choke heater. I told him I was convinced there was *something* in the alternator that was draining my battery while the engine was off.

Wednesday I got it back. They couldn't find a laser alternator, but he'd had an autoelectrician in to wire in power to the choke. Dubious, I took the car home. At least the choke now worked and turned off when the engine was warm. I measured the voltage on the battery when I got it home. 10V according to our crappy multimeter. Kept an eye on it for the next few days. It stayed at 10V until Sunday morning, where it had dropped to 5V. So my battery problems were still there :(:(

Sunday lunch, the little brother came by after finishing working on the train at the museum. With his multimeter he was able to see that the car was drawing 0.25A of current. We went through all the fuses testing stuff but still there was current being drawn. Then he disconnected the alternator. The current stopped.


How can a mechanic *and* an auto electrician not figure this out? I was furious.

David was able to trace the alternator to a 40A fuse in the engine bay that I can pull out when leaving the car for more than a day. So next time I'm in Sydney I think I'll take it to Bargwanna's and see what they can do. Because I don't think I can ever go back to Melba Motors again.

As a side note, it seems my charger isn't actually dead, but won't work with a completely dead battery - only a mostly dead one.

And thanks *heaps* to David.. have I ever mentioned how much my little brother rocks?!

Groundhog Day

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I want to do today over again please.  Today was an Epic Fail on just about every level.  Everything was my fault and I want to change everything.


September Jigsaws

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Quieter month for jigsaws in September.

This one I got from Aquila for my birthday.  It was actually surprisingly easy and I did it in two nights - the borders on one night and the rest the next night.
Osaka Castle Jigsaw

This is another Wasgij jigsaw someone from work brought in.  I quietly took it home to do it myself first.  This is another one that doesn't have the picture on the box.  But even if it did, this jigsaw would still have been *hard* as a lot of the pieces look *very* similar.
Wasgij 7

Wasgij 7

This was another $1 jigsaw from Kmart that I did at the club on Sunday.
Sugar Cane Train jigsaw


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Friday morning Fiona went home.  I went to drive to work but my battery was dead.  But I'll leave that for another post.

Saturday morning I went to work for a big upgrade, that all went very smoothly, so was finished by midday, even though we'd negotiated an outage for the entire day.

Saturday afternoon I met Stu out at the club.  I helped with dinner prep while Stu worked on his assignment.

Oktoberfest at the club

Stu had brought some German biers, so we had them with the sausages for dinner.

Sausages and sauerkraut

It had been blowing a gale all afternoon but had died down a little by the evening.

Sunday morning we checked with the firies and then did some hazard reduction.  Got through a pretty big pile of dead branches.

Club bonfire

I might have jumped in the pool afterwards as I was pretty hot, but didn't stay in long - my feet were starting to go numb after about twenty seconds!

Saw an echidna


In the afternoon I did a small jigsaw, then we came home.

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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