August 2019 Archives

Fifty-one years ago this weekend the parental type people came down to Canberra to celebrate the opening of the Canberra Youth Hostel.

Mum took two photos up Black Mountain - one from the top, and one from the lookout part way up.  Unfortunately we'll be busy on the weekend so I won't be able to get the fifty-one year recreation, so you'll have to make do with my photos from 2016.

From part way up..

Canberra from Black Mountain, August 1968

Canberra from Black Mountain, December 2016

At the top

Canberra from Black Mountain, August 1968

Canberra from Black Mountain, September 2016

I love how Parkes Way just isn't there in 1968, and there seems to be a lot more trees around now..

Gnocchi Carbonara

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Some time ago I obtained a copy of "Women's Weekly Gratins and Bakes" but I'd never made anything from it.  A couple of weeks ago I thought I'd start at the beginning and work through it (that idea may change as some of the recipes want fiddly amounts of things (like fish or prawns) or want me to bake things in dish sizes I don't have).  The first recipe in the book was "Gnocchi Carbonara".

Gnocchi, bacon, cream, cheese, egg yolks (#grunt), breadcrumbs, garlic and onion.

Gnocchi Carbonara

You fry the bacon, onion and garlic, add cream and simmer till thicker.

Gnocchi Carbonara

Then mix with cooked gnocchi, the egg yolks and some cheese.

Gnocchi Carbonara

Top with cheese/breadcrumbs.

Gnocchi Carbonara

Then bake.

Gnocchi Carbonara

It turned out nicely enough.  I'm not the hugest fan of gnocchi.  Annoyingly it wanted two egg yolks, which meant having to do something with the whites.  Since the oven was on anyway I made meringues.  It also wanted a slightly odd amount of cream (a bit over half a carton).  

Is the juice worth the squeeze?
Me: maybe
Stu: definitely (he asked me to make it again a week or two later)

Shoalhaven Zoo

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When we went to visit Kit and Pete in July, we went to Shoalhaven Zoo for the afternoon.  Actually quite a nice little zoo in a lovely setting on the Shoalhaven River north of Nowra.

Inland bearded dragon
Shoalhaven Zoo

Leopard tortoise
Shoalhaven Zoo

Pete on the slippery dip
Shoalhaven Zoo

Emus
Shoalhaven Zoo

Stu and eastern grey joey
Shoalhaven Zoo

Eastern grey kangaroo joey
Shoalhaven Zoo

Lace monitor
Shoalhaven Zoo

Budgies
Shoalhaven Zoo

Harry the corella
Shoalhaven Zoo

Blue-winged kookaburra
Shoalhaven Zoo

Tawny frogmouth
Shoalhaven Zoo

Major mitchell cockatoo
Shoalhaven Zoo

Red-tailed black cockatoo
Shoalhaven Zoo

African grey parrot
Shoalhaven Zoo

Lorikeet
Shoalhaven Zoo

Peacocks
Shoalhaven Zoo

Wombat
Shoalhaven Zoo

Dingo
Shoalhaven Zoo

White lion
Shoalhaven Zoo

Feeding the lions
Shoalhaven Zoo

Shoalhaven Zoo

Lion cub
Shoalhaven Zoo

Shoalhaven River
Shoalhaven Zoo

Kit and llamas
Shoalhaven Zoo

Shoalhaven Zoo

Wedge tailed eagle (had been injured so couldn't fly)
Shoalhaven Zoo

Water bison
Shoalhaven Zoo

Cliffs
Shoalhaven Zoo

This tree-top ropes course looked like a lot of fun (closed the day we went because it was so windy)
Shoalhaven Zoo

Rock cavern
Shoalhaven Zoo

Meerkat
Shoalhaven Zoo

These little quails wouldn't let me get a good photo of them because they kept coming to investigate my phone
Shoalhaven Zoo

Common marmoset
Shoalhaven Zoo

Sheep
Shoalhaven Zoo

Goat
Shoalhaven Zoo

Stu made a friend
Shoalhaven Zoo

Kit and Stu and the dachshund
Shoalhaven Zoo

Quite a lovely afternoon (except for it being *crazy* windy!)

So when I left you on Sunday night I was frustrated at the whole experience I'd had with Qantas that afternoon.  In the end my booking hadn't gone through properly because of a problem with my credit card (I never use it, in fact I don't think I'd used this one since activating it, so wasn't really surprised).  On Monday I tested the credit card worked (it did) so in the afternoon I called Qantas.  Where I got in a queue that said I would be on hold for THREE HOURS.

!!!!!!!

Are you freaking kidding me?  Most companies have different queues for sales and support.  Sales *want* your business and so put on more staff to handle the calls.  Not so Qantas.  So I complained on twitter.  As you do.  There was a bit of back and forth during the afternoon, and they said they'd call to try again with the credit card.  Which they did - while I was in the other room having dinner and watching Brooklyn 99, so didn't hear the phone.  

While I was waiting again, I got onto Emirates' site. I put through the same itinerary, which 1) actually seemed to let me do (I got all the way up to the payment page), 2) had a much better connection to Singapore, giving us a few extra hours there, and 3) was THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS CHEAPER.  I asked Qantas if we could please cancel.  I was too upset/stressed from the whole thing to concentrate on anything much, so I went and cleaned the kitchen.  Of course as soon as I left the room Qantas called again.  Sigh.  But confirmed my wish to cancel the booking and eventually they did.

On Tuesday I put the whole booking through Emirates.  I still had issues with the credit card (the two-factor code wouldn't come through to my phone), so I just used a different card.  And that was that.  Done.  

Although Emirates do price gouge with seat selection - $20-$30 for regular seats, $120 for the little pair of two at the back of the plain, who even knows how much for exit row seats.  There goes that saving...

So Qantas had three lost opportunities to get my money.  If their multi city flights were actually usable I would have booked on the spot, using whichever credit card had worked.  If their booking management system had actually made a provision to "pay now" and let me pay online, I would have.  If they didn't make me wait THREE HOURS in a phone queue I would have done it over the phone.

Qantas really need to lift their game if they want to stay competitive in 2019.

Sigh.

Monday morning I cleared a massive backlogs of tickets due to me being away on Friday for the funeral.  Started to panic at the sheer volume of work facing me for the week.  And I couldn't get anything done on Monday afternoon due to nonstop interruptions.  Every one of them tore my concentration away so the *one thing* I was trying to do I couldn't get done.  In the end I managed to get it done between 5pm and 6pm when everyone else had gone away.

Cloudy

Tuesday not *quite* so busy, but did get stuff done.

Wednesday I was in race condition mode.  That is, too many high priority tasks competing, which meant I actually didn't get anything meaningful done at all in the morning.  Sigh.  So did some stuff for Henrch, and then Shane saved me by pushing back on the people that haven't done their docos :)

Also on Wednesday I had just stood up and was looking out the window and saw a Tarago back into a car in the car park, bumping it so I saw it move.. and then it drove away.  I grabbed my camera and took some pics.  And then went and left a note :)  I did get a call from the police asking for the photos, but no word of thanks or even acknowledgement from the owner of the car that was hit.

Bumped car

Aldi proved themselves once again to be a bunch of scammers.  Neil saw an ad for some scotch that he thought he'd get for the bar.  So we had a look at lunch.  But not only was there none of that scotch to be seen, but there wasn't even an empty spot on the shelf for it.  There was no price tag at all for that scotch.  Which clearly meant they never had it for sale at all.  SCAMMERS!

And then on Friday Dan's tried to charge me $14.99 for a bottle of Henkell.  I knew when I saw the price tag there was going to be trouble, so I took a photo of it, and got it for the cheaper price ;)  

Dan's Henkell price mismatch

When we got home on Thursday night I was in the family room doing up my hair and talking to the sweetie when I heard something and saw something move out of the corner of my eye.  One of Chrissie's clown loaches was flopping on the top of the book case next to the tank.  It must have been startled when we got home, but it had somehow managed to get out between the loosish lid and the tank wall (might have to weight it down heh).  Grabbed the fish and plonked it back in, and it's been fine ever since.  It was lucky I saw it too, I don't normally linger at that spot for very long, it would have been just as likely for me not to even have noticed til the next day.

I really wanted to have a random day off on Friday but there was just too much work all week.  I think I closed something like 30 tickets which is *huge*.  I did manage to leave at 4pm tho.  Started watching Friends with Benefits until the sweetie got home, then we watched For Your Eyes Only.  I haven't seen most of the early James Bonds in probably twenty years or more - when Dad used to put them on while I was still living at home.  But with the early ones I could still remember bits and pieces and even the odd lines of script and one-liners.  But I have no memories at all of For Your Eyes Only, except for dropping the dude down the chimney at the beginning. 

Saturday morning was the usual house work type stuff.  Not too much in the afternoon.  Finished watching Friends with Benefits.  Silly and predictable, but hey, New York.  Watched Jackie with the sweetie.  It wasn't bad, but had a very disjointed filming style.

Sleepie Stumpy

Bacon pizza scrolls

Today was Lego picking, trivia night planning, photo culling, lunch out and food shopping, more of the same in the afternoon.  Watched Parenthood before dinner and finished after. Roasted a stack of veggies for dinner and watched some Veronica Mars.

And blogged.

Monday doctor; Hero Sushi for dinner (it met expectations - it disappointed).

Garema Place in colour

Garema Place in colour

Tuesday continued photo culling.  I managed two days all week.  It's fricken hard work.

Misty lake

Wednesday was KFC for lunch (tradition).  Ate it while listening to an AWS guy deep dive into some stuff, so most of it went over my head, and I was stuck there for two hours which my legs really didn't appreciate.  Then had to deal with people blaming the firewall for blocking stuff.  Sure it's blocking stuff, but only because they upgraded their application, not because we changed the rules.  Went and shared some bubbles with Neil which was nice.

Birthday bubbles

Then to Bella Vista with the sweetie.

Had Assagini for entree - a mixed seafood platter consisting of calamari, scallops, prawns, San Danielle prosciutto and an avaocado and tomato salsa

Bella Vista assagini

Stu had Gnocchi with gorgonzola dolce cheese

Bella Vista gnocchi

I had bistecca: wagyu sirloin, creamy mash, prawns, spinach, green beans, pancetta, garlic butter sauce.

Bella Vista bistecca

All very nice.

Birthday selfie

Saw this on Thursday.  Driven by quality.

Driven by quality

Friday morning I drove myself up to Sydney.  Had lunch with Mum at the village - lamb roast.

Village roast lamb

Then off to the funeral.  Actually the thanksgiving memorial - the private funeral was in the morning.  It actually went for quite a long time - an hour and a half.  They used a whole heap of photos of Mum's that I'd scanned in recent years and sent them all through to Chrissie to pass on (they didn't have access to the house to get any of their own photos).  Saw quite a few people that I knew from years past, even Kristen from school and Joe W and Michael S so that was nice.  

Funeral flowers

Schoolies

Chrissie and I completely geeked out and went and stood in the hall of the church where we met thirty years and a couple of weeks ago.

Where Chrissie and I met

Hung around til almost the end before Joe gave us a lift back to Mum's (we took the train earlier because we figured we'd have to walk about the same distance as if we drove).  Stopped in at South Village to have a look.

South Village

South Village

Back at Mum's I had a quiet toast to Diana and Graham.

Cheers Aunty Di

Then we played Rummy Tiles, which Mum and Diana played every Friday night for years.

Rummy tiles

Saturday morning Mum and I looked at dates and travel options for our trip next year.  Then I headed off.

Met up with Kit in Dapto so she could look at a horse she was interested in buying.  She had a decent long ride and I took a whole heap of video for her to get an idea of whether she wants to buy or not (by today she'd decided not to - the horse was an old pacer so wouldn't canter).  I even had a little ride (my phone went a bit spastic so it was very dark and unsaturated, no idea what that was about, fixed up somewhat but not ideal).

Kit on Walter

Me on Walter

Stu wanted gnocchi bake for dinner, so went to Chris's for supplies and did it.  Then we watched Moonraker.

Today I spent most of the morning trying to catch up housework.  Did some food shopping and finally got to go see takoyaki man!  The guy makes actual takoyaki, although he'd run out of octopus by the time we got there late morning, so we just had pork.  Next time we go earlier!

Takoyaki at Jamison

Takoyaki at Jamison

Takoyaki at Jamison

This afternoon I thought I'd book flights.  Sounds simple.  Four legs, which I put into Qantas' site.  But every time I got to a certain point (confirming passenger details) it gave this friendly error:

Generic error

WHICH IS COMPLETELY F#$^ING USELESS QANTAS!!

So I got onto their chat line (took about thirty five minutes to talk to someone) and they spent a good twenty minutes trying to reproduce the problem ("I'm also having the same error in the website. Let me check this in our system").  Eventually he says "I have checked and the reason why you're unable to proceed online is that there is no combinable fares for a Multi City trip."  Which really doesn't help me much.  After a few repeats of "I don't understand" it seems that the cities don't actually link up in the middle.  Because it's Europe.  Who goes back to where they came from anyway?  So I wasn't going to be able to book it via the website.  Qantas is completely pathetic.  If this sort of itinerary is going to cause an error, why don't they say that before I move off the very first page?  Why lead me through another couple of pages before throwing up a Generic Error that doesn't actually tell me what's wrong?  Sigh.  So anyway, for an extra $200 he put it through manually, although after all was said and done, I got an email saying there was a problem with payment and I have to call them anyway.  Fricken great.  Maybe tomorrow.

Anyway so dinner was an hour later than I wanted because I spent so long dealing with Qantas.  Watched Brooklyn 99 and Veronica Mars (they keep bringing back characters that I've forgotten about so have to go look them up, and other characters that I *do* remember, like Leo and Vinnie and Weevil :) ).

Crazy week.  And two weeks in a row without a proper weekend.  Really must take another random day off..

Still in Shock

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Tuesday got the shock news that Aunty Di and Uncle Graham had been murdered, apparently by their son.  I went over to Chrissie's Tuesday night and we shared some wine and just tried to process.

Wednesday night I got off the bus where Tony gets off and we walked up the hill.  I finally had a look inside the little library, which turns out to be in an old dishwasher!  Picked up three James Bond books.  Cooked tacos for dinner, which turned out quite well, but we ended up eating too much.

Taco Wednesday

Thursday and Friday I had training which was pretty intense.

Thursday I was sick of pizza (we had it on Tuesday night at Chrissie's).  We ended up having leftovers.  Hurrah.  I watched You've Got Mail.

Kettle Greek style chips

Friday had pizza (hey, it was a different sort) at Pizza Artigiana, and did some food shopping.

Pizza Artigiana puttanesca and quattro formaggio pizzas

Saturday morning it snowed.

!!

Then we headed out to the club.  I did jigsaw while the meeting was on, then we had lunch with EffanC at the Lake George Hotel.  We didn't tempt fate (they wouldn't let me) to see if they could get the crackling on the pork belly right this time.  Instead we got a meal each, but could have easily done just two meals and shared.  The servings were huge.  Most of us conceded defeat and I took all the leftovers away in containers.

Lake George rib stack

In the afternoon I measured all the windows for curtains, and did a little photo culling.  Had the fire going which made the cabin all nice and toasty warm.  Talked to the mother type person and the brother type person in the evening and had leftovers from lunch for dinner.

Cabin fire heater

Anyone care to guess what this is?

Abstract art

There was more snow overnight, still visible this morning.

Canberra snow

Canberra snow

The house was cold when we got home and my feet never warmed up.  At all.  All day.  They are still cold.

Started going through a book Doc gave me a while ago, gathering questions for our next trivia night.  Other than doing some washing, that's all I managed to achieve all day.  Watched The Terminal in the afteroon/evening.  Stu cooked a dal for dinner and we watched a Veronica Mars.

Bit of a crazy intense week.  

I first met Aunty Di and Uncle Graham when our family started going to St Clements thirty years ago in 1989.  Although at the time they were just plain Diana and Graham.  It was only when Chrissie came back from New Zealand in the middle of 1989 that they became known as Aunty and Uncle.

They became good friends of the family.  My parents would often play cards/games with them, and they went on multitudes of church bushwalks and weekends away together.  

In recent years I saw them at various parental type birthdays, and several times when they came down to visit Chrissie.

Graham and Diana on their 25th Wedding Anniversary
Graham and Diana celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary

Diana, Dad and Graham about to walk across the new Woronora Bridge
Diana, Dad and Graham about to walk across the new Woronora Bridge

Graham and Diana with Dad and Mum at Sydney Aquarium
Graham and Diana with Dad and Mum at Sydney Aquarium

Bushwalking group walk to Nellies Glen in Blue Mountains.  Graham and Diana, Dad, Jeff Anderson, Garry Le Clerc
Bushwalking group walk to Nellies Glen in Blue Mountains.  Graham and Diana, Dad, Jeff Anderson, Garry Le Clerc

Diana and Graham celebrating Mum's birthday at Sizzler
Diana and Graham celebrating Mum's birthday at Sizzler

Diana and Graham celebrating Dad's birthday at Tradies
Diana and Graham celebrating Dad's birthday at Tradies

Graham and Diana celebrating Mum's birthday at Tradies
Graham and Diana celebrating Mum's birthday at Tradies

Diana and Graham at our wedding
Diana and Graham at our wedding

Graham and Diana celebrating Mum's birthday at Tradies
Graham and Diana celebrating Mum's birthday at Tradies

So we were all in utter shock and disbelief yesterday.

See you in heaven guys...

Monday we worked through my firewall issue from Friday and figured out it was a bug in their (second) latest code.  Do vendors not *test* their $#!+ anymore???  (this is in addition to our proxy vendors admitting to a bug in *their* latest code this week as well.  Completely hopeless).  In the evening there was a massive white tail spider in the middle of the hall.  And then when I opened the door next to it to see if there were any more, the handle fell off.  I might have actually screamed at that.  My heart couldn't take two shocks like that!

Tuesday we had a lovely dinner at EffanC's - beef stroganoff.  Great to catch up with them after their holiday.

EffanC stroganoff

Celeste

And I finished Candy Crush.

!!

Well, until they released 30 more new levels later in the week.

Wednesday I was going to split up my backups, so brought home the two 2T drives.  But one of them hadn't been used in a while, so there was a lot of copying to do so it took all evening.  Didn't get to do the other disk, but it was done fairly recently.  Now have to rework the schedule.  

Thursday I watched some of Hans Zimmer in Prague which was kinda cool.  Except for the I whip my hair back and forth cellist, she was pretty annoying.  A lot of his soundtracks sound quite similar.  But he actually talked to audience and played multiple instruments and seemed like he was having a great time.  Cool stuff.  Later had a drink with Kit and Pete and lost a game of Kismet.

Friday I got stitched up at 54 Benjamin.  They kindly split our bill, but unfortunately charged me for someone else's lunch (either Dave or Connor's) which meant I paid $5 more than I should have :(  (Connor gave me some money just in case it was him which was nice of him).  Two expensive Friday lunches in a row.  I think I've done my dash there for the time being.

54 Benjamin pork soup

54 Benjamin Korean Fried Chicken

I got home tired and cranky from a crazy exhausting afternoon.  Had leftovers for dinner and watched Sixteen Candles, which I think I saw when I was in high school and not again since.

Winter flowers

Saturday I was at work all day doing upgrades.  In the evening we watched the start of the newest season of Veronica Mars (!!!!) and The Spy Who Loved Me.

Today I chugged my way through my todo list, achieving quite a lot.  Also did some food shopping.  And created my first S3 Bucket.  Cooked a carbonara gnocchi from the Women's Weekly Gratins and Bakes book I've had for years but never used.  And made some meringues with the leftover egg whites.  And more Veronica Mars.

Meringues

Meringues

A long time ago, we used to be friends..

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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