January 2017 Archives

Loonnnnggg Weekend

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Had a pretty quiet Australia Day.  I had hurty that kept me awake for a couple of hours in the middle of the night.  Did a little bit of house stuff.  More hurty for a couple of hours in the afternoon.  For dinner we took some sausages and salad down to Kit's and had a bbq with her.

Friday I took a Random Day Off and Got Stuff Done.  Piled up a bunch of stuff and took it out to the Green Shed.  Only came home with a jigsaw, four small candles and some cookie cutters.  Did a bunch of errands and shopping all over the place, and final stop was food shopping.  Coles have now introduced coin trolleys which is a pain in the @$$.  They've always needed trolley return bays at that carpark, but now they REALLY need them.  Painful.  Cooked roast beef for dinner and watched Z for Zachariah in the evening.  Ok, but introduced a whole new thread that the book didn't have (I read the book in high school so don't remember a huge amount about it, but the things I did remember weren't in the movie.

Saturday was another quiet day doing mostly house stuff. Chris and Zac came over for a swim in the afternoon.  Cooked lemon ginger chicken for dinner from a recipe I got out of the Coles magazine.  Watched the first Hunger Games in the evening.

Sunday yet another quiet day (although two quiet days I didn't really get that much done :( ).  Ben came over for a swim in the afternoon.  The sweetie cooked Scotch eggs for dinner which were pretty good.  Watched the second Hunger Games.

Scotch eggs

Last night I just couldn't get to sleep - too hot and uncomfortable, so was a bit of a zombie today :(

Tales of Two Cities

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The other week I finished reading "Tales of Two Cities", a collection of short stories about/set in Hong Kong and Singapore.  We bought it in Singapore when we were there last year and I'd been reading it off and on ever since.  It was kinda cool reading about places that I could picture in my head because I'd actually been there.  Generally I enjoyed the stories.  Some were better and more memorable than others of course.  

Chance to Win

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I just happen to know the winner of Ali Baba's $1 million giveaway.

Except.

He was the winner of a "chance to win".

Quite a different thing.

"The entrant selected in the Main Entrant Selection Draw will play a game of chance to win $1 Million"

As it turns out, he had only a one in five hundred chance of winning $1 million dollars after winning the main entrant selection draw.  We thought that he'd be there with a bunch of people, and one of those would win the $1 million.  But that was not to be.

Still, he didn't walk away empty handed, but Ali Baba really didn't have to part with much considering what was promoted..

Social Sundays

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Ok so last Sunday wasn't all that social.  Dave and Kat went home and we just had a quiet day for the rest of the day.

For mum

We did do some food shopping, and I used up one of the pizza bases I'd inherited off Kerry a year ago to make a "six cheese, prosciutto and pepperoni" pizza.  It was pretty good.

Six cheese pizza

Six cheese pizza

In fact the next Monday night after an epic crappy day, I used the other two bases and repeated the process for dinner on Monday night.

Yesterday Rob came over for a while in the morning to talk club stuff, then we went over to EffanC's for lunch.  After lunch we played Cards Against Humanity for a while.  Stu won, I came third.

EffanC Pizza

Didn't really get anything much done yesterday arvo or evening.  Oops.

Social Saturdays

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Last Saturday morning hung out alternately between Dave and Kat and also Kit/Serena/Ben.  In the afternoon Dave and Kat went out for a bit and Kit/Serena/Ben came over for a swim.  Even though I stuck to the shady part of the pool I somehow managed to get quite sunburnt :(:(  I cooked up some sausages for dinner and David and I did a jigsaw in the evening.

Also, David pruned the pistachio tree, isn't he awesome? :)

David up a ladder

Yesterday day was a nice quiet day getting things done around the house.  In the evening we met up with Luc and Cynthia and the boys for dinner at the Courtyard Restaurant at Mercure.  The scallops I had were lovely, but the pork was a little tough.  Was great to catch up with those guys again, last time was September 2013 (which for some reason I never blogged!)

Courtyard Scallops

Courtyard Pork Belly

Courtyard Dessert

Social Fridays

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Last Friday night, the little brother and Kat came up.  David brought his big ladder and supplies and moved the pool flood light from its annoying position at a low height that just got in your eyes whenever it was on to a position under the eaves facing down on the pool.  He got it all installed on the Friday evening before it got dark so we could try it out.  It worked really well - much better than the old position.  Kit actually had a swim in the pool during the proceedings (rare for her!) and there was pizza involved.  Have I ever mentioned that my little brother is awesome? :)

David up a ladder

Last night we met up with Chrissie and "the fella" for dinner at Dumpling Inn.  I love Dumpling Inn but their service as always been a bit lacklustre.  But last night it was just plain awful.  Took a full fifteen minutes before I could get someone's attention to get a drinks order (by wildly waving *both* arms) and then it was another half an hour before we even got all our drinks.  Food service was relatively slow too and we ended up being the last people in the restaurant at 21:20 (by which time the table next to us *still* hadn't been cleared from when other people left an hour before us).  They really need to hire a professional waiter or two to make things a bit more efficient.  Chrissie's dude seems nice enough and we had another glass of wine back at her place before calling it an evening.

Last Thursday night we met up with Jenn for dinner at Chong Co.  Had a lovely night and some lovely food including an awesome duck salad.

Chong Co Duck Salad

At one point in the conversation Jenn mentioned that new episodes of Sherlock were available on Stan.  We don't have Stan but you can get a 30 day free trial.  So we did.  And watched all three new episodes on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday nights.  Annoying thing about Stan so far - haven't found an easy way to rewind - which we need to do sometimes on account of our crappy internet causing dropouts which means you miss critical words which is super frustrating.  

But Sherlock was awesome.  I really enjoyed the first episode; I thought the second episode was super trippy; and the third episode was really tense but I didn't really buy the ending.

Would need to check out the titles on Stan before considering keeping it or not .. I wonder if there's any overlap with Netflix or if the different companies have different contracts for content..

Chicken Dinner

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But not your average chicken dinner.

Remember those little chickies I posted a while back?

Chickies a week old

Four out of the five of them were roosters.  The hen and one of the roosters had been sold by Kit to someone, but since one of them was a rooster, Kit took him back.  

Saturday night a week and a half ago I got to say goodbye to the one that had gone away and come back.

Chicken dinner

For the next day, all four little roosters met their end.  Kit and Ben dispatched them and processed them, with help from Serena.

Last Wednesday night Stu and I were priliveged to join them to eat two of the roosters (the other two were frozen).

Chicken dinner

You can tell the one that had gone away because he'd been fed a lot more corn at his new home and his skin was a lot yellower.

Chicken dinner

What was even more amazing is that of the entire dinner, only the carrots, prosciutto, and the cheese were from a store.  All the other vegetebles and herbs were from Kit's garden.

Chicken dinner

I had to have some of the one I'd said goodbye to.  He was quite tasty.  Him and his brothers had had a good life, a lot better than most store-bought chickens.

Chicken dinner

There was quite a feast!  Kit had plenty of leftovers for the coming days.

Chicken dinner

Open Air Service

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A week after the 1994 Como bushfires, twenty three years ago today, we held an open air service in the grounds of the church.  The media were in attendance and the back of my head and my hair was on the evening news.

Como 1994 bushfires - open air service

Como 1994 bushfires - open air service

Como 1994 bushfires - open air service

Como 1994 bushfires - open air service

After the service, Dad and some others knocked over some unsafe walls that were in danger of toppling.  Note that some of the photos of the cleanup in my last post were taken after this.

Como 1994 bushfires - open air service

Como 1994 bushfires - open air service

Como 1994 bushfires - open air service

The Macaulays could still smile after having lost their home, can you believe it?

Como 1994 bushfires - open air service

Como 1994 bushfires - open air service

This is Dad holding two of the lecterns saved by the firies.  The firies also saved part of the baptismal register (but my page had fallen out and was missing), and the photocopier.  They continued to use the photocopier for several years, and the lectern on the right is still in use in the rebuilt church.

Como 1994 bushfires - open air service

Aftermath and Cleanup

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In the week after the 1994 Como bushfires, twenty three years ago this week, excavators moved in to knock down unsafe walls from burnt out buildings.  Here's some photos Dad got of the process.

Como Presbyterian Church demolition (round one)..

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Como Presbyterian Church demolition (round 2)..

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Dad took home several car loads of bricks and used them to make a path in the front yard of our house.

Demolition of the manse..

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Mark Chaseling demolishing his home..

Como 1994 bushfires

Demolition of Terry O'Shey's laundry..

Como 1994 bushfires

Como 1994 bushfires

Pool Dramas

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Last summer (or possibly the end of the summer before) I was getting frustrated with the chlorine we had taking forever to dissolve, so I thought I'd pay a bit more for a different variety (which did seem to dissolve a bit better).  Last summer I had issues with algae, but I attributed this to me being a slacker.  Towards the end of the season I think we added too much chlorine at one point, and the pool got very acidic.  It was so bad that the test kits didn't work at all - all the colours were comletely wrong - off the scale!  So at the beginning of summer I added some pH up and things returned mostly to normal, although I did notice the buffer was a bit high.  I wasn't sure why that was, as I hadn't added any buffer this summer.  But given that the pH changed the colour of everything I wasn't sure what to believe.  Anyway, at Christmas the pool had gotten a bit green, but again I attributed that to being a slacker and letting the chlorine get a bit too low for a couple of days.  So treated with flocculent and vaccuumed to waste and it cleared up.  From Christmas on I've been super diligent with the chlorine, and kept it within range the whole time.

But the pool just got greener and greener :(:(

So this morning we took a sample in to get tested.  Turns out the buffer is actually *super* high and even though the test strips say there's chlorine, there was actually very little.  Hence greenery.  Turns out the chlorine we bought has buffer built into it, and so it's been building up higher and higher.  Fricken great.  Pay more for something that actually makes the whole situation worse :(:(

So basically we have to vacuum to waste all over again to try and get the buffer levels down.  

*sigh*

The Day After

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The day after the bushfires burnt through Como, Sunday twenty three years ago today, we went up to inspect the damage.

Looking towards the front of the church.

Como Presbyterian Church January 1994 bushfires

This is standing at the top of the hill next to the church.  On the left is the front of the church, straight ahead is the manse, and the kindergarten playground is on the right behind the fence.  Just next to where dad is walking, in the little alcove in front of the window, some of the hymn books had fallen down, but hadn't been completely burnt.  Some of them had just had their edges burnt.  I looked through one and found the page where two hymns I knew were - 205 and 206 - The Church's One Foundation and Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken.  I've kept this page in a frame ever since.

Como Presbyterian Church January 1994 bushfires

This is taken where the entrance of the church was, looking into the building

Como Presbyterian Church January 1994 bushfires

A couple of more distant shots of the property

Como Presbyterian Church January 1994 bushfires

Como Presbyterian Church January 1994 bushfires

This is taken from inside the church.  Standing where the kindergarten hall used to be, facing north towards the church entrance (above) and the kitchen (straight ahead left).  At about this spot, I found where the marble baptismal font had crashed through the floor to the ground below.  It had smashed into pieces so I found a chunk of it that had the curved dish of the font, and I've kept it on a shelf ever since.

Como Presbyterian Church January 1994 bushfires

Next to the church was the manse.  The Macaulay's were out of the house for the day and when it started to burn dad begged the firies to let him in to try and rescue Andrew's computer, but they wouldn't let him so they lost *everything*.  Oddly though, one of Ruth's little plastic kiddie chairs was in the carport, and it survived unscathed.  This is looking across the fence between the church and the manse yard (that fence didn't burn either) across to the Chaseling's and past that to where Pauline O'Neil died.

Como 1994 bushfires

This is looking in from the front to the lounge/family/kitchen of the manse.

Como 1994 bushfires

Next door to the manse was the Chaseling's.  They were out for the day as well, so lost everything.  Catherine lost her super cute little poofy chickens which she was pretty devastated about.

Como 1994 bushfires

Then we headed across to Woronora Crescent to see Chrissie's family's house.  We'd been to visit them the Friday night before the fires.  It was really hot that night and at one point poor little Red Car was overheating.  We got to Chrissie's and we could see across to Bangor and all the orange from the fires over there (in Bangor, Tanya Blencowe, who helped Sydney secure the rights to host the 2000 Olympics, lost part of her home and most of the memorabilia she had collected). They evacuated in stages on the Saturday, with Chrissie's dad being the last to leave.  But they really didn't get to save much.  I remember some really odd things that they lost, including a big roll of 1966 50c coins, some cool Magic Eye books, and a cute little tape deck that I'd given to Chris after I got one with a cd player in it for my 18th birthday.  They had some corningware that actually survived intact (I think it was them).  I also remember wondering at how little *black* there was around.  The fire was so intense that not even soon was left behind.

This is looking west down to the front of Chrissie's house.  The fire jumped the Woronora River and raced up the hill, taking out eighty-seven houses in the space of an hour or two.  Bonnet Bay is directly opposite, but was spared.

Como 1994 bushfires

This is from the bottom of their yard looking up the hill towards the back of the house (on the right).

Como 1994 bushfires

Chrissie outside her house.  Bushfires are incredibly fickle things.  Note the plastic swing seats.  The ones on the right are completely unharmed.

Como 1994 bushfires

Elva Lennon's house on the left (next door neighbour's to Chris), and looking north along Woronora Crescent.  She wasn't insured, but the RSL helped her rebuild.

Como 1994 bushfires

The next day on the Monday mum also got these photos.

This was Jean and Allan Wilson's house.  They'd had a frozen chicken in the freezer and found it cooked perfectly after the fires.

Como 1994 bushfires

This was Como West Public School.  Most of the school burnt down, but the library didn't.

Como 1994 bushfires

Remembering

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January 8.  Always a day I think about three things..

1.. David Bowie's birthday.  Still sad he's not with us anymore..

2.. The 1994 Como bushfires..

3.. My blogiversary.. fourteen years old today!

Here's a couple of photos I scanned a couple of months ago.  It's dad in front of our church as it was burning down in 1994, taken by one of the firies (about the only unit that actually made it to the scene - most were out at Bangor and weren't able to get back across the old Woronora bridge due to congestion).  This photo appeared in the local newspaper in the week after the fires.

Como Presbyterian Church January 1994 bushfires

Another from the series..

Como Presbyterian Church January 1994 bushfires

A few days

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Late Thursday afternoon Ben invited us over for dinner (lamb roast, with Serena's awesome gravy) so that was nice.

Cheese at Ben's

Ben dinner

Friday night we watched a German movie - Look Who's Back - about what might happen if Hitler existed in modern day Germany.  It's labelled a comedy, and yes there are some funny moments, but it was all just a bit *scary* for me about the possibility of history repeating itself.

Saturday morning we headed out to Fyshwick to go to Material Pleasures to see if I could get some clothes for this boat trip we're going on.  Except the place was shut down until Monday for Christmas.  So that was a waste of a trip.  So we went to Hardly Normal to look at vacuum cleaners.  Except every fricken cordless vacuum cleaner comes with a roller brush head that would get tangled up instantly with my hair.  So that was all very frustrating.

Came home and just did a bit of house stuff.  Not much, just taking down Christmas decorations. 

This morning I woke up at around 3am and I've been awake ever since.  Stressing about vacuum cleaners (the one Stu is looking at is basically a glorified dustbuster, which I can't see how would be any improvement on the vacuum cleaner we already have, aside from easing the hurdle of actually *starting*), and that my bowels hurt (I think I'm dying).

Sigh.

Our recycling bin was almost full just after Christmas.  But we still had a week and a bit until the next recycling pickup.  Yet the rubbish bin had like one bag in it.  Meanwhile, garden waste just piles up around the place because we've got no easy way to get rid of it.

Canberra needs to make recycling pickups weekly, add a fortnightly greenwaste pickup and drop the frequency of rubbish pickups.  Or at least swap a rubbish pickup for a green waste pickup every fortnight.  

We had recycling piled around the bin in the kitchen, around the garage, and around the outside bin until pickup.  Then I filled up a couple of the neighbours' recycling bins to get rid of it all!

Back to it

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Had lunch with Scott and Kerry and most of the kids today after they saw Moana.  Probably the last time we'll see them in months :(

I spent most of tonight sorting out files on my computer so the backup would fit onto the smaller drive I have (which doesn't do big stuff such as photo masters).  I haven't done any DVD backups of my photo masters in several years.  I really should keep going with that in case of the zombie apocalypse.  Well really the EMP apocalypse.  Fortunately the chances of that happening are pretty remote, but it's a terrifying thought.  And if it *did* happen, probably a backup of my photos would be the least of my worries.  Staying alive for more than a couple of weeks would be our biggest concern.  

What a cheery blog entry heh.

Last Day

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We had a very quiet day today.  After having to socialise Every Single Day of the break, we decided to avoid people.  I didn't get much done though, partly because I was feeling a bit blah about the end of the holidays.  We did do a bit of gardening though, and had a swim.  I cooked a nice big roast pork for dinner, because we missed out on getting much crackling or leftovers at Christmas.  Our fridge is stuffed full of food again now, so now the fun part begins of getting through it all :)

Roast pork

Day 1

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New Year's Eve night we had Ben and EffanC over.  Hung out in the pool for a few hours, ate lots of cheese, then came up and watched Ghost in the Shell (I had no idea what was going on) and then most of the second season of the Katering Show, then watched the Sydney fireworks.  We paced ourselves nicely and had a lovely evening.

Today was just trying to catch up on life (I'm nearly done with the year in review post) then the hoardes descended - all of Stu's family came over and there was much loudness and chaos.  Annie brought a banquet of Turkish food, although I ended up eating very little of it.  

After everyone left we had Ben over for a relaxing swim to destress.

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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