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In May 2011 I saw a 24000 piece jigsaw in Games Capital called "Life" and knew I had to get it.  It was once the World's Largest Jigsaw, although by the time I saw it it was relegated to second place behind Ravensburger's Double Retrospect 32000 piece jigsaw.

I purchased the jigsaw shortly afterwards for $385 from the Games Capital.

I started it immediately on the dining room table.  The jigsaw was split into four 6000-piece sections.  One section covered most of the dining room table - in fact it hung off the edges just a little bit!

I finished part one at the end of June 2011.

Life jigsaw 

I had a break from it then, before working on the second section through February 2012.

Life jigsaw progress 

I had another break then, before starting the fourth section in February 2013, finishing up in March 2013.  I did it this way because I didn't want to finish up on the blue corner which other people had said was quite tricky.  I moved downstairs for this section which gave me a bit more room to work with, but even then it just went off the edges of the table.

Life jigsaw

I finally started the third (and final) section in February 2014 and finished it in March 2014.

Life section 3 complete

The puzzle is actually twenty-four identical 999 piece squares.  I laid each one of those squares on butchers paper I had leftover from my move to Canberra in 2007.  Then I stacked them - 24 high!

Life thickness

And there they sat for three and a half years.

Whoops.

Anyways with my next purchase I needed to finally assemble the jigsaw and dismantle it.  So on the weekend, I finally did it!!  I took it into work to photograph it from the floor above.

Life 24000 piece jigsaw completed

How fricken cool is that!  The middle bit is reflecting the light a bit but other than that it turned out really well.  It took probably twenty minutes to half an hour to assemble the twenty four sections.  And then another thirty to forty minutes to disassemble back into the 999 piece sections and put them into individual baggies.  If (when) I do this again, it'll be a lot easier, with twenty four small jigsaws to do instead of four (or one!) large one.

Thanks to Daniel for helping with it!  And I was glad that a few people got to see it - Connor, Ward and Chuck all saw it assembled and thought it was suitably cool :)

Weekend before last Kit hatched about ten chickens.  And one duckling.  There were lots more duck eggs, but only one of them survived.

They are seriously the cutest things in the world!

Spring chicken

Spring chicken

Spring chicken

Spring chicken

Spring duck

Noriega's Great Aunt

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OK does anyone remember this song?  Noriega's Great Aunt.  Done by Triple M back in the late eighties or early nineties to the tune of Je Ne Regrette Rien ???

So we were watching Anthony Bourdain in Nicaragua, and that's all I could think of the whole way through.  And I'm like singing the song (well the entire three words I remember of it) and thinking Stu couldn't possibly know of it, and yet he did.  What the??

The internet has failed me, I can't find it...

These were two from the same series Kit lent me a while back.  Even though they were all grey and the pieces were the same shape, you could tell which way up they went from the shape so they weren't too hard.

Stumped jigsaw

Venice jigsaw

This was another one of Kit's - a pretty photomosaic of a butterfly.  Was somewhat challenging, but not as hard as the dolphin one I have.

Photomosaic butterfly jigsaw

And another one of Kit's - scenes from around Africa.  I've been to a couple of them.  Not too difficult due to having a number of smaller pictures.

Africa jigsaw

This is the other "World's Most Difficult" jigsaw that I have (the other one was pigs).  I actually did these puzzles completely differently.  The pigs one I picked up a piece, found where it went and put it in.  Then had to flip whole sections of the puzzle over and ninety degrees.  With this one I found all the pairs of pieces and lined them up with their correct orientation (you could even tell from from back by the clarity of the printing).  This was a lot more work to sort the pieces, but a lot quicker to do the puzzle.

Cats jigsaw

Cats jigsaw

Cats jigsaw

Cats jigsaw

This is the Opera House jigsaw that Mum gave me for my birthday.  These are the sails, ready to be assembled.

Opera House jigsaw

And this is it completed.  It's pretty cool.

Opera House jigsaw

On the Sunday morning that David was up before my birthday, we did these two small jigsaws.

Sugar cane train jigsaw

Robots jigsaw

This was a second hand jigsaw I got for my birthday.  Can you see anything wrong with this picture?

Alesund Norway jigsaw

ok so it's hard to tell, but there's three baggies (one split).  Labelled top left, bottom left, top right.  So I knew going in that the jigsaw wouldn't be complete.  But I did it anyway, because with the sections being split up, it was like doing three 250 piece jigsaws.

Norway jigsaw

Because with all the grey, doing the whole thing would have taken a lot longer..

Norway jigsaw

And finally, a magnetic jigsaw of New Zealand that F got me from New Zealand.  Only 100 pieces so quite easy, but sadly the front of our fridge is not magnetic, so couldn't do it there!

New Zealand jigsaw

Animals

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A wolf spider in our front yard just before we went overseas.

Wolf spider

Bacon!  To go with the alliteration of Buttons and Blobby

Bacon

The bristlenose I got for the angel tank

Bristlenose

Just me and a chicken - at @CLBradley's

Just me and a chicken

Just the sweetie and George

Just the sweetie and George

Just the sweetie and George

Just Kit and a donkey

Just Kit and a donkey

George was excited by this possum in our cherry tree

Possum up a cherry tree

Stu caught this gecko in our ensuite bathroom

Gecko

Plants

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Taken in January, this is cherry I got off one of the root suckers of our cherry tree.

Cherry sucker cherry

These tomatoes sprouted in a pot I'd planted some beetroot seedlings in.  No idea how that happened.  They took over and I transplanted them to a planter box, where they went a bit crazy.  They were doing well, but struggled in the planter box - they'd run out of water during the day and I was watering them twice a day.  The fruit got blossom-end rot from water stress, and then we went overseas, so didn't get to eat many of the tomatoes.  I think Kit's dogs got a few of them heh.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

More recently, the first day of spring in Canberra had shiny flowers everywhere

Spring

Spring

Spring

I love daffodils.  We only got this pair this year.

Daffodils

This is in Kit's yard

Spring

Brokenwood Wine Dinner

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On Thursday night, Neil and I went along to the annual Brokenwood Wine dinner.

This year it was at the Monster Kitchen and Bar in Hotel Hotel in New Acton.

Brokenwood Wine Dinner welcome drinks

Brokenwood Wine Dinner

Brokenwood Wine Dinner menu

This was the entree of Mooloolaba Bug Tails.  Quite a few elements, although not a lot of actual bug tails.  Good textures and flavours, quite nice.

Brokenwood Wine Dinner bug tails

Mains was liquorice cured duck breast and boudin noir.  I don't like liquorice but I was pleasantly surprised to not really taste it.  Boudin noir is essentially a black pudding.  I found the duck went very nicely with the pinot noir, and the blood sausage went better with the shiraz.  The duck was lovely and the crunchiness of the nuts gave this dish a great texture.

Brokenwood Wine Dinner duck

Dessert was a mixed plate of "soft chocolate, mandarin, almond, rosemary".  The soft chocolate was a little bar of chocolate pudding.  The mandarin was actual pieces of mandarin.  There were biscuity bits and other crunchy stuff to give it great texture.  The rosemary seemed to be in the ice cream.  Overall I think this was probably my favourite dish.  It was paired with a sweet "Sticky Wicket" semillon, which a lot of other people didn't finish.

Brokenwood Wine Dinner dessert

So overall a lovely meal, but I think there could have been a bit more food.  I didn't end up full, and I'm not even a big eater.  I can imagine hungry guys would still be hungry afterwards.  And because it was only three courses it meant there were two white wines to go with entree and two reds to go with mains.  I would have preferred more but smaller courses so you only had to worry about one wine per course.

But, the food was nice and we had enough wine to keep us pleasantly happy without getting too silly :)

Grizzly Adams

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The other day I was doing a FunTrivia quiz that reminded me of Grizzly Adams - a late 70s tv show about a guy who went bush and teamed up with a bear cub.  I remember watching it as a little kid although the only thing I remember about it in any detail was the opening credits and him standing on a spectacular rocky ridge (right at the end of the video).

In 2002 there was a partial solar eclipse in Sydney (it was a total eclipse in South Australia, and guy from work made the trek out to see it there).  I only had my Olympus point and shoot digital camera at the time, and no filters.  So I wasn't expecting to get any decent photos of it.  But as it happened there were bushfires around Sydney that day, and smoke from one of them obscured the sun enough to let me see and get photos.  

2002 Solar Eclipse in Sydney

I did consider trekking to the US to see the total eclipse in a couple of weeks.. but it wasn't exactly practical heh.

The theme for Kit's 30th was 80s characters.  Game/tv/movies/whatever.  I couldn't think of what to go as for the longest time, but then while reading an entry on Kevin Apgar's blog I had an epiphany - Classic 80s Space Guy!!  He's been my avatar for years, so I just *had* to do it!!

I did a bit of hunting around the internet for ideas, and in the end decided to mostly copy this one.  The major difference being I didn't start with a balloon.  I really should have to get a nice smooth dome, but I was worried I wouldn't be able to get it big enough without it bursting in my face while inflating.  So I made a cardboard frame instead.  This worked ok, except the weight of the wet paper and glue weighed it down, so I had to sit it on a bowl on top of some containers, but that raised the top of the dome too high, so it's really not quite the right shape.  And it's pretty wonky.  But hey, it had the desired effect, and Kit loved it.

At this point I was really just getting the size and shape right.  I had to make sure it would fit around my head!  I just started with paper, then added cardboard.

Helmet frame

Adding a bit of strength to the frame.  Stapling was very effective and much tougher than gluing or using sticky tape.

Helmet frame

Testing to make sure it would sit right and the face opening was about the right size

Helmet testing

This is the helmet after the first layer of papier mache.  For each layer I was using about 1/3-1/2 a cup of flour, about the same amount of water (possibly a little bit extra water), and maybe half to a full teaspoon of salt to help prevent mould.  You can see the weight of the wet newspaper sagging into the holes.

Paper mache helmet

This is after about five coats done over several days.

Helmet with multiple coats

Once fully dry, I covered it in duct tape (got a nice blue roll from Officeworks for $8.68).  You can see the bubble wrap I put in around the top of the helmet to let it sit in the right position on my head (and it made it quite stable and comfortable as well).

Finished helmet

The finished helmet

Finished helmet

For the tanks I got a couple of softdrink bottles and wrapped some cardboard around them to make them actually cylindrical, with some newspaper shoved in the gap between the cardboard and the bottles at the top.  I added some extra cardboard around the spouts of the bottles to give them the "top" or joiny bit of the tanks.  Then covered the whole lot in duct tape. I wasn't sure how to attach them to the outfit.  In the end I just stuck on some string to go over my head.  But it was very heavy, so added another loop of string to hook onto my belt to hold it in position and not strangle me.  A "backpack" setup might have worked better but I was worried they'd sit too low on my back.

Helmet and tanks

For the logo I found a good quality png online, printed it out and glued it to some cardboard for strength.  I used sticky tape to attach it, but sadly this wasn't really strong enough and at point the thing fell off and got trampled on.  So if I want to wear the costume again I'll have to print out another one.

Space Lego Logo

For my clothes I simply wore my jeans and my royal blue jumper.  I found some gloves in Dollar Pop for $3.50 which worked well, but made it impossible to use my phone!

Here's me in the finished outfit!

Classic 80s Space Guy

Classic 80s Space Guy

Classic 80s Space Guy

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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