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Sunday, 30 December 2007


A perfect regular season for the New England Patriots. Three more games will see them raise the SuperBowl trophy in an undefeated season, a feat only performed once previously by the 1972 Dolphins. In that case there were only 14 regular season games, so if the Pats can do it they will have the best pre- and post-season record ever.

I'll blog more later about the last month or so, I've been too busy or apathetic to get around to it before now. Tomorrow we head off for a week of camping in Brisbane.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

What did YOU do today at lunch?

Apart from some shopping for a certain event tomorrow, I wandered into Supermoto as Ang had heard something on the radio about a ride day. I figured I'd head on in and find out when it was going to be on.

The answer was today.

Bugger I thought. Almost in vain I asked if there was any chance of a ride about then. Luckily for me there was another ride scheduled at 1pm (this was at 12:45) and even luckier there was a bike available that I was really keen to give a go.

The Honda CBR 600RR.


Even better was the 30min or so ride we all went on, 95% of which was on 100km/h roads. Extra sweet.

Quite a stunning bike. Sluggish below 5000rpm it really kicks off and starts to party from 6-7000. I didn't rev it too high, but I am reliably informed that from 9000 to redline we're talking some serious performance. The thing accelerates beautifully and pretty well behaved, and stops brilliantly.

It was a real shock getting back on my soggy, underpowered XT250 after that, I can tell you.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Our education system is failing us

There is a large car park near where I work. On the right as you drive in there are rows and rows of car bays, tastefully separated by spindly plant things and blocks of concrete. On the left is another smaller set of bays, that you drive up to the far end and then turn left to enter. About half-way along this left-hand parking area is an exit only road, one car wide, that is clearly marked with signs on both sides that say "NO ENTRY" on the entrance side of the car park.

The sheer number of people I have seen driving into this exit road is astounding. The latest were two people in the space of a minute this morning. This is at a university. Obviously basic literacy is no longer a requirement for either getting a driver's licence or being admitted to a higher learning institution.

The mind boggles.

Friday, 30 November 2007


That is my final, official word count for NanoWriMo 2007. Not even half way, though I did have 12-14 days this month where I didn't write anything at all. Taking that into account, it's not too bad for my first go.

I have not tried to write anything this big before in one go, certainly not in this time frame. Back in college a mate and I co-authored a fantasy story and then wrote our own individual back stories for our characters, but that's as close as I've gone until now. I'll persevere with this one a bit longer, I think, I've got a few ideas still rolling around in my mind for it. I might take a break and polish up a short story for submission to an online SF zine.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007


A certain educational institution now requires that all enrolments are to be done electronically. The process has around 7 steps, each needing to be completed before moving to the next. The first is a declaration that you need to read and press "I agree" to continue. So I read, and press the "I agree" button (I've been told I'm a fairly agreeable person, so I figured I should continue the trend).

The screen redraws and I'm staring at the same screen again. Hmm, ok, maybe it failed the first time. I press "I agree" again. Same effect. Bugger, maybe it's an IE specific site (I run firefox, much much nicer).

I'm about to try IE when I see a rather small pair of links at the bottom of the page. One is labelled "previous", the other "next", both having text hyperlinks next to them. So I press the one next to "next" and find myself on the next step in the process.

Yes, the stupid system on each page has both buttons you must press to agree, or finalise, or "checkout" your enrollment, but none of them take you to the next step. You've got to press the "next" link to get there.

Each time the page refreshes when you press the agree/finalise/checkout button so it looks like the system has failed for some reason. It's highly counter-intuitive and bound to cause all manner or problems for people less technically literate than myself.

Add to that the fact that once you complete your enrolment it DOESN'T email you any confirmation information at all. You can print a screen and then have to hope that it's all worked. Stupid.

People must have really tried very hard to design a system as user unfriendly as this one.


Not a bad number, but insufficiently massive for success. I've now got three days to churn out 32,000 words and that's just not going to happen. It will be interesting to see what I can get it up to.

For the last few days I've been doing around 1500 or so per night, which isn't too bad. However, looking back over my progress shows 12 days where I wrote nothing at all, which at my current rate means another 18k words I've missed out on. Ah well, there is always next year.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Not looking good

My writing requirement is up to 7000 words per day, and I've no weekends left. Maybe take a couple of days off? "sorry boss, can't come in today, the computer needs me too much."

I'm not too sure that would work so well.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Mud, mud, glorious mud

A mate of mine and I headed out to the pine forest today to ride through some of the trails. It had poured rain Friday night and rained on and off Saturday, so we figured there'd be plenty of fun to be had. So we headed out just after lunch.

Now, at this point I will make it clear that I had not ridden off-road before.

We get out there, through the gate and up a bit of a track. We stop, have a bit of a look around and decide to head off again. Now, we stopped right near a fairly large patch of mud and water. He headed off through it and up the track. I figure righteo, looks easy enough. I drop into gear, take off carefully and head through the mud.

About 2 metres later the bike slides out and I'm off the left hand side and the bike is horizontal. Yup, dropped it and myself straight into the mud.

How embarrassment.

So I get up, scrape the mud off my gloves and the left handlebars and get going again. Later I notice that I bent the left hand rear indicator pretty badly, but it still works.

We spend about another hour and a half out there and I stay upright the whole time. I'm suddenly paranoid about mud now though :-)

Friday, 23 November 2007


The word for today was "easy", which was word # 13,000. Still a very long way to go, but with all the rain we've had tonight the odds of us playing any cricket tomorrow are long indeed. So I might get some afternoon writing done.

I need to pick up a new box for cricket tomorrow if we do play. I discovered that my current one got cracked on the weekend by a direct hit while I was batting. Good thing I was wearing it...

Voting day tomorrow. Time to exercise some civic duty.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007


That was my 10,000th word in NanoWriMo! w00t for me. Only around 25k to go to catch up, or around 4200 words per day from here on in. A few more tonight to go.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007


A good night, almost 1500 words. With a bit of luck the magical 10k barrier will fall tomorrow. I need to accelerate to around 4k per day if I want to make it, but it may not be impossible.

Now, if I could just spend the rest of the week at work writing, I'd be set. Somehow I don't think the boss would be too keen on that, for some reason.

Monday, 19 November 2007


Sigh, broke the 7k barrier then stopped. 11 days and 43k words to go.

No prize for me

Unsurprisingly, I did not win the National Short Story competition. If you follow the link you can read the winning story.

At least I can now polish mine a little more then send it off to Antipodean or someone like that to see what they think.

Sigh, I didn't write a single word over the weekend. I think that puts me somewhere around 24,000 words behind. Could be a couple of long nights ahead...

Friday, 16 November 2007


A good day, word-count wise. I'm still way, way behind, but if I can keep up some productivity like this I might get somewhat close. I've still no plot ideas really, but if you believe Stephen King then plot is bad, mmm-kay? Just let the characters loose and see what they do.

So far they are playing with meccano. In a bakery.

Thursday, 15 November 2007


It's not quite the 7000 words I was aiming for, but I got distracted playing Far Cry. Whoopsie. Still, after a slow start to the writing once I did get into it, things eventually began to flow again. I stopped just shy of midnight but I've got a fair idea how the rest of the chapter will pan out, so we'll see if I get any more done tonight.

The unit discussion board isn't open yet, surprise, surprise.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Done. Blargh.

Well, that was nasty. It's always a bad thing when you see your exam paper and it's a single sheet, the front of which is just the instructions, exam title, cheating warning etc. You know the writing will be sparse on the other side, and you've been expecting "problem" style questions. So I turn it over and see the dreaded word "Discuss" finishing most of the questions. Crud.

Double crud because we were told that we would have to answer two questions out of three, one being compulsory and having a choice of the other two, and finding that the compulsory question is worth 2/3 of the total mark. Gee, thanks for not telling us that one!

I'll pass the course, but how well is another question. Of course, the discussion board was turned off for the exam day (Tuesday) and strangely enough hasn't been turned back on yet...

Now I can set new targets. Tonight's target: reach 7000 NanoWriMo words.

Monday, 12 November 2007


Tomorrow morning, blargh. Normal service, and hopefully copious writing, will commence after that. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

3406 words

And five chapters done, more or less, in terms of study for my law exam. The cranky old sod is now in the city, and I think I've got a handle on the rule in Browne v Dunn. Not a bad night's work, really.

Monday, 5 November 2007

2748 words

The weekend was a total loss, I think I wrote maybe 20 words if I was lucky. 50k is looking a long, long way away.

The leg is mostly better, though will take a bit of strengthening now. I think I'll miss the next cricket game, just to make sure.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

1851 words

A bit over a thousand words tonight, not too bad. Of course, that leaves me a bit behind the 1667 words per day target, but the weekend is here so there is always the chance for a bit of work during the daylight hours. We'll see!

As an update, our protagonist has just got to the city gates and has been stopped by the guards. Will he get in? Stay tuned.

Friday, 2 November 2007

817 words

That what I managed to get down last night in about 40 mins, after our Operation Flashpoint gaming night. Imagine what I could do in an hour or two!

Tuesday, 30 October 2007


Thursday is the 1st of November, so the annual National Novel Writing Month will commence. This began in 1999 with 21 participants, and last year had grown to over 70,000 entries. This year I signed up.

The idea is simple, but very difficult to achieve - write a 50,000 word novel in one month. Thiry days. 1667 words per day. The idea is not to write a Pulizter or Nobel Prize winning entry, but to get the words on paper. They can be as dreadful as you can imagine, but if you reach the word limit by midnight on November 30, then you are a winner.

I have no idea if I'll make it, mostly as I have a first line and final line in mind but seem to be missing the other 49,990 words in the middle. That, plus three kids, a full-time job and an exam on the 13th, could well conspire to cause me to fall well short.

I'll keep you all posted.

Monday, 29 October 2007


Today is a good day. It's the first day in the last two weeks that I've been able to ride the bike without feeling like my knee was on fire. It's a good thing (in a way) that I don't have a sports bike as there would have been no way that I'd been able to bend my knee far enough to get my foot onto the pegs of a bike like that.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Sunday Domesticity

The weather was nice and my knee was feeling reasonably good, so it was time for a burst of residential domesticity - and to get the lawnmower out. I'd been meaning to do the lawns two weeks ago, but that was when I busted my leg/knee, so it has been out of the question until now.

The whippersnipper fired up pretty quickly, so got the front yard tidied up around the edges pretty quickly. The mower, however, was a different proposition. It's fiddly to start at the best of times, but as it hadn't been started in around 4-6 months I knew that it would be a battle. I think it ended up only taking about 10 minutes of pulling on the starter cord, but that was still a pain. Good for the lat muscles though!

So I rip around the front yard, filling the green waste bin completely before it was done. While that was going the family and some of the kids' friends from over the back fence tidied up the back yard so I wouldn't be running over toys, pegs, rocks, etc. We moved the trampoline so I could mow under that first. Now this is a 12 foot round trampoline with a 8 foot mesh wall around it, so it wasn't quite as easy as that all sounds. But we got that done, then gave the back yard a dose of weed 'n' feed.

Of course, later that day it stormed. Nice watering job, but the weed 'n' feed is supposed to be left for a few days before watering/rain, so we might have to do that again.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Iliotibial Band

This runs down the outside of your thigh, from hip to knee. And it's the muscle I've torn. The physio was very impressed, as he's not seen or heard of a similar injury before. Perhaps he should write a paper and that way we can both get famous. Maybe even rich and famous. One can hope.

At least the ultrasound showed that there was no other ligament damage. So I've got a few more exercises to do, including swimming, in order to strengthen it up again. I'm looking at a few more weeks on the sidelines of cricket, at least until the knee swelling goes away along with the very extensive bruising.

According to this paper tears of the iliotibial band are rare, usually occurring with multiple knee ligament injuries. So I was rather lucky.

Thursday, 18 October 2007


Well, the leg bends a bit more than it did Sunday, and some of the knee swelling has abated. To balance this it is now a lovely purple/blue/black colour from my ankle to mid-thigh. I've got some photos, I'll upload them to flickr at some point.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Sigh, supervisors.

Supervisor. "Here, check to see if they are using program xyz!"
I check. Can't find evidence of a transfer of xyz, nor are we using xyz.
Supervisor "hey, are they using program abc?"
Me: "Hmm, but you said xyz."
Supervisor "check abc, that's what I meant!"
Me: "Sigh, ok".

Programs xyz and abc are totally different, of course...

At least abc turned out to be the correct program to check, but still.

Leg updates

Saw the physio last night. The good news is that I haven't done any major knee damage. I have, however, strained an upper hamstring and outer knee ligament. My leg is rather black/purple/green from just above mid-thigh to lower calf. So I'm out of sport for about three weeks.

If you are all really lucky I'll take a photo or two later and upload them somewhere.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Cricket is a dangerous sport

Saturday saw the first day of the new cricket season here. I get there a bit early as the plan was to do a bit of fielding practice before the game as we'd done none at all in the last month or so of training. A few catches, bit of ground fielding, then we lose the toss and Hillgrove choose to bat.

Things are going pretty well until just before the final drinks break. I run to my left from mid off (left hander batting) to try to catch a ball lobbed just back past the bowler. I jump up and the ball hits my fingertips and goes back over my head. I turn to try to catch the rebound, miss, and land on the ground.

I gather the ball and prone I throw it back to the bowler. It's at this point that my right knee starts sending little signals back up my leg to the brain saying "Hmm, I don't think you did that right, boyo". I flex it a bit and get up and notice that it has already swelled appreciably. Oh-oh.

I stay on for another over but can barely bend my leg. I hobble off and check it out. The knee has swollen to twice the normal size and the outer quad muscle from the knee to half way up my thigh is in much the same condition. Oh-oh x2.

I get home somehow at stumps (good thing I can kick-start my bike left-footed) and spend the next hour at home with bags of frozen veges on the knee.

Sigh, time to call the physio first thing Monday morning. Bugger. Hopefully it's just a really nasty soft tissue injury and not some ligament damage.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


The assignment is in, and well before midnight. I'm not terribly sure how good it is, but since it has zero reference to any of our readings so far I'm confident that we are all in the same boat.

Now to get back to serious panicking regarding November 13...

Monday, 8 October 2007

The Great Race

No, not the Tony Curtis movie, but the Bathurst 1000, held yesterday. There's always plenty of drama, and this time it started on the warmup lap when one car blew an engine near the top of the mountain. Then, with 20mins to go it started raining, which meant everyone was confused as whether or not to stay on slicks or come in for wet tires. In the end most stayed out on slicks which made for some interesting 150+km/h power slides near concrete walls.

In the end Lowndes/Wincup won in a Ford. In fact the first three cars home were all Fords, so there was much cheering!

Now, normally I wouldn't get to watch much of the race, as 8 hours of cars going around and around would drive the rest of the family batty. However, they were all up in Inverell for the weekend, so I had the house to myself! So I got to sit and enjoy it all!

Or I would have, if I hadn't been reading a 378 transcript of a 12 hour police interview with Mohamed Haneef in preparation for an assignment that is due Tuesday. Oh well, at least I got to slouch around in a robe all day while reading, taking notes and quietly cheering for Ford.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

The price of peace is eternal vigilence

A group of us got together to play Operation Flashpoint online on Thursday. Most of us hadn't played it very much, though we had all played a variety of FPS from Doom onwards. OF is much harder though, as one hit is enough to take you down, and the enemy is rather good at hiding and sniping. There were five of us and we had many goes at a hostage rescue mission, but failed each time. It was fun though, especially as we were also running Roger Wilco and could give running commentary. It was usually along the lines of:

"Shh, just up ahead, five bogies"
Bang! "oops, sorry, hit the wrong key...darn I'm dead"
"Me too"
"Didn't see that one"
"I 'm still here! Oh no it's a tank! Yargh!"

Still, well worth it, we are already planning and plotting for the next effort. Hopefully we will both last longer and have the server settings modified so we don't respawn as seagulls.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Hit me baby, one more time

Say you run a university's IT department, and said department has a blog. The purpose (in theory) is to keep people updated as to news and events in the uni's IT world. You find you are getting 300 hits a week. Do you:

a) feel a bit sheepish at the lack of attention
b) think "this is a good start" and work out ways to improve the hit rate
c) publish the fact in your IT newsletter, bragging that the blog "is becoming an important source of information for staff and students"?

Please write your answers on the back of an envelope and send to this address. All cash donations gratefully accepted. The deadline for submissions is midnight, October 1.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Weekend, where did you go?

I made a rather fatal error on Friday night. No, it wasn't the burbon and vodka double shots, nor the whipped cream and tequila sundaes. Instead I made the mistake of writing a list of jobs to get done over the weekend. Nothing too dramatic, mostly the usual clean this, tidy that kind of thing. The biggie was the garage - I wanted to clean the damn thing out as it had become almost impossible to maneuver through it without becoming entangled in boxes, bags, bikes and general bric-a-brac. There was also a great plan to use the old kitchen flooring in the garage to begin its transformation into a rumpus room.

On to Saturday. First up was a trip into town to grab a birthday present for the party the kids were going to at 1pm. Lo and behold K-Mart is having 15-25% off kids clothes and toys, so we end up spending more time (fortunately no extra money) on the lookout for bargains for a certain three munchkins. That, along with catching up with a couple of friends we run into in town, fills in the time until around 11 or so.

Back home, grab a bite to eat, hang out some washing that had been in the machine (yay, at least one task underway), it's suddenly just about 1pm and time to head to Kid's World. For those not in the know this is at the Indoor Sports Centre and consists of a large playgym of slides, climbs, flying fox and ball pit, all safely sealed so the kids can't fall out. They have a brilliant time, eating junk food as well, then suddenly it's after 3:30pm and time to go!

Back home we spend the next hour getting the washing in and making sushi for chapel. Hmm, not a lot of jobs knocked off the list, but maybe I'll get some done after chapel.

No joy - chapel runs nearly an hour overtime as the team that went on mission to Uganda give a report on what they were up to. The kids were magnificently patient as there were no kids club for them to head off to during the service. So we get home at 8pm, fairly knackered, get the kids to bed and have a veg out ourselves. Maybe Sunday will be better?

Wishfull thinking. I wake up feeling fuzzy-headed, as if coming down with a cold. Lovely. We head off to a last-minute birthday morning tea at 10:30am, meaning all I get done in the morning is some more washing. So we head around, fill up on party food and some very nice coffee (thanks Nathan!) then head home at 12:30. Only to turn around and head back out again for Marcus' soccer presentation at 1pm! That doesn't go for too long (fortunately) so we're back by 2pm. Time for more coffee and a snack or two before I finally decided to get into the garage. Note that it is now 2:30pm on Sunday.

So I wander out and starting cleaning the shed. Ang comes out and says she's going into town to pick up some of the things we saw yesterday, but Marcus and Heather want to come as well. So I stay with Phoebe and get into clearing the shed.

That takes a while, but eventually I've got bare, swept floor. I grab some of the old flooring and start to lay it. I get around four rows done when Ang comes home, and we decide to stagger the strip alignment. This means pulling most of the floor back up again and putting a few short lengths in every second strip. This wouldn't normally be a problem, but a fair number of the boards were warped, so we have great difficulty getting those first four rows back down again.

At this point I'll note that the boards have been sitting outside for the last 6-12 months, after having been replaced due to a burst water pipe that flooded the kitchen and warped the floor. So you can imagine that a number of the boards were in rather interesting shapes.

Eventually we get the floor done, with the second half going down much better than the first. Then it's time to get everything back inside, mostly because it's now dark! 7pm and the shed is done.

Time to stagger off, eat some pies, drink some wine and get into a hot, relaxing shower.

So weekend, where did you go? I'm sure I missed it somewhere.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Email tally

After yesterday's flurry of queries and solutions from ABRI I only had one today, and that was a nice easy one. It will be interesting to see how tomorrow develops.


Watch out for bathroom wall cabinets in small en-suites. They can be bloody deadly if you straighten up the wrong way.

Technorati time:

Tuesday, 18 September 2007


I have managed to deal with at least 5 different software issues today, along with getting a new temporary staff member up and running on our systems, dealing with a laptop that had been running for two weeks and was complaining about being out of memory and disk space (solution - turn it off more often), build a couple of excel spreadsheets from analysis data twice, as well as fit in a pretty decent lunch time workout. Crikey, and it's only 4:45pm!

I've changed workout programs to a lower weight, higher rep regime, which is proving after two days to be good and painful! It's about time I gave the endurance muscles a fair going over, rather than the high weight, low rep stuff from the last two weeks. We'll see how this fares for a while.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

We're back!

Yup, we lobbed back in town around 9:30pm tonight. Had a great trip, saw a truly amazing production of War of the Worlds, stayed in a magnificent turn of the century boarding house and generally whooped it up. All without children for the Brisbane part of the trip. Very nice indeed.

Sigh, back to work tomorrow. I guess the bills have to be paid somehow.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Road trip!

We're off north tomorrow. On Thursday night we'll be in Brisbane to see the stage performance of War of the Worlds, then spending the night there and back to Toowoomba Friday. Should be excellent. It will be the first night we will have spent away from all three munchkins, who are staying in Toowoomba with their grandparents. Heh, naughty weekend away...except Ang's sister will also be with us.

The bike is getting some new tyres as well, so it'll stay at SuperMoto over the weekend.

I might get to blog a bit while we are away, but I'm not sure. Then again, I'm not entirely frequently updating it even when I am here, but at least I'll have an excuse this time.

Monday, 10 September 2007

8 lives left

I very nearly skittled a cat on the way to work today. Fortunately it came from the right side of the road, moving fast and low, so I had enough time to see it coming and jump on the brakes. It dashed past just in front of my front wheel, so if I hadn't slowed we'd both have been in trouble. It wasn't a huge cat, but would probably have been sufficient to dump me down the road.

So it made it across the road in once piece, and I got to work in the same state. I've now had a close call with three different species in the last 12 months - a possum, a koala (though I had enough time to slow to a stop as it ambled across the road) and now a cat. I wonder what's next?

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Curse of the sunny day

At last we've got a really nice sunny day here, so it's time to empty the washing basket, strip the beds, etc, etc. So I load up the machine, set it going, strip the beds, potter around in general. So I go to empty the machine at the end of the cycle only to discover that the clothes are still really wet. A little odd, considering this is an 1100 rpm front loading machine, but it has happened once before, so I check the filters, put the washing back in and turn it to a spin cycle.

Nothing. A few very bad sounds from the back of the machine, but no action. Oh crap.

Of course, this is also the weekend that my parents come up for a visit as well.

Saturday, 8 September 2007


Remind me never to fall backwards onto a running treadmill. A friend of mine did that and described it like landing on a belt sander. You can imagine what that did to the flesh on her lower back.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Tie update

I checked my available ties this morning and discovered a few inconsistencies with that which I reported last night. It turns out I own six ties, five of which are themed; one Christmas, one South Park, and three Looney Tunes, being Daffy, Elmer and Pepe le Pew. The black tie I said was Daffy was actually Pepe.

In the end I played it safe and went for the plain red tie, though the SP one was suggested as a viable alternative.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

South Park or Daffy Duck?

Tomorrow is the AGBU review. It's not a stage production but a review of our operational spheres, management, etc. As it would, in part, determine the future of AGBU, it's probably a reasonably important little get-together. It actually runs for two days as the various research groups meet with the two in charge of the review and go over the various details of their projects.

I'm a relatively junior member, I guess, despite having been here for 10 years now, so I'm not expecting a personal 3rd degree interrogation, but I figure that I should at least appear somewhat professional. As a result I will be wearing a suit to work for pretty much the first time. This involves the ubiquitous tie, of which I have a number of "patterned" ones, hence the title of the blog. One has the South Park figures printed on it, fairly tastefully, the other is a black tie with a large daffy duck near the bottom. So which to choose?

Of course, you can all submit your ideas, but as it is now nearly 11pm and I am unlikely to check the blog in the morning until I'm at work, you'd all better be pretty quick with your responses tonight.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Dad's Day

Sunday was Father's Day. I managed an unprecedented 10am lie-in, then a rather nice brekky outside. I managed to have a generally mellow day, devoid of the usual frantic running around getting house jobs done that had no chance of being done during the week. Rather nice. As a pressie we are off to Brisbane next week to see The War of the Worlds musical production. Sweeet....

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Done and dusted

Our last soccer games were today. We lost 2-0 in reserves, but thrashed Souths 5-0 in first grade. They were somewhat understrength, but the boys still put in a strong effort to finish the season. So that's that for another 6 months or so. Now I have to decide if I want to play cricket this season or not. I'm a bit ambivalent about the whole thing at the moment, so I'll see how things are going after a few Saturdays off. I'll probably end up deciding I like the free time too much; we'll see.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Grind crunch thump

I am fairly certain that a 250GB hard drive spinning at 7500rpm is not supposed to make noises similar to those in the title of this post. But that is what greeted me yesterday. As I said, we were able to mount to drive and get enough data off it to cover the period between the last full dump and yesterday.

So today we get a new drive, whack it in and start the reinstall. We're going with Ubuntu 7.04 this time. To me, and a few others here, it is so much nicer than RedHat. We had a few quirks with partitioning, but nothing major. So installation takes place, the disc is removed and we reboot.


It doesn't quite get up to the grub loader, just sits there after displaying the system devices. We scratch out heads. I open the case, put the SATA connectors to slots 3 and 4, change the boot priority in BIOS to force it to boot off the drives first, save and reboot.

Glee, here we go.

Ok, install extra software, add groups and users, begin restore of /home and /data1. Sweet. Add additional rescued data, mount external filesystems, export other filesystems, restart a few nfs services and we are good to go.

Not a bad effort, thank you very much.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007


I had to write a report today on a software project I've not touched in about two months. Not for want of trying, but with a whole plethora of other software problems jumping out at us in that time span I've just had no time to get into it, and my supervisors have been too flat out to approach about it. Hopefully that will change shortly.

So this report needs to be done for a meeting tomorrow. Guess when someone's hard drive decides to crap out? Yup, today. Fortunately we could boot off a rescue disk and mount the partitions even though it refuses to boot off the HD and makes terrible noises if it tries.

Then just as I'm about to finish I get an email about some software problems down the hill. At least that one is directed to me and to someone else who knows more about it than I do.

I wonder what will come up next, now that the report is finally done?

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Can I be excused, my brain is full

I'm busily checking our systems here when I discover a big data partition sitting at 99% full. Yikes. So I've spent the day so far compressing files and burning DVDs, bringing it back down to 58% full, a far more manageable amount. I might delete some old data and bring it down further.

It looks like spring is making an appearance at last. Blue skies, warm weather. Must be just about time for the cricket season.

Edit: make that 46%. More compression and a bit of deletion!

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Sunday, the day of rest

Depending, of course, on your belief systems and the way you count. So what did I get up to on my day of rest?

1) Brekky outside in my PJs. A good start.
2) Hang out washing. Well, it's the first really fine day in a week, so the washing had piled up for a while. Not too bad.
3) Put on more washing. See #2.
4) Repeat #2 and #3 a few more times.
5) Prepare to assault the en-suite. Realised that we had no mold remover or gumption (the cleaner, not intestinal fortitude), so go to K-Mart to buy some.
6) Drool very briefly over the Ducati 1098 parked outside K-Mart. Buy said mold remover, gumption and new shower curtain.
7) Assault the en-suite. Mission successful, only casualties were the evil forces of mold and soap scum.
8) Begin phase two, otherwise known as cleaning the girls' room and removing the side of the cot. This takes most of the rest of the day. Discover many hidden treasures such as extra nappies, kids sunglasses and the floor.
9) Bring in washing, fold washing, put washing away. Wonder where on earth the second half of so many pairs of socks have disappeared.
10) Dinner. Oh, lunch was had a few steps earlier.
11) Kids in bed, time to get into some law study and update my blog.

So, how did everyone else spend their relaxing Sunday?

Friday, 24 August 2007


1) I wonder if I should run a poll to see what the next poll should be? Of course, I'll need a poll to poll for the next poll topics for the poll...

2) I finished HP and the Deathly Hallows. Interesting. It's certainly a better book than the previous two, which seemed somewhat flawed and unpolished. I'll have to go back now and read the series again to see how well things pan out with the benefit of hindsight.

3) Long week. There are at least 5 staff away overseas at conferences, and I'm stuck here in the middle of the wettest week we've had in month. We've had 90.6mm of rain this month, and all of that in the last 7 days or so.

4) Only two games of soccer left in the season. This weekend, courtesy of all the rain, is going to be a mudfest. The council has called off the local soccer for seniors and juniors, but the NPL is still going ahead, with one game transferred to a different field. Mud is supposed to be good for the complexion - as we are going up against the competition leaders and I will be in goals I'm betting that I'll get a fair dose of it on Saturday.

Monday, 20 August 2007


My LS210 assignment is in and done, a good 45 mins or so before the deadline! w00t for me.

On a side note it has been raining all day. That certainly makes it interesting riding the bike to and from uni.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Wet and full

It's been raining all day today, a nice change considering how dry it's been for ages. We had two birthday parties to get to, one from 12:00 to 3pm and the other 4-6pm. So another day of go-go-go! around here.

Of course, the assignment that is due tomorrow is sitting on my machine rather vacant looking. I've got some stuff to look up in the law library tomorrow that will hopefully shed some more light on it that I've seen so far. In theory it looks pretty easy, just drawing up a statement of claim, but in practice it's proving a little intransigent. I'm hoping I can hunt up a few good examples tomorrow that I can use to get this thing going, along with some idea of how to reference the thing. The only good thing is that as long as it s submitted before midnight it'll be on time. Fingers crossed...

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Long Saturday

Today was our final bus trip for this soccer season, down to Tamworth to play OVA. Our seconds had no chance of making the semis, but if firsts won all our remaining games, and Souths lost all of theirs, then we could scrape through.

We started out OK in seconds, scoring an early goal, then being 1-1 at half time. It fell apart a bit after that, with us losing 3-1. It didn't help that I badly misjudged the flight and bounce on a free kick and had it sail overhead and in, but that was the 3rd goal and we didn't really look like knocking another one in.

Firsts ended up losing by the same score. Some of the reffing in firsts was pretty dodgy, there was at least one call that denied us a penalty when the score was 1-1. In the end it wouldn't have mattered even if we had won, as Souths beat DK 3-2. So we've got two games to go before it's over for us for another season.

Long day. I left home at 9:35am and got home at 9pm.

Friday, 17 August 2007


Looks like a tie between love and loathe in the cricket poll. Yin/Yang, perhaps?

Friday at last

Friday is just about done with, at last. We're having some friends over for dinner (not in Hannibal Lector style, either) so that'll be a good way to end the week.

Today was MT day in our dept, and it was my turn. Which meant I was up baking until 10:30pm or so last night, making a rather nice fig and walnut slice and an orange and pistachio cake. Both were very well received.

Looks like I'll take Monday off to finish my LS210 assignment. It's only worth 10%, but every little mark helps.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Darts night

Darts dragged on chronically tonight. We didn't finish until around 10:45, having started at 7:30. it took just about two hours to play the six singles games, which was crazy. None of us threw really well, it took ages to start each game and I was playing the last singles game, so couldn't disappear early.

I'm tempted to switch back to my old team next season.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Soccer Sunday

Today was Marcus's junior soccer carnival. 3 games this morning and one in the afternoon. Each game was only 15 mins long.

All the kids played brilliantly. They ended up with three draws and a win, and considering they've lost most of their Saturday games this was a tremendous result. Their defense was great and they tackled all day. Great stuff.

Myself, on the other hand, am stuffed :-) I was reffing/coaching each game, plus I've been running our poor washing machine ragged all weekend, so I've been non-stop most of the time. I'm looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow to have a rest!

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Soccer Saturday

The day started with a 9am kickoff for the under-8s. the weather was pretty nice for a change, so being on the sidelines wasn't an exercise in avoiding frostbite for a change. The boys lost, but they are still enjoying it, which at this stage is the main aim.

Heather and Phoebe then had two different birthday parties to go to, starting at 11 and 11:30 each. So I stayed at home, pottered about cleaning, etc, then mosied off to my own 1pm game.

Once again we got a thrashing, 4-0. It was going ok at half time at 0-0, but we lost the plot after that. If a certain individual ends up in the backs again, and gives away yet another penalty (and getting sent off in the process - second yellow card) I think I'll deck him myself. He's too slow and barrels straight into people's backs, then complains when pulled up for the foul. Then complains when he gets booked for it.

Firsts had a 2-2 draw, though I didn't hang around for the game. Ang was a bit crook so I thought I'd better come home early for a change.

Thursday, 9 August 2007


UNE is running a creative arts competition here, with the theme "Healthy Relationships @ UNE". It's a bit of a worry when I began to think of things like zombies munching their way through students (healthy appetites, those zombies) or the like, rather than some saccharin "aww, we'ere all loverly here" thing. Perhaps I should throw in a psychopath or two.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

New poll time

In line with my previous entry regarding a century of posts, this poll is about cricket. Those who know me know that I am an avid player and follower of cricket, and the summer season here is rapidly approaching. So spread the word, get people to vote, you too could change the world!

And that's his century

Hmm, post number 100! My previous attempt at a blog (two of them, in fact) faded into even greater obscurity with consummate ease, so it's a pretty fair effort for me to get this far. Let's see how much further we can get.

My back is getting better, slowly. My quad is going to have to be a "take it easy until the end of the soccer season" job, but I think I can manage that one. Other than that I'm going fairly well, health-wise. I'm back into the gym this week which is always a good thing.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Poll number 1

Well, after a mammoth 8 votes the results are in and are pretty conclusive. 50% of you are scrunchers. 25% are folders and 25% think I should be locked away for a very long time in a padded cell. Well done!

The next one will be up shortly.

Monday, 6 August 2007


Marcus, Heather and I went fishing yesterday. The local fishing club had organised to release a large number of adult trout in Dumaresq Dam for kids to try to catch. They turned up at 10am with the fish and released them along the shoreline. The kids thought that it was really cool to see them all.

Unfortunately we didn't end up catching any of them. The weather was a bit cold and windy so we left after an hour or so.

Saturday, 4 August 2007


My back survived soccer pretty well. Unfortunately neither my left quad or the scoreline were left untainted. We lost 5-0 and I twanged the quad again. Not too badly, but I'm just going to have to give it as much rest as possible, in terms of kicking the ball, for the rest of the season.

On the upside, 1st grade won 1-0 so still have a mathematical chance of making the finals.

Friday, 3 August 2007


A whole five votes have been cast in my poll! That's at least twice as many readers as I thought I had. I'll soon be rivalling cspan and slashdot at this rate.

Bend, poke, prod, zap part II

I'm back from the second physio trip. More stretching, massage, bending, tweaking and 20 mins of ECT later, plus a few rolls of sports tape and I'm good to go. It's still a bit tender, but will be good enough for soccer this weekend. A good thing too, as we're a bit short due to injuries and not being able to use many first graders in reserves. We'll see how we go.

I've decided to ban socks on Sundays.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

Here's a good way to test out one's recovering back - help to put a kitchen back together. More precisely, help install a few skirting boards then carry cupboards up a short flight of stairs and into the kitchen. There was three of us, so I didn't carry all the bits, but enough. Things held together pretty well, fortunately.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007


Back again, and taped up. I've been stretched, poked, pulled and zapped and will be back for another go on Friday. Hopefully it will be right for the weekend.


I'm off to the physio this afternoon to get my back pounded back into it's correct shape. I'll update this when I get back.

Anyone out there want to try my poll for this week? There might be prizes*.

*then again, there might not.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Socks are dangerous

Socks are dangerous. Not only can they cause you to lose your house-elf, they can have a detrimental effect on the general well-being of your lower back. The mere act of attempting to place one upon your left foot is sufficient for them to intertwine their evil essences with one's lumbar muscles, causing much pain and discomfort. Such discomfort is now well into it's second day, making sitting down in front of the computer a trial. A nice warm bath this evening alleviated some of the symptoms, but it's still remarkably tender. One hopes some painkiller laced sleep with result in a significant improvement by the morning.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Friday follies

Things are, mercifully, rather quieter today than they have been over the past few days. We're still battling with our 99% dead MFD, but are having a bit of a win on the printing front. It just needs to hold together for another 6 weeks before it will be replaced. The replacement will be truly "new", rather than "well it's two years old but we'll call it new" that the other one was.

We've got a very busy weekend coming up. I'm away on Gunnedah all day for soccer Saturday, then Sunday is Phoebe's 2nd birthday. We're thinking of having a party at the new kid's play zone at the Indoor Centre, though if we do we'll provide our own food rather than all the junk food that is the only option there. It also makes it cheaper.

Thursday, 26 July 2007


Install new operating system. Run software analysis. Run it again when it fails. Fix boss's new machine. Set up AA's new machine. Run software analysis again. Update operating system. Reinstall system when update screws up everything. Get to gym (yay!). Reinstall done, now change kernel, install new video drivers. Fix up display system three times after new drivers pooch things up. Reboot, looks good. Update. Check on other machine, still running, good. Install software. See how to get 32-bit flash player to work under 64-bit Firefox in linux. It works. Sweet. Look at clock, 4:55pm.

Where did that day go?

Monday, 23 July 2007

Monday madness

The office is slowly looking less like a junk yard for computers. I've still got to move out a couple of new ones, but I have a sneaking suspicion they're going to be replaced by a larger number of outdated ones. Some of those are going to be cannibalised, so there will be ever more junk spread everywhere. I could always build a labyrinth out of them all, with traps and so on. That should slow down the influx of people with silly questions.

Does anyone know where I can get a smallish Minotaur?

Friday, 20 July 2007


I'm back at work today. The family was a bit crook yesterday so it was my turn to keep an eye on things.

I've updated a couple of links on the left. I've added a link to Black Box, which should come out in January or so, as well as to the Australian Short Storytelling comp to which I submitted "Movies 2107". I doubt it will win that one, so I've got a few other places I can send it. That gets judged in November.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007


I despise throwing up. Just thought you should all know that.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007


We got a right royal butt-kicking in darts last night, 8-4. It didn't help that we were a player short and so had to forfeit one doubles match and one singles. Considering the lack of practice I've had I threw pretty well. No tons, but three 90+ scores, plus winning one of my doubles and my singles.

To continue the sports theme. Somehow Australia has made it through to the 1/4 finals of the AFC Asian Cup. After a dismal loss 3-1 to Iraq we needed to beat Thailand by at least three goals to progress. In the end we won 4-0 so finished second in our group. Now we have to play Japan, a very tough team who we just scraped past in the World Cup. Should be an interesting match.

On a personal football level we lost both reserves and firsts on the weekend, both by 2-1. Now we've got a week off before travelling to Gunnedah to begin the last round. We need to rack up a lot of points to make it to the semi finals.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

It's Wednesday, so time for a bit of an update of what we've been up to the last week or so.

We were in Toowoomba all last week for Ang's birthday. Wednesday we went out to dinner at a very nice place called the Highland Fling. Scottish theme to the decor with kilts, swords, axes and suits of armour around. The food was utterly brilliant. $36 scored you a three course meal with a choice of three entrees, four mains and a couple of deserts. The entrees were almost big enough to be a main meal, so I had to pace myself to make sure I left some room. Hmm, calamari...followed by medium steak in pepper sauce...followed by pavlova and ice cream...

The kids meals were pretty huge as well, which was handy in a way as we just had to get two of them to split three ways. Well, the girls shared one meal while Marcus plowed is way though all of his.

Saturday night we went out to see Transformers. Woah. A serious thrill ride. The action sequences were a bit hard to watch sometimes, as there was a lot of "shakey cam" used, in an effort for realism I suppose, or to make it easier to hide the CGI. But seeing the Autobots trying to hide outside the main character's house so that this parents wouldn't see them was hilarious. Well worth watching.

The trip home Sunday was interesting. Normally it takes around 4.5 hours, give or take. However, at 7pm, just outside Glencoe, ie 30 mins from home we were stopped by the police. We'd been driving through increasingly heavy snow up to that point and were told that the road ahead was closed due to snow and a jack-knifed truck. So it was back to Glen Innes, across to Inverell, down to Bundara and back to Armidale. A total of 2.5 hours extra, which saw us get in at about 10pm. Fortunately we'd grabbed dinner in Glen Innes so the munchkins eventually fell asleep in the back of the car. Plus the road was pretty good considering it wasn't the main highway.

So I'm back at work, surrounded by four brand new desktops and a new laptop, all for me to set up then give away. Then my monitor blows up.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Movie Review II

True to my word I went to see Pirates 3 yesterday. 4pm show, got out around 7pm.

The verdict - great. Even Keira's purported lack of variety of expression was no great matter, personally. It was long, and threatened to drag from time to time, but generally rocked along pretty well. I was hoping that Keith Richard's part would have been larger, but he did pick up a guitar at one point, so that was ok :-)

We're going to see Transformers this week, so I can finish the movie trifecta shortly.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Mad dogs and Englishmen...

...may go out in the midday sun, but Armidalians go out in cold, wet and windy conditions to play football. I can live with that, but we in general, and myself in particular, had an absolute shocker. I could barely catch anything all afternoon, even dropping an absolute sitter overhead catch right at the feet of their striker who tapped it in. In the end we lost 5-0, with my two big stuffups and a penalty making up most of that total.

First grade didn't fare too much better, going down 3-0.

Plus I aggrevated a quad strain from last week. I think I'll end up missing next week's Tamworth game so I can recover properly.

At least that will mean we can spend a bit more time in Toowoomba.

Friday, 29 June 2007

End of the month

We're just about at the end of June. The weather has been miserable here this week. Cloudy, cold, windy and wet, but it steadfastly refuses to snow. I could live with the rest if it would just snow every now and then, but some sleet/sago snow has been the best on offer.

I posted off an entry to the 2007 National short story competition today. A thousand word limit, first prize $3000. I don't expect to win it, but one has to enter these things to have any chance. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

The horror, the horror, otherwise known as FF2

We went to watch FF2: RofSS last night. We were running a little bit late but only missed the first couple of minutes so we settled down into the virtually empty theatre to enjoy ourselves.

Some indeterminate amount of time later we left. I walked out into the bitterly cold wind hoping against hope that the icy gale would shred the memory of the steaming pile of drek I just witnesses. To no avail, so here's a very brief review of FF2.

Shite. Don't bother.

If there was any ridiculous cliche left in the Hollywood playbook after the making of this film I would be highly surprised. The acting was generally flat, Julian McMahon sounded nothing like he did in the first film (he sounded like he'd inhaled helium for 90% of his scenes) and the special effects were ok. Those are the good bits.

The ending is by far the worst part of the entire film. Be aware, spoilers exist from this point forward.

Apparently it's been known for a while that Galactus appears in the movie as some giant space cloud. Ok, the comic original would be hard to reproduce, but geeze, what they came up with was just plain boring.

Here be big spoiler: Silver Surfer apparently destroys Galactus. In 10 seconds. Why the hell, if he was that powerful, not do it ages ago and save all the other worlds? Oh, of course "he had no choice". Perhaps staring into Jessica Alba's anime-like eyes made him realise he could, after all, choose to do as he wished. Maybe it was after she took a spear in the chest and died "to protect him" he decided he could use his powers to bring her back from the dead and go and blow up Galactus as an encore.

Other points: as one reviewer said "what is a bunch of US special forces doing torturing a bound figure in the middle of a Siberian gulag?". Oh, and the line "I'm not supposed to do some things to you because they would be human rights violations. But you're not human, are you?" Spare me, please.

The entire things was juvenile. Doom, Surfer, Galactus, all were miserably wasted. The FF were no more developed than before. Any interplay was mediocre at best. The "relationship" between Johnny and the soldier girl was hideously telegraphed. They came up with a badly contrived mechanism to get Alba "naked" and Michael Chiklis (sp?) out of the costume. The four-into-one power borrowing idea was kinda neat, but that's about it.

To summarise - avoid. I only hope that P3 is better than this. From Steph's comments I'm not getting my hopes up too much.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

You know it's goign to be a long day when

It's going to be a bad one when you barely get the key in the office door before you've got two people telling you that systems are down. Then you get inside, put your bag down only to have different people tell you that the systems are down and the coffee machine is not working. So I go over and reset the coffee machine, which for some strange reason was delivering too much coffee.

I get back into the office to take my bike boots off and put my normal shoes on in preparation to head to the server room when the next two people come up to tell me our main server is down. So I finally get into the server room, shut the door and put on the earmuffs (we've got a couple of VERY noisy rack mounted servers in a rather small room) and find I've got to hit the kill switch on our main server. For whatever reason it kernel panicked last night and froze. So a quick power cycle and it boots up nicely.

Hmm, I wonder what will be next? I've already got a highly defective printer/photocopier that refuses to print off the network and another machine that has had gremlins for weeks now. I can hardly wait.

Oh, and the forecast for today is windy with the possibility of snow.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

It's enough to make you eat the walls

We've had a computer that has had a problem with locking up for some time now. It's been at the shop twice now without a solution. The last time they said they had ran all manner of hardware tests and found nothing, so "it must be incompatable with linux. Install windows on a partition and see how it goes".

Graah. Especially considering we have an identical machine that has been running linux flawlessly for the last two years.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

You've got to be kidding

So I'm kicking back last night, watching a bit of cricket of Fox 2. A wicket falls, so I decided to channel surf a bit. I end up flicking to a show called Dr 90210. Yup, it's a docu-reality show about plastic surgeons in Beverley Hills. They've got the usual lift/tuck/inflate stuff, one immigrant guy with the worst cleft lip and palate you've ever seen. I'm about to keep going when a woman comes on and says she's going to have a "g-shot". What? No, couldn't be. A few seconds of morbid fascination later and yep, it's what it sounds like. An injection to "enlarge the g-spot".

It lasts for 4 months.

It costs $US1800.

Bloody hell. I knew people in Beverley Hills had more money than sense, but this proves it.

Back to cricket. I can understand that.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

5pm vs 12pm

What a difference 5 (or 19, depending on how you count it) hours can make. 5pm Monday evening I head down to the gym and it's packed. The squat rack, power cage, smith machine and 45 degree leg press were all in use (and a woman was using the squat rack for squats - a truly rare occurrence), three out of the four bench press benches and all of the free standing seats and benches were occupied. The upstairs cardio gear was all going full pelt and the various pin weighted exercise machines were well used.

12pm today rocks around and I wander in. One person was upstairs on the cardio gear. One other person was doing some ab exercises and left about 5 minutes after I arrived. Which left me with all of the free weights, machines, benches and racks all to myself for the rest of my workout.

No wonder I use lunch time to hit the gym.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Saturday night was green and white

Ohh, a touch of poetry. Very classy.

Saturday night was our soccer club's Green and White Night at the St Kilda Hotel. It was a good social night for the club with the back room decked out in the club colours. You were supposed to wear the colours as well, and virtually all the players had the club shirts on. Plenty of "other half's" there as well. Big feed, $1 beer and wine (and soft drinks for drivers/under agers) so there was plenty of revellry going around. Of course, the first person to break a glass was one of the very few non-drinkers there (not me, I did partake of the fermented beverages, though no where near as much as some).

When I left things were still going strong and looked like they were going to do so for quite a few hours more. Good times.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Done and done

I had my LS240 (equity and trusts) exam today. 2 hours, 3 questions to answer out of 4. All in all it wasn't too bad, but I could have done a fair bit better with more study. That's pretty much the student mantra.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Hmmm, yummy

It's quite peculiar how the human mind works. I was just sitting at my desk, having mixed up a batch of the new protein powder. Now, I know this stuff is good, having now had it a couple of times. Yet sitting here, looking at it stirs up faintly nauseous feelings, as if I'm about to attempt to scoff down a batch of the old, feral, bitter combos that I used to have. My subconscious refuses to believe that such a concoction could ever be truly drinkable and tries to warn me off it entirely.

So I beat it into submission with a large mental baseball ball and drank deep.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

It's (almost) a miracle!

A number of years ago I decided it was time to try to bulk up a bit, so I figured that a protein supplement would be a good way to go. I tried any number of different powders, and they all had one thing in common - they were bloody awful. Bitter, some of them undrinkably so.

So I gave up on them for a fair while. A little while back I started to try the premixed, UHT milk varieties. Generally they were a bit the same, not as bitter but still not as great.

Then I tried one that was brilliant. Drinkable, very tasty, no horrible after taste. Great! Except that at around $3.20 as they are now each, they add up. Fortunately the same brand and formula is purchasable as a powder. So today I give that a go, with a certain amount of trepidation. A $3 drink that is bloody awful is a waste, but not of the same magnitude of a $40 tub of powder.

So: scoop, scoop, add milk, shakeshakeshakeshakeshake...[no FOOM, sorry Cav] .

Open lid.

Sip carefully....

BLISS! Finally a powder that is drinkable. It was, as the title suggests, a near miracle.

Now, if the company that manufactures this supplement sees this blog entry and offers me squillions of dollars, then I'll give you the name of the mystery super-powder. Are you listening, Mr Multi-National Corporation?

Monday, 4 June 2007

Drunken Darts

Look, I've no objection to people who want to get off their face. That's their choice. I've no objection to people who want to just get together and throw a couple of darts in the general direction of a dart board, rather than being super-competitive about it. That's fine by me. But if you're going to turn up to the game essentially off your face already, then continue drinking and attempt to play darts; if you're someone else who goes up and misses the entire board 4 shots out of 5 then requires R&C to start aiming straight; if you're going to be the team captain and obviously not give a toss about organising you team or hanging around for the entire night; then odds are I'm not going to enjoy the evening terribly much and will be quite happy to not have to hang around and play my singles games as we have more than enough players. There's no way that I'll throw my doubles games, I'll try my damnednest to win despite a severe lack of practice. Just don't expect me to appreciate any other part of the evening.

Though the chips & gravy were not too bad - thanks Tim.

Saturday, 2 June 2007


Rise and shine, good and early. Quick coffee, bike gear sorted, out the door at 7:30am. Down to the bike shop, keen as. We get there and it is strangely quiet and deserted. We hang around, getting increasingly worried, until 8:25am (ride day was supposed to start at 8) when the G-M arrived. we ask, "hey, what's going on?" to be told that IT'S NOT ON!

Apparently Kawasaki central has been dicking them around with the ride bikes and they've known for a few weeks that it wouldn't happen this weekend. Now, I had been surprised that there had been no lead-up advertising in the papers and radio, but since I rarely listen to local radio and i only get the freebie papers I wasn't too worried. I'd even been in as recently as last Wednesday and spoke to one of the girls there, who gave zero indication that there was no ride day today.

I was pretty pissed, and bummed, I can tell you. Even more so for my mate who had come up from Inverell specificially for the ride day that I had assured him was on this weekend. He got to have a ride on a Vulcan 900 they had there anyway, so it wasn't a complete loss. Unfortunately the odds are that when the ride day does come along I will still have a soccer game that afternoon. If I'm even more unlucky it'll be an away game. If it is then I'll simply have to tell them that I can make the trip. I am not missing the ride day when it does (eventually) arrive.

Friday, 1 June 2007

Two down...

The oven was fixed this morning after it blew it's fan-forced element a few weeks ago. The dishwasher will be fixed soon, once parts are ordered in, after a mouse had its way with the power cord and water pipes. So that's two major household items that have broken down very recently. Fundamental Law Theory states that "bad things come in threes", so I'm waiting to see what will be next on the list. Fridge? It's pretty old. Washing machine? Around 7 years old, lots of work done.

If we are really, really lucky the third one already happened when the computer failed. As it was not an essential item I'm not too sure if it counts. Stay tuned.

Thursday, 31 May 2007


Righteo, dinner is done, washing up done, kids in bed, washing folded and put away, more in the machine, the missing sock found, washed and now drying, toilets are scrubbed. It's 9pm, kettle is on, time to settle in...and start studying for my LS240 exam (Equity and Trusts) that is on in two weeks.


Monday, 28 May 2007

Weekend? What weekend?

Saturday and Sunday kinda blurred into an indistinct haze. Usually that would be caused by a distinct over-indulgence in certain illicit substances, but it turned out the lack of them was the cause. A quick trip to the local medical practitioner today alleviated that particular situation nicely.

Darn tonsils, who needs the buggers anyway?

Friday, 25 May 2007

Towel Day

Today is also Towel Day, to commemorate the passing of Douglas Adams. Another cool frood taken too soon.

30 Years ago, in a cinema far, far away...

The 25th May 2007 is the 30th anniversary of the first screening of Star Wars: A New Hope. A little pudgy around the middle, reminiscing of better days, but still not too bad for an old fella. Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Of mice and dishwashers.

Mice, it would appear, have sharp teeth and no tastebuds. Which is why they have decided to chew through the power cord (3-4 places, just insulation, but...) and enough of the water hoses on our dishwasher to wet and swell (and probably ruin) a patch of our kitchen floor. That has been in place for a grand total of two weeks. Argh!

At least it is only a small patch, so perhaps only around 6-8 pieces need replacing. But it's damn annoying.

Did I mention that rodent damage isn't covered by our insurance? Gah!

At least tomorrow is pay day.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

May Roundup

It's been a while since I've blogged, so perhaps it's time for a roundup of what's been going on of late.

I've been accepted into the Black Box anthology, which comes out in January. Very cool, as apparently the quality and quantity of submissions is way up on last time (Shadow Box). More first steps on the road to becoming the second-next big Aussie author? (Cav has dibs on the next big author slot, so I'll just wait next in line).

Our football (soccer, for all those philistines out there) team is getting a bit of a flogging of late. We won our first game but have now lost 4 on the trot. Our effort on Saturday was dismal at best; pasted 4-0 with no-one showing enough heart. None of us wanted to vote for the best player at the end as we didn't think anyone played particularly well.

Work proceeds apace, as ever. I'm busily coding a new analysis package when I'm not being bugged about bugs and software gliches. It's pregressing rather nicely, though I've reached the "ok, now what?" point and need to consult with the powers-that-be. Stay tuned on that front.

Law studies - shudder. The week by week readings are rather inconsistent. One week will be a single chapter, read in a couple of days and the next week will be three chapters. One was even 4, though that was over the last holidays. At least I did pretty well in the assignment, scoring 29/40 or one mark under a distinction. Roll on 14th June and my exam. Blergh.

On a much more fun point it is now two weeks until the Kawasaki ride day. 8am to 6pm to ride as many bikes as time and numbers permits. Apparently there has been a huge amount of interest so I'm going to have to get in early to ride what will probably be the most popular bike there: the ZX-14 hyper-tourer. 1400cc's of power, yummy. Look out for a full rundown after that date.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Today's inanity

User: One of your programs has crashed - can you send us the libraries it needs?
Me: Errr, the software is made up of a dozen programs. Which one?

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

What's in a name?

I've been reliably informed that the new computer needs, indeed requires, a name. So here's a competition for all you readers out there - come up with a name for the glowing beast. Best name (IMNSHO), with an explanation if required, will win! Doesn't have to be in English, though I might have trouble reproducing cyrillic characters easily.

Go for it!

Saturday, 5 May 2007


Shiney. Very, very shiney with glowing blue lights. Wheee...

Thursday, 3 May 2007

It came with 20'' spinner hubs

Otherwise known as the new toy is on the road! It *might* get here tomorrow if I'm very lucky, otherwise early next week.

Monday, 30 April 2007

Oooh, shiny!

The new beastie has been ordered. Maybe by the end of the week, certainly next week I'll have a shiny new computer sitting on my desk at home, purring away. All I need to do now is work out which OS to infect it with. Suggestions?

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Magic Blue Smoke

...has escaped from my hard drive. It's been flaky for a bit, but a defrag and cleanup seemed to fix things. Then it crashed Tuesday night shutting down IE (yes, I know, but I had to use it) then wouldn't reboot. It'd get half-way through loading Win2k then BSOD with an error stating it couldn't load a hive (file) from system32. Argh. A quick check at work and it looks like a complete reinstall is the only way to bring it back, and that's not guaranteed if the HD is failing.

Fortunately 99% of the data is stored on an external HD. So very little will be lost. Time to break out the credit card (sob!) and buy a new machine, then xfer what is left off the old HD.

Any experts on SLI systems feel like advising?

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

W00T! I'm in!

"Pants" has made it into Black Box!

Monday, 23 April 2007


Saturday was our first premier league game, which involved a bus trip to Gunnedah. We left at around 9:10am and got to the ground around 11:50am. Not a bad effort, only one quick stop on the way for food, etc. I grabbed a couple of sports drinks, which turned out to be a very good idea.

It was hot - 26 degrees or so, and the first game kicked off at 1pm. We were pretty drained at half time, but we were up 1-0 so were keen to hold our advantage. The second half wasn't as hot, fortunately, and we held on for a scrappy, but hard-fought 1-0 win. Sweet!

I was on the bench for first grade, so plenty more fluid and sunscreen and I was good to go. About 5-10 mins before the end I thought I was going to get on when our keeper got flattened, but he was back on his feet after a minute or so. End result was a 3-0 win for firsts. So we managed to beat Gunnedah at their home ground in both grades in our debut return to the premier league. Stoked!

The bus trip back was pretty loud. Lots of singing, lots of beer and rum being drunk. Fortunately no-one threw up on the bus and everyone was in a top mood. We even managed to get a feed in Tamworth without getting arrested - not a bad trick when a number of the guys were rather drunk by then. So then back to Armidale and the St Kilda Hotel (our sponsor) for more singing and man of the match presentations. It'd be very interesting to see how some of them pulled up Sunday.

I'm still waiting on word from the Black Box anthology. Now I'm back into study and contemplating the next bit of "Movies 2107". Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Spare a thought

In the NRL (National Rugby League, for those not in the know) the Sydney City Roosters are so far without a win this season. Normally, that would be fairly dreadful, but there is an added twist. As one of the League's foundation clubs (the competition started in 1908), they have notched up quite a few victories since then - 999, to be precise. They've been stuck on that number since just before the end of last season, and are still waiting to break the 1000 mark. They will, I believe, be the first club to reach that particular milestone. However, it's looking rather distant at the moment. As their first ever match in the League was against Newtown on April 20, 1908, I'm sure they are hoping it won't take another 12 months to get that next victory.

Sunday, 15 April 2007


So I'm kicking back, enjoying some peace and quiet after a very hectic week of guests and general household mayhem. The munchkins are in bed, my feet ache, and the PC refuses to update from the MS website. So here I am, blogging away with chips and rum&coke by my side. Tired bliss.

I'm back in the office tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see how much I get done on software development rather than answering queries and dealing with the minuate of helpdesking for our dept. Our people are generally pretty computer literate, so I don't get a plethora of idiotic questions. The downside is that any problems people have are generally more complex, so take a while. I'm hoping for a clear run so I can get myself back up to speed on my main project. Other than my other main task of ensuring we have enough coffee beans for our machine. I sometimes think our entire building is run on caffeine.

This weekend was supposed to be our first game back in the Northern Inland Premier League football competition, but with the university holidays Ex-Services/UNE didn't have enough players. So the game is going to be rescheduled and we had a 1st vs 2nd game amongst ourselves instead. This means our first real game will be a roadtrip to Gunnedah next weekend.

Thursday, 12 April 2007


I've not blogged in a while mostly as I've been on holidays and couldn't be bothered. Also we've had a houseful of people so things have been rather hectic, but in a good way.

Marcus has been at a soccer camp this week. It's just a morning thing, but he's really enjoying it. He was at the same camp the last two years as well. They get two soccer kits out of it, as well as a ball and drink bottle. Pretty decent value, really, when you consider how much even a cheap jersey costs these days.

The two girls are a bit crook, both with slight temps, coughs, runny noses and lethargic. Tough on Ang as Phoebe just wants to be held and fed.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

9:05pm Thursday

It's nearly, nearly done. I just need to finish it off before my brain explodes. That would slow me down considerably.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

And so it ends

It's 11pm, I've got around 1400 words done, time to call it a night. "Hey, you're a night!"

Foot strapping Tuesday

So here I am, back in front of my almost steam-powered home computer working, yet again, on this Equity assignment. At least is is a bit earlier than I've been of late, thanks to not heading off to soccer training for a change.

My foot is strapped as I've been having knee problems of late.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

5pm on Sunday in the office

Yup, I'm at work at 5pm on a Sunday. Why? LS240: Equity and Trusts, that's way. 3000 words due Thursday and I need a quiet place to get into some serious writing. I think the coffee and fresh donuts are going to help.

Good thing about Armidale: 5 minutes from work to home.
"Bad" thing: there is only one place to get hot, fresh donuts. But they are very very good.

Friday, 30 March 2007

Thus ends the week

Friday, yippie. Nearly time to take my runny nose and sneezes home. We've got a busy weekend coming up - St Marks Teach-In weekend, soccer and I've got a 3000 word essay due next Thursday. No rest for the wicked.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Dinner of Champions

Nutella on toast. At 8:30pm. Hard to top that, really.

Friday, 23 March 2007

Release the hounds, Smithers

Or, as it is more commonly known, "submissions away, captain!". Yup, I've managed to get my troika of 120 word fiction done and submitted. Now I need to wait to see if any of them are accepted. I suppose I should really keep working on things in the meantime, especially as the publication date is set for Jan 08. So even if they are accepted it'll take a fair while to appear.


Droooooool.... The local Holden dealer here is now an official Kawasaki dealer as well. Apart from quads, farm bikes and a GPX-250 they have a brand new blue ZX-14R hyper-tourer. Now that is a sweet, sweet looking ride.

"Honey, how much can we get for one of the kids?"

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

A sad day

John Backus has died at the age of 82. Who was he, you ask? The pioneer of the Fortran programming language, the same (though rather modernised) language that puts bread on our family's table. See here for an article.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Back on deck

Monday beckons, as does the blog. I've got no idea where the weekend disappeared to, but it was gone in a blink of an eye. I guess spending 6 unexpected hours at the cricket on Sunday helped in that cause, but two days really doesn't seem long enough.

The golf day was fun, if long. Due to the packed course in the afternoon we didn't finish the round until 6:30 after a 1pm tee off. It was fun though. One of these days I'll learn to play golf a whole lot better than I currently do. One day.

Sunday saw us victorious in the cricket, so we get a crack at Hillgrove to see if we can make it to the grand final. Making the final would be a first for Churches in it's current incarnation, so everyone is very keen. I'll be 12th man again, hopefully all I'll be needed for is a bit of spectating on both days.

"Fire" hasn't moved yet. After re-reading I'm thinking it's going to need a much bigger re-write. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Just a little peek, who's going to know?

Entries 1 and 2 are (I think) ready for Black Box. I'm very happy with the re-rewrite of "Liar" as it gets my original point across more clearly, and it paced better. "Pants" was a small rewrite, just to tidy things up a little. "Fire" is going to be somewhere in the middle of the two.

Golf day tomorrow!

Monday, 12 March 2007

Dare you open the black box?

Shadowed Realms has opened submissions for it's latest horror e-anthology of flash fiction, Black Box. After I got into the previous incarnation I'm going to give this one a shot as well. I've got four pieces written, but they need some heavy editing, some more so than others. I need to get off my overly-busy butt and get into it before Cav sends the attack ferrets around again.

I've decided that if I need some encouragement, I'll just check this out on a regular basis.

Thursday, 8 March 2007


I think I spoke too soon when I described things in my last post as only a little crazed around the edges. Things are rapidly descending into farce and folly around here.

Point 1. For the last umpteen years, the university has paid a site licence for the SAS statistical package. The licence is due at the end of February, and expires at the end of March. So the university has decided to no longer pay the site licence. But do they inform the general university community? Do they consult the general university community before making this decision? if you're reading this, then I'll bet you know what the answer is...

So they want the departments to bear the cost. Which is $15,000 per faculty, or around $6000 for a single seat licence. Ouch. Did I mention that the software will stop working in two-three weeks?

Perhaps you are wondering what the site licence for the entire university was. Perhaps it was inconceivably large if a single faulty needs to pay $15 grand? Nope. $40,000 covers the entire university. Less than three faculties worth. Discussions are continuing.

Point 2. We wish to purchase a monitor for a staff member whose old one has had it. So we ask finance if we can purchase one on our departmental credit card, or do we have to go through the usual method of ordering, raising invoices, sending them to finance, have finance pay then have the goods shipped. Simple question you would think. Ahh, but this is a university bureaucracy. So we get a couple of questions in reply to ours:

1) What are you going to use it for? (er, attach it to a computer so we can do stuff)
2) There must be lots of other monitors around campus, can't you just use one of those? (Hmm, now who would like to give us a nice brand new 19'' LCD?)

I wait in breathless anticipation for what Friday will bring. A nice morning tea I hope. Other than that I'll just take it one second at a time.

Signing off for now...

PS You know I'm at the coal face when it took me three goes to spell "bureaucracy" right.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Mad March

Well, almost. A little crazed around the edges, but not all the way over as yet.

My first darts night was last night. It was the second round, but I couldn't make it to the first game. The team is mostly guys who haven't played very much, other than Kieren and myself, and I've only been kinda serious about it for 18 months or so. We were heading for a loss when I left, but we had been competitive, getting down to the doubles on each game. Kieren threw well, scoring three tons for the night. My efforts were pretty ordinary, only throwing a few good scores and one ton (104: t16, t16, 8). I couldn't throw a double to save my life. Time for more practice, perhaps.

Manic fortran coding at work is progressing apace. Our data integrity software is coming along nicely, though the interpretation of the numbers I'm producing will take some time, which will result in further software tweaks down the track. Still, it keeps me out of the bars before 5pm, so it's all good.

I played cricket again on the weekend. We finished a two day game inside of one, after some very good bowling and some brilliant batting. We dismissed Centrals for 83, knocked up 2-153 in 16 overs (Andrew Skinner, 100 of 53 balls!) then rolled Centrals again for 40. Considering the forecast is for rain all this week it was brilliant to get the outright win in a day. If the other games are washed out there is an outside chance we could finish second, but definitely we'll finish third. Here's hoping for a big shot at the title this year.

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Once more dear friends

Otherwise known as the first football training run for the year. That's "soccer" to the rest of you lot out there. I ended up with a blistered toe and a stiff back this morning, not too bad an effort considering I've not trained at all since 1/3 of the way through last season. That was when I seriously sprained my ankle. It was well after the season ended before it was approaching 100% healed.

Monday, 26 February 2007

Weird wet stuff falling, falling.

Yup, it's raining here again. Good, solid, soaking rain for the second day in a row. Considering how parched the country is the amount of rain we've been getting has been phenomenal.

The weekend was fairly ordinary. I played cricket for only the second time this season and we came away with an easy win. Not that I overly contributed, but it was nice to get out on the field again. We even finished early enough that I could get to chapel on time. After that we all headed out to the bush dance. Not my preferred evening entertainment in any way, but the wife and kids enjoyed it.

So now I'm sitting here, listening to the rain and the thunder, waiting for programs to compile before I consider wandering back home again. At least my bike is back on the road so I don't have to organise a lift or get Ang to load up the kids in the car and come pick me up. Much better all around.6

Thursday, 22 February 2007

I worry about this world...

...for several reasons.

1) Life coaches. These have been around for a while, giving big seminars, selling lots of books and tapes/cds. But a new twist has been added - the celebrity sobriety entourage coach. Yes, various wild-partying celebrities are now adding designated non-drinkers/drug takers to their entourage to help keep them on something approaching the straight and narrow. The appearance of these new style groupies seems to follow on from a stint in rehab by the celebrity in question. It would appear that the regular groupies who are just there for a good time are having too much of a good time and it's rubbing off on the poor, naive, impressionable celebrities. So they need some yin for their yang. Or is it the other way around?

2) Darn, I was getting so worked up about #1 that this one has completely gone out of my head. Ahh, there it is. Email addiction. Yes, people's inability to tear themselves away from the computer has now reached the same level of their inability to tear themselves away from TV shows they despise. There are, believe it or not, 12-step programs to overcome said addiction. Like one man who, when playing golf, would check his blackberry *after every shot8. I don't even like to take my phone out on the course, my game is bad enough without having a ring tone interrupt a shot. Being connected is all well and good, but all the time? And suffering "withdrawal" when the power goes out? Gee, get a droud [1] installed and be done with it!

[1] Obligatory sci-fi reference for you all.

Monday, 19 February 2007

Monday once more

A different Monday this time. A Monday known as "the first day of lectures". And as such my text sits resolutely closed next to me on my desk. I've had far more interesting things to do, such as rejig the power connections in the office here, now that my funky new 8x, surge protected powerboard arrived. Gleeness, I guess. That, and a desire to finish "On Writing", which, at 10:45pm, I have managed. Double glee.

10:45pm? Crud! There goes any chance of an early night tonight. Ah well. Who needs sleep, after all?

Saturday, 17 February 2007

Yeah, that worked

I've been inundated with responses to my last post. Absolutely swamped. Overrun, even.

No, not really. Zero as per usual. So I'll have to think of some other plot device to lure visitors. Perhaps alien autopsy photos? Autopsy photos of Anna Nicole Smith? Perhaps the same photos would suffice for either.

For those vaguely interested, this post is typed on my new keyboard. Nice enough, but it's slightly out balance, regardless of whether the legs are up or down.

Ahh, fixed it. Just a quick application of tortional forces and things are dreamy again. Back to the regularly scheduled inanity.

Friday, 16 February 2007

Nonsensical postings

I should post more gibberish, those postings seem to generate more comments than my more reasoned, lucid ones. Of course, I could be boring everyone to tears/sleep in general. So in that spirit, here goes.


Better? Perhaps not.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

More blog, less blerg

Things are better today. Large doses of coffee certainly help, as does food and rest. And Babylon 5...

Tuesday, 13 February 2007


Blergh. Grumpfh. Glah. Wibble, even.

Monday, 12 February 2007

And so it begins

Which could refer to either the system upgrades or the cold that is fast approaching, take you pick. I'll keep you updated on both.

I've ordered a surge protecting power board and 4x usb hub. Bids are also in on a keyboard/mouse combo that will come up in a few days.

Wifey as well as #1, #2 and #3 all have flu/colds at the mo, so it looks like I'm next. I won't give in without a fight though - being crook plays merry hell with my gym sessions.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

Upgrades, upgrades

That's the joy of having an older computer, when it's time to upgrade everything has to be done. No simple plugging of a new processor or video card, we're talking the whole lot, machine, key+mouse, monitor. I can hear the bank account shaking in fear already. At least finding stuff online is much cheaper than a brick and mortar place here in town.

Methinks the process will be gradual. Since I've gotten the computer working with the ADSL modem that will keep me going a while, but the profusion of USB devices means a hub will be first, then KB+mouse and monitor. Oh, and a good quality surge-protected power board. Who in their right mind only puts one power point in an office/room?

Friday, 9 February 2007

Welcome to the 21st Century!

Otherwise known as "I've got my broadband working, w00t!". Soo much nicer than dialup. Now to spend all my time online in MMRPGs, at least once I get a faster machine.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007


Found the blighter of a permanent marker that disappeared the other day. The little sod had leapt off my desk and rolled under an old monitor that was sitting on the floor. Now I'll chain the marker to a large brick to make sure it doesn't run away again.

Coding coding coding...

...boy my eyes are rolling, Rawhide! Trying to track down unusual data errors in someone else's code can be a royal pain. Still, the hard part is next - modifying said code so that the data errors are eliminated. Gharg.

Monday, 5 February 2007

February already?

Ok, now that we're into month 2, time to check out those goals and targets I so foolishly made at the start of the year.

1a: writing. Hah, there's a funny one. The idea of something each day kinda disappeared in a hurry, though I am at least now up to editing three flash fictions and trying to pound out something a bit longer. We'll see.

1b: submission. Not yet, as it's not time.

1c: longer stories. See 1a.

OK, so target 1 is off to a shaky start. Must keep going!

2a,b,c: Hah, had about one practice game so far. I need a new board so that makes things difficult. No comps as yet, they're still a couple of months off.

3: bodyweight. This one is going somewhere: last report was 82.5kg. Yes, yes, those who are reading this will probably want to lighten (and shorten at the same time) me a bit for trying to up my weight, but nya nya, you're all too far away :-)

4: guitar. I'm sure it's around here somewhere...

Friday, 2 February 2007


How can I lose a black permanent marker five minutes after using it and when I haven't gotten off my chair??? Little bugger has run off to join the coat hangers and socks.

Thursday, 1 February 2007

Thirsty Thursday

Except The Powers That Be tend to frown on drinking during work hours. Spoilsports. I'll just have to stick to some brewed coffee. Which I'll make as soon as I'm done here.

I've started to review a couple of flash fiction entries based on the critiques from a few friends. I had put them aside for a few weeks before getting back to them, in order that I would be a little less connected to the first drafts. Stephen King mentions this process in "On Writing" and it seems pretty sensible. I've looked at them again and realised that while they were a reasonable first draft, that's all they were - a draft. One especially (Liar) just about needs a complete rewrite to get across my ideas, something rather hard in just 120 words.

My other, longer project has started. I'm thinking it'll be about 1000 words, so not too long, but the first piece of decent length I've written in a while. Not counting law essays, which really shouldn't be considered as works of fiction.

Monday, 29 January 2007

Ooh, nearly a week

Monday. Post long-weekend Monday, at that. Blerg.

What did the weekend consist of? Washing. Folding. Sorting. Trying to beat the study over the head with a large blunt instrument. No success on the last one, but at least we've now got clean clothes in the wardrobe.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

On reading On Writing

I'm rapidly re-reading Stephen King's "On Writing". Cav gave it to me a while back to inspire me to get back into writing, and now that I've started again I figured it was time for another crack at it. Having been motivated to write again has made it even better this time around.

The house is kinda quiet again as our guests have headed home after helping us celebrate Heather's birthday. And even more amazingly it's been raining! It poured yesterday afternoon, the first decent rain in ages. 24mm of rain, according to the BOM.

It's time to take a chainsaw to the study, in a metaphorical sense. It's too disorganised, the desk is too large. Time for a change.

Monday, 22 January 2007


It's just past 3:30pm and I'm beginning to feel human. Lots of exercise + not enough sleep tends to wash oneself out rather thoroughly. I blame the chlorine in the pool. Then again, it could also have been the Black Russians we drank while playing "Smartass" until 2am, but that's a pretty long shot.

PS Yesterday was Heather's 4th birthday. Time flies...

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Bowl of Petunias

Or, as it is otherwise know, "Oh, no, not again." The cafe up here is being completely renovated for the third time in three years. Neither of the previous two renovations dealt with any of the obvious problems, namely supplying enough coffee quickly enough during peak times, and having terrible traffic flow. They reorganised the in-out flow past the coffee register 4 or 5 times before finally settling on something that kinda worked. And now they're doing it all again?

I can hear the kitchen contractors laughing from here.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Little blue and white cables

Phase three of the recabling began last night with new phone wires put in. I came up to check last night and it looks ok, but they are a lot thicker than the old ones so organisation of them is a bit of a pain.

This morning the contractors have started on the cat-6 patch leads, so once they've done all that I'll check it out again to see how organised it is. Fingers (and toes and eyes) crossed.

Monday, 15 January 2007

Week 3!

Crikey, week three of the year begins. And so I have a new(ish) book to read: "Equity and Trusts in Australia". Yep, time to try to get ahead in the study for this semester. Joys.

Sunday, 14 January 2007


For those who read the national papers about the WW2 veteran murdered here in Armidale on Saturday, that happened about two blocks from our house. Yikes.

Birthday Sunday!

Hmm, two days without a blog entry. No, I haven't dropped off the face of the (blog)earth again, just rather busy.

But, more importantly, today is Marcus' 7th birthday. Some pressies this morning was followed by a few hours out at the Hunt's farm, then to the pool this afternoon for cake, more pressies and lots of swimming with his mates. At the end all were pretty much worn out, especially the parents.

I've submitted a few stories for criticism before I submit them for examination. Let's all see how that goes!

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Argh, it's only Thursday

But still we soldier on. More recabling going on this arvo. Unfortunately the new high-speed switches aren't part of this tender, so we have to wait even longer for them to be installed. Once they are in we should have gigabit ethernet to all rooms. Nice. I wonder how long it will be before we exceed that capacity?

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Zombie chainsaw-weilding cows

There's an idea for a story.


Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Sleepless nights and cat-5 cable.

It must be illegal for children to wake you up at 4, 4:20 and 4:40 when you've gone to bed late. It takes far too long to get back to sleep, then there's not enough sleep left. Strong coffee day today.

Couple that with finishing the patch job so that everyone in the building has ethernet + phone, then cataloging all the phone connections, what port they go into and out of, and the number and user and you've got a day that just won't end.

There's got to be a story in here somewhere, but I'm too weary to figure out what that would be.


Monday, 8 January 2007

It's Monday, and that means

No internet. Still. So much for the "oh, we'll have you up again in an hour or so" (that was Thursday), or "the servers will only be down for a brief moment while we switch them over" (that was Monday, I go in last night and only 2 out of the 6 servers will find the net).

So I'm in the law library at the moment killing time. I'd prefer to be garrotting the contractors with their own cat-6 cable, but I'm not sure if that would improve the service rate. Do you need to pay the undead overtime?


Saturday, 6 January 2007

Saturday night and I've just got paid

So I'm at home drinking JW and dry. What, isn't everyone else? Hello, is anyone there? Hello? Dang.


Friday, 5 January 2007

As it has been suggested...

Story no 3 will be "Liar". Kinda goes well with "Pants" and "Fire" (thanks Cav!)


Thursday, 4 January 2007

Someone broke the internet tubes

Otherwise known as "no work and no internet makes Johnny something something". We've has zero access at work all day today due to the recabling. Our patch panel is gutted, and blue cable is everywhere. So tonight at home is the first chance I've had all day to log on. I think I'm sufferring from withdrawal...

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Internet? What internet?

Our building at work is having it's network cable upgraded this week, so access as been sporadic around the building. Fortunately there are still a lot of people away on holidays so it isn't too much of a drama. Everything should be done by Monday next week, so it will be interesting to see if there is any great speed incresase.

Wrote a bit of crud today while my office was offline. Fairly crap, but at least it was something.

Checked at the gym - 81.5kg post-Christmas week off. Time to start working on another of those goals.


Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Day 2

I've got two entries ready for submission to Black Box once it opens, "pants" and "fire". I guess if the fiction is short, the titles should be as well. I'll have to see if I can come up with a couple of others as you can submit up to five.

I should probably also read more of the stuff that is published so I can gauge the level that I should be aiming for. There are some damn fine talents out there.


Monday, 1 January 2007

Here we go again.

Welcome, all, to 2007. We are back in very damp Armidale (drought? What drought?) after our sojourn in Toowoomba with the in-laws. It is much quieter here - that's what happens when you go from a household of 11 back to five (not counting pets in either case; that would make it 18 to 7).

I know many of you make new year's resolutions. So have I in the past, and if I've been lucky they've lasted a week. So I make no resolutions this year. Instead, I've set myself a number of targets I wish to achieve over the next twelve months. Some will be feasible, some wild flights of fancy, but in any case I will at least be able to say that I have attempted to achieve them. Failure in one instance is not failure, but just another reason to have another go.

That said, here are my projected targets for this year. More may be added later, some updated if achieved before Dec 31 2007.

1a. Write something each day. I'm pretty sure my mate Cav set himself a similar target last year, and made a pretty fair go of it. He won a number of awards for his short stories, and is constantly nagging me to get off my lazy behind and have a go. So here it is, target #1 for the year.

1b. Submit more flash fiction. The first one I submitted got published, so now I'm scared to break my streak :-). At least one that I entered into a comp lost, so I can only go up from there. And it was beaten by an absolute stunner by Cav.

1c. 1000-2000 word short stories. Time to get the brain working on something a little longer. I've got an attention span somewhere, but it wandered off and I've not seen it for a while. I'll hunt it down and put it back into it's cage.

2a. 3-dart average of 55. This is one of those I will break up into smaller targets, eg 45 by Feb, 50 by June, etc. I ended last year with an average of just under 40, which I was a bit disappointed by. My comp play was pretty ordinary too, so that's another target:

2b. Beat last year's placing in the darts comp. I placed 47th last year, with 10 tons, high peg of 61 and a max 3-dart score of 174. All of those figures are targets to beat. And, of course, that leads to:

2c. Throw a 180. Enough said.

3. Body weight of 85kg. Nope, I didn't eat too much over Christmas. I finished last year at around 82kg. So I want to add another 3kg to that. Being a tall, skinny sort who finds it very difficult to mass up, this will be hard, but achievable.

4. Guitar. I've got one of those things gathering dust in a corner. Time to get it out and practice. I used to be half decent, but that's a distant memory.

Hmm, that'll do for now. I'll keep you all posted, and you can all keep me honest here. Deal?

Happy new year.