2016 Year in Review

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So 2016. Not too bad a year for me personally. But memorable for a spate of celebrity deaths (two I'd seen in real life - David Bowie and Carrie Fisher) and two overseas trips.

My first trip of the year was by myself to Sydney to see mum and the uncles/aunties for a Christmas party in early January where I cooked a big baked dinner for everyone. Also saw two Lego exhibitions on the same day while I was up there. Came home from that trip to a pool party in full swing. In January we did a two week trip to Hong Kong (to see Chris and Anne one last time there before they came home) and Singapore. The weather was the biggest downer of the trip - grey and rainy in Hong Kong, and unbearably humid in Singapore. In April we went to Sydney again for my cousin Ben's wedding. Later in April I went to Europe for six weeks with mum. The first two weeks was for a "reformation tour" of sites pertaining to the protestant reformation. That was a really interesting trip and a good group of people. Had a couple of days in Salzburg before heading up to Scandanavia for a three week tour. We saw some amazing things on that tour, but the size of the group (forty people) made it incredibly draining for me. In June mum and I went down to Junee to visit David and celebrate mum's 70th birthday. We only went down to the coast once this year in July. And we did our yearly trip to Queensland, but in November, which was a lot later in the year than I wanted to (Stu had uni work making it to hard to go any earlier). Fortunately the weather wasn't *too* hot and humid.

At work my most interesting work was some firewall migrations. Our first attempt in the test environment though was a bit of a disaster. It took the cleverer network guys about a month to solve a super weird MTU issue in the switch infrastructure they were plugged into. After that, the migrations went very smoothly. I also did an authentication system migration which also went well. So the first half of the year I was pretty busy and the work was interesting. In the second half of the year though I had to deal with the proxies again which drains my will to live. Is there actually such a thing as a *good* proxy? I'm beginning to think not. They caused me a lot of stress this year, including *three* failed attempts to upgrade them to the lastest version. Other than that I was feeling way too dumb to be in the team I'm in. But things picked up towards the end of the year with another firewall migration that went pretty smoothly and a stocktake, which is kind of my super power.

Socially at work I ran another trivia night in March which was packed. We won the next trivia night in June, but luckily the second place getters agreed to run the next one. Which we then won in September, so now I have to run the next one. Had a Gatsby ball in June, although I didn't get with the theme. Had a whiskey night in July. And for our section Christmas party (with various hangers on) I organised a bbq for nearly 40 people.

Healthwise I've been ok. I find lying down uncomfortable due to my deformed spine, which results in a lot of insomnia due to not being comfortable. Early in the year I did some proactive stuff that I'd been putting off forever - I got my skin checked, went to the dentist for the first time in twenty years and got new glasses. I got a minor cold in July, and a more severe one in November.

We've had a super social year this year. We've continued our visits to "the club", going to events and committee meetings in February, March, June, did a Christmas in July, October, twice in November (one of them we fed seventy-plus people) and December. My best friend from high school Chris moved down to Canberra at the end of last year so we've seen quite a bit of her - either dinners here, there, or out, or just going for walks (she lives in stumbling distance which is super handy!). We've also spent a lot of time with Kit, and also Ben and Serena - mostly just hanging out in the courtyard, but the occasional parties, meals as well, and even a p0ker night. Ben moved into a new place earlier in the year and we had a small housewarming there. I did an impromptu hanami party with Chris, Kit and Serena, and another one a week later with Nat and Andrew and the sweetie. Unfortunately that was the only time we saw Nat and Andrew all year. We've seen quite a bit of EffanC and Scott this year as well which as been nice - alternating between our places and enjoying champagne or a local equivalent. We had games nights at Mishi's in July and August. Also caught up with Damien and Amanda at the Dumpling Inn, and Damien and Tom at the Durham on a trivia night. Managed to see Ding twice this year, although the second time was a lot more chaotic with a heap of people in the house. Luc came to stay a night in March, Stu's ex colleague Jenn came for dinner, and we had an afternoon tea at Chris and Glenda's.

Dave and Kat came to stay with us five times this year which was great - in February, April, August, November and December. Mum stayed in June and December. Kerry and the kids dropped in in April, and Potty and Jake came to stay a night on the way to the snow and ended up staying for several nights. Didn't see much of Annie's family, only saw them a couple of times. Graham and Pam came to stay in April as well, and we went to the Dumpling Inn for dinner. Uncle Colin dropped in to say hi in December.

Various people came to swim in the pool in the summer months. For Christmas we did roast pork for Mum, Dave, Kat, Chris and Zac.

In the fish tanks I had four baby angels at the beginning of the year but three of them died. One of them survived, and it shares the AR-620T tank with four huge danios and a cory catfish. The two foot tank was a disaster at the end of last year with toxic black algae. I moved the fish downstairs over summer and cleaned it out completely. The black algae did start to come back, but with a bunch of plants, snails and a siamensis the tank has stabilised nicely and looks really good. The two remaining black neon tetras died this year - but they'd had a good run - I'd had them for ten years!! Amazing for such small fish. I bought some danios to be dither fish for the rummy nose tetras which worked really well - you can see them and their colour a lot better now. So in the upstairs two foot I have the five rummy nose tetras, five danios and a siamensis. Downstairs I had four of Chris's platies that I looked after while she moved house, but three of them died so there's only one left now. It shares the tank with four danios. Stu also has a tiny tank with a betta and some really small fish, and his four foot which got overrun with algae for a while but it's settled down a bit now.

I did a 5000 piece jigsaw this year which was good, but the quality of it was shocking. Did other jigsaws as well, but not as many this year. I've been doing a lot of nonograms online ever since the GCHQ Christmas puzzle last year. And just a couple of days ago I rediscovered Loops of Zen. I didn't buy any Lego this year, but I did spend a couple of months sorting out all of Zac's Lego.

The weather was *hot* this year. Summer seemed to last *forever* this year - global warming anyone? Made good use of the pool, but suffered in the heat. Had a lot of heat-induced insomnia and generally felt miserable for months. We got some hail in January. The pool only froze over twice this year in late June. It actually snowed one morning in July, but then a week later had the warmest overnight July temperature in recorded history. The El Niño finished up and it rained *a lot* over winter and spring.

We did a lot of stuff with the house this year. We got all the guttering replaced (while I was overseas). No more flooding of the garage after heavy rain! We got gutter guards in one corner where the oak tree is, but probably should have gotten them along the back as well, as one end still clogs up from that tree. Our twenty five year old hot water system died in the middle of winter, luckily a plumber could come the same day to replace it. The same plumber came a month or so later to clear out the sewer pipes which had been blocked by roots. We put evaporative cooling in which has been amazing for the most part, except this whole Christmas break which feels like the humidest week in Canberra ever! And we got a solar blanket for the pool (basically glorified bubble wrap) which has made a small difference to the temperature, but also has added bonuses of keeping most of the light out so algae doesn't grow as much, and keeps most of the leaves and bugs out as well.

I got a bit frustrated with technology this year. Had to fight with Logitech's Harmony remote software again. In the end never got it working with our tv. Upgraded my computer to Windows 10, which actually went ok, but had some drama with Windows Defender, and got sick of it rebooting without permission whenever it feels like it. I thought I'd bricked my iPhone because the battery got so dead it wouldn't turn on, even after charging overnight. Warming it up fixed it. Did this several more times over the next few months before finally replacing the battery in late November. I would like to get an iPhone 7, but I want one as small as I have now. Still having issues with the scanner, but still haven't gotten around to testing it on another computer to see if it's the computer or the scanner. And this blog got moved to new hardware by my hosting company so it's a lot more responsive now.

The Dumpling Inn was still our most visited restaurant this year. We went for Chrissie's birthday, again with Pam and Graham, again with Chrissie, with Chris and mum in June, and Damien and Amanda in July. I finally got to go to Smoque in Civic, fortunately, because it closed down later in the year. I went with Neil to a degustation dinner at Sage which was awesome. We went to Shogun for Ben's birthday, The Hungry Buddha with EffanC and Scott, and Casey Jones with Annie and the family for my birthday. With the sweetie we had dessert at Max Brenner in Civic, went to Chong Co, and tried Jamie's Italian and Pappa Rich. Generally we didn't eat out as much this year - trying to save a bit of money. Although we still had a lot of pizza! And bacon and cheese loaded fries from Maccas. omfg sooo good! Sadly the last time I tried to get some they didn't have them anymore :(

I didn't do a whole lot of creative cooking this year. I did make some cream cheese bacon balls which are so evil they're amazing. I made "epic" stuffed zucchini. I made some cheese and spinach pastries with some pastry inherited from Kerry before they moved which turned out pretty well. I did a zucchini lasagna. And a I tried a couple of different breakfast casseroles - one pretty evil and I made it a few times, and one I wasn't too fussed about.

* Art of the Brick Exhibition in Sydney
* Sydney Icons in Lego in Sydney
* The Proclaimers

* Sherlock - The Abominable Bride
* The Big Short
* Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
* Independence Day: Resurgence
* Finding Dory
* Star Trek: Beyond
* Rogue One

* Finished the last seasons of House
* Season 1 of Fuller House
* Documentaries on Netflix
* First four seasons of Homeland
* Most of Star Trek: the Original Series
* Australian Survivor
* Start of season 2 of Fuller House

* The Tower by Richard Martin Stern
* The Hindenburg Disaster by Jeff Rovin
* Raise the Titanic! by Clive Cussler
* Grey Mountain by John Grisham
* Penguin Bloom by Cameron Bloom and Bradley Trevor Greive

Other Stuff:
* Started off year with an impromptu neighbourhood party at Kit's
* Didn't dance on Lachie's table
* Saddened by deaths of David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Gene Wilder, Kenny Baker, George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, and the end of the world as we know it, ie, the US presidential election results.
* Went to the Mint open day
* Went to Canberra's new Ikea for first time
* Went to the Canberra Show with Chrissie
* Watched Das Rheingold with the sweetie, but still haven't gotten around to watching the rest of it
* Saw the Canberra balloon fiesta - twice
* Digitised my USA 2000 blog, although still haven't added photos to it
* Did the Granite Tors walk with Kit, nearly trod on a brown snake
* Ben and Stu fixed up the festoon lights out the back (only took seven and a half years to get around to doing!)
* Went to the Canberra Airport open day
* Installed Windows 10 on my travel laptop and my main computer
* Scanned ten of mum's photo albums
* Voted twice, but only got one #democracysausage
* Went out to Cotter Dam in August to see it overflowing, and went back again a week or two later to get it with better lighting
* Did a flying visit to Sydney in August to drop Stu off at the airport early Sunday morning, and saw the Sea Cliff Bridge on the way home
* Chrissie brought up her steam cleaner and made the bathroom all sparkly
* Saw James Turrell's Skyspace at the Art Gallery
* Kept myself busy in September with a massive photo project
* Popped into the War Memorial for an hour to look at the newly done WWI memorial halls
* Saw the first flight from Singapore to Canberra land, and the first flight from Canberra to Wellington depart
* Went to Costco for the second time. I think Coles and Aldi are actually cheaper.
* Did a massive photoshoot around Canberra to compare thirty years ago til now
* Photographed the super moon
* Spent several days over the break cleaning out cupboards


Sylvia Johnson said:

Loved reading your 2016 Year in Review.

January 2, 2017 4:11 PM


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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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