Results tagged “Bushfires” from Kazza the Blank One

Last Tuesday morning I started scanning Dad's slides. There's about 7000 of them. I'm aiming for one box of 36 a week (more if I'm not too busy), which should mean I could get it all done in about four years. If I don't die of Covid-19 first. I had a play with the dust and scratch filter and it pretty much works like magic. I should have used it on Mum's slides. Oh well. I'm still impressed how well my 14 year old scanner works (Christmas present from the sweetie in 2005). Tuesday evening was washing, blogging, Lego sorting, geotagging (some of Day 3 of USA 2004 trip). I also started to try and figure out the catalog numbers for the hundreds of Vic's minifigs, and what sets they go in. He sure has a lot that don't belong to any particular set he had, so he must have gotten large quantities of loose Lego not in sets.

Wednesday evening the sweetie took me out to dinner because he's the best sweetie ever.  Went to Kinn Thai and had softshelled crab again, and orange duck.  Yumm.  Then more Lego and minifig sorting and finished geotagging day 3.

Shiny cicada

Kinn Thai softshelled crab

Kinn Thai orange duck

It rained during the week.  A lot.  Looky at this - the new Belconnen swimming pool they dug out the past couple of weeks!

Belconnen swimming pool

Thursday was Gin night. Four of them tasted like, well, gin. One was a bit more interesting. And there were two flavoured ones - shiraz, and earl grey. They looked, smelt and tasted of those respective drinks. Cool stuff. Well the shiraz one was, the Earl Grey tasted like tea. We had F over for pizza and tv after.

Gin night

Coloured gins

Friday evening I had to work. My work was only about a minutes' worth, but I stuck around in case they needed my help with anything (or if I'd missed a firewall rule somewhere). Bailed at 11pm.

Saturday I checked in at work and everything seemed to be going ok. So midmorning we headed down the coast (via Belco to pick up a present for Pete). The blackened bush started at Nerriga (most of the town was saved) and stayed black the entire way to the coast. Absolutely heartbreaking. It was actually amazing to see just how much property had been saved though. In places it was completely burnt bush all around, and in the middle there would be a house intact. Amazing job done by all involved, especially the firies.

And because it's Australia, you have bushfires one week, raging floods the next.

Shoalhaven in flood

Shoalhaven in flood

Blackened bush

We headed straight for Huskisson and went to the beach briefly because, coast.

Huskisson

Huskisson

Huskisson

Then had some lunch, picked up some supplies, then headed for Kit's. Their place was basically completely surrounded by fires, but their street was saved.  At Bewong it looked like the firies stood on the highway and said "you shall not pass" .. 

Bewong fires

We setup the house then waited for Pete to get home. It wasn't a complete surprise because his mum spilled the beans, but he was expecting just his sister and maybe a couple of his local mates, but instead he got a small crowd so that was pretty cool :) So yeah nice party, and only one tantrum haha.

Pete's ice cream cake

We had dessert first.  Because that's what adulting is all about.

Pete and cake

Akubra party!

Akubra party

The itty bitty bbq gas bottle ran out, so they hooked up the house one to it.

Big gas bottle

Deviled eggs

NYE recreation

40th party food

I was up at normal time the next morning, but then had to wait hours for everyone else. Eventually Kit got up and I could copy all the wedding videos for them. Had some brunch, then we headed home.

Petal

Chickens

Shoalhaven in flood

Was too tired to do much Sunday arvo/evening so just had a quiet one and an early night.

Monday it was full steam ahead rearranging the house. Stu had been wanting some study space for quite a while. He tried setting up a space downstairs last year but he never really liked it. So we emptied out the dumping ground room, brought up the couch and swapped the tables around. It took all day. And now everything from the room is spread all around the house. Which is stressful in itself. hrmmm.

Junk room before

Junk room after

We also went out at lunch to do our food shopping.  We hadn't been in three weeks so we were pretty bare.  Of course the empty shelves were something to behold.  No toilet paper, almost no tissues or paper towel (people thinking they could use that instead of toilet paper??).  Very little rice, pasta and long life milk, no flour.  Just madness.  

Corona virus panic buying - longlife milk

Corona virus panic buying - pasta

Corona virus panic buying - flour

Corona virus panic buying - tissues

Corona virus panic buying - paper towel

Corona virus panic buying - toilet paper

Cooked curried sausages for dinner (to use up some of the curry powder that's been sitting in the spice cupboard for ten years or more).  They were pretty good.  I'll put the recipe separately, because I have this feeling I'll be using it again heh.

Tuesday woke up at 1:30 with hurty and never got back to sleep :( So zombie day Tuesday. It took about 14 goes of disconnecting and reconnecting my phone on Tuesday night to download the seven videos I'd taken at the party. Fricken HATE Apple.

Wednesday we finished season 6 of Big Bang Theory - half way through!

Tonight I've been watching the 1970 Ned Kelly which I've never actually seen.  There's not much on IMDB about it, but it does note it was filmed in Braidwood, and look at that!  So it was!  Fifty years later and all the buildings are still there (screenshots from the movie and Google Street View).  Enjoyed it more than My Brilliant Career.

Ned Kelly - Braidwood

Ned Kelly - Braidwood

Ned Kelly - Braidwood

Ned Kelly - Braidwood

I brought some glow sticks home from the party.  Six days later and they're still actually glowing.  !!   Although very faint now.  The first couple of nights the phone could still take pretty decent photos of them.

Glow sticks after 24 hours

Glow sticks after 48 hours

.. or not..

Smoke on the 29th

Thursday we watched the live action Aladdin.  It was pretty underwhelming.  None of the charm of the original.  Will Smith's genie was probably the best thing about the movie, and he ain't no Robin Williams.  It felt like watching a Bollywood movie rather than a Middle Eastern one.

Friday Neil and I tried out Malatang Hotpot.  You choose your ingredients, pay by weight, choose a sauce, and they cook it for you.  ok value - my 275g of food was $7.95 or thereabouts (I can't remember the numbers).  They have four sauces in the built in sign above the food, but there were five on the counter (with spiciness ratings).  The ones above don't give any indication of spiciness, so I went with big bone broth, which sounded pretty mild.  And it was.  Neil got the spiciest, which was too hot for me.  I'd be happy to try a mild or maybe even a medium next time.  Biggest problem was the *huge* bits of spinach which made it super messy to eat.  They really need to cut things a bit smaller.

Malatang Hotpot

In the evening I watched My Brilliant Career, which was to be honest pretty boring.  Full of unlikeable characters behaving badly.  Meh.  But with a stoopidly young Sam Neill and Robert Grubb.

Friday night was stoopidly hot and I just could not get to sleep.  Epic grunt.  Might have had a meltdown around 1am.

So was pretty tired on Saturday.  Did a bit of house stuff, and a bit of photo stuff.  Did some food shopping, although I was nervous about leaving the house because it was super hot and very windy.  

Stumpy

As I was cooking dinner (beef stronganoff from an old packet of Mum's), EffanC called, so they ended up coming over for dinner and chatting and snackages.

Crackers

Crackers

Slightly late night but not too crazy.  

Sunday I spent the entire freakin day trying to get caught up on finances, getting bank statements etc to get organised for tax.  Yeah didn't even finish.  #grunt.

But the sweetie did cook a slow cooker chickpea curry for dinner.

Stu's chickpea curry

Monday I took a random day off, had a super productive hour or two of housework, and processed all Ryan's morph photos.  Made several videos for the party.  Later in the afternoon I pointed Picasa at my work photo directory and had it see who was in photos.  Interesting stuff.  It did find a lot automatically once tagged, but the majority it wants confirmation on.  It rather nicely saves all the people in each file into an ini file in the directory, to make for easy extraction later.  But I did forget to do my washing.  Whoops.  Cooking chicken teriyaki for dinner with a packet that was best before the exact same day Dad went and carked it..

Orroral smoke

Tuesday.  Even though last night was *much* cooler, I *still* couldn't get to still til some time between 12 and 1am.  So frustrating.  So zombie day today.  Salmon for dinner.  And then Stu challenged David to fix our two digital radios which stopped working last year.  And he did.  Because he's the most awesomest brother ever.  Also fun: we were both labelling photos from flights across America.  Me from late 2000.  Him from early 2020.  Fun times.

And there's a reason I don't tell Certain People stuff - cause whenever I do they basically tell me I'm doing it Wrong and make me feel dumb.  Le sigh.

He was a dead end

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So last Tuesday after battling for two nights with Apple, and blogging, it got to 21:30 and I still needed to wash my hair.  Le sigh.

The lake was a little fuller after the hail storm.

Fuller lake

Thursday was a bit of a crazy day.  There was a bushfire near the airport, so people were distracted monitoring that (it originally started in trees that I'd noticed on the way to the club just last weekend were dead because of the drought).  And then it took out some good chunks of our network because an Optus location lost power and they didn't have generator backup there.  And there was a water bomber plane crash.  Sadly it was the same C-130 we saw taking off out of HMAS Albatross last year.  Sad times.  And then they closed the airport (well most flights were cancelled), stranding people in (and out) of Canberra for the evening.  I really couldn't concentrate very well on work that afternoon.  In the evening I was going to watch Coco by myself (finally caught up on all the Pixar movies I started watching a year ago, with just Toy Story 4 to go now - which is coming soon!) but the boys were ok for me to watch it on the main tv and they watched it too.  Was pretty good.  Well except for the whole I issue I had that photos have only existed for the past hundred or so years, so what did people do before that?  Paintings?  hrmm

Friday I went over to Chrissie's and we had some champagne for her birthday and had Chinese takeaway and just chatted which was really nice.  Her car was damaged in the hail.

Chrissie birthday

Hi google

Hail damaged bonnet

Hail damaged bonnet

Stampy

Saturday I did a bunch of research into how I was going to morph Ryan's donut photos.  One person said use "face movie" from Picasa.  My version of Picasa was pretty old and didn't seem to have it, so I downloaded the latest off the Wayback Machine.  And it was magic.  Saved me hours and hours and hours of effort.  Well, I still need to get some final photos from Luc to finish it off but I suddenly found myself free for the weekend.  

In the evening was a party for Aquila's 60th.  Stu wasn't feeling up to socialising but he came and stayed anyway which was nice.  And we didn't have a late night.  There was a lot of food.  Food spam to follow ;)  After the jigsaws!! OMFG!!

Oh hai friends

Chris 60th noms

Chris 60th noms

Chris 60th noms

Chris 60th noms

Chris 60th birthday cake

Happy birthday Chris

Sunday.  OMFG I hate Apple.  Ever since I got my XS, it's never synced my Google calendar with the phone.  I've tried all sorts of suggestions but nothing ever worked.  So I gave up and downloaded the Google Calendar app which works just fine.  But it's also stopped syncing my contacts.  Which is more annoying because I often update my phone, but I want Google to be the master.  So I went hunting to see if I could try again to fix Google sycning.  Someone talked about using iCloud.  So I logged into iCloud to find my contacts aren't synced there at all!!!  Even though it's set to backup contacts.  What a retarded piece of crap.  I complained on Twitter, as you do, and they actually responded.  Not with anything useful of course.  I haven't tried the last thing they suggested, because I was completely over it.  I'm going to go back to my old 1999 perl/mysql database as my "master", making sure I have a full backup of everything, then try some more to hack away at it.  

We were originally going to go to the club Sunday afternoon but Stu wasn't feeling up to socialising, so we just stayed home.  Which suited me just fine as I was having fun geotagging my USA 2000 photos, and listening to the Classic 100 Music in the Movies, Rescreened, which I listened to the entire weekend which was awesome.  Did a bit of jigsaw as well.  We watched Quantum of Solace in the evening.  Man, that movie made me dizzy just looking at it.  Such a frenetic pace in the action sequences - editing of shots less than a second each.  Madness.

Monday I woke up at 3:30 and never got back to sleep (well I did for about half an hour at 6:30).  Hurrah.  Spent the day geotagging photos.  It was fun reliving my trip to New York from 2000, with more fresh memories to reinforce it all from a year ago.  I was sad geotagging the World Trade Centre photos though - I found it somewhat strange/disturbing that I could still geotag those photos with complete precision.  I was even able to geotag just about all the photos fairly accurately in Disneyland.  It's amazing how much has stayed the same over the past twenty years.  Managed to manually geotag the entire set of photos in one weekend.  Ok so there were only 727 of them, and about 70 I'd done the other week.  

On Monday afternoon a bushfire started near Orroral, where Stu, Kit and I did the Granite Tors walk a few years ago.  We could see the smoke from our place.

Orroral fire

We watched the first episode of Picard in the evening.  

Got a much better night's sleep on Monday night.   Tuesday the Orroral fire got much much worse.  We could see the pyrocumulus clouds from work.  I got some pretty insane timelapses of it.

Pyrocumulus

Tuesday night I backed up my phone.  It only took 32 minutes and about 8-10 reconnects of the phone to get the photos and the half dozen regular videos, not counting getting two timelapses I got via Google Drive earlier in the day.  Then another 15 minutes to process them (every single video had its timestamp changed), minus the few minutes I ran outside to see the sky on fire..

Sky on fire

Sky on fire

Sky on fire

Sky on fire

Today I worked from home.  Last Friday David had gotten sick enough of our slow internet upload speeds that he called Internode to see if they could fix it.  Today an NBN dude turned up and went off to fix it.  Turns out there was a broken connector, resulting in exactly half the speed we should have had.  So he fixed that and our download speeds are now back up to 20mbit down, 4 up.  Not quite as fast as it was before, but still twice as good as recent times.  Hurrah!  So at least that was a win.  Smoke from the Orroral fire blew north and the sky got a really eerie green/brown/yellow colour for much of the day.  

Tonight was just going back into the photo labels I'd done for the USA 2000 trip, and giving them a bit more detail and tidying it up.  I also redid all the panoramas.  Back in the day I used a program (Panavue?) that you had to manually set linkage points for it to line them up.  It worked pretty well for fairly horizontal panoramas, but not so well if the camera was angled.  So I redid them in Microsoft Image Composite Editor.  Sometimes Microsoft comes up with amazing software, and this is one example.  Works like magic.  

Case in point:

National Mall panorama - old

National Mall panorama - new

In all the crazyness of the world right now I can't help but be inspired by these flowers growing in our front garden.  They've basically had no water all summer, except during the storm last week.  Yet here they are, in full bloom, smiling at the world.

Pretty pink flowers

Stay safe everyone!

January 8

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As always, on January 8 I remember three things..

This blog is seventeen years old today!  I wanted to get a mobile template applied to this blog over the break, but I just had too many things to do.  One day ..

David Bowie would have turned seventy three today.  Someone at work pointed out it was Elvis Presley's birthday as well.. which I knew but I've never mentioned here because I'm just not all that interested heh.  Edit: actually, I did, in 2015 :)

Bushfires raged through Como destroying many of our friends' homes and our church twenty six years ago.  The current bushfires are hence all too real for us.

January 1994 bushfires

The last week of our break was overshadowed, quite literally, by the catastrophe of the bushfires.  I watched them get closer and closer to Kit and Pete's place, then it skirted round their town, but they're not out of danger yet.  It's still very close to David's place at River Island.  It got very close to DC's place at Malua Bay, and Fiona's place in Newcastle.  @CLBradley's place at Kangaroo Valley is still under threat.  Lisa's family lost a farm house and a camper.   Connor's inlaws' land was burnt out, but the shed was ok.  Chloe's land got burnt out and their shed and tractor are gone, but the house they are building was untouched.  And that's just people I know.  People have died.  Many homes, farms and historic buildings have been lost.  The toll on the bush and the wildlife is incalculable.  The smoke we've been breathing for the past few weeks is the remains of millions upon *millions* of plants and animals.  It's utterly devastating and heartbreaking.  I really fear that this weather is the new "normal" and wonder if it will ever properly rain again...

So New Year's Eve was very hot and very windy, and I was *super* nervous about fires starting.  We were going to go out to the club but decided not to.  EffanC also decided not to go, so we went over to their place instead as conditions eased. 

New Year's Eve smoke

So it was fairly quiet evening of just chatting and watching the Sydney fireworks.  Even David joined us after his shift finished which was nice.

The smoke got thick again as the wind changed in the evening.  My first photos of the new year are of the smoke on the way home..

New Year's smoke

It was a pretty late night so Wednesday, New Year's Day, was a slow, quiet day.  Did a bit of photo processing, blogging, some jigsaw, and we watched Die Another Day in the evening.

Koel in our yard

New Year's Day smoke

Thursday ended up being another quiet day.  Didn't get a whole lot done.  Stu signed up for Disney+ and we watched The Force Awakens in the evening.  Of course our introduction to Disney+, literally the first thing on the screen, was Error 43.  Fricken useless.

Second January smoke

Blood sunrise

How cute are these!?  Stu got them in the mail (before Australia Post stopped deliveries because of the smoke).

Living stones

Living stones

Friday with the cooler weather I took the opportunity to check on the gutters.  They weren't too bad.  David also couldn't help himself and pulled apart our cooler and gave it all a good scrub.  Bestest brother ever!

After lunch Kit called.  They were in Canberra - they'd come up Thursday night with all the animals (two dogs, a cat, two birds, three frogs and a snake) leaving behind the chickens and the fish.  They came over in the afternoon and just chilled out for a couple of hours which was nice.  Pete had a lot of fun watching the wedding videos, while Kit monitored the fires and social media.  We dropped their car back at her mum's and had a drink.

Kit and Arthur

Then Stu picked us up and we all went to Bella Vista for dinner.  

We had Garlic and cheese foccacia to share $9 which was delicious (Kit said it was the best cheese and garlic bread she'd ever eaten heh).

Bella Vista garlic cheese foccacia

For dinner I had Vitello Saltimbocca: Veal escallops with sage, Prosciutto and mozzarella cheese in a white wine reduction sauce served with creamy mash and green beans. ($35)

Bella Vista veal

Then back to our place to chat for a while.  It was nice that they felt they could just come and hang out and relax with us.  We think they made a sensible decision getting to safety ahead of the predicted craziness on Saturday.  

So Saturday.  The hot north-westerly winds picked up again, fanning the flames of all the fires going on at the coast.  I was tense again.  I spent the morning putting away all the Christmas decorations.  Didn't get much done in the afternoon, although I did finish blogging our Melbourne trip, where we went and saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  Link is here - http://kazza.id.au/oz_holidays/ - if you wanted to have a look (last entry is first on that page so scroll down to see it in order).  We watched Casino Royale in the evening.  

The wind did blow all the smoke away for the day, but it came back again around 10pm.

Smoke on the 4th

And when I say it came back, I mean it *really* came back.  We could smell it as soon as it hit, and it was swift and all consuming.  In the morning it was like waking up in hell...  the phone wouldn't get the white balance right, I had to fiddle with the DSLR to get this.  

Welcome to hell

Played through an escape game on my phone, but otherwise only got little bits and pieces done during the day.

In the evening a bunch of us went over to Rob and Lyn's for dinner which was lovely.  The temperature had cooled down significantly so it was nice outside, just very smoky, so we stayed inside, which was a lot hotter.  But had a very pleasant evening.  Rob cooked some quite delicious steaks and there was heaps of other food.

Dinner at Rob and Lyn's

Dinner at Rob and Lyn's

So back to some sense of reality on Monday.  My "essential" todo list kept me going til 10pm but then I couldn't get to sleep (a mosquito buzzing around certainly didn't help, not to mention where the f@#$ did it come from, given there's no standing water anywhere in Canberra at the moment).  So today was a bit of a zombie day, but was able to do lots of cleaning which was good.  And tonight processed photos, and have spent an hour writing up this entry.  

Stay safe everyone...

Coast Weekend

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Three weekends ago we headed down the coast for Kit and Pete's wedding.  We left on the Thursday after lunch.  I was still sick and coughing and had been in bed all morning.  Hurrah.  

Driving down Smith's Gap we saw the fires over at Braidwood.

Braidwood fires

Braidwood fires

This was the last weekend we were to see blue skies this year.  As I write it's been three weeks since we saw properly blue sky (except maybe a day or two).

Pretty clouds

This C-130 water bomber (N134CG) had just left HMAS Albatross.  

BMBR134 C-130 over HMAS Albatross

We stayed at the Springs Shoalhaven, quite close to the wedding venue.  Pleasant enough place.  It had a pool although I didn't have a swim (Stu did).  Both those beds were *very* soft.  I took the single to give myself a bit of distance from the sweetie with my coughing.  

Our room at Springs Shoalhaven

We chilled out for a bit, then went next door to the Ex Serviceman's Club for dinner.  It had a lovely aspect, facing north over the golf course.  At the far northern end of the golf course was the venue for the wedding. 

View of the golf course from Shoalhaven Ex Servicemen's Club

Pasta I had for dinner

Dinner at Shoalhaven Exservicemen's Club

Stu looking out the window

Spent half the night coughing.  Of course.

Stu thought it might be nice to have room service breakfast on the Friday, so we ordered that the night before.  Unfortunately because I'd had so little sleep I really wasn't hungry when it turned up at the appointed time.  It was nice enough though and I would have enjoyed it on another day.  

Room service breakfast

I pretty much spent the morning in bed.  We were waiting for word from Kit to see if they needed our help transporting anything or setting anything up, but they were running late and a bit frazzled.  In the end the sweetie and I went into Nowra to get some supplies (I still wasn't very hungry) and stuff for the wedding.  Then we headed all the way down to the end of Greenwell Road to have a look at the water.  That was quite nice.

Crookhaven River at Greenwell Point

Stu at Greenwell Point

Pier at Greenwell Point

Crookhaven River at Greenwell Point

Pelican at Greenwell Point

Pelicans at Greenwell Point

Dropped the sweetie back to the motel, then met up with Chloe, Katie and Kit so we could all get our nails done.  I've never had my nails done professionally before.  

Kit and Katie getting their nails done

The result!

Chloe's, Katie's and my nails

Picked up the sweetie, then it was off to the rehearsal.  There were quite a lot of people there and it was a little bit chaotic, so took quite a while to get through.  

Dropped off the sweetie again, then to Kit and Pete's to load up the car with food.  Swung by the motel on the way back and got Stu to drop me at the venue with all the gear/food.  He'd had a rotten time at the Ex-Serviceman's club - it was super noisy and crowded and he had to wait *forever* for food and couldn't even go get another drink because otherwise he'd have lost his table.  Poor thing.  Then he headed back to the motel while I stayed at the venue.

At the venue four of us girls stayed in the "Bunk House", while Kit stayed by herself in her own room (at Chloe's recommendation to get a better night's sleep).  

Chloe got us some takeaway burgers for dinner (and very nicely got me a kids meal so it was a lot smaller ;) ).

Chloe and Audrey made up little bubble blowers.

Making up bubbles

And Katie and Kit made up decorations.

Making up decorations

I supervised ;)

I slept on my inflatable mattress.  Or rather, I *didn't* sleep on the mattress.  I was so stressed about my coughing/snoring keeping Katie awake, that I couldn't get to sleep til very very very late.  And then I woke up early.  I think I might have gotten about two hours sleep.  How to recover from a cold - get lots of rest.  Yeah right.  Vowed never to sleep in the same room as anyone else (aside from the sweetie) ever again in my life.

Anyways.  I'll leave the day of the wedding to the next post.

This magpie was hand raised by the owners of the venue, and hung around while we cleaned up.  Very cool.

Magpie helping

Stu and the magpie

After driving Pete's ute back to their place late morning, with everyone's cars full of *stuff* that we'd spent all morning packing up, we finally headed home.  

We couldn't even see Smith's Gap through all the smoke.

Smith's Gap

This was leftovers of a massive antipasto platter that we had at the wedding (I put it in the fridges overnight, everyone thought I was mad heh).  We didn't need to do any food shopping that week - we just ate this all week!

Leftover antipasto

Sunday afternoon watched the finale of The Amazing Race.  I quite enjoyed the season, although with a limited Australian budget they only went to two other continents (Africa and Asia).  After "the influencers" went, there wasn't really anyone I *didn't* want to win, except maybe the nurses, they came across as a bit dumb.  Good on the guys that won!

Monday was too busy to actually achieve anything much at work.  hrmm.  I did manage to get dinner/washing/kitchen done by 19:25 which was nice.

Tuesday wasn't much better at work - so busy I don't know where to start, and when I do start it's just interruption after interruption.  So much smoke around too!  And I totally ruined David's day by preempting Christmas shopping on him.  

Tuesday evening went to Chrissie's for dinner - some yummy fried chicken, skewers and fried rice.

Kid in a box!

Big brothers are great

Fried chicken at Chrissie's

Chicken feast

We started calling the smoke Five O'Clock Charlie because it keeps coming around in the evening.

Smoky evening

Tuesday night I couldn't get to sleep - stoopid restless legs.  Then work up really early.  Hurrah.  Got cranky at Italian Bite putting the price of their small place up from $7.90 to $9.50.  So went to Ali Baba, only to get cranky at them because they've downsized their kebabs - meaning if you ask for a small you get a small, but it's the price of their "original".  So $9.90 for a small.  Not. Happy. Jan.  They'll go out of business at that rate, with Yarralumla kebabs offering about four times the food for only $5 more.  

Blood sunrise

Why did the ducks cross the road?

Wednesday night I went to bed early, but another night of restless legs keeping me awake late.  Zombie day Thursday.  Finished BBT up to the end of season 4.  Had a wildly unhealthy lunch with the sweetie at Kimchi.

Kimchi fried chicken

Mount Ainslie is gone

Friday I woke up at 4:15 stressing about the party.  Then. Smoke.  So. Much. Smoke.  One guy thought we should cancel, but I already had all the meat.  We thought about doing it on prem, but the poo-pooers probably would have had a hissy fit, so we went ahead with the lake anyway.  Noone did any running around, we just chilled and ate and drank and had quite a lovely time, and there was even a slight breeze to make it all less unpleasant.  At one point there was just me and twenty-eight other boys ;)  Unfortunately there was a *lot* of extra food as there were less people and it was so damned hot.  I caught my duck again, although I didn't catch her wings so she was a bit more stressed and uncomfortable.  Then she pooped on my hand haha.

So much smoke

So much smoke

Trolley loads

Ute loads

Lake bbq

Gracie the duck

Came home and we watched Die Hard 2.

Saturday morning I woke up at 5:00 stressing about the leftovers.  Because that's what I do.  Le sigh. 

Blood sunrise

Blood sunrise through the plum tree

Spent much of the day scanning mum's negatives and labelling Singapore photos.  David and I had some of the leftover sausages in the morning, and we didn't die of food poisoning, w00t. I might have made gingerbread cookies.

Gingerbread cookies

Went to the Green Shed in the afternoon and did a bit of shopping in Gungahlin.  Finished off last week's lamb for dinner, watched some BBT, then Carols in the Domain.  We haven't watched commercial television in literally months, and when we turned on the tv guess what, a commercial.  Le sigh.  I reckon there's more adverts and promotions and just *fluff* than actual singing.  Next year I might time it.  The Sydney one is always a bit lame.  No Ode to Joy or Hallelujah chorus, and only one or two hymns.  And I was surprised that they allowed candles during the total fire ban, but apparently they're allowed for "religious ceremonies" so long as there's suitable containment.

Carols by candlelight

Today was pretty much all just housework and getting the place tidied up for Christmas and having peoples over.  I did play through the "Rime" escape game which was pretty good.  Got stuck in a couple of places where I didn't even realise you could click on certain things.  The "ending" was a little odd, and got a bit complicated, probably wouldn't have been able to solve it without walkthroughs.

And there's a big white bird outside our window eating Kit's plums.

Cockatoo eating the plums

Cockatoo eating the plums

Didn't sleep well Sunday night - awake for hours with hurty and coughing.  But went to work as I'd already taken too much time off.  Slogged my way through the backlog of tickets.  Had leftover antipasto for dinner, haven't made a dent in it.  And so. much. smoke!  Got lots done on my own todo list.  Was hoping for an early night but didn't finish the "urgent" stuff til 21:30.

Tuesday continued doing All The Things.  The wind swung around in the evening and blew in all the smoke from Braidwood, so sky went from relatively clear to smothered in the space of a few minutes.  Was pretty scary.  Had more antipasto for dinner.  In the evening I was looking at storage units - I just wanted to see what the things cost these days.  But the couple I looked at sure don't make it easy.  Instead of a simple table saying how much each size is per month, no, you need to fill in all your details before they'll give you any information.  And then they want to call you.  And message you.  Over and over again!!!  Sheeesh.  For what I want it's prohibitively expensive, will just get some tubs and stack things in the garage.  

Thursday was drinks for Noah's birthday.

Birthday boy

Friday the sweetie went to the club for the night, so David and I watched The Hunt for Red October.

Saturday had a great day doing All The Things.  Got heaps done, but also relaxed and generally took my time.  Was a productive yet relaxing day.  I updated a couple of previous entries with photos if anybody could be bothered going back to look.  Watched Kit and Pete's ship leave Sydney on their honeymoon.

Kit and Pete's cruise

Watched Die Hard in the evening.

Today was pretty quiet.  Didn't get a whole done, which is a bit worrying because of how much is on the todo list.  But have been trying not to panic and take things easy this week, as I've been stressing myself out trying to do everything.  We did do some food shopping, lamb roast for dinner, then photos/blogging.

Praying mantis

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

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

Twelve

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So today is my twelfth blogiversary.  

12 years.

Holy crap.

Other than that, happy birthday David Bowie and Elvis.

And here's to another twelve years and then some of blogging ...  while we remember the bushfires in Como of January 1994

yup.

Twenty years on

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We were scanning more photos of Dad tonight and came across this photo of him taken outside our church as it burnt down on January 8, 1994.  I believe this photo appeared in the Leader in 1994.  Well last week the same photo appeared in the Leader again for the twentieth anniversary of the fires.

Church burnt down, January 1994 Bushfires

Went to Sydney again on Sunday.  Went over to the home, and took dad out.  We went up to the local shops and bought him hot chips and a milkshake.  He liked them a lot, and liked the chance to get out of the home.  Still didn't stop him ranting about stuff like the other home residents and politicians.  Sigh.

Dad day out

During the week Mum and I tackled the work shop - clearing the foor and chairs and some of the work bench.  We're starting to see a difference in there.  We also threw out a *lot* of 3 1/2" disks.  Legitimate copies of things like dos, windows, office etc.  But so old *noone* would ever want them.  So they all got turfed.

Software chuck

Disks chuck

The drive up was pretty eerie - sections of the Hume Highway had bushfire damage either side and there was very heavy smoke around.  But got to Sydney ok.  Had no troubles getting home last night, as the major fires are up in the Blue Mountains and the southern ones were nowhere near where I needed to go.  The skies on Sunday and Monday were full of smoke and very eerie. 

Sunrise on Monday morning:
Eerie sunrise

Ten Years

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From Wikipedia:

Saturday, 18 January 2003 dawned as a hot, windy and dry day. Temperatures as high as 40 °C (104 °F) and winds exceeding 60 kilometres (37 miles) were the main weather features of the day. Two fires continued to burn out of control in the Namadgi National Park, with the entire park, along with the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve being closed due to the threat. A second fire in the Brindabella Ranges was threatening to break containment lines.

By 9am on the morning of Saturday 18, burned leaves appeared on lawns in houses in the Weston Creek, Kambah and Tuggeranong suburbs bordering the western extremity of Canberra.

Throughout the day, the fires burned closer to the fringes of Canberra's suburbs, and there was no sign of authorities gaining control of the situation. By mid-afternoon, it had become apparent that the fires posed an immediate threat to the settlements near Canberra such as Uriarra and Stromlo as well as houses on the city's urban bushland interface. A state of emergency was declared at 2.45pm by the ACT's Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope.

The fires reached the urban area at 3pm.

By 3.50pm houses were alight in the suburbs of Duffy and Chapman, with the loss of a home in Holder soon after.

Due to fire damage to infrastructure and extreme winds bringing down powerlines across the area, large parts of the city lost power. Fires also started in Giralang because of powerline problems. Evacuation centres were set up at four schools - Canberra College, Ginninderra College, Erindale College and Narrabundah College. A dark cloud hung over the city, and though it was not in danger, Parliament House was closed.

By 5pm, houses were reported destroyed in Duffy, Chapman, Kambah, Holder and Rivett, as well as houses in the small forestry settlement of Uriarra. It was later found that the first casualty of the fires, an elderly woman named Dorothy McGrath, died at the nearby Stromlo Forestry Settlement. Escape for residents was hampered by poor warning and the location of the settlement in the pine forest. Fires spread through the Kambah Pool area and into the suburb of Kambah causing damage to many homes and one of the ACT's primary Urban and Rural fire stations.

Fire spread through parkland, crossing the Tuggeranong Parkway, Athllon Drive and finally engulfing Mount Taylor. Within an hour, houses were also burning in Torrens on the slopes of Mount Taylor and Weston. The fires by now had inflicted severe damage to the city's infrastructure. Power supplies were cut to several suburbs. These outages affected the Emergency Services Bureau's own headquarters in Curtin and the Canberra Hospital (running on back-up generators) which was under intense pressure from people suffering burns and smoke inhalation. In Curtin, the ESA headquarters was in danger from the fires. Water, gas and landline communications was unavailable to several suburbs due to damage to supply lines and city reservoirs. Mobile telecommunications were severally affected due to increased traffic, causing serious disruption to mobile phone networks and the ESA's own radio and dispatch networks.

By 10pm, one of the four evacuation centres in Canberra was completely full, and others were filling up quickly. Reports of looting also began to arrive from the damaged areas. While the very worst of the fires had passed, the situation was still far from stable, and going into Sunday 19 January, houses were still ablaze across numerous suburbs.

I was still living in Sydney in 2003.  When this blog was a baby, I did comment on it.

For me, I was only affected by the things that were gone, things like Mt Stromlo observatory, and the pine forests (I still miss those!).

For Stu, his sister Annie was down at the coast for the day with husband Stu and baby Noah.  They returned to Canberra in the afternoon to see smoke over the city.  The only news reports they were hearing were to "return to their homes". But given they lived in Duffy they thought better of it and took Noah to Scott's. Stu was able to get back to their house. They lost their garage, but luckily for them a neighbour was at home and stayed to defend their house and saved it. Canberra was never the same for them after that, and they moved out to Yass for several years.

For my Canberra readers (most of you lurkers), I'd love to hear your stories.  Where were you that day?  How did it affect you?

So Emergency Services are predicting a firestorm tomorrow.  Which is particularly ominous considering that it was on January 8 in 1994 that bushfires hit my suburb in Sydney.

So even though we're not living in an area considered to be any sort of risk, there was the whole "reserve across the road going up in flames" over Christmas thing, which has made me all the more paranoid.

So the sweetied smsed me at lunch time to go look at his Flickr stream, so I did and totally freaked out cause Black Mountain was on fire!  This is nothing new, they do burnoffs all the time, but this was right at the top of the mountain. Thought the tower was on fire!

Fortunately it was just a controlled burn..

Black Mountain burning
Black Mountain burning

More sadness

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Bushfires from space

I didn't blog anything particular for this year's blogiversary, which also happened to be the fifteenth anniversary of the January 1994 bushfires that ripped through Como/Jannali.  Those fires were closer to home (literally - about 300m away) and destroyed our church and several of our friend's houses, therefore having a massive impact on me to this day whenever I see bushfire images. 

But only one person died there that day.

The weekend bushfires in Victoria were epic sad.  135 lives lost so far.  And that's sure to rise.

Kinda puts my crap day at work into perspective...

Victoria fires



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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