Commentary: December 2011 Archives

2011 Year in Review

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So the year began with a small pool party at our house, with beer, pizza, games and good friends.

We didn't travel much this year.  Well, we did a bit, but no big international holidays.  We did a long weekend trip to Queensland in July to visit Chay and David which is always nice.  The only other flying I did was for some training for work in Melbourne.  We went to Dave's coast house in February, April, June and November.  Again, always great weekends away.  

Did several trips to Sydney throughout the year:  
  • In August for my birthday to see a John Williams concert and visit friends and family
  • In September to play tour guide to Dave2 and be a tourist in my home town
  • In December to repeat the tourist trip with Kore

And a few smaller trips - to Yarrangobilly Caves, Parkes for The Dish 50th Anniversary open day, and Jindabyne to see the dam spilling.

At work I actually had a good beginning of the year.  We got some new staff and for a few months I had time to step back from project work and get some operational stuff done.  But then Phil went away for three months and it got super busy again - doh!  Had a bowling night in June where I *didn't* come last!  Team Blank went to three trivia nights: we came third in April, second in August and first in November!  Of course that means we need to plan the next one!  Planning to have that in March next year.  Had a Hollywood-themed ball in October that I was sick for and was pretty miserable the whole night.

Speaking of sickness, it was one of the worst years I've ever had.  Had a cold in February, with an ear infection and conjunctivitis as well.  Got pretty severe gastro from Violet in March.  Another cold in May and another in August.  And then two months of various colds/flus/ear/eye infections from September to November.  Finally healthy at the moment, but it hasn't been a great year :(

Didn't see as much of Nat and Andrew this year.  The default activity for Saturday nights was watching Buffy and Angel with DaveC, so it took energy to do anything different, hence it didn't happen very often.  We did have a couple of Singstar/video/games nights though.

Not a lot has changed on the fish front.  We (I) made a rule some time back that we wouldn't buy any new fish until after Stu's Japan trip next year.  So numbers have been slowly dwindling there.  We had another heat wave that required regular dumpings of ice to keep tank temperatures down.  

Although we had a couple of record lows in winter, the days were generally warmer, and the pool only froze over a couple of times.

The only new Lego this year was a few Harry Potter sets.  Just trying to remember if the Toy Story 3 Lego came out this year or last year.  It certainly didn't all get put away until just the other week!  We went to the Lego Brick Expo in Woden which was pretty awesome.  Also saw Nathan Sawaya's "Art of the Brick" exhibition in Sydney this week.  And an unexpected bonus of lots of Lego displays at the Aquarium yesterday.

Only real toys this year were a new random camera, and a little Eee PC for use when travelling (and in fact I'm using it now!).  I had a play with a macro lens and an L series lens.  Still using my original lens though.  On my phone I played with HDR and Instagram apps, as well as doing my first time lapse videos of Lego building, jigsaw building and clouds.

I had a lot of fun with origami this year - making several "phizz" balls of various sizes.  Also some smaller geometric shapes (technically not origami).  

I did some big jigsaws this year (and a stack of little ones).  I did my 3000-piece one that I've had for years but never made.  And then the first quarter of an amazing 24000 piece jigsaw!  Hoping to do the next quarter early in the new year.

After the big La NiƱa of last summer, got to see Bendora Dam overflowing in January, as well as the aftermath of the floods at Coppins Crossing.  Watched the progress of Cotter Dam and went to an open day in April (didn't go to another open day in November because it looked like they weren't preselling time slots and that didn't work very well at the first open day I went to).

In culinary adventures this year, I tried my hand at quite a few new recipes (and a few old ones).  These were mostly desserts - Anzac Biscuits, Violet Crumble cheesecake slice, Apple pie, Caramel slice, Melting moments, Chocolate dipped fruit, Christmas cookies, Gingerbread.  That was a lot of fun and will continue next year.  Also did quite a few slow-cooked dishes, and rediscovered the simplicity of roast vegetables.  Another new favourite of ours this year was okonomiyaki, thanks to Lisa.  I also tried crocodile for the first time (it was a bit tough) and had my first McFeast (pretty good).  Our favourite restaurants are still Black Pepper, the Dumpling Inn and Bella Vista.  Tried a few new places as well including Courgette for our anniversary, Rice, Alice's and Kingsley's.

Shows seen this year:
  • Weird Al Yankovic
  • Folk Festival
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Jesus Christ Superstar
  • John Williams at the Opera House
  • Za Kabuki
  • Floriade Nightfest

Movies seen this year (at the movies):
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2)

Books read this year:
  • Hook by Geary Gravel (and got a comment by the author!)
  • Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Mallorean series by David Eddings
  • National Velvet by Enid Bagnold

Other Stuff:
  • Got lots of my photos onto the RiotACT
  • Saddened by the Queensland floods
  • Lots of scanning of old photos
  • Got a GPS and had some fun
  • The little brother came to stay a few times with various people in tow (or by himself)
  • Balloon fiesta including going up in one!
  • Skyfire
  • Walk around Government House
  • Saw Peter Russell-Clarke at the mall
  • Enjoyed the third season of Masterchef but decided not to watch the second kids series
  • Walked up Black Mountain again in May and went up the tower this time
  • Watched Amazing Race Australia
  • Did the Mount Majura to Mount Ainslie walk
  • Missed two lunar eclipses (4am the first time, clouds the second time)
  • Met Fiona again (x2), and Lisa and Chris
  • Radio silence in July when our internet went out for two weeks
  • Skiing in July
  • Trivia night for Stu's work
  • Geotagged UK photos, but didn't get them all online
  • Walked up Mount Taylor
  • Stu's sister bought a new house in Canberra which makes visiting somewhat easier
  • Hanami party in September, would have been better a week later
  • Two games nights at Mishi's (only played games on one of the nights)
  • Blog got screwed over (again) by my hosting company
  • Saw the Queen
  • Saw Air Force One come to land at Canberra
  • Got some cool photos of lightning

As usual I don't really make new years resolutions.  I think if anything I'd still like to try and spend less time on the computer - eg two hour chunks in the evenings.

We're having a quiet party in our hotel room tonight.  Just a little champagne and nibblies in our room.  The thought is to watch the 9pm fireworks from the hotel pool, and maybe go out at 11pm to see the main fireworks from Lavender Bay....

Happy New Year!!

Canberra Sculpture

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Taken in October

BFG??
Bum
Bum
Here and now
Corrogated iron spinning top

August Flooding

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In August there was a tonne of rain.

Lake Ginninderra flooded, so much so that the hole they were digging filled up with water, and they had to pump it all out again.

Ginninderra Flooding
Ginninderra Flooding
Scrivener Dam was overflowing too

Scrivener Dam

Pear and Cherry Slugs

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So did a bit of research this afternoon and discovered the little bastards that have shown up again this year demolishing our cherry tree are Pear and Cherry Slugs.  I'd even gone to the trouble this year of keeping the root suckers down, and keeping the branches trimmed short to keep them off the ground, but it seems like it's made no difference :(:(:(  So need to investigate getting the tree fumigated :(:(

Pear and Cherry slug

One hour days

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Decided to try something new this week.  Instead of just having a huge todo list, I thought I'd plan out each day, putting a few of the things from the big todo list into the day, broken down by hours.  This way I'd have more chance of getting the less agreeable tasks done because I'd have a set time to do them in.

Well this worked fine for maybe an hour or two both days.  Because after that all my plans got derailed by the various problems that come up every day.  I can't win really.  Will have to do what I read somewhere once - schedule time for disasters.  

Sterile

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I always thought our weeping cherry tree was sterile, because I'd never seen any cherries on it.

Turns out it does make cherries after all (just itty bitty ones, and very few of them).

Weeping cherries
Shown here at slightly bigger than life size next to a regular cherry and some blueberries.
Weeping cherries

In other news, I got sunburnt clearing out the gutters (including the scary back ones).  Didn't get to properly clean out the downpipe at the back, it was a bit dangerous.  Might have another crack at though with some longer tools. Didn't do the front left half either because I'd been in the sun too long (hence the sunburn :( )

Kylie, Debbie

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Had another work Christmas party on Wednesday.  Came home pretty depressed that it wasn't the weekend :/

So put on Kylie's Showgirl DVD I'd borrowed off Chris a while back.  I have to say I was a little disappointed.  The whole act was quite wooden (on Kylie's part) and over choreographed.  Very little *energy* and she's not even that great a singer.  Until near the end when she did some of her very early songs.  The variation of "Locomotion" was, er, interesting, but it wasn't til she dumped her rent-a-dancers and was just herself being a bit more relaxed doing "I Should be so Lucky" that I actually enjoyed it.

Last night watched "Singin' in the Rain".  I couldn't help but just watch Debbie Reynolds.  She does look a lot like Princess Leia in places :)
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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