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Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Rejection

"Silent Guns" was given the big thumbs down again. Looks like I might have to file that one under "good, but not good enough" and give something else a go.

Friday, 5 December 2008

The End

Often when I write I get a flash of how I want the story to end, the hard part being getting the characters to that point. It may be a sentence or a whole scene, but I know how I want to wrap things up.

This year's Nano was different. Right up to Nov 1 I had no real idea what story I was going to write, so it progressed a little slowly. I would get an idea, write it, then go "now what?" for the next day.

Yesterday I had a flash of exactly how I want to finish the novel. It even came as a couple of different scenes, as the end required a scene previous. Interestingly the final parts are based on something I had come up with about half way through the month, an almost throwaway scene to pad out the word count that will now turn out to be rather vital to the whole shebang. An interesting development.

Monday, 1 December 2008

The view from orbit

After a couple of languid nights of typing on the weekend I finished with a word count of 51,714. The official Nano count is probably a bit higher as when I submitted on Saturday it upped my word count from 50,025 to 50,076. But that's close enough for me.

It's been a fun month. I managed to stay ahead of the curve each day and only had a couple of really poor word counts that were nicely balanced by some big days. There's a novel buried somewhere amongst all that wordage, so I'll have to find it one of these days.

What I need to do the next time, or whenever I write again, is to try to find a less distracting place to type than the office or lounge room. Too many distractions like TV or the internet that really slow down the writing process. I had a couple of good writing days when I headed out of the office to a lab on campus and just sat and wrote. Definitely the way to go.

What next? Some short stories, I think, work a bit on this and last year's efforts, then plan out Nano09 with a target of 60k words. Only twelve months to go, after all...

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Liftoff, we have liftoff! T minus 2 days, -76 words

Yeehaw! Snuck over the line late Friday night and I have now officially won Nano 2008. I'll write a bit more in the next two days to give me a final total for the month somewhere around the 51.5k mark I'd say. There's still more to write and a huge amount of editing to go, but the main task is complete.

Friday, 28 November 2008

SRBs are go: T minus 3 days, 1819 words

Final checks have been completed, all lights in the green, ready to go for launch. Tonight we shall see victory!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Main engine ignition: T minus 4 days, 3712 words

So close I can almost smell it! With an official 4 days to go I should get over the 50k barrier on Friday night sometime. That'll give me the weekend to get well over the count so any discrepancies between the way MS Word and NanoWriMo count words will not have an effect on my victory status. Here's hoping!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The Final Countdown: 5 Days, T minus 5538 words

A bare minimum of writing done last night. I need to get some action happening soon to get the words flowing again. Right now I've got the MC in the bar (AGAIN! What's the story with all the booze?), the good guys en route and the bad guy(s) about to do the same. Let's see where they all end up.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The Final Countdown: 6 Days, T minus 7208 words

A quick 1680 words last night which is right on the average requirement per day. At this rate I'll reach the 50k barrier with a couple of days to spare and quite probably a fair bit of story left to go.

Of course, the question is what do do with it next. Should I attempt to edit it and make it (possibly) worth publication? That will wait for a month or so after November, just to give myself some breathing space. I've still got the 22k I did last year that needs to be finished somehow as well.

Monday, 24 November 2008

The Final Countdown: 7 Days, T minus 8888 words

With one week to go I've broken the 40k barrier. This morning I realised that with my current count of 41,112 words I am precisely 8,888 words from the finish line. A nice bit of symmetry there. So I'll switch to a countdown tally for the run to the end of the month.

We spent the weekend at Emerald Beach. Despite it being very windy the weather was lovely, 30 on Saturday and mid 20s on Sunday. Much better than Armidale where it almost snowed on the weekend.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Day 20: 36,886 words

I just scraped in above the daily count tonight. It was a tough one, words took a fair while to get going, but I managed. The next few days will be interesting.

More rain and storms! Just what I need when riding home on a bike.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Day 19: 35,158 words

A nearly 3k day, excellent!

Rain, rain rain this week. And we're off to the coast this weekend, here's hoping it clears up by then.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Day 18: 32,275 words

Reporters, you can't trust them. Particularly when you suspect they aren't really reporters. And when you are spot on in your suspicions. The plot thickens!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Day 17: 30,422

w00t, over the 60% mark! The story is progressing, more or less. Happy gangsters, unhappy directors of mysterious temporal agencies, and a MC who's decided he's tired of being clueless. Of course, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing...

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Day 16: 28,372 words

I did write yesterday, around 1500 words or so, but I just forgot to update the blogosphere. Today was a better word count, around 2200 or thereabouts, so the weekend total has been pretty decent. I'll check out the numbers tomorrow, but I should be closing in on being day ahead on the word count. I thought I was doing pretty well until I saw someone who yesterday had just over 600,000 words. That is not a typo, over half a million words in two weeks. Yikes.

Victory in the cricket this weekend, chasing down 196 in 40 overs we passed their score with 8 balls remaining. Great effort by all the lads this week. Second grade won as well, so a good weekend for the ACCC.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Day 14: 24,754 words

Not quite half way, but a good enough count for tonight. Things are mostly moving along ok, but I'm getting to some fairly important plot bits so I'm wondering where to go. Ah well, stick the characters in a situation and see where it takes them, I guess.

Caffeine withdrawal is unpleasant, I've discovered. I decided to skip caffeine drinks for a few days and I've been feeling seriously headachy and really tired. So I had a coffee today and felt much better. Might just try to stick to one a day for a bit, I think.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Day 13: 22,944

My first big milestone today - I passed last year's word count. Boy, was it hard too. I didn't get anything written during the day as work was flat out. So all today's words, all 1508 of them, came tonight. It's much easier when I get eke out 800 or so words during the day, but that really depends on how flat out we get. And today was one of those days.

Still, I'm ahead of the curve. With any luck tomorrow will see me over half way. We shall see!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Day 12: 21,436 words

Excellent, I'm over the 21k mark. Tomorrow should see me exceeding my word count from 2007, so it's uncharted territory from then on! Will our hero survive? With the time stream stay intact? Will we ever learn what his new, secret cocktail is? For the answer to this and many other disturbing questions, stay tuned tomorrow, same nano time, same nano channel!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Day 11: 19,369 words

Well on track and 1k ahead. Nice. Lots of exposition today, fairly crap, but that's the whole idea. Editing came come later, its raw words that count!

Monday, 10 November 2008

Day 10: 17,221 words

Ahh, much better, 2k words today. I'm going to need a few of those as we've got a weekend away coming up soon, so writing will be rather difficult. I need to get ahead of the curve as much as possible.

I've now finished shooting up the cafe and getting my MC off to hospital. Segue to the investigating officers getting a royal chewing out for completely screwing up the surveillance.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Day 9: 15,096 words

It's not as rewarding as growing a mo for Movember, but the word count is proceeding on track. I've just shot up a rather nice cafe but haven't injured the main character too much as yet. All this over a bar and a pocket watch. Sad, really.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Day 8: 13,592 words

Another day, a little below average on the word count, but my head is still above water. Tomorrow will tell.

I can probably blame it on officially advancing old age.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Day 7: 12,380 words

Not a great day for the word count, but I was already a bit ahead of the curve so I could afford it. With the weekend coming up there is a chance to really get some words down. We shall see.

Tomorrow is an auspicious day, I'll see how many of you can work out what that is.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Day 6: 11,011 words

A good day, which was surprising considering we were woken up twice by our youngest throwing up. That's never a particularly good start to the day.

So, the USA has its first black president. Here's hoping that he can do what he has promised in his speech at the end of the election night. I think he can; and the rest of the world seems to think so as well. We shall see.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Day 5: 8,571 words

A little slower today, getting a little bogged down. It's hard, as I often write without overly describing situations and people, probably a result of writing flash fiction. Now that I've got such a large number of words I'm forcing myself to be rather more descriptive, but I worry that it's at the expense of story. I'll just keep going, I think, it fills out the word count effectively and gives me thinking room to work out the plot a little more.

Time for a mysterious stranger and 1928 brandy.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Day 4: 7.018 words

Still ahead, wahoo! I've got the feeling I'll be looking up cocktail recipes and particle physics for this one, probably both at the same time. Anyone know how to mix a supernova?

Monday, 3 November 2008

Day 3: 5,664 words

Slow start, fast finish. It's amazing how helpful it is to get up and bake a Pavlova.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Day 2: 4,001 words

Things seem to be flowing pretty well today, I'm ahead of the curve for a change! Having the weekend to write has been helpful, so we'll see how it goes during a working week. Fingers crossed!

In other news we barely avoided an outright loss this weekend in the cricket. Having been bowled out for 122 in the first innings, Easts declared at 7/152 and sent us back in. We had a shocker, bowled out for 87, leaving them 10 overs to get 58 to win. We get down to the last ball where they need 3 to win but luckily they couldn't do it. Too close for comfort, that.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Day 1: 1,717 words

NanoWriMo is upon us again and I'm giving it another go. However, I've got no real plot ideas at all this time, so this could be a real struggle. So far I've got a bar and the owner's just been shot. We'll see where that leads.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Idiocy

For a change, not my idiocy either. Yesterday I went down to the bike shop to pick up some parts that had been on order for three weeks and that I had been assured would be in on Tuesday. So I go in and get told, "sorry, they're not here, we're having all sorts of problems with this supplier at the moment." I grit my teeth, but what can I do? Then he looks in the order book to discover a comment next to my order - NLA. No Longer Available. "I'm sorry, no one told me about this, blah blah blah". Crap. A simple bar mounted indicator is no longer available, and there is nothing similar in the book. Fortunately they hadn't thrown out the old one I had left there as a reference, so I grab it back, along with a second hand part that "might fit" (Yeah, right, no bloody chance, I tried it last night).

So I ask, how about the 6V bulb I ordered at the same time? Oh, good, it's arrived. He gets the box, opens it up and passes me one. WTF? This isn't what I wanted! They'd gotten in a bunch of indicator bulbs, when I wanted an instrument bulb. I even had the bloody busted one with me when I ordered it!

So that goes back on order, too. Crap.

To blow off a bit of steam I decided to take the bypass back to work, so I could have a nice little 100km/h (approximately :) ) run. Of course, I then get stuck behind an idiot who decides that 90km/h would be a nice speed, except when there is oncoming traffic which is when they slow down even more. Crap.

On the upside, I was able to glue the old indicator back together, scavenge a lens cover from an old rear indicator I had, and it all works. Three weeks wait for nothing.

At least it didn't cost me anything.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

A target on my head

I feel a little as if I was in the firing line today. I had to go out at 2pm - it started to storm and hail. Right at the end of the presentation I was at, just before we were due to leave, it started to storm and hail again. Luckily for me I was getting a lift there and back, rather than being on the bike. Of course, when I'm about to head home on said bike, what happens? Fine and sunny weather.

It's a mystery.

On an utterly unrelated note we won the first cricket match of the 2008/09 season on Saturday, with yours truly making 79no. Sweet.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Proof that it can be done!

A little while ago I told a few people that I had cleaned up the loungeroom at our place. Generally, this would not be seen as a major achievement, but when you have three children aged 8, 5 and 3 it becomes an almost Herculean project. Of course, these people then required proof of said cleanup, otherwise they would not believe it possible. So here it is, photographic evidence of the impossible - a tidy loungeroom!







Please note the distinct lack of toys scattered all over the floor. It can be done!

And now, for cuteness factor, our youngest helping out with the housework:


Friday, 10 October 2008

First sign of the Apocalypse

A bunch of women in my lounge room singing karaoke to Cold Chisel. Eep.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Minor miracle

Or perhaps the successful conclusion of a Herculean task, take your pick. Either way the lounge room is tidy! Anyone who knows the amount of mess three children under 10 can make in a day will understand the effort required to straighten up several weeks worth of clutter. Of course, now that we've added three more children for a couple of days will mean that the levels of tidy will take a severe beating, but for now it's a picture of domesticity.

I even took photos.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Friday is Friday

Today is a very Friday kind of Friday, too. If you don't know what that means, then you obviously don't work full time with a family as well. Or study full time with the same. Or both.

It's been a flat out week of software testing, running examples, collating results, running more examples, documenting and general tail-chasing. Madness. It seems we are pretty much at the end of it, though it would help if I had kicked over the right analysis last night. That wasted 15 hours of processor time quite nicely.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Heavy concrete is heavy

If you thought the weekend was for relaxing, maybe a leisurely bike ride or perhaps some armchair sports, then you would be wrong. Instead is was dumping several hundred kgs of concrete blocks onto a trailer, dumping them off again at the tip, and filling the hole left by them with multiple barrow loads of fresh concrete. Plus dumping some old railway sleepers, tree roots and branches, tidying the yard, cleaning the car and eventually collapsing to watch the start of the L&H 500. Oh, and there was a soccer presentation evening thrown into the middle of that as well.

So what did everyone else get up to on the weekend?

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

The Box has Arrived

The "Black Box" to be precise, a multimedia horror anthology from Brimstone Press. It contains, among other things, my short story called "Pants". The cds only arrived in the mail today, so I'll check them out and give a report later.

I'm also working on a short story for an American competition on the theme of "election horror". I think it's a bit hackneyed at the moment, so I need to work on that.

Damn but I hate using this keyboard.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

General Ramblings

I've spent the day today at home, or at least not at work, as members of the family have been down with a stomach bug. It's been nice in a way, as I've been able to watch swimming lessons that I normally can't, as well as pottering about the house and even making dinner. It's enough to make me think that working from home wouldn't be so bad, though I'm sure a certain tech reviewer would be able to put me straight on that point fairly quickly. It's nice for a change, at any rate.

For those who are curious I'm writing this with a cat on my lap and using perhaps the worst keyboard I've ever had. That's entirely my fault on both counts, as I encouraged the cat to sit and also used my own money to buy this particular cordless keyboard and mouse. It combines what you could consider the worst of two evils - cheap and M$. The mouse chews through batteries at a tremendous rate and the action on the keys is abysmal. They feel as though they want to catch each time I press them, and I've had this keyboard for over 12 months. I think they will wear out before they wear in, if you catch my drift.

I'm working on a short story, and again it has a horror theme. I find it curious that all my published and submitted work has been of a dark bent, when I've never been a fan of the horror genre. I've always been a sci-fi and fantasy person, yet find myself writing about zombies, serial killers and presidents who make deals with demons. The last one is the my current focus and I plan to submit it to a group that is running a competition with the theme "Election Horror". Fun times.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Royal Rumble

Today's matchup is between VAX/VMS and the upstart challenger tag team, Intel/F77 and Intel/F90. Though in reality it's more of a three way battle, as F77 and F90 can never agree and just go for the chairs from the outset. VMS just sits back on the ropes and laughs, dreaming of better days when it'd go toe-to-toe with Andre the Giant and a good deal less baby oil and hair tonic.

The battle is all about precision and accuracy, with a good deal of speed and agility (F77/90) vs outright brute force and bulk (VMS). I know who I want to win, and who should win, but I'm not the one who is writing the script. Heel or Hero, stay tuned for the next exciting episode!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Blergh...

Zombie day today. My brain refuses to fire up, even with a hearty injection of coffee and Mint Slice biscuits. I think I need to put my Zombie Dave t-shirt on, just to fill the mood out nicely.

We lost darts last night 5-6. I threw abysmally, so it was fortunate that my teammates were on song. Andrew threw 7 tons for the night, including a 110 peg out, while Dave threw 6 with a 180. There are two weeks left before the semis, so I'm going to have to practice like crazy to get back into form.

Only one week of soccer left, and that's in Gurya.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

I'm back, and in one piece! Shame about the bike.

Greetings, programs, I have returned, after spending two days bashing around the bush out the back of Coffs and then a day at home recovering and cleaning up. The only "injury" as such was a pair of very fatigued and sore forearms, thus grip strength was totally gone. Good thing I didn't have to open any jars yesterday or I'd have had to head to the shed for a few tools to help me out.

The ride itself was phenominal, though the original route turned out to be way, way beyond the abilities of Joerg and myself. Although we'd made it clear when we booked the ride that we were pretty green at off-road stuff, the trip itself was through some of the steepest and toughest terrain you can find. Fortunately the blokes who ran the tour worked that out pretty quickly, so we got a guide through some of the easier, but still very pretty areas around the route that the main group slogged through.

The only downers were mechanical. I cracked the crankcase in the first hour of the first day, as well as smashing an indicator, speedo housing and ingition barrel, all in one go. Luckily the crack wasn't bad enough to end my ride then and there, but I did have to keep topping the poor XT up with oil.

The other blokes, all experienced riders, were a great bunch. Even though we were utter riding gumbies they were supporting and welcoming, all just happy to be out and riding through the country. A great bunch of blokes. The only downer for them came right at the start of Sunday when one guy came off and broke his collarbone. We were in the support car at the time, so had to double back to Taylor's Arm to pick him and his bike up and get him to Bowarville so he could get transported to hospital.

That was it for injuries. No other breakdowns so everyone got back to the starting point at the farm, exhausted, dirty, but with the biggest grins you've ever seen. A few beers were shared then all departed, keen for a shower, a sleep, and most probably another go next year.

Friday, 15 August 2008

(off)road trip!

Tonight a mate and I are heading off to Sawtell to spend the weekend out the back of beyond (well, not quite, Bellingen/Taylor's Arm/Sawtell) on trail bikes with a group called Coffs Coast Trailbike Tours. Should be a blast, around a dozen guys riding around some really nice coastal forest regions. My poor old XT will feel a bit out of it, next to a whole lot of more dedicated trail bikes, but I'm sure we'll both survive.

Stay tuned for some ride reports next week!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Submission #3: Borderlands

I've sent Silent Guns over to Borderlands - fingers crossed!

Monday, 11 August 2008

Strike Two

No joy for "Silent Guns" at Aberrant Dreams. I'll have to try somewhere else.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Three Years Already

Woah. Time so flies.

Happy Birthday Phoebe.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Butter fingered Friday

Apart from my coding work and general PC maintenance in our department, I also get asked to perform the odd technical job on non-computer related items. This has included such things as cleaning and stocking our coffee machine and removing recalcitrant staples from our oversized booklet type stapler. Nothing too dramatic usually, but enough to break the monotony from time to time.

Today was a bit different. To set the scene, on Friday's we have morning tea at 11am in our department. A different person is rostered on each week, which means that your turn comes around every six or seven months. We get a fair few overseas postgrads and staff, so from time to time we get to sample a variety of their local specialities. Any leftovers are generally left in the kitchenette for people to snack on during the rest of the day.

So around 3:30 or so rolls around. I'm in my office, which is quite close to said kitchenette, which is also right next to our shared department fax machine, MFD, pidgeonholes, etc area. So I'm contemplating an afternoon coffee to help the coding move along a bit better when I hear a commotion in the shared office area. And then the dreaded phrase - "Christian, can you come and give us a hand?"

Now, most of the people in our department are fairly computer literate, and tend to be able to find the "any" key all by themselves. So if I'm getting called over to the machines there is usually a pretty good reason. I wander out of my office to see our AA and a postgrad clustered around our shredding machine, poking at it with, of all things, tweezers. The look at me and say,

"Can you help? We've dropped a knife into the shredder."

I look in, and sure enough, nestled up against the interlocking teeth of the shredder, is a butter knife, complete with bits of cheese on the blade. It appears the postgrad had been cutting some cheese that was left over from the morning and had been left on the desk near the shredder, only to have the knife slip and fall neatly into the shredder's waiting mouth.

Luckily a couple of minutes of tweezer work got it out. It was a tight squeeze as the slot was only designed to take a few sheets at a time, and certainly wasn't wide enough to get a set of fingers in there. Probably a safety feature that.

I chuckled after getting it out and went back to coding. I even managed to get my coffee.

Monday, 21 July 2008

A busy weekend

A busy weekend, and there wasn't even any sport involved. Our soccer game on Saturday was deferred, so it turned into housework/gardening day. The poor washing machine didn't know what hit it (again) and I got stuck into tearing out the last of the ivy and a reasonably large bush from our back garden. It wasn't helped by the 100's of rocks that the previous owners had decided would be perfect as a base for the garden. Every swing of the mattock was accompanied with a "crack" as the head make contact with Yet Another Bloody Rock (YABR(tm)). After much cajoling, cursing, digging, cutting and back-breaking heaving, the bugger of a thing is out. If I get keen I'll upload a couple of pics.

Sunday was more cleaning and tidying, as well as a bbq for Marcus' soccer team. Well, it would have been a bbq if the Sports Union had bothered to make sure the bbqs had any gas in them. It was a good thing everyone brought salads as well.

The evening's ironing was accompanied by part of The Great Race, from the bar fight to the Prince switch in Potsdorf. If you have no idea what I mean, go hire it. Two and a half hours of brilliance. Particularly the pie fight.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Back in town

We're back from our sojourn in Toowoomba for the last week. I spent a fair bit of time playing PGR3 on the XBox 360, getting through the game on medium. It's alright, though pretty repetitive after a while. I think I got through 90% of the game with the first car I purchased, which turned out to be just about the perfect balance of speed and handling.

Back at work and of course there is a mountain of work. I guess that happens when the two main coders are away for the same week. Fortunately no servers blew up while we were away.

Soccer training tonight was a bit light on for numbers. It probably doesn't help that 4 out of the 5 mens teams are lurking at the bottom of their respective tables, but it would help if people showed up. We had 10 out of the local 1st through 3rd grades, and three of those were juniors. Hopefully Thursday will be better.

Hmm, that's about it so far. No more words of literary genius have as yet appeared, but I'm sure some will wander out in the not too distant future.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

HOW many books?!

On holidays at the moment I've spent some time wandering through a few bookshops, searching for presents and the odd bargain. Something has come to my attention that, at first instance, is blindingly obvious, and later is both daunting and encouraging - there are a huge number of books out there.

Obvious, isn't it? Shelves upon shelves of books, in some shops as far as the eye can see. Millions of words, millions of pages, tonnes and tonnes of paper, ink and cardboard. More importantly, thousands and thousands of authors. So how on earth is someone supposed to break into such a market with something that will stand out from the crowd of books already out there? It's an almost deafening cacophany of authors clamoring for our limited attention at any moment, demanding, pleading and cajoling us to buy their masterpiece and spend time, curled up in a comfortable chair near a fire and become lost in a strange new world, or even a twist in our own, and then (this is the hard bit) want to go out and buy another. How does one shoulder their way into such a world with our own literary creation, like the small boy at the back of the crowded milk bar, jumping up and down to try to get the attention of the attendants far above their heads?

Of course, that which is daunting is also encouraging. With all those words out there, as anyone who has a passing interest at reading beyond what was required for school, there is some true dross amongst the jewels, which has also made its way onto the shelves. For every Lord of the Rings there's a poorly written, poorly scripted piece of near plagiarism that somehow snuck past the editing phase and made it to the printers and binders.

So here's my thought on this subject: yes, it's darn terrifying at the prospect of trying to muscle in on those who are already takng up valuble space on the shelves. But if I, or any other author, allow the fear of failure to overwhelm the desire to write something meaningful then nothing will ever come of our vague or perhaps burning desire to transport our readers to some strange, new world, or to delve into the darkest recesses of their psyche, to wring them out and leave them drained, wishing for an end to the saga and at the same time that the saga would never end. We would then, at the end of our lives, ask ourselves, what if I had written that novel I once wrote that outline for? And in so asking, we'd regret that we hadn't taking that risk, hadn't opened ourselves up to the chance of failure and humiliation, but also for the chance of achievement, fulfilment and the chance of seeing our own work on a shelf somewhere, surrounded by millions of other words and saying "here I am - read me if you dare."

Sunday, 29 June 2008

A much needed two week break.

Not from work, though I will be taking a week off during the school holidays. No, the two weeks refers to a break in the soccer season for school and uni holidays. As we have managed to win only one out of eight games, and have been comprehensively flogged in the other seven, a short break could do wonders. Of course, if we took more than just six fresh players into each game that would also help.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Is it irony or just plain rediculous?

The question in the post's title pertains to the fact that to close the size zippers on my $300 motorcycle boots I need to employ two paperclips. The zipper tags on both boots have now broken off, necessitating a somewhat ad-hoc closure method.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Fuel issues

Distance travelled: 275km.
Fuel added: 18.36L
Tank capacity (from manual) : 19L

Hmm, perhaps that was running it a little close for comfort.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Do it today!

Today is Firefox 3 download day. The plan is to set a world record for the most downloaded piece of software in a 24-hour period. If you haven't already tried it, give it a go. Fast, small and customisable, it has been my browser of choice for a few years now.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Again and again

I've resent my zombie story to Aberrant Dreams. I'll try a few markets with it but if it doesn't fly I'll file it in the "not good enough yet" bin and try something else.

The XT is back and running at last. Manifold replaced, new chain on, values adjusted and carby cleaned. Now I just have to fix up the electricals and run it in again before rego and the Coffs ride in August.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

plusses and minuses

I phoned Super-Moto today. Apparently the XT has a stuffed inlet manifold which was making it run way too lean. They've ordered one and it should be here in a day or so. With a bit of luck that will solve the starting (or non-starting) issues.

I also got an email from Midnight Echo, rejecting my zombie story. I'll have to go hunting for another market for it now. They couldn't give any feedback which was a little disappointing.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Antici....pation

With any luck I'll hear from SuperMoto regarding the XT. HOPEFULLY it was just a timing issue and the beast will be ready this afternoon. Fingers and toes crossed!

Monday, 2 June 2008

Who said motorbikes were dangerous?

Pushbikes are far, far worse. I was having problems getting the rebuilt XT started (another story for another time) so I rang Ashley, who helped me get it on the road 4 years ago when I bought it. He couldn't help this time, so we were chatting in general when he mentioned he was off work at the moment. Holidays, I asked.

No, he replied, I'm at home with a broken shoulder *and* hip. He came off his pushbike a month ago, and is looking at another two months before he can put any weight on the hip.

Ouch. Ouch ouch ouch.

I Am Legend

Not personally, but the movie, we watched it last night. I will point out that I have not seen Omega Man so had no idea of the ending of the movie. All said I was very impressed. It was shorter than I had expected, particularly as it spent a good hour or so on Will Smith's character's lone survival as well as the flashbacks. I thought he portrayed the loneliness of knowing that he was the last person alive on earth who wasn't infected brilliantly.

Oh, and we saw Iron Man last week. Complete kick-arse briliance. Loved it.

Hopefully I'll catch Indy 4 this week. Ang has seen it and thought it was great.

Friday, 30 May 2008

FireFox 3 is coming!

Click the link on the right to check out the approach to Download Day 2008 for FireFox 3!

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Progress of a sort

The engine for the XT comes back on the weekend so I've been trying to get a few more things done on the bike before then. The new front guard is on and the rear one is partly fitted. I need to make up a few spacers for it and perhaps source a new rear light and indicators. I might just refit the old rear guard and lights in the interim.

Last night I removed the rear wheel, chain and rear sprockets. That's a messy job, especially the chain. Lots of road grime and grease. The plan is to hit the rear wheel with some degreaser tonight and hopefully the frame on Friday. Then I can refit the new sprocket, add the chain and get it ready for the engine to go in Saturday morning. Fingers crossed that it kicks over without thumping the piston into the valves!

I also cleaned the air filter, discovering something in the process - kerosene loves to eat latex gloves.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Hollywood to Bollywood

Saturday night was the Young Life Dinner, this year with a "Hollywood to Bollywood" theme. One could dress up as an appropriate character from either side of world moving making, or just look like you'd stepped out of the Night of Nights for the respective industries. We were on a "Hollywood" table, so I broke out my bridesmaid's tuxedo (if you are really good I'll tell you the story about that one). There were around 200 people who had come along for what was a very fun night. There was a silent auction, balloon raffle, a skit that required much audience participation and some very fine food.

It was all to raise funds and awareness for Young Life Australia, so if you get the chance check them out. They do a lot of great work with the youth in the community.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Double Ouch

Ouch #1: Losing (surprise surprise) 8-2 to the UNE team on the weekend.

Ouch #2: Twinging a hamstring 10 minutes before full time in said game.

Hopefully it won't be too bad and I'll still play next weekend. Old bones and muscle doesn't heal as quickly as it used to.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Verve

Check out the new link on the left, called VerveEarth. It attempts to map out blogs across the world. Pretty cool!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Precious snowflakes

No, not overprotected, over pampered, snotty nosed brats, but the real stuff, falling from the sky. This was last night, somewhere around 9pm or so. We rarely get proper snow here, usually a bit of sleet or flakes that melt as soon as they land, but last night it settled. Unfortunately by morning it was gone. But we had real snow!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Victory!

We won our first soccer game this weekend. After being flogged 7-0 and 10-0 we turned it around with a 3-1 win over DK. It was even sweeter as we had gone behind by a goal fairly early, but turned it around to take the points. Very sweet indeed.

Unfortunately our NPL teams were pasted again, and are now our only senior teams without a win.

Friday, 16 May 2008

The worst timing

Picture this, if you dare. I'm in the shower (told you. only if you dare!) and after the obligatory washing of the body, decided that it was time to shave. This doesn't happen every day, so it's always a special event. There's no fanfare or marching bands, but hey, this is my story and I'm sticking to it. Anyway, I grab the shaving cream, spray a liberal amount onto my right hand then reach out of the shower to grab a mirror.

This mirror has been in the house for years. It's about 15cm on each side and double-sided, with one an ordinary mirror and the other a magnifying one. It's an old makeup mirror of Ang's, but doubles very nicely for me as a shower shaving mirror.

So I reach out with my left hand, grab the mirror of the sink, then swing back around to put it under the flow of the water to rinse off the inevitable condensation so I have some view of what I'm about to do. Note that at no time during this maneouvre do I make contact between the mirror and any other hard surface.

So I swing around and stop. Unfortunately, half of one side of the mirror fails to follow suit and instead flies out of the mirror's frame and impacts on the wall of the shower, shattering into many little pieces that litter the base of the shower.

So we have this situation.

1) My right hand is holding shaving cream.
2) My left hand is holding 3/4 of a mirror
3) The base of the shower is now liberally covered with shards of said 1/4 mirror. Razor sharp, wet, slippery shards.

and more importantly

4) I am in the shower, wet, naked and NOT WEARING MY GLASSES.

I am incredibly short sighted. I know there is glass on the floor, I can see bits of it and I know shards are near my feet, but I can't see them. I can't move, I can't see properly, and both hands are full.

Fortunately I hear voices in the bedroom so I send a plaintive SOS for my wife to give me a my glasses so I can get out without lacerating my feet, Die Hard style. A few careful steps later and I'm out, dried, dressed and most importantly am wearing footwear. I clean up the broken glass, toss out the bits, then, rather carefully, shave in front of the bathroom mirror.

So how is *your* Friday night progressing?

Monday, 12 May 2008

Old and new

Most of those who read this would know that for the last 4 years or so I've been running around town on this:



It's a 1988 Yamaha XT250 which has been the subject of previous reposts regarding the engine rebuild. If you want to see pics of the rebuild in progress, click here.

Of course, having the engine in bits and out of town has made it a tad difficult to ride around. So it's a bit lucky that just before the rebuild this appeared in the garage:



It's a 1988/89 Honda VFR 750F. For its age it's in very good condition and had only 32,000km on the clock. For a few more pics, some very cute, have a look at this link.

Of course the new bike needs a name. I'm open to suggestions, though "Patrick" has already been suggested and declined. The winning entry, if there is one, will receive permanent notoriety and publicity in the form of recognition in this blog.

10-0

That's not a scoreline you like to see in a soccer game, particularly when you are on the "0" side of the ledger. Unfortunately that's what happened to us in Glen Innes on the weekend. It wasn't helped that we started the game with only six fresh players (the others having already played in 2nd grade) and we finished the game with seven on the field thanks to injuries. And three of those still on the field could barely move.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

A new submission

I've submitted my zombie story to Midnight Echo, a new publication from the Australian Horror Writers Association. It seems kinda odd that everything I've had published so far (mind you, that's only two things so far) has been in the horror genre, one that I've never been interested in previously, nor read very much. Bizzare.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Darts!

Hey, we finally won a night of darts! Sweet.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Weekend follies

Last weekend saw the first round of the local soccer competition. This year both Marcus and Heather are playing - Marcus in the under 10s and Heather in the under 7s. It's her first year playing and she looked cute as in her new uniform. This year the youngest division are playing a modified version called small-sided soccer, where there are only five on the field, no goalkeepers and quite small goals. No official scores are kept as they are just being introduced to the game.

I played senior soccer in the afternoon and for the first time in years played as an outfielder. Usually I've been in goals, but the club has gained a few new keepers that they want to give some extra exposure, so I got a run at left back. The only problem with that was we were playing TAS, so I had to chase after a bunch of 15-17 year olds all day. As they won 7-0 you can imagine that I had a pretty busy day.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Update tp an update

This is something different. Not only a post, not only an update, but an update of a previous post/update! With any luck there will be some original, up-to-date content here some time in the next month or so.

It seems that the dreaded piston-slap may just be a case of the timing being slightly out, in this case by one link on the timing chain. So some time in the next few weeks then engine will make a reappearance in the vicinity of the frame so we can test it again. Fingers crossed for the future.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Update #5

Saturday we were off to a wedding! Pam and Michael finally decided to tie the knot so it was off to the TAS chapel for a Saturday afternoon service then Lisbeth's for dinner. The minister who married them used to be the minister at my church in Tamworth, before he moved on and then retired to Armidale. Strange coincidences indeed!

The munchkins looked very cute, with Phoebe in a cute pink dress, Heather in a green one that Ellen, Ang's sister, had made and Marcus in a suit jacket and tie. Photos will follow at some point!

Update #4

Friday was Anzac day, so most of the shops were closed. Joerg phoned a friend of his in Brisbane and described our dilemma and his response was "did you check the timing? (Yes) Hmm, sounds like piston slap, you need a rebore and an oversized piston."

So we pulled the engine out yet again, though in considerably less time than the first and loaded it into a recycling tub for the trip to Inverell, where it will get pulled down, rebored, fitted with an oversize piston, reassembled, and hopefully it will fire up without horrible clunking sounds.

Update #3

Wednesday through Saturday morning of last week saw myself and Joerg stripping the engine out of my XT250 in preparation for a top-end rebuild. I doubt that it had been pulled down in the last 20 years of its life so I wasn't sure what to expect when we got the head off. What we did end up with was about 2-3mm of carbon on the head of the piston and a set of valves that were also encrusted with gunk and not sealing properly. No wonder it always seemed a bit gutless. The head was sent of to the engineers late Wednesday to get cleaned up and I got to clean the gunk off the piston head.

By late Thursday we had it all back, new rings installed and ready to bolt back together. I tell you what, they don't miss you in the wallet when it comes to new rings. Seventy odd dollars for a few rings of metal, crikey!

The second minor complication was that while the compliance plate on the frame said the bike is a 1988 model, the engine is a 1989 one. That became painfully obvious when we found that there was no way that the base gasket from a 1988 would fit the 1989 motor. We managed to fix that by buying some gasket paper and making one ourselves.

The third problem surfaced at 4:50pm on Thursday. Note that the bike shop closes at 5:00pm and Friday was a public holiday. We found that the tappet adjusters were completely loose, and we had no feeler gauges or any idea what the gap should be. A panicked trip to Supermoto fixed that one up nicely.

So just on dark we had everything back in, hooked up and ready to fire. And fire she did! Except with a very nasty thump!thump!thump! sound each cycle.

Crap.

Timing was rechecked and double checked, and it was fine. We gave up for the night and decided to "phone a friend in the morning".

EDIT: Apart from all the gunk inside the engine, there was a LOT of oil/grease/dust/dirt mix on the outside as well. I think I've only about now gotten all of it off my hands.

Update #2

Tuesday the 22nd was the first day of my holidays, so of course on the Monday a hard drive in one of the machines at work decided to suicide, taking some non-backed up SQL database stuff with it. At least the lack of backups wasn't my fault, but it was rather irritating nonetheless. A new drive was ordered and arrived, but I've not had the time, or a whole lot of desire, to spend a couple of hours of my holiday time installing it. It can wait until Friday 2nd when I get back to work.

Update #1

The game against OVA didn't go so well, though I was watching virtually all of it from the sidelines. We've got a few new goalkeepers this year and as I missed most of the preseason training it was decided to give them a run. So I watched all but the last 15 mins of the game from the sideline, at which time I was sent on as sweeper. In the end we lost 5-0 again.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Crikey!

Once again it has been quite a while since I've updated. I've not dropped off the face of the earth, just once again too busy/pre-occupied/tired/away/lazy (delete where appropriate) to add anything of import. There has been a few fun developments over the last few weeks, and I'll try to detail them in the next day or so.

If I get really organised I'll upload a whole mess of photos to flikr and post a few links and thumbnails.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Absence makes me forget what I did two weeks ago

Yeah, it's been about that long. Obviously I have such an exciting and celebrity filled life that I have no time for the mundane, such as cold toast or, heaven forbid, blogging. So after my most recent sojourn in the Swiss Alps, I figured it was time to update.

Our first soccer match was two weeks ago. We played pretty well for 85 minutes, unfortunately the 5 in which we didn't play so well saw Souths put three goals past me. Still, with a very new look team I had hopes for the season.

That kinda lasted until yesterday (Tuesday) when I saw the last weekend's results (we were away in Qld, so I missed the match). 0-5 against Norths, ouch. Apparently there wasn't a whole lot of communication going on, and against a well-drilled team like Norths that can be fatal. This week we've got OVA, and I'm back, so we'll see how things progress.

The next big bit of news will have to wait until I get some photos done. Stay tuned...

Thursday, 3 April 2008

You know it's going to be a good day when...

you go to open the curtains in your office and the entire curtain rail falls crashing to the floor. Fortunately it missed the computer entirely. At least the view out my window is fairly nice.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Rejected

My short story didn't make it past the second reading for ASIM. Ah well, time to try again! Zombies this time.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Happy campers

Marcus and I spent the weekend at West Kunderang with a whole group of other men from Chapel at our Men's Camp. It took a while to get there - 105km that took three hours. The last 45km took 2 as it was all dirt and pretty steep, and we were in a minibus with four others and all our gear. The amount of gear you need for a weekend camp is pretty impressive, really.

Friday night we arrived, set up tents, had dinner, etc. Saturday morning dawned a bit foggy which made for some spectacular views as the mists lifted from the hills around us. We spent a fair bit of the day on the river in canoes, paddling around the beautifully warm river. Gorgeous scenery. We only capsized once when a section of rapids pushed us into some overhanging trees.

We had a brief dedication around the camp fire that night. It was really cold overnight as the cloud cover from the previous day had disappeared entirely. The next day we spent eating, playing some cricket, bush walking and packing up for the trip home.

An excellent trip, everyone had a great time.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Wireless. Who says it's better?

My wireless keyboard died of a sudden today. No battery warning, nothing, just a sudden lack of function. Strangely enough the "connect" button still works, causing the receiver to flash its lights appropriately, but none of the keys will work. At least the mouse is still fine.

Of course, I then had to hunt around for an old, non-wired keyboard. Then discovered that if I disconnect the wireless keyboard plug from my KVM switch, the new keyboard will work, but the mouse won't. So I need to unplug the receiver from the KVM, reattach it directly to the computer, and then the mouse works. Interestingly I've still got the monitor and the old keyboard plugged into the KVM and they are fine. So if I want to switch to any other machines (none connected at the moment, but you never know) I'll need to add a mouse to them to get that to work.

Weird.

Monday, 24 March 2008

There and back again, part 5

Monday, and time to head home. We had a relaxed morning at the Cav's and while we planned on getting away a bit earlier, it was 4pm before we hit the road. It didn't help that I missed the exit on the M2 and so added about 25 mins to the trip, but we got back around 11pm.

It was a long and busy weekend, but worth it.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

There and back again, part 4

Church in the morning, and again John Chapman was speaking. Brilliant man.

We planned to head to the Sydney Aquarium after the service, but what with getting home, feeding the kids and getting organised it was 2:30 before we left the house. 5 minutes later we were back, needing to pick up an additional pram for the little ones. So it was nearly 4 o'clock before we got to Darling Harbour.

The kids, all of them, had a ball. You could see their faces light up each time they moved to a different tank or display. The "Nemo" and "Dory" fish were a hit, as were the seals. We missed the petting tank time, but I don't think they minded too much.

The big hit, though, was the sharks. There were several different kinds, along with rays, turtles and other fish, in a large tank, and you could walk through an underwater tunnel and watch them swim over and around you. The munchkins were fascinated by all of them, and not scared at all. Brilliant.

We grabbed a late dinner then drove back. When we pulled in I turned around to see all five of the kids in our car fast asleep. It looked very cute.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

There and back again, part 3

Saturday saw the ladies heading off to a baby shower lunch, so Cav and I had five kids to keep occupied. Yikes! After lunch we headed into town to watch "Horton Hears A Who" which all but on of them really enjoyed. Cav's second-youngest got a bit scared so he spent the last hour of the movie outside the theatre. Fortunately the other munckins were fine.

Saturday evening we all went out for Ness's birthday dinner. The club we were at had a fenced in playground outside, with plenty of seating nearby so parents (ie us) could enjoy dinner and keep an eye on the littlies. The food was pretty good, nothing too flash, but edible.

Friday, 21 March 2008

There and back again, part 2

This morning was Jonothan's dedication, at MBM ministries in Rooty Hill. As luck would have it, John Chapman was speaking at the Easter services as well, so it was a doubly special event. Look him up if you can, he's well worth listening to.

Afterwards it was back to Cav's places for a big lunch party. There were kids *everywhere* - if anyone tells you we have a fertility problem in the country, tell them to check out the local churches.

After lots of food, lots of fun, we collapsed early. Great times!

There and back again, part 1

Thursday night saw us heading to the Big Smoke (aka Sydney) for the Easter weekend. Cav's youngest, Jonothan, was being dedicated Friday, so we hit the road. We also hit a bird early on in the trip, making the second feathered beastie I've run into in the last 5 months. To put it into perspective, I think I hit maybe 1 bird in the entire 9 years that we had our previous car. Perhaps they are attracted to the colour of the new one?

We got in, eventually, just after midnight, after playing "avoid the M7 e-tag tollway" as much as possible.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Monday, 17 March 2008

Mighty Morphin Refridgerators

Or should that be "By the power of WhiteGoods!", or even "go ahead, make my milk cold." In any case our old faithful, older-than-I-can-remember (I bought it second-hand at least 10 years ago) fridge has undergone a radical transformation and volumetric expansion. It's probably about time, considering the amount of food that 3 kids get through on a regular basis.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Getting there slowly

My story "Movies 2107" has gotten past the first stage of review for ASIM. It might take a couple of weeks to get through to the next level, which is where an editor of the mag takes a look. At that point they hang on to it for three months, after which they either use it or release it back to the author. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Now, where did I put that cheque?

Two weeks ago we had a do-or-die cricket match on our hands. To make the semis we either had to beat the competition leaders Hillgrove outright and have Easts beat Ex-Services, or we had to win on first innings against said competition leaders and hope that Eats could beat Ex-Services outright. The first option would have had us in a clear third place while the second would have seen us tied on points with Ex-Services, but with a better net run rate. Are you all still with me? Good.

Saturday sees Hillgrove batting first and making 220, with us 2-10 at stumps. Not a good position, as we'd only made more that 200 once before during the whole season. We hear that Easts had bowled Ex-Services out for around 56 and were 2-120 in reply. I figured that while there was an outside chance of Easts winning outright, our chances of making said 220 were slim at best.

Sunday afternoon rolls around and we are soon 4-37. Not good at all. The afternoon rolls on and we slowly compile some runs, with the lads putting on 99 for the next wicket to leave us at 5-136. We hear that Easts decleared at 240 or so and have Ex-Services 8-60.

We finish Sunday on 7-222, with Christian West making 97. Then we hear that Easts finished the rout of Ex-Services. You beauty, we're in!

Not quite.

It turns out that our club has failed to pay our association fees in time, and so are automatically ineligible for the finals. We're out and Ex-Services are in.

Bummer. We appealed, but didn't really have any grounds as a team was excluded last year from the finals in exactly the same way. Unfortunate, but that will perhaps ensure that the executive pulls their fingers out next season and gets themselves a bit better organised.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

It's been a while...

Marcus and I went down to the bike path today so he could ride a bit more. At his urging I brought along my rollerblades as my bike has two perished and flat tyres. Now, it's probably been somewhere between five and eight years since I've worn them, so I was a little perturbed at the idea. I like the skin on my hands and elbows to say right where they are, thank you very much.

In the end I failed to fall over, which I regard as a major achievement. I wasn't going terribly fast mind you, but got the hang of it again eventually.

After a bit we were going to head home when one of his mates from school came down, along with his dad and brothers, to ride and play some cricket. So we hung around for a bit longer.

Good times.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Ow

So I'm cruising along on my bike, it's a nice Saturday afternoon and not much traffic around. Suddenly I run into a bug. Since I'm wearing a full face helmet and riding jacket, guess where it impacts? Yup, on the right side of my neck, the only exposed chunk of skin between my helmet and boots. For a half second I think "that'd be right,". After the half second I'm thinking "OW OW! OW! OW! OW!"

I jam on the brakes a little hard, pitch forward a bit, release them then steer to the gutter as quick as possible. At this point my neck is fair burning. It seems that I've run into a wasp or similar, as it bloody hurts and I later see a couple of puncture marks, rather than the solitary one you'd find from a bee.

Fortunately I seem to have brushed the bugger off so it hasn't wandered down my jacket to do more damage.

I get myself composed after a minute or so and continue on, grateful that I'm not allergic to insect bites.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

It's not that small a target

I really do wish the gentlemen in our department would learn to aim a bit better.

Friday, 29 February 2008

A community service announcement

WARNING: potentially offensive material below.

Dear madam,

If your hips are wider than your shoulders; if your arse looks like you've stuffed two partially inflated soccer balls down the back of your pants; if your thighs look like their circumference is greater than that of my waist; and if you are about 5'3'', may I suggest that a radical change of lifestyle, particularly diet, may well be in order?

Whinge to me all you like about metabolism, psychological makeup, hormone imbalances, etc. In the end make a bloody effort.

Here endeth the rant for today.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Strangely dry

The rain stopped eventually, before all of the bridges in town could be flooded out. It made traffic interesting for a day or so, I can tell you.

There's not a whole lot happening here at the moment, as can be inferred from the lack of updates to this blog. Uni has started again, so the campus is again awash with students. It is interesting to see the latest, or mostly latest, fashion trend - thongs. Or flip-flops, I suppose they are called, but as a child of the seventies, to me they are always going to be thongs. An interesting sight the other day was an Asian student, fairly well dressed in pants, shirt and jacket, wearing thongs. The mind boggled.

A friend is busily trying to get through the 120 hours of L-plate driving as fast as possible. I've been co-piloting a bit, and I think certain other drivers try to target L-platers just to give the co-drivers a heart attack. The number of cars that have tried to pull out of parks and driveways recently into our path has been quite incredible. Fortunately her reflexes and driving skills are coming along quite nicely and she has spotted them well before they have spotted us. Full marks on that portion of the driving abilities chart, methinks.

And today we had to give way to both a police van (ahead of us on a roundabout) and an ambulance (behind us but closing fast), both with full lights and sirens going. Much excitement for all.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

PROOF!

For those who did not believe me, here are some photos of the UNE sporting fields.



Water water everywhere

The Consett Davis sports fields here at UNE are currently under about 2 feet of water. Whoa.

Whoa

This week marks the start of Heather's *second* week at Kindergarten. Where on earth have the last five years gone?

She does look super-cute in her new uniform. I'll link up some pics later.

Monday, 11 February 2008

18 Years ago

Otherwise known as a half of a lifetime ago, I arrived at UNE to the hustle and bussle of O-Week. Now it's on again and I'm still here, and still a student. Though I have managed to graduate, get a job and have a family in the meantime.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Black Box

So close, so very close

The Pats went down 14-17 to the Giants. The Giants scored the winning TD with a minute left in the 4th quarter and the Pats couldn't advance the ball from their own end in the last minute. So there goes the perfect season, losing the only game that really mattered.

So long, and thanks for nearly winning Superbowl XLII.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Guess what - it rained on Saturday

Yup, almost on cue to rained heavily just before 6pm on Saturday, thus washing out the end of our cricket final. The upside was that we were 6/69 chasing 170, so the washout mean the premiership was shared between us and Hillgrove. So that's our first 1st-grade premiership. Wahoo!

It would have been nicer if I hadn't been given out LBW off an inside edge earlier.

Friday, 25 January 2008

of course

You can tell that I'm supposed to be playing a one-day cricket final tomorrow - it's raining.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

time filler

Stuck for something to do while your OS busily writes 2400 inodes to a new drive? How about replying to 45 blog entries from the same person, covering the last month, that you've not bothered with until now? A perfect way to fill in time and to overload their mailbox at the same time.

Monday, 21 January 2008

18-0 and only one to go.

The New England Patriots are into the SuperBowl on the back of an 18-0 perfect run this season. I'm going to have to watch it for two reasons this year. Firstly, the Pats are in it. Secondly, it's SuperBowl XLII so I'm hoping to channel the spirit of Douglas Adams at the same time.

Five years ago today

It wasn't as long, in fact the end was very very quick, but the result was as good as it was before - happy 5th birthday, Heather.

Friday, 18 January 2008

The tech tip for the day

Remember, when making powerpoint presentations with a large number of photos, please please PLEASE resize your photos before placing them in the presentation. Don't assume that fitting them to the slide changes the resolution - it doesn't. Run them through a photo manipulation software package and drop them to 800x600 or smaller first. That way your 150k presentation does not balloon out to 196MB and crash the old laptop you created them on.

Here endeth the lesson.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Tragedy and the moral of today's story

Yesterday I managed to rip my good workout towel. As it has survived the last 19 years it's not done too badly, but it's the beginning of the end of an era for it. Now I have to find another one to last the next two decades.

The moral of today's story: don't change the defined fonts for MS equation editor. It will cause you to panic when the equations in your doctoral thesis suddenly "lose" a wide variety of symbols. The cure was to reset the styles appropriately then persuade the user not to do it again. Then they have to fix any of the equations that have stuffed up manually.

Monday, 14 January 2008

8 Years ago...

I was recovering after spending 20 hours or so in hospital, though not as much as the wife who had spent the last day and a half, and 23 hours straight in labour. Then end result was all good though - happy 8th birthday, Marcus.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

2008 is off and running

We're all back on deck here at last and I'm back at work. Thanks to our wonderful new spam filter I ended up with only 234 emails over the last two weeks, rather than getting 100+ per day previously. According to various research groups spam in 2007 accounted for 95% of all emails sent. In 2001 it was only 5%. A scarey thought. Looks like in 2009 we'll be looking at 120% of all email will be spam (thanks Illiad for that calculation!).

We spent Dec 31 to Jan 5 camping on Mt Tamborine. There were 10 of us altogether and of course it rained every single day we were there. Every day. Without fail. On the Friday night it rained so much that two out of the three ways off the camp site and into Brisbane were cut with flood water. Luckily our tents did not leak and we had a huge tarpaulin set up over the tents to keep us dry (thanks Nathan and Maria, you are life savers!).

We caught the 9pm fireworks at South Bank and got back to the tents in time to crack some bubbly at midnight to see in the new year.

We all went to Movie World and Dream World on the Wednesday and Thursday. The kids had a ball. Marcus really enjoyed the various roller-coaster rides, and Heather and Phoebe loved the smaller kids rides. The only downside was the constant, and at times heavy, rain on the Thursday, but even that was good fun in it's own way.

As for other events since early December, here is a quick rundown:

* Dec 6th was our 10th wedding anniversary. I was planning on posting then, along with a few wedding photo scans, but didn't have the time. I'll get around to that later. Katrina watched our munchkins on Friday while Ang and I spent a night away at a very nice B&B just out of town.

* Christmas was at my parents this year. We managed to catch up with most of the rellies, including my cousin Kate who I haven't seen for a few years now. We had a great time and the kids loved the time with their grandparents.

* Bought a new car. After 9 years the little 323 was getting too small so we've upgraded to a 7 seat Citroen. Much more room, which we used all of for the camping trip mentioned above.