2014 Year in Review

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So 2014. We survived.

Probably the most significant event of the year was that my Dad died in February. Mum handled it fairly well, as she'd gotten used to the idea over the course of nearly a year. And in the end it was a relief of sorts, knowing that he was out of his misery and in a much better place. I continued doing trips to Sydney to help clear out the garage of all dad's stuff. We took many car loads to metal recycling and made a couple of hundred dollars out of it. We also freecycled quite a lot of stuff. In October mum got accepted into a retirement village and the next two months became a whirlwind of trips to Sydney, a trip to Hong Kong and Taipei, a trivia night that I had to prepare and run, a work ball I had to prepare for as well as life in general to be lived. I only just survived til December 16, then was able to collapse in a heap. It was pretty sad saying goodbye to the family home of forty two years.

So I actually had three big holidays this year. The first mum and I decided to go on when it was pretty obvious dad wasn't going to last much longer. That was for two weeks in Turkey. That was a pretty awesome trip and we saw heaps of amazing stuff. Then I did another trip with my mum in September. That was an Outback Spirit tour from Cairns to Brisbane via Mt Isa and Longreach. It was a good trip, but hideously expensive - as expensive as the Turkey trip, but didn't include international airfares, fancy hotels every night or restaurant quality meals for every meal. At the end of that trip we spent nearly a week with Chay and David which was a lovely chance to chillax after being go go go for two weeks. And the last big trip was to Hong Kong and Taipei for two weeks. I was in the middle of chaos at the time, so Stu did all the planning for it. That was a pretty good trip too, although we did struggle at times to find the best balance of going and seeing things and doing nothing and relaxing. Other than that, we went with DC to his coast house in January, to Bermagui in March, and also stayed at the coast briefly to go to Scott and Kerry's combined 40th.

Had an ok year at work. Spent a good amount of time "cleaning" - decommissioning old services and doing massive cleanups of firewall rules. Also got chucked in the deep end on a couple of projects that required extra assistance, so they were a bit stressful at times.

Healthwise I was pretty good this year. I got a cold during the Turkey trip (a pretty nasty flu thing had been going around the whole tour group so I got off pretty lightly). And it seems I got a cold probably at the movies the other night as yesterday I started sniffling. Other than that I've been pretty healthy.

We've spent heaps of time with our "whiskey" friends this year which has been awesome. But we've not seen nearly enough of Nat and Andrew as I'd have liked. We had a few games nights at Mishi's in January, August and December, with lunch at Damien's in December. My Sydney visits meant lunches (Peking duck!!!) with @StuartCRyan which was awesome, but sadly that won't be happening anymore. We saw Josh and Ally a couple of times, and Gaelian and Stef as well. A Sydney trip for George's 40th. A fair bit of drinking with the neighbours and playing with the animals. Various people came to stay over the year including the little brother, Chris and Zac, and Marc and Jo a couple of times. We're continuing to enjoy our visits to "the club" and went to many of the social events on during the year.

Pretty quiet year for the fish. All the zebra danios in the angel tank have finally died. I got five rummy nosed tetras for the two foot, and they're lovely little fish and drew out the black neon tetras which otherwise just spent their life hiding up the back of the tank. A couple of the duboisis died, which threw off the dominance balance, so one of them became dominant and picked off the rest of them one by one, so he's the only one left in that tank now with a sucking cat fish. Most of the kribs and multis downstairs are gone now too. Really would like to get rid of a lot of our fishtanks and crap ..

I didn't buy any Lego this year, but throughout January I got to play with all of Jake's Lego - around eighty sets of it! Building and dismantling and checking for missing pieces, and documenting. Sooo much fun! Also dismantled the Star Destroyer which had been out for four years!

Continued doing a lot of jigsaws at home during the summer, and some at work, although not anymore there which is a shame. I finally finished the 24000 piece "Life" jigsaw, but still haven't gotten around to taking it to work to document it all laid out. Not much else in the way of hobbies, other than part of a paint-by-numbers which I got for last break but still haven't finished.

January had a run of very hot days which required lots of icing the fish tanks to keep them cool. But the rest of the year was surprisingly mild. Winter had some very cold nights, but the pool only partly froze over a couple of times. We've had some very hot days too, but again generally it's been fairly mild. In fact this whole Christmas break has been *lovely*. Because of all the travel and chaos, the pool was a mess until just before Christmas, but because it hasn't been super hot since then, we haven't gone in yet.

Tried a surprising number of new recipes during the year - almost one a month by the look of it.
* two different lasagnas - both awesome
* black forest slice - needs some modification
* Boeuf Bourguignon inspired by Julie and Julia
* Coq au vin
* various vegetables
* breakfast raclette - trying to perfect a recipe
* white chocolate caramel slice
* duck breast
* harissa roast chicken
* zucchini and cheese fritters

We ate out a bit. I didn't think all that often, but still a fair amount. Our favourites are still Dumpling Inn and Pulp Kitchen. Bella Vista as well, although only once this year (maybe twice?). Went to Grazing a couple of times and it was awesome both times. Went to Ace Sushi a couple of times when doing shopping at the markets, but it's pretty average. Revisted Asian Cafe, Wig and Pen, Iori. New this year included:
* Grazing - awesome
* Ellacure - not fussed
* Edgar's - ok
* Bellucci's - pretty good
* Mocan and Green Grout - interesting
* A Baker - good
* Kinh Do - good
* Beijing House - meh

At work, other than the mall, tried out Altitude Cafe (meh), got thoroughly pissed off at Samiuz, went to Sanurs for an after party dinner, 2 Yummy a couple of times for after drinks dinners, and Outback Jacks a couple of times for team lunches/dinners (quite impressed with their feasts). Probably lots of other places too undocumented.

In Sydney our regular for Peking Duck was Super Bowl, and Tako Tuesdays were at Sushi and Grill on York Street for takoyaki - not fresh, but better than other places I'd tried, and it was just downstairs from work.

Also found a couple of speakeasys. The Baxter Inn in Sydney which is awesome. Went there by myself first up, then later with Luc and again later with Neil. Went to Molly with the sweetie as well.

Movies:
* The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
* The Lego Movie (x2)
* Lucy
* The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Books:
* Deadly D├ęcisions, by Kathy Reichs
* The Earthsea Quartet, by Ursula LaGuin
* The Delinquents, by Criena Rohan
* Fatal Voyage, by Kathy Reichs
* Animal Farm, by George Orwell
* *batteries not included, by Wayland Drew
* Palomino, by Danielle Steel
* Star Wars Episode I, by Terry Brooks
* Dewey, by Vicki Myron
* A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle
* Thunder Dog, by Michael Hingson
* Star Wars Episode II, by R.A. Salvatore

Other Stuff:
* Multicultural Festival aka meat on a stick day!
* Hall Markets for first time
* Mapping Our World exhibition at the National Library
* Balloon Fiesta in March
* Inherited Dad's camera
* Inspected the Sentinel apartments in Belconnen
* Inspected my flat in Sydney. Got depressed over deadbeat tenants who don't take care of other people's property
* Won another work trivia night. Ran the next one
* Airport open day - flying visit as could only spend an hour there
* Went to the War Memorial but was disappointed the WWI exhibition was closed for renovations
* Whiskey Live - 44 whiskeys oh my!
* Stu's Japanese classes cultural nights twice
* Poultry show at epic
* Had to buy a new lens because I'd smashed my other one in Turkey. Bought the same one
* Drama with cooling problems with my car. Found a new mechanic who I think might have fixed it
* Had to buy a new dishwasher as the last one burnt out
* Fired up Stu's old Android and started playing Ingress. Got a sim for it seven weeks later but the damage to my iPhone battery was done.
* Took a random day off and cleaned half the garage
* Zone 3 with work
* Bought Stu a new car on a very good finance deal - cheaper than our mortgage!
* BBQs at @CLBradley's. On one of them I borrowed Frozen and have been slightly obsessed with it ever since
* Chucked out years of receipts
* Birthday dinner of Chinese takeaway in Sydney
* Whiskey tasting night on my birthday, Bella vista for dinner
* Skiing in August
* Chickens and duckies next door (and lizards and frogs and cats and dogs)
* Total lunar eclipse
* Pulled off a semi-convincing Queen Elsa at our work Halloween Ball
* Mum tried to electrocute herself but thankfully failed
* Carols service at Como Church

So that's 2014 done! I know some of my readers have had a tough year (especially my brother). Hope things improve in 2015.

Happy new year!

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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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