Commentary: December 2013 Archives

2013 Year in Review

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So 2013. Busy year!

We saw in 2013 with a small pool party at our place with Nat and Andrew and also Steve for a while.

  
We did a bit of travelling this year.

In January we went up the coast to South West Rocks to a school reunion of sorts for Stu and to visit Stu's dad. We drove up and down the coast, swam, visited Trial Bay Gaol, and caught up with Fiona and Margie on the way home.

We only managed to get to the coast once this year, in May. It was somewhat of a disaster with the spa being too cold on Friday night and too hot on Saturday night and a few other things that made it all a bit unpleasant (except for during the day on Saturday which was pretty good). Almost went again later in the year but had to go to Sydney and otherwise we've just been too busy.

We went to Queensland in July for a lovely long weekend to visit Chay and David.

At the end of July we flew up to Sydney for my Dad's 70th and one of my 40th parties (see below).

In October we decided at the last minute to go to Hong Kong for a week at the end of October. It was a great week, even if a little too humid. It's the most spontaneous holiday I've ever taken. I didn't do too much planning for it, because the more I researched, the more things I found of interest to see. So I stopped researching altogether and we took it as it came.

  
At work I had a mostly good year. I started off the year cleaning and pretty much cleaned all year. I started with the knowledge base articles for our team, then moved onto the log transfer system, then the load balancers. I also rehashed an old domino database for documentation which brought back a lot of memories of my last job. For the rest of the time it mostly felt like I was the "goto" person for any and all problems that came along. We were partly restructured, but the powers that be didn't really have a clear idea of what they wanted, so things didn't change as much as we originally thought they would. I made Stu drag out his tuxedo again for the work ball which was a lot of fun.


Healthwise I felt like I was sick the whole first half of the year - with colds in January, March, April, May and June. So that was pretty horrible. Not flus though, just annoying colds. Got another one the night before we went to Hong Kong too - yay :( But have been ok otherwise.

  
We had a super busy social year this year. In fact it was so busy that we went from May to September without having a free Saturday night. As a consequence our Buffy and Angel watching was almost non-existent. There were plenty of visits to/from Annie and Potty and the families. Various people came over for dinner and/or swims at the beginning of the year. Nat and Andrew came over a few times, as well as Andrew by himself when Nat was travelling. There were various after works drinks with my colleagues and Stu's and family and friends. Various Singstar/Mario Kart nights were had. Several BBQs at @CLBradley's. Several games nights at Mishi's. Had a video night at our place with work people. We visited people for lunches/dinners such as Matt and Helen, Andrew and Jen, Chris and Geoff, Josh and Ally, Windy and Nanette etc. We saw Daniel and Fi a few times when they came down. Several people came to stay including David and Yvonne, Ken and Jeanine, Fiona a couple of times and Stu's old school friend Tom. I met up with @StuartCRyan a few times in Sydney (we met in real life for the first time at my birthday). I also went to visit David in Junee.

Speaking of birthdays, I turned forty this year. To celebrate I had *three* great parties - one in Sydney, a big one at home the Saturday before my birthday, then a big lunch at work on my birthday followed by a nice dinner and seeing Phantom of the Opera. I was certainly in a different place mentally for my fortieth. During the whole run-up to my thirtieth I was very depressed, and my actual birthday was pretty meh. Such a different story this year though.

  
In sadder news, my Nana died of old age earlier in the year. And then I found out at the funeral that I have another cousin that I'd never heard about before!

Also in sad news, my father got diagnosed with a brain tumour in March. He had surgery immediately (and they had to cancel a holiday to New Zealand), followed by chemo and radiotherapy. Unfortunately it didn't really help, and he was hospitalised in July because he kept falling over and wasn't able to walk properly. He's been getting progressively worse and has been in a nursing home since September. In August I started going up to Sydney fairly regularly to see Dad and help Mum with the mammoth task of clearing out the garage and workshop. We've mostly been sorting things so far as I don't want to get rid of things until Dad goes. Fortunately I've been able to work out of the Sydney office so not having to take leave at the moment.

  
We've been enjoying a lot of visits to our little social club. We camped there over the Australia day long weekend, and the new tent survived a storm and massive downpour fairly well. But then a caravan came up for sale, so we bought it! We went to most of the club nights during the year, and plenty of other times as well. It's Stu's little get-away-from-the-world place and he thoroughly enjoys it.

With work people or the sweetie, tried out a few new restaurants. Continued going to Black Pepper for brunches and also Pulp Kitchen a few times. Went to Dumpling Inn a few times and Bella Vista as well. Didn't try too many desserts this year, although did make a Mars Bar slice and a peppermint rocky road, as well as an apple crumble and caramel slice that we tried at the club.

  
We bought another four baby angels for the angel tank. One died but the other three survived, so now have four angels and about seven danios in that tank. We got a lovely little betta for the macquarium, but he never thrived and died in six weeks. So thinking I'll probably give the macquarium away. The four foot still has a school of duboisis, two multies, a lelupi and a J.transcriptus. There's three multis downstairs, but after breeding once, the single baby I saw disappeared and haven't seen any since. There's still three or four quite old kribs downstairs as well.

Not much Lego action this year. I did get a cute little plane from Fiona, and a small City set from Ric for my birthday. I went with Nat and Andrew to Brick Expo, but was very frustrated with the crowds. I dismantled the Millennium Falcon which had been out for four years! Also over the Christmas break got to sort out and build all of Jake's lego which has been fun.

I did a lot of jigsaws this year. Mostly downstairs until downstairs got too cold. Mostly little ones, but also another section of the huge "Life" puzzle. Gave up on the skies of two jigsaws because their quality was just too poor.

I celebrated my tenth blogiversary this year. To mark the occasion I upgraded to Movable Type 5. But got very frustrated with the fact that I now cannot SSH to my host. Also with Movable Type which is *very* buggy. Next year my domain is up for renewal and I'm thinking about moving my domain to a new host with a new blogging platform. But the whole idea is pretty scary, so we'll see about that...


Shows

  • The only show I saw this year was The Phantom of the Opera on my birthday.

Movies
Not many movies this year either...

  • The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey
  • Star Trek - Into Darkness
  • Garden of Words and Ghost in the Shell: Arise

Books

  • Time Enough for Love by Robert Heinlein
  • Polgara the Sorceress by David and Leigh Eddings
  • Careful, he might hear you, by Sumner Locke Elliott
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Déjà Dead by Kathy Reichs
  • A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
  • I Hate You - Don't Leave Me by Jerold Kreisman and Hal Straus
  • The Naked Husband by Mark D'Arbanville
  • Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs
  • Airport by Arthur Hailey
  • Body of Evidence by Patricia Cornwall


Other stuff

  • Had a full day at the War Memorial with Ken and Jeanine
  • Had a jigsaw race with Nat
  • Found my first geocache with Nat and Andrew
  • Saw a Roller Derby bout
  • Mum got her first mobile phone
  • Had a random day off work to tidy up all the fish tank stuff in the garage
  • Went for some walks around Palmerville with the sweetie
  • Spotted the ISS a few times and waved to @Cmdr_Hadfield. Wasn't quite the same when he came back to earth.
  • Went to the balloon fiesta on Canberra Day
  • Watched the last couple of episodes and finale of House, which considering the timing with dad was pretty sad
  • Took Stu's car for a drive up Mount Ainslie and got covered in lady bugs
  • Our PS3 stopped playing DVD disks. Bluray is still ok though.  We considered getting a PS4 but the device isn't backwards compatible with old games.
  • Went out to Captain's Flat on our fifth wedding anniversary
  • Finished a cross stitch I got for Christmas in 1992
  • Went up Black Mountain Tower
  • Voted in ABC Classic FM's top 100 music in the movies, and most of my votes were in the top two hundred
  • Did a blog for our trip to America in 1983
  • Gave up reading Boing Boing, Life Hacker and Neatorama, Dooce and Dilbert
  • Got extremely pissed off when Google Reader shut down. Destroyed my faith in Google.
  • Looked at Comma Feed, Feedly and The Old Reader. Stuck with The Old Reader.  The Old Reader subsequently crashed from all the extra load of departing Google users, but was able to get funding to run on better hosting and has been fine ever since.
  • Got more of my photos onto the RiotACT
  • Cancelled Aussie Farmers Direct orders
  • Had a look around Wintercon at EPIC
  • Stu had a few car dramas that Melba Motors didn't fix
  • I had a LOT of car dramas that Melba Motors didn't fix
  • Saw the Skywhale
  • Played through Diablo with the sweetie.  On easy mode.  Sue me.
  • Did proper karaoke for the first time ever (and I've been to Japan four times!)
  • Went to a Christmas Carols service at Como

So that's the end of 2013.  New Year's Eve will be spent out at the club with food and booze and friends and fairy lights and fireworks :)

Eating Out

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I've got a whole stack of photos of new food and fooderies around the place, but somehow never got them online.

This was just after Chong Co Express opened in the mall.  I've been wanting a place that does nice lunchtime chicken red curries since I left Sydney.  This wasn't quite it.  It was a tad too spicy for me, and a little pricey too (around $10 from memory).  Haven't been back.

Chong Co Express Red Curry

This was Adana at the back of the mall.  The chicken dish (top I think) was really good, the meatballs ok, and cutlets pretty good also.

Adana

Adana

Adana

Beef nachos from Cafe on Benjamin.  The beef was ok (I got chicken the next time I went) - strips of beef rather than ground beef.  But the chips were awesome - super crispy and yummy

Cafe on Benjamin Beef Tacos

In Sydney I'm on a quest to find good takoyaki.  These were ok - from Kura in Chinatown.  They were burn-your-mouth hot (as they should be) but didn't have much octopus in them.

Kura Takoyaki

These were from Lord of the Fries on George Street.  I went there because they did a "Canadian" style topping - supposedly a poutine, but I suspect probably just a cheese sauce.  But they didn't have any of that so I got their Italian sauce.  But they were pretty average so don't know that I'll bother going back.

Lord of the Fries

This was crispy duck from Asian Noodle House shortly after it opened.  Not too bad, altho not so crispy under all that salad.

Asian Noodle House Crispy Duck

And a dosai from Spice India in the mall.  Weird because they didn't put the filling in the dosai.  And it was ok, but not super awesome, not like Ruchi's.

Spice India dosai

Natrad Belconnen

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So after my car-overheating-debacle the other week, I thought I'd better get it checked out before going up to Sydney again.

So I took it to Natrad in Belconnen.

The good news: they couldn't find anything wrong.  The bad news: they couldn't find anything wrong.

So that's a bit of a poo and it means I don't actually know what's going to happen next time I go to Sydney.  All I can do is take a few bottles of water and hope for the best.

But the lovely thing is that Natrad didn't charge me anything, even though they tested the car and looked all through it for any problems.  That alone is enough to make me want to go back to them for any sort of radiator/cooling problems in the future!

Summer TV

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Sometimes I love summer TV.  A few shows that have started up in the last two weeks are "Mighty Planes", "When Weather Changed History", and "Aftermath".

The first episode Mighty Planes featured Donald Trump's very shiny 757.  Tonight's had the Blue Angels.  Next week has the A380.  Planes!  Love it :)

When Weather Changed History looked at the Challenger disaster last week and the Delta 191 crash this week.  Both are stories I've seen before, but this showed new things and in the case of the Delta 191 a different perspective than in Air Crash Investigations, with actual cockpit recordings and a lot more real footage.

Aftermath I only started watching because it was on straight after Air Crash Investigations.  Last week they looked at what might happen if the world suddenly doubled in population overnight.  This week it was what would happen if the world suddenly ran out of crude oil.  It's a little too US-centric, with not a lot of what might happen in the rest of the world.  And in some senses I think things would go worse than they thought - I reckon society would collapse a lot quicker and it would be a lot more chaotic. 

Of course all of this means I'm getting quite a bit of jigsaw time in :)   (but sadly not enough Hong Kong photo sorting)

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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