December 2013 Archives
So 2013. Busy year!
We saw in 2013 with a small pool party at our place with Nat and Andrew and also Steve for a while.
We did a bit of travelling this year.
In January we went up the coast to South West Rocks to a school reunion of sorts for Stu and to visit Stu's dad. We drove up and down the coast, swam, visited Trial Bay Gaol, and caught up with Fiona and Margie on the way home.
We only managed to get to the coast once this year, in May. It was somewhat of a disaster with the spa being too cold on Friday night and too hot on Saturday night and a few other things that made it all a bit unpleasant (except for during the day on Saturday which was pretty good). Almost went again later in the year but had to go to Sydney and otherwise we've just been too busy.
We went to Queensland in July for a lovely long weekend to visit Chay and David.
At the end of July we flew up to Sydney for my Dad's 70th and one of my 40th parties (see below).
In October we decided at the last minute to go to Hong Kong for a week at the end of October. It was a great week, even if a little too humid. It's the most spontaneous holiday I've ever taken. I didn't do too much planning for it, because the more I researched, the more things I found of interest to see. So I stopped researching altogether and we took it as it came.
At work I had a mostly good year. I started off the year cleaning and pretty much cleaned all year. I started with the knowledge base articles for our team, then moved onto the log transfer system, then the load balancers. I also rehashed an old domino database for documentation which brought back a lot of memories of my last job. For the rest of the time it mostly felt like I was the "goto" person for any and all problems that came along. We were partly restructured, but the powers that be didn't really have a clear idea of what they wanted, so things didn't change as much as we originally thought they would. I made Stu drag out his tuxedo again for the work ball which was a lot of fun.
Healthwise I felt like I was sick the whole first half of the year - with colds in January, March, April, May and June. So that was pretty horrible. Not flus though, just annoying colds. Got another one the night before we went to Hong Kong too - yay :( But have been ok otherwise.
We had a super busy social year this year. In fact it was so busy that we went from May to September without having a free Saturday night. As a consequence our Buffy and Angel watching was almost non-existent. There were plenty of visits to/from Annie and Potty and the families. Various people came over for dinner and/or swims at the beginning of the year. Nat and Andrew came over a few times, as well as Andrew by himself when Nat was travelling. There were various after works drinks with my colleagues and Stu's and family and friends. Various Singstar/Mario Kart nights were had. Several BBQs at @CLBradley's. Several games nights at Mishi's. Had a video night at our place with work people. We visited people for lunches/dinners such as Matt and Helen, Andrew and Jen, Chris and Geoff, Josh and Ally, Windy and Nanette etc. We saw Daniel and Fi a few times when they came down. Several people came to stay including David and Yvonne, Ken and Jeanine, Fiona a couple of times and Stu's old school friend Tom. I met up with @StuartCRyan a few times in Sydney (we met in real life for the first time at my birthday). I also went to visit David in Junee.
Speaking of birthdays, I turned forty this year. To celebrate I had *three* great parties - one in Sydney, a big one at home the Saturday before my birthday, then a big lunch at work on my birthday followed by a nice dinner and seeing Phantom of the Opera. I was certainly in a different place mentally for my fortieth. During the whole run-up to my thirtieth I was very depressed, and my actual birthday was pretty meh. Such a different story this year though.
In sadder news, my Nana died of old age earlier in the year. And then I found out at the funeral that I have another cousin that I'd never heard about before!
Also in sad news, my father got diagnosed with a brain tumour in March. He had surgery immediately (and they had to cancel a holiday to New Zealand), followed by chemo and radiotherapy. Unfortunately it didn't really help, and he was hospitalised in July because he kept falling over and wasn't able to walk properly. He's been getting progressively worse and has been in a nursing home since September. In August I started going up to Sydney fairly regularly to see Dad and help Mum with the mammoth task of clearing out the garage and workshop. We've mostly been sorting things so far as I don't want to get rid of things until Dad goes. Fortunately I've been able to work out of the Sydney office so not having to take leave at the moment.
We've been enjoying a lot of visits to our little social club. We camped there over the Australia day long weekend, and the new tent survived a storm and massive downpour fairly well. But then a caravan came up for sale, so we bought it! We went to most of the club nights during the year, and plenty of other times as well. It's Stu's little get-away-from-the-world place and he thoroughly enjoys it.
With work people or the sweetie, tried out a few new restaurants. Continued going to Black Pepper for brunches and also Pulp Kitchen a few times. Went to Dumpling Inn a few times and Bella Vista as well. Didn't try too many desserts this year, although did make a Mars Bar slice and a peppermint rocky road, as well as an apple crumble and caramel slice that we tried at the club.
We bought another four baby angels for the angel tank. One died but the other three survived, so now have four angels and about seven danios in that tank. We got a lovely little betta for the macquarium, but he never thrived and died in six weeks. So thinking I'll probably give the macquarium away. The four foot still has a school of duboisis, two multies, a lelupi and a J.transcriptus. There's three multis downstairs, but after breeding once, the single baby I saw disappeared and haven't seen any since. There's still three or four quite old kribs downstairs as well.
Not much Lego action this year. I did get a cute little plane from Fiona, and a small City set from Ric for my birthday. I went with Nat and Andrew to Brick Expo, but was very frustrated with the crowds. I dismantled the Millennium Falcon which had been out for four years! Also over the Christmas break got to sort out and build all of Jake's lego which has been fun.
I did a lot of jigsaws this year. Mostly downstairs until downstairs got too cold. Mostly little ones, but also another section of the huge "Life" puzzle. Gave up on the skies of two jigsaws because their quality was just too poor.
I celebrated my tenth blogiversary this year. To mark the occasion I upgraded to Movable Type 5. But got very frustrated with the fact that I now cannot SSH to my host. Also with Movable Type which is *very* buggy. Next year my domain is up for renewal and I'm thinking about moving my domain to a new host with a new blogging platform. But the whole idea is pretty scary, so we'll see about that...
- The only show I saw this year was The Phantom of the Opera on my birthday.
Not many movies this year either...
- The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey
- Star Trek - Into Darkness
- Garden of Words and Ghost in the Shell: Arise
- Time Enough for Love by Robert Heinlein
- Polgara the Sorceress by David and Leigh Eddings
- Careful, he might hear you, by Sumner Locke Elliott
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Déjà Dead by Kathy Reichs
- A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
- I Hate You - Don't Leave Me by Jerold Kreisman and Hal Straus
- The Naked Husband by Mark D'Arbanville
- Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs
- Airport by Arthur Hailey
- Body of Evidence by Patricia Cornwall
- Had a full day at the War Memorial with Ken and Jeanine
- Had a jigsaw race with Nat
- Found my first geocache with Nat and Andrew
- Saw a Roller Derby bout
- Mum got her first mobile phone
- Had a random day off work to tidy up all the fish tank stuff in the garage
- Went for some walks around Palmerville with the sweetie
- Spotted the ISS a few times and waved to @Cmdr_Hadfield. Wasn't quite the same when he came back to earth.
- Went to the balloon fiesta on Canberra Day
- Watched the last couple of episodes and finale of House, which considering the timing with dad was pretty sad
- Took Stu's car for a drive up Mount Ainslie and got covered in lady bugs
- Our PS3 stopped playing DVD disks. Bluray is still ok though. We considered getting a PS4 but the device isn't backwards compatible with old games.
- Went out to Captain's Flat on our fifth wedding anniversary
- Finished a cross stitch I got for Christmas in 1992
- Went up Black Mountain Tower
- Voted in ABC Classic FM's top 100 music in the movies, and most of my votes were in the top two hundred
- Did a blog for our trip to America in 1983
- Gave up reading Boing Boing, Life Hacker and Neatorama, Dooce and Dilbert
- Got extremely pissed off when Google Reader shut down. Destroyed my faith in Google.
- Looked at Comma Feed, Feedly and The Old Reader. Stuck with The Old Reader. The Old Reader subsequently crashed from all the extra load of departing Google users, but was able to get funding to run on better hosting and has been fine ever since.
- Got more of my photos onto the RiotACT
- Cancelled Aussie Farmers Direct orders
- Had a look around Wintercon at EPIC
- Stu had a few car dramas that Melba Motors didn't fix
- I had a LOT of car dramas that Melba Motors didn't fix
- Saw the Skywhale
- Played through Diablo with the sweetie. On easy mode. Sue me.
- Did proper karaoke for the first time ever (and I've been to Japan four times!)
- Went to a Christmas Carols service at Como
So that's the end of 2013. New Year's Eve will be spent out at the club with food and booze and friends and fairy lights and fireworks :)
Just a stack more photos that still haven't made it online..
A truncated dodecahedron I made for a guy at work
George, who jumped onto my seat straight after I got up because it was warm
Some daffodils out the front
Lego R2-D2 and C-3PO in Myer in Sydney
Lego mosaic in Myer in Sydney
Sometimes the algae in the pool gets away from me.
Add flocculent and wait a day for it to settle
Vaccum to waste - shiny!
A lovely dragonfly at work that obligingly sat still for us to photograph it
A ginormous caterpillar - a White-Stemmed Gum Moth
The Birds! A huge flock of galahs out the back (this wasn't even all of them)
Neil with his brand new car that he got himself for Christmas. His last car was a Datsun 120Y that he bought new - in 1978!
I've got a whole stack of photos of new food and fooderies around the place, but somehow never got them online.
This was just after Chong Co Express opened in the mall. I've been wanting a place that does nice lunchtime chicken red curries since I left Sydney. This wasn't quite it. It was a tad too spicy for me, and a little pricey too (around $10 from memory). Haven't been back.
This was Adana at the back of the mall. The chicken dish (top I think) was really good, the meatballs ok, and cutlets pretty good also.
Beef nachos from Cafe on Benjamin. The beef was ok (I got chicken the next time I went) - strips of beef rather than ground beef. But the chips were awesome - super crispy and yummy
In Sydney I'm on a quest to find good takoyaki. These were ok - from Kura in Chinatown. They were burn-your-mouth hot (as they should be) but didn't have much octopus in them.
These were from Lord of the Fries on George Street. I went there because they did a "Canadian" style topping - supposedly a poutine, but I suspect probably just a cheese sauce. But they didn't have any of that so I got their Italian sauce. But they were pretty average so don't know that I'll bother going back.
This was crispy duck from Asian Noodle House shortly after it opened. Not too bad, altho not so crispy under all that salad.
And a dosai from Spice India in the mall. Weird because they didn't put the filling in the dosai. And it was ok, but not super awesome, not like Ruchi's.
I was completely tempted by the ginger bread kits they were selling in Coles this year. I bought a train one to have for Christmas, but I ended up with the village one as well after the club Christmas party. They took *ages* to build because you had to wait for things to set before moving on. I also bought a heap of extra lollies to put on them.
Most of the village got taken to work before Christmas and it was demolished and eaten in fairly short order. The gingerbread is more biscuity than bready.
The train was the centrepiece for Christmas lunch. Some of it got eaten on the day, but there's still quite a bit left.
I somehow ended up with quite a few photos of various Christmas trees over November/December
At the club
In the QVB
Also in the QVB
Martin Place, still under construction
Mum's - by day
Mum's - by night
Our Christmas tree
One at work
Yesterday David came up to Canberra as he'll be running the party train up to Sydney tonight. He came out to the club with us and fixed our two dodgy light switches that weren't working. He also had a look at the fridge socket. It's missing neutral which *might* explain why it's not working properly, but we tried plugging it into another switch that was working properly, but it didn't cool down much in the hour or two we were there. So have left it plugged into that overnight and we'll see what it does today. Have I ever mentioned I have the bestest little brother ever? :)
Back to our place for dinner of sausages and then we watched The Negotiator, because Stu had never seen it and I'm like *what??* heh. So he quite enjoyed that. And then we watched Under Seige, which he also enjoyed more than he thought he would.
Was trying to have a sleep-in this morning, but failed because I have far too much work to do before tonight and that wouldn't let my brain relax enough to go back to sleep.
On Friday (after a productive morning which included cleaning out the shelves in the bedroom cupboard) we headed into the city so the sweetie could pick up a package. Except that the post office was closed. Doh. So went to the Canberra Centre so we could return the Wii-U game that wasn't going to work on our Wii. Had lunch then went to Myer and got a few bits and pieces on special, including a variable temperature kettle, a picnic set, and a beach towel for Stu.
Got a lot more of the Millennium Falcon put away in the afternoon as well as watching The Hunger Games with the sweetie.
On Saturday I got quite a bit of stuff done in the morning, including finishing dismantling the Millennium Falcon. I found the sheet of timings I did from when I built it - at the end of 2009!! The thing has been assembled for four years!! Oops!
Had lunch at Ali Baba, then did some food shopping. The sweetie got a migraine too which wasn't much fun.
Did a bit of a cleanup in the afternoon and put on a lamb roast. For dinner, Jan, Bruce and James came over and we chatted for a while before dinner. I followed a recipe Stu found at Annie's suggestion - which involved lemon juice and lemons put into the meat. It worked really well and gave it a nice zing. Will try it again sometime. After dinner, Annie and family came over. The kids played Mariokart while we all chatted. Was a really nice night. It was still pretty hot after everyone left so we both jumped in the puddle. Heard Kit had visitors so invited myself over. After chatting for ages, Kit and Ben came over for a swim. We might have accidently stayed up *very* late. But of course I always wake up early, and never did manage to get back to sleep. So pretty tired today. This afternoon I finished sorting Jake's Lego, and started assembling the sets.
So a pretty good few days.
This jigsaw was a birthday present from Tony H. It's actually two separate jigsaws and then a whole stack of little plastic buildings you shove into the top foam layer. The jigsaw itself is pretty tricky because there's a lot of buildings that all look alike. But then I figured out there was a method to the madness and was able to sort the pieces based on their shape, and reduced selection of pieces to a quarter of the whole thing and did it in columns. The plastic buildings were mostly easy enough to identify, but towards the end they all started to look alike. Then I discovered the buildings were numbered on the bottom with tiny numbers. When I finished I discovered the instructions said to use the tiny numbers to identify the buildings. Oops.. rtfm next time..!
This was one I borrowed from work of Linderhof Palace. All that green was a bit icky, but I cheated when I realised there were two halves to the jigsaw that were identical, so I put the top half on the bottom half and finished the trees relatively quickly.
Another one I borrowed from work.
This was a set of five jigsaws I got at K-Mart for $8, which was exactly the same series as one I got from Vinnies a while back - which was more like $10 and had two jigsaws out of the five missing - fail! I had bought it for myself for Christmas, but got talked into opening it at work, so we did the five of them over December. They were all fun, but the one of the dolphins was missing four pieces. We checked the bag and it hadn't been sealed properly. The missing pieces weren't in the box either, so they must have been dropped on the floor of a factory in China somewhere..
Having finished the other five, I brought in another fun one for them to do in the run-up to Christmas. Except we finished it in two days.
So I brought in another one. Yeah they finished this in two days too.
And finally another one of Keukenhof Gardens I did at home, borrowed from work.
Stu got these glow-in-the-dark buckyballs earlier in the year, and surprisingly they weren't denied entry to Australia.
And knowing my love of magnetic toys, Nat brought these over for me earlier in the year!
This Star of David I saw for sale as a kit in Israel last year, so I took a photo of it back then, and made it with the ones Nat brought..
Here's some photos I took in 2012 (!) that still haven't been blogged - bucky shapes! Made when I was stockpiling bucky balls before they were finally banned for sale in Australia.
Christmas Eve was a nice morning tea at work, followed by an early mark. Went to Potty's to do a water change and bring home some lego. Had lunch at KFC then came home and had a small siesta.
In the evening we got the Dominos wagyu three ways pizza and watched carols (or half watched really, I was playing on my phone).
Christmas morning I finished off some last-minute cleaning of the house, then prepped lunch. Annie and family came over and we sat around and nibbled and chatted while the Stus played Diablo. Then had a roast pork and potato (and other things) feast. Sadly the crackling wasn't as good as last time I did a roast pork. Oh well. Several food comas were had by people during Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and we also watched the beginning of Monty Python and the Holy Grail (keeping with the theme). The others went home and we finished watching it. It was a lovely afternoon, pretty much stress free which was good. Hurrah! :)
Didn't get any photos of all the food except for these cheese and bacon balls - cheese, bacon, more cheese, more cheese, sweet chili sauce and chives. They could have done with more bacon.. next time.. :)
In the evening we watched the 7pm Project, and then Shrek the Third.
Today, Boxing Day, I got stuck into some holiday projects I'd been hanging out to do. Tidied the shelves in the spare room cupboard, got half way through dismantling the Millennium Falcon, downloaded some bank statements and organised things there a bit, downloaded all the photos off all my cameras, started preparing my year in review post, built my nanoblock Schloss Neuschwanstein, and watched Storm Boy in the evening (I haven't seen that movie in probably thirty years).
So since I last blogged I've been to four parties.
Last Friday was our division party. It was at the Novotel, so it was a little pricey, but most of the food was really good. Had some silly but fun activities afterwards, then kicked onto the Wig & Pen. Went to Zierholz as well after that, but didn't stay long there.
My Christmas cracker joke
We didn't get this. Turns out "penguins" are like Freddo Frogs - chocolates with individual wrappings
Space Invaders school!
Saturday I did house organising type stuff in the morning then went out to the club. Had a swim and after dinner we played some cards (Fluxx and Uno) with A&J.
Sunday morning I headed up to Sydney.
Signs burnt by the bushfires in October
Fog on Appin Road - really weird considering how hot it was
Went to the home to take dad out for chips, but we got a retarded wheel chair and had an extremelly frustrating time trying to get him to the shops.
In the evening we went to mum's church for a sausage sizzle and carols which was quite nice.
The last time I saw Ruth she was about six years old.. now she's 22!
Monday night I went over to Luc and Lizzi's for dinner. Lizzi cooked us scotch fillet steaks - yum yum :) Was great to catch up with them.
On Tuesday it was the nursing home's Christmas party. David and Yvonne and Uncle Ian came along too, and we had our own table too. A friend of Ian's was the entertainment - she sang lots of Christmas songs. So was a pretty good afternoon. Did a bit of workshop tidying afterwards.
Yvonne being a goofball
Uncle Ian being a goofball
Possibly our last ever family photo
Wednesday mum did a great roast pork before I came home.
The car behaved itself too. The water seems to have gone down a *little* bit but not too much.
Friday was our section party at the lake. It was super hot and Neil and I were suckers and walked the whole way there. Dranks lots of beer and bubbly, but also lots of water so had an early night and was totally fine the next day :)
Henrch won the race to the top of the rope pyramid
I would love to have joined the boys in a dip in the lake :)
Yesterday the sweetie and I went out for brunch at As Nature Intended, then did our food shopping. It was miserably hot and I barely achieved anything all afternoon.
In the evening I went over to Kit's for another party so she could christen her new bbq. Around 10pm I snuck into the lounge room to watch the end of Carols in the Domain. Even the anti-carols people ended up watching with me :) *and* they played the Hallelujah chorus which the Sydney one never does, so that was super awesome :)
This morning the house was ten degrees cooler so got stuck into tidying up the house. Was at it most of the day. But of course it got hotter and hotter and by later in the afternoon I was pretty much spent. Had a swim, then went to Potty's to feed the fish.
And so I'm finally caught up. Well sort of. There's still more house tidying to be done. And photos from the last two months to upload to the blog. But might get it done by the end of the year. Maybe ....
So after my car-overheating-debacle the other week, I thought I'd better get it checked out before going up to Sydney again.
So I took it to Natrad in Belconnen.
The good news: they couldn't find anything wrong. The bad news: they couldn't find anything wrong.
So that's a bit of a poo and it means I don't actually know what's going to happen next time I go to Sydney. All I can do is take a few bottles of water and hope for the best.
But the lovely thing is that Natrad didn't charge me anything, even though they tested the car and looked all through it for any problems. That alone is enough to make me want to go back to them for any sort of radiator/cooling problems in the future!
Sometimes I love summer TV. A few shows that have started up in the last two weeks are "Mighty Planes", "When Weather Changed History", and "Aftermath".
The first episode Mighty Planes featured Donald Trump's very shiny 757. Tonight's had the Blue Angels. Next week has the A380. Planes! Love it :)
When Weather Changed History looked at the Challenger disaster last week and the Delta 191 crash this week. Both are stories I've seen before, but this showed new things and in the case of the Delta 191 a different perspective than in Air Crash Investigations, with actual cockpit recordings and a lot more real footage.
Aftermath I only started watching because it was on straight after Air Crash Investigations. Last week they looked at what might happen if the world suddenly doubled in population overnight. This week it was what would happen if the world suddenly ran out of crude oil. It's a little too US-centric, with not a lot of what might happen in the rest of the world. And in some senses I think things would go worse than they thought - I reckon society would collapse a lot quicker and it would be a lot more chaotic.
Of course all of this means I'm getting quite a bit of jigsaw time in :) (but sadly not enough Hong Kong photo sorting)
I've been really slack with blogging this year, especially the second half. Lots of trips to Sydney mucking up my routine and cutting deeply into my "home" time is certainly not helping. And the lack of comments is also not helping either, I feel like noone's really out there anymore. Since my birthday in August I've had a whole *two* comments from regular readers. Not that I do this for you, I do it for me, which is why I'm a bit annoyed I'm not keeping up - as this provides a valuable record for me of my life.
Thursday night after drinks we went to the Lighty for dinner, and then onto Karaoke. I've never done karaoke like this before. And found it a lot more difficult than Singstar. With Singstar the lead vocals are at full volume compared to the music, and the timings are on screen. With karaoke the lead vocals are basically non existent, which means you're pretty much on your own getting the timing right. And when people are singing very loudly and very badly, it's very hard to try and get it right. In the end with a lot of songs I blocked an ear and closed my eyes and was able to keep the timing a lot better. And the videos are crap - at least with Singstar you mostly get the original video clips. But it was a great fun night - we stayed for two hour-long rounds.
Friday night I made the sweetie watch Love Actually with me. Because, you know, Christmas.
Saturday morning I was up at normal time to go help out with the big work Christmas party. Neil and Henrch and Windy had spent a couple of hours on Friday afternoon moving things up onto the loading dock, so in the end it only took half an hour to load the truck. We had the whole place setup by about 10:30, and then just needed to wait for the booze to turn up and then we were done. Quickest setup *ever*. After everything was done, I went on a couple of rides and took a lot of photos, then had my lunch and came home.
Saturday afternoon we headed over to Mishi's for a games evening. We read a stack of Geek Battle questions which turned out to be great conversation starters. Then we played a couple of games of Fluxx - Geoffrey won one game and I won another. Then we watched Inception because Mishi had never seen it, and the sweetie and I hadn't seen it since we saw it at the movies. Quite enjoyed it the second time around.
Sunday we went to Potty's for a big family BBQ. Essentially it was the family Christmas gathering, as everyone was there, and won't be for Christmas itself.
And then back to work. I have *sooo* much to do it's not funny. And yet I got so many interruptions and problems to deal with that yesterday I barely got *any* of it done. So much for a nice wind-down to Christmas ...
Friday night the sweetie and I watched Airport (finally) and then finished Diablo.
Saturday morning we went to Black Pepper for breakfast, then did a large food shop.
After lunch we headed out to the club. Had a swim and then joined the Christmas party. There was a secret santa after dinner that went a lot longer than expected as people fought over a picture frame and two envelopes with $10 in them. The ginger bread mini village I'd brought wasn't well received, so I swapped it with the person that got it, and so now I have a village *and* a train to make :) Had a sauna as well, but I'm still not convinced by them.
Sunday morning we helped Andrew repair some of his roof and had another swim.
On the way home we stopped at Potty's and the whole family came over. Stayed there for a while before coming home to cook our roast pork. The crackling was up there with the best I've ever done, but the meat was a little over cooked.
Standard week so far - work, insomnia, jigsaws, photo sorting.