2019 Year in Review

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The new year started for us in the Bermuda Triangle! It was 9am Caribbean time, 12am AEDT time. Stu was in bed and I was eating breakfast. And I watched the Sydney fireworks. Live. On an ocean liner. In the middle of the North Atlantic. I love technology :) We actually managed to stay awake til midnight ship time and heard them sound the horn to mark midnight.

So our overseas trip of the year was just the tail end of our North Atlantic crossing and Caribbean cruise. Had four days in New York which is not nearly enough time. Came home via Singapore on the longest commercial flight you can take (for now) - 18 hours!. Early in February I went up to Sydney to visit Mum for a post-Christmas catchup. Went and saw a Lego show, took the River Cat to Parramatta and caught up with Pam, and later with Daniel and Fi. Didn't get to see the Cartans on the Sunday morning which was a shame because Doug Cartan died later in the year. Visited Luc and Lizzi for Ryan's penultimate donut photo and saw Cordeaux Dam on the way home. We went down to see Kit and Pete several times - in March to see their house and go to their engagement party, in July for a visit and to do some wedding planning and go to the zoo, in November to do some wedding planning and meet and ride Kit's new horse Jet, and in December for their wedding. Went and visited David in Junee in June. In August I went up to Sydney for Diana and Graham's funeral, and Chrissie and I geeked out at standing in the spot we met thirty years and a couple of weeks earlier. Came home via Dapto that trip to meet up with Kit who wanted to look at a horse (not Jet), and had a fun drive up Macquarie Pass. In November we went to Melbourne for the weekend to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child with Hannah and Rita.

Work was pretty decent this year. My life is four things: source, dest, port, protocol. Simple. Except way too many people don't understand basic client-server communication which is pretty frustrating. Whenever I had the time I would clean things. Our section disbanded (or was announced it would be disbanded) around February 14 - exactly one and a half years after I started in that section. I went back to comms but kept sitting in the same place for a while longer until they did a bit of a floor reshuffle. Fortunately I was able to get a seat away from the corridor and things stayed pretty stable which is essential for my mental health. Socially there was a big event at the beginning of the year which included an Escape Room, and dinner at the War Memorial, Laser Tag, and I ran a trivia night for it (using mostly recycled questions). We won a trivia night in April which meant we ran one in September. Had a whiskey night in June and a ball in October. Our drinking buddies dropped like flies though - Lachie, then Doc, then Hannah. Very sad times. Ran our annual Christmas party at the lake again, but it was very smokey and numbers were down - only about 40 this year!

On Valentines Day I had my appendix out! My first ever general anesthetic and first ever hospital stay. Then in April Annie had hers out too - didn't know these things were contagious ;) After surviving the plague ship (don't travel in northern hemisphere winters with old people - everyone gets sick) and not even getting sick when Stu did, I had a very small cold in February, but then survived all winter without getting sick again, only to get one in September then another one in December. The one in December was the worst and I was coughing for a couple of weeks, including being sick at Kit's wedding. Insomnia was a lot better this year but still got bouts of it.

Saw a bit of my family. Saw Mum in Sydney in February. David and Kat came to stay in April. Took them out for a bbq at the new van. Mum came to visit in June and we went down to Junee to visit David. Later blacklisted Kat from ever coming here again - I can't stand the way she treats David and there's no way I could be civil to her if I saw her ever again. David came to visit in October and we took him out for his birthday and then on a tram because he was going to interview for a job driving them. David got the job, and moved in with us in November (had to clean out space in the bedroom, bathroom, pantry and study). Mum came down at Christmas for a couple of days. We saw a little bit of Stu's family too. The other Stu came over for dinner in January. Kerry and the kids came to see the balloons in March and dropped in to visit. Dropped in to see Annie and the kids in April and save Daisy's life (emergency cash supply). Scott and Kerry and the kids dropped in briefly in October. Saw Noah on his 18th birthday. Stu and Annie and the family came over for Christmas lunch. I saw a bit of Chrissie during the year. Went over for a couple of low key dinners in January (hot cross bun ice cream!) and December, saw her the night her aunty and uncle were murdered and we just tried to process, had a few lunches out and about, and a nice BBQ on Anzac Day which also included her Dad, siblings and their partners. Saw quite a lot of EffanC and the N-gang which was great, including a couple of dinners at R&F's, various visits back and forth and dinners out at Pot Belly and Malaysian Chapter with EffanC including an election night event and New Years. We're still missing Kit and Pete and the chickens although did see them a few times during the year. Other than the four times we went down to the coast, they also came to stay for Tarun's wedding in March. Went wedding dress shopping with Kit then had dinner at Old Canberra Inn for Pete and Leisa's birthdays. They came back again in April to see Kit's brother before he went home to Germany. Kit came up again in May for Katie's sister's funeral and her friend Sophie's wedding. I organised Kit's Hen's at the end of November - Laser Tag and dinner at George Harcourt with drinks after at Moby's. And I ended up being a bridesmaid at their wedding after it became too difficult for Audrey. We farewelled Stewie and Cath (again) in February. Fiona came to stay the weekend after I got my appendix out, but was pretty stressed about it because everyone was sick and I couldn't sleep in the spare bed. Jenn came over a week later for a Turkish feast, and we caught up for drinks with her in October. Went to see Doc's new place with a big group of work peoples which was lovely. Had a couple of dinners with Hannah, at Dumpling Inn and Pizza Artigiana so Stu could get to know her before we went away together. Had our annual hanami part with Nat and Andrew, although I was sick the original weekend and the flowers were mostly all gone by the time they did get to come over. And went to @CLBradley's 60th at Ciscos.

Spent a bit of time at our social club. There was a Finnish night in March, with a wallaroo joey. Not to eat - that's Australian, not Finnish ;) In April we bought a well-established van off another member to give us some space to move (our old van was just barely big enough to sleep in, and even then not really). Sold the old one for a lot less that we paid for it because it had a leak that we never fixed and wasn't in great condition. Spent a bit of time cleaning and decluttering the new one, but there's still a long way to go. Had Chris and Ian's anniversary there, it's been a shame that I've had to miss two of them over the years. We did Christmas in July again for a huge crowd. Had a couple of nights there in August, including the AGM on Stu's birthday (doh!), and another night in September. September was a Chilean night, which was great, but some people really need to learn to better estimate catering. I mean a bit of overcatering is fine, you don't want to run out, but you also don't want an entire fridge full of leftover food - both cooked and uncooked! Went for Oktoberfest in October. We missed the Christmas party because we were down the coast at Kit and Pete's wedding. We were going to go out at New Years, but I was too nervous about the weather and potential for fires.

Pretty quiet fish year. I discovered my angel is a girl - she laid a couple of batches of eggs! At the end of the year I had four active tanks. The angel tank, with the angel, a cory, and a sucking catfish. The two foot, with three black neon tetras and a sucking catfish. Chrissie's little tank, with two clown loaches and a sucking catfish. And the downstairs two foot, with one large danio. Stu has his four foot which is always covered in algae because the lights are too good and there's not enough algae eaters, a tiny tank on his desk with a white cloud, and a little tank downstairs with a white cloud. There's also four empty tanks that were for killifish but they all died. I want to restock my tanks, but needed to prove I can take care of them first (ie, making sure at least one of them gets a water change every weekend, so no more than four weeks between water changes for each tank).

Nothing much on the Lego front either. I'm still working on sorting out Vic's Lego. It's extremelly slow going. It takes a good chunk of the weekend to do pick parts for six sets, so if there's anything on on a weekend nothing would happen. Really need to get back into it, as I really want my tubs and floor space back.

Not so many jigsaws this year either. I feel like there's too many other important things to do to "waste time" doing jigsaws :( Similarly with any of my other hobbies.

The weather was *hot* when we got back from overseas in January. We had the cooler running for three weeks straight. There were a lot of thunderstorms at the beginning of the year too. Had a duststorm in February. Then drought with a dry winter and super dry November and December, and the shroud of bushfire smoke for most of December.

Around the house.. I took a few days off at Easter to have a ten day break, and we Marie Kondo'd the house - well, clothes, linen cupboard, under the house a bit, some of the garage, and the pantry. David came during that break and replaced the light in the fan light, and also the kitchen lights, with LEDs. Had the sewer pipes eeled in May and he cleared a blockage at the same spot twelve metres in as last time. For Christmas I treated us to new towels - the first time in my life I've ever had matching bathroom linen - loving it!

Considering it feels like we don't eat out all that often, it seems like we ate out a lot. I tried Master Hin Dumplings at the mall. Very average dumplings. I'm surprised they're actually still there. Went to Chong Co on Australia Day and had their delivery a couple of times. Went to Gus's with the sweetie in February. Malaysian Chapter and Pot Belly a couple of times with EffanC, and for a work farewell lunch. Indian Pantry with Cath. Had Pho Hub with Neil. A couple of work lunches at Chompy's. Had Yat Bun Tong at least once with the sweetie. Possibly only made it to Dumpling Inn once this year - to meet up with Hannah so she and Stu could meet and we could discuss Harry Potter. The sweetie took me out to Temporada on our anniversary which was expensive but excellent. A group of us went to Rashays for their $5 lunches in May. We haven't been back since. Tried Tasting China and Akiba which were both pretty good. Went to Chez Kimchi a few times. They're ok but their menu is just a mess. Had Disappointing Sushi (aka Hero Sushi in Canberra Centre) a couple of times. It always meets expectations - it's always disappointing. We had Pizza Artigiana a couple of times. The first in July to meet Hannah's flatmate Rita who we were going to see Harry Potter with, and again with Stu in August. Tried lunch at 54 Benjamin a couple of times. Nice, but a bit expensive to do too often for lunches. Had Alice's in July, the Lake George Hotel in Bungendore in August with EffanC, Bella Vista on my birthday, Happy's in December. Tried out Yarralumla Kebabs' new store in Belco. Pro tip - take a knife and cut one in two and split it with someone - otherwise you'll feel to stuffed at the end (even Stu finds them too big!!). And went to Bharat International with some work guys. And there were several treks to Kingsley's ;)

It seems I wasn't terribly creative in the kitchen this year. Or maybe I just didn't document things. We ate one of Kit's little roosters and made a couple of lasagnas with her tomatoes. I had a lot of fun with puff pastry - making cheese and vegemite scrolls, pizza scrolls and cheese twists. Made tacos a couple of times. A large kit works a lot better with three people than two ;) Made a gnocchi carbonara bake a couple of times. Also made cheesy hash browns which are always pretty awesome. And made a huge batch of gingerbread biscuits for Christmas.

The only theatre/shows/exhibitions I saw were two Lego things (Lego Cities by Ryan McNaught in Sydney, and a private Lego Christmas Show in Ngunnawal), and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in Melbourne.

The only movie I saw in theatres was the Lego Movie 2 - the Second Part.

Saw a lot more movies on TV. As well as invididual movies which I won't list, we (or I) also carried on watching movies in series. Including:

  • Kung Fu Panda 1 and 2
  • Sherlock Holmes 1 and 2 (Robert Downey Junior version)
  • The Hobbit 1, 2 and 3
  • James Bond movies, starting in April, still haven't quite finished
  • Paddington 1 and 2
  • Bridget Jones 1 and 2
  • Molly Ringwald teen movies (except Breakfast Club cause that's kinda boring)
  • A few Tom Hanks movies
  • Twilight saga
  • Die Hard 1, 2 and 3 (haven't had a chance to see the rest yet)

Watched a surprising amount of TV too!

  • The Good Place Season 3
  • Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
  • Discovery Season 2
  • Fuller House Season 4
  • MacGyver Season 1, start of Season 2
  • Homeland Season 7
  • Brooklyn 99 - up to season 5
  • Death in Paradise Season 3
  • Lego Masters
  • Veronica Mars Season 4
  • The Good Place Season 4
  • The Amazing Race
  • Fuller House Season 5

I'm not a big reader but did get through some books:

  • Heaven is for Real - Todd Burpo
  • The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and six more - Roald Dahl
  • Silicon Snake Oil - Clifford Stoll
  • Little Brother - Cory Doctorow
  • The Cult of LEGO - John Baichtal and Joe Meno
  • You Always Remember the First Time - edited by B.S. Johnson
  • The Reader - Bernhard Schlink
  • On the Road - Jack Kerouac (never finished)


And as always, I finish off with a big list of other bits and pieces..

  • Started blogging weekly on Sunday nights, as that seems to happen more consistently, and get my photos online in a more timely manner
  • Still raging that Apple sees fit to modify the timestamps on my photos and screenshots - on the phone!!
  • Posted my Canberra 1986-2016 blog to Reddit and got a lot of nice comments
  • Android (at least the last two Stu's had) has a SUPER annoying bug where the forward facing camera has no date taken exif data saved. Makes it harder to geotag the photos.
  • Finally filled up my 2T drives with backups, had to split them out. Also bought a 4T drive to have room for everything. Took nearly a week to copy everything
  • Found "Tent Go Bye Byes" on the internet so Mum could finally see what all the fuss was about in 1983
  • Finished scanning all of Mum's photo prints
  • Saw the Balloon Fiesta
  • Took a stack of Tupperware to the Green Shed
  • Read all of Julie Powell's "Julie and Julia" blog (started and got a good chunk of the way through in February after I had my appendix out, finished in September)
  • Collected all the Coles Stikeez. And Little Shop 2
  • The neighbours got ducks, although they didn't keep them for too long
  • Got asked to be a bridesmaid at Kit's wedding. Got the shoes for the girls
  • Finished scanning all of Mum's analogue photos. Started on her slides.
  • Got our democracy sausage in May
  • Finished labelling all 10000-odd photos from our last trip
  • Created an S3 bucket for holiday photos. Still haven't gotten around to doing anything with it.
  • Filled with rage at Qantas' website and general customer service, booked my next trip with Emirates instead
  • Three cats we know - Pookie, Celeste and George - all had to be put down
  • Processed and labelled all our Hong Kong and Singapore 2016 photos and got them into the blog
  • NBN screwed us over - disconnected us during upgrades and never bothered to reconnect us. Had to get a tech to come out and fix it. Found out a while later they'd downgraded our speed from about 25mb to 12mbit. Bastards. (Edit: they broke the connector, hence only half the speed, later we got it fixed)
  • Microsoft FINALLY enabled control-backspace in Notepad!!
  • STILL raging at Apple and the inability to copy timelapse (and even regular video) files to my computer
  • Bought a toasted sandwich maker - loving that
  • David bought me a new frying pan (and another one at Christmas)
  • Had my hair trimmed. Trimmed is an understatement.
  • Got my North Atlantic trip fully labelled and blogged
  • Didn't see blue sky in Canberra from before Kit's wedding til the end of the year
  • Saddened by the bushfires that raged through south-eastern Australia
  • Played some escape games on my phone which are a lot of fun
  • Watched both Christmas Carols events. Carols in the Domain are pretty tacky but Melbourne's Carols by Candlelight is still ok.
  • Spent the last couple of days of the year tidying and organising the house, and catching up on blogging

We finished out the year at EffanC's for a quiet evening with great friends.

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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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