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[Sunday, 2009-11-29, 22:40]
Sunday Catch-up

It's been a busy day .... feels kind of nice to sit at the PC with a Jack Daniels + Pepsi (coke ... eeww!) and just relax. I suppose today wasn't hard, it was just non-stop. It started with a thorough vacumming of the entire house, as I hadn't vacummed for two weeks. Gross. I cleaned some windows, tidied up Briony's crap in the kitchen, swept outside, removed some redbacks from behind the BBQ and finished the tethering chains on the new rainwater bladder (photos of the bladder coming soon).

But there was one miserable part of the day too. I decided I'd give the bottle brush a prune, and remove some of the really low branches. In particular the ones that would be getting in the way of the blinds. So off I went and did a prune. When Briony saw it, there was all kinds of yelling and screaming, plus some swearing and some tears. That kind of ruined the afternoon. And then when our dinner (pasta) boiled dry, the screaming started again. What made this silly was that it didn't even burn - sure a few pieces were stuck to the pan, but the rest was fine. Briony tried it and spat it out claiming it tasted burnt, but I reckon it was all in her mind. I ate mine, and never tasted a burnt bit in the entire bowl.

So the summary of today .... a pruned tree, a not-really-burnt dinner, a clean house, and a raging psycho wife.

On that note, it's time for bed ... I really should get some photos of Dan's wedding up, I might do that tomorrow!

[Wednesday, 2009-11-17, 22:22]
Aeroplane Escapades

You know, it's not every day you do something crazy, get shit scared, but are still grinning 3 days later. But this weekend, that's what happened.

Since I'm such a good boy and do an awesome job at work, I won a voucher in a recent staff awards day. This voucher was for Red Balloon Days, a site where you can buy interesting experiences - Wine Tours to Harley Davidson Tours, hire a sports car for the day, etc. So I traded my voucher in for a couple of skydiving tickets courtesy of Adelaide Tandem Skydiving.

We left home at 6:30 on Sunday morning, ready for a 7:45am jump. It was a good hour's drive to get there, obviously it really needs to be in the middle of nowhere!

We stood around for a little while watching the professionals do their jumps, then when it was our turn we got strapped into our harness and loaded into the aeroplane for the 20 minute flight to 10,000 feet. While the aeroplane was quite mechanically sound, it was very small and initially a shock to the system given there are 5 passengers sitting on the floor - the only seat is the pilot's seat. Of course this all made perfect sense once we saw how everyone sits so the customers can strap themselves to the instructors for the tandem jump.

Anyway, as we flew higher we were watching the altimeters on the instructors arms. As we got past 7,000 feet everything looked really small, and of course we knew there was only a few minutes until the inevitable. At 10,000 feet the pilot yelled out "half a mile", then 0.4, 0.3, 0.2, 0.1, and then the instructor opened the door. He yelled some instructions into my ear which vaguely involved swinging my feet out of the aeroplane so I was actually sitting on the doorstep. The instructor put his foot out, then I put both mine out. Next thing I feel a shove behind me and we literally tumble out of the plane.

The first emotion was of pure fright, and the tensing of the stomach muscles like when you're on an amusement park ride. But a few seconds later we'd stablised and I got the tap on the shoulder to uncross my arms. I really could not tell how long it was that we were in freefall, perhaps 20 seconds or so, but oh wow it was an absolute blast. We were moving so fast through the air and all I could hear was the rush of wind past my ears.

At the end of freefall the instructor pulled the parachute, and we slowed down REALLY FAST - suddenly I was a dead weight in the harness until we'd slowed enough. The next 5 minutes or so was a slow descent, of course with the instructor letting me take the ropes for a minute or two. Landing was quite uneventuful - we had to put legs out in front and slide on backsides. But the landing really was quite smooth. Next thing we're back inside getting the harnesses off ... having done no work but sweating like pigs, that'd be the adrenaline pumping!

Anyway enough writing for tonight- the moral of the story is that skydiving is fun (but expensive), and I will DEFINITELY do it again!

[Tuesday, 2009-10-20, 12:53]
Lots of shiny panels!

Finally - the government decided to get their new Solar Credits Scheme underway, which means we now qualified to get a $7500 grant towards our Grid Connect Solar system. We signed our contract for the system months ago, and finally last week we had it installed by Solar Shop Australia.

The system is a 1.98kW system which should almost pay for our power bills, but more importantly we're doing the right thing by the environment!

[Tuesday, 2009-10-06, 21:51]
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

On Saturday, Briony was pestering me to download the multiplayer demo of a new Playstation 3 game called Uncharted 2: Among Theives - it's in the Playstation Store. This game is tipped to be the next big release on the PS3 and after playing the demo with Briony I kind of agree it's pretty cool. There are already thousands of people playing the demo online, so we found a game to join without too much hassle. I let Briony play of course, as I'm a bit useless with the Playstation control (someone hogs it so I get no practice). There seem to be many different multiplayer games to choose from, we just played the team deathmatch where you compete in teams of 5 and the first team to have 50 kills wins. There are multiple scenes to play in (the Icecave is great) and there are several characters to choose from. The controls are easily learnt and you'll soon be running, jumping or climbing (awesome) to find your first kill. The gameplay is sublime and the graphics are to die for. I'll definately be buying the full game when it comes out in a few days - http://www.unchartedthegame.com.

[Tuesday, 2009-09-29, 07:57]
A First in Hobart

I spent this weekend in the lovely city of Hobart, visiting my my sister Koorine's family. I can't believe it's been a whole year since Alanah was born - last time I saw her she was a tiny two-week-old baby. Now she's much bigger, smiling, laughing, crawling and becoming obsessed with my train ticket! I must say though, she's a very happy baby - not once did she moan or cry, she was just always content and cheerful.

I arrived to Hobart on Friday, on the same flight as Koorine's friend Lanair. We drove back to Koorine's and basically headed straight out for a drive to Mount Field Forest. We did the Russell Falls Walk which is a very gentle walk along good paths to a rather lovely waterfall. From the base of the waterfall there's another walking track up to Horseshoe falls which is still very pretty but not quite as spectacular as Russell Falls.

We'd taken two cars there, I was in the "boys car". On the way there Koorine had become stuck about 10 cars behind us and didn't know where to turn off the highway. She got mum to ring up from the back seat and all I heard was Koorine yelling, then mum yelling, and it was a complete farmyard commotion. Koorine's partner Ben was driving our car - suffice to say he was in trouble.

On the way back of course everyone knew the way home. Particularly because it was just follow the road - no turns until the highway. The "boys car" got to a town called New Norfolk and we received a text message from the "girls car". Turns out they were 5Km back along the road and their muffler had fallen off. They were mobile again thanks to the good will of a passerby. The girls described him as driving a 4WD ute, looking sort of rough with knives hanging off his belt, but actually being really nice. He re-attched their muffler with the handle off an old bucket! The point of this story is that Ben got in trouble twice in one day for the same thing!

On Friday evening, Lanair and I took a drive up to Mount Wellington which is Hobart's highest mountain at 1270m. It was a lovely, clear night and we got a wonderful view of the city. We didn't stay for too long, just enough to enjoy the view.

Saturday was Alanah's first birthday party, and what a day that was! The theme was butterflies. There was absolutely stacks of food, with little butterfly labels on each one. There were butterflies hanging from the gazebo, and butterfly wings on all the women (well, most of them). Everyone had a good time, and Alanah seemed quite happy with all her gifts. I spent a few hours playing with Jade, Alanah's sister (Koorine's step-daughter). We did some shoulder rides, some wizzies, some tree climbing and she also painted my face. The face painting started off well, with some butterfly feelers, but then Jade got all silly and coloured in my forehead. Still I had a good time and Jade had heaps of fun. I also convinced her that climbing trees (not too high though) isn't so scarey after all - once I got her up in the tree she refused to come down as she enjoyed it so much.

Saturday afternoon I took Koorine, Lanair and Jade for a drive up to Mount Wellington. I'd been there already of course but it's such a nice drive and view that I was quite happy to go again. This time, though, it was really windy and absolutely freezing! We went to the lookout, grabbed some photos and ran back to the car before we froze. Jade wanted to climb on some rocks so we let her do that for a few minutes and we were all quite happy when she agreed to come back to the car where it was warm.

Saturday night we just chilled at home. It was quite stormy and wet, and quite cold. Lanair had never seen snow before and she was becomg quite obsesed with the possibility of snow on Mount Wellington. She was watching the weather online and about 11pm decided she wanted to go for a drive. So up we went in the rain and cold, not expecting a lot but hoping all the same. It was about half way up that Lanair realised that, while we could see heavy 'rain' flying at our windscreen, it wasn't making any noise. Also if she put her hand out the window, her hand did not get wet. The conclusion was - SNOW! We kept driving up the hill and the snow got heavier, and of course it was all over the road.

We kept on going uphill, trying to get to the top, however the car's little tyres started losing traction on the slippery road. At this point we figured it best to turn around and head home, with a couple of quick photo stops on the way down of course!

When we got home, there was a nasty wind and the party gazebo was half hanging over the neighbour's fence. Ben and I were stuck out in the rain at 1am taking the gazebo down - it got a couple of bent poles but overall ir survived quite well.

[Thursday, 2009-09-24, 22:46]
(yawn) a quick (yawn) update

I'm still playing catch-up here .... we just got back from two weeks holiday in Alice Springs. We had an awesome time and like any holiday it's hard to get back into everyday life! I'll get my stories and photos up on the web just as soon as I can.

I also FINALLY got a new computer ... my old machine was an AMD Athlon XP 2100 which dates from around 2003. You'd think a computer nerd would have a better machine than that. Well it seems I spend all my time sorting everyone else's machines and ignored my own. I knew it was almost time for a new one, and then the old one started locking up and then one day would not boot. So I got myself a new one.

One of the biggest changes was that instead of a traditional hard disk I installed a Corsair 32GB Solid State Drive (SSD). And oh boy it's fast. And silent. It boots so quick, and starts all my apps instantly. In fact it's so fast that all my apps have started looking for Internet access even before my router has assigned a DHCP lease! The SSD was $200 for 32GB, well worth the money as a primary boot drive.

Anyway I'm off to Hobart in the morning, have to get up at 6. So I'm outta here ...

[Monday, 2009-08-10, 23:50]
For Humans Only

Tonight we went to the cinema to see District 9. This is a movie that sparked my attention some weeks ago, but then I suppose my attention is easily sparked by anything with aliens in it.

We were lucky enough to score free preview tickets thanks to Richard at The Movie Pages. Briony had been bagging this movie all weekend, telling me that it looked crap and it was going to be crap and it was just the alien version of "Blair Witch Project". As usual, I ignored the useless drivel that was coming from Briony's mouth.

So the movie started off with a few fake documentary clips, but soon turned into a full blown but documentary-style movie about a whole urban area with over 1 million aliens living there. I won't go into details and spoil the plot, there's plenty of other reviews on the web, but I just wanted to say how absolutely awesome this film is. I was really, really impressed, and even Briony the sourpuss came out claiming this to be the best movie she has ever seen.

So my advice - get to the cinema, and see District 9!

[Sunday, 2009-08-09, 23:13]
A day at the races ... and a mouse in the house ...

Okay, the mouse isn't actually _in_ the house, it's outside, but that made for a more catchy title :)

For some time Briony and I have been supporters of improving conditions for animals, particularly the things that happen every day that are hidden from the public. The latest big thing is horce racing, specifically jumps racing where horses are forced to jump over hurdles. There's some rather shocking statistics regarding just how many horses are injured while doing this sport, and of course the inevitable fate of those horses that aren't able to race any more. If you're interested check out the Horse Racing Kills website.

Saturday just gone there was a big jumps racing event at Morphettville racetrack. There was a 'peaceful protest' organised to show people the reality of the sport. There were around 50 people there, Briony and I went along to show our support too. I must admit that I was kind of 'dragged' there, however once I heard just how many horses are injured and/or die I was fully supportive of the cause. Right now jumps racing is banned in all Australian states and territories except SA and VIC. In SA there have been 12 deaths in the last 7 months. The stats are something along the lines of, 1 in every 5 horses will have a serious fall, and 1 in every 24 horses will die as a direct result of the sport.

So enough about that, it's clear that I'm AGAINST jumps racing and I hope it gets banned. Here's a couple of photos of the protest, as you can see it was very peaceful, in fact we only actually spoke with one member of the public the whole day, but we did get a lot of attention from cars passing by.

Other than that, I had dad round on Sunday and we pretty much finished off the area under the house where the water tank is going to go. We got a lot done that day which was really awesome, unfortunately for dad he was "raped by a rod" when he sat square down on a piece of hardened steel. I really should get around to cutting those bits off, someone could hurt themself!

Oh yeah, the mouse!

It's common knowledge that basically every house has mice living in the garden. I'm fine with that, provided they stay outside. Well, we've recently discovered a cheeky mouse that sneaks along our back door and steals Sophie's dog food! It grabs a dog biscuit then climbs up the back door all the way to the top, eats the biscuit, then runs down for seconds and repeats the process. On Sunday, Sophie happened to be standing by the back door when the mouse came along to steal her food. She was locked inside so she could not get it, but she stood there for about an hour just watching it. I think I also caught her licking her lips ... she loves mousies :)

[Tuesday, 2009-07-28, 22:23]
Writing down how to use renrot!

I discovered a utility some time ago called renrot. It can do several cool things, but in particular I use it to rename photos from my digital camera according to the time the photos were taken. For example a photo taken at 9:15pm on the 28th Jul 2009, using my EOS350D camera, would be called 20090728-211500-EOS350D.jpg. This is handy where you have groups of photos from more than one camera, and you want all the photos to be in the correct order.

So anyway here's the command I use, really just noting it down for my own future use ...

$ renrot -e JPG -n %Y%m%d-%H%M%S-EOS350D-%n

It should be noted that the %n on the end inserts the orginal filename so you can better keep track of the files. Also, you can use --dry-run on the end to simulate the rename, just to show you the results without actually doing the rename.

[Monday, 2009-07-27, 12:49]
Fun with the camera. And the zoom lens. And the dog.

Apart from a little rain yesterday afternoon, we had great weather over the weekend. That's a bit of a change from the last few miserable weeks. The rest of this week is looking miserable too.

Saturday morning I went to Inspire for the usual Fun Run training session. I was the only one that turned up, suffice to say the trainer thrashed me a bit, I was pretty buggered afterwards.

Saturday afternoon we went for a motorbike ride to Strathalbyn with a few friends. This is the first social ride we've done in a while, I'd kind of forgotten how much fun it can be. I thought I'd take the opportunity to get a few good photos of the bikes with my 300mm zoom lens. I'm happy to say they turned out quite well. Perhaps one day someone will take photos of me ...

After the motorbike ride, Briony and I took Sophie to the oval for a run. As always, she was mighty excited to chase the ball around. I took the camera there too, and got some excellent shots.

Although I'm still not sure about that last shot ... it's cool to see her in such a strange position, I don't recall exactly what happened next. But I'm predicting a rather spectacular crash!

Lunch break's over, so that's it for me for another week!

[Monday, 2009-07-13, 23:18]
Happy Birthday to Briony.

Today is Briony's 32nd Birthday. Yay, Happy Birthday! We went to Good Life Pizza at Glenelg last night. We shared a roast vegetable pizza which was okay, and of course the swiss mushroom pizza which is just the best thing ever invented. Today was just spent at home, of course dinner + giving Briony her birthday presents. She was most happy to receive Ghostbusters for the Playstation 3. Of course now she has like 5 new games, I don't actually know where she'll find the time to play them!

How's about a 7-week update then?

Well the Belair Railway Line Renewal project is coming along well. Track is down at Blackwood, Glenelta, Pinera and Belair. Last I saw was that Mitcham had been dug up but I haven't been down that way for a few days so I'm not sure. I also hear they're going to give Blackwood station a tidy up and a new shelter. Here's a photo of the station as it stands now, so we'll see what happens!

I've been getting a heap of work done under the house. More photos later, but basically we're well into winter now so I really need to get it all finished so the water tank/bladder can be installed, and have a chance to fill up before summer time. I put a bit of render under the house today aswell, just to smooth out a step that was a little rough. I have come to the conlcusion that render is a pain in the backside.

So I'm sitting here writing my blog, with Sophie on my lap, under my shirt. This dog will do anything to be warm! She's heavy and making my legs numb, and then when I move she growls at me! Speaking of rude dogs, check out Sophie in the next photo - Briony did some washing, and gave Sophie a bath. Next thing Sophie has decided that the basket of laundry is more comfortable than her dog basket! I've also included a photo of Sophie at the Torrens weir in town, so cute, how could anyone be mad at her for long?

Oh, City to Bay Fun Run is coming soon. Thanks to the Management of Adam Internet we have started our annual personal training with Jason at Inspire. We've only done two sessions, first with a 4Km treadmill then with a 6Km. Of course like every year, the real challenge begins when we go for a real run, not a treadmill run. Oh also like every year, Scott's cousin, David, seems to need no extra personal training - he's fit, and he's quick, I'm not going to bother trying to beat him!

[Wednesday, 2009-05-20, 23:03]
Bring my Train back!

We're now into the third, or is it the fourth, week of the Belair Railway Line Renewal project. Basically the line was so old and crap, the government decided that instead of just fixing bit by bit it would be better to rip up the whole thing and start again. So the line's been ripped up, dug way down to ground level, and they have started doing some work on the drainage.

Of course I had to get down to get some photos down by Eden Hills Tunnel ... we went there with Kerrie, when she was here for the weekend.

So anyway the fact that the railway line is being re-done is awesome. But WOW it's really made me realise how much I hate buses! They have this bus called B1, it's the Belair Train substitute. Sure, that's always going to be a little slower then the standard bus as it has to visit all the railway stations. But the fact that it takes OVER ONE HOUR to get to town, whereas the train took just over 20 minutes. The bus just sits there in traffic, it's seriously faster to ride my bike to work. So here's looking forward to getting the trains back - refreshed, resleepered and hopefully faster!

Now the bad news ... we've had a RSPCA foster dog here for the last 4 months or so. He came to us as a rather hideous, stinky white dog with no fur. He had no "human" sense, and just kept to himself - not even a response when he was patted. He has been here because his owner didn't take good care of him.

Over the last 4 months he's become a changed dog - he still stinks, but he's more loving, more responsive, likes going for walks and it just so totally different. He even comes when called now. But a fornight ago, Briony learned that he's not staying with us, the RSPCA is going to take him back. No big deal, as we knew this would probably happen. But still it's a bit sad as we're kind of used to seeing him around.

So anyway we took him for a walk to the Shepherds Hill Reserve. We went to check out some more work on the Belair Railway Line Renewal, and also just to take the two dogs to an area where we can let them wander around without worrying about traffic or too many other people.

And with that, I'll call it a night, past bedtime already! One more photo, this one's of Blackwood Railway Station with the tracks removed!

[Tuesday, 2009-04-21, 23:00]
The Ancient Catacombs of Blackwood

For the weeks before our wedding, I spent every last moment organising things from the music to the photographer. Any spare time I had was spent reciting my vows to make sure I didn't forget them on the day.

In the weeks since we returned from Honeymoon, I've been distracted by many little projects. I guess the first thing that came up was that everyone who's computer/network I look after, wanted me round there RIGHT AWAY to fix something. I think I spent almost every night for a fortnight getting things done. Apart from that I've been collating wedding photos from our guests' cameras, sorting through our Honeymoon photos, cleaning up the house and more.

But my other little project has been comprised of two parts.

Firstly, the computer network. When we built the house, I installed Ethernet Network cable into every room. All the cables ran back to a central point in the Computer Room AKA Bedroom 3. This has worked flawlessly for the last 5 years. But, I realised that having a bunch of network cables, plus expensive network hardware in a BEDROOM isn't really a good idea for the long term. Let alone right now where all that gear is behind a fish tank (ie. 60 litres of water).

So this project involved ripping out some of the network cable, laying some new cable, and re-routing some existing cable. I wanted to get all the cable down to a central point under the house in the "dungeon". Here I would install a proper network server cabinet and terminate all the wiring properly. After several weeks of cables all over the floor, I'm happy to say that the new cables are run and terminated, ready for use. Thanks to www.4cabling.com.au for having a really awesome website with some good products.

This brings me to my second project.

While I wanted to get the network gear done properly, unfortunately the under-house area is a bit of a mess. There's garden products, stormwater pipes, wires, hoses, concrete mix, plant pots and anything else you can think of. This area has been a work in progress for some time. The idea here is that I have been building some small retaining walls, so instead of having a random landslide area which is useles, I have a series of levels where I can put shelves etc.

So for at least a few hours every weekend, I've been working under the house to build these walls, excavate some more dirt, build some more walls and tidy things up. I've also disposed of heaps of garbage from under there. I'm proud to say that everything is starting to take shape! Here's some photos of the progress ...

[Sunday, 2009-02-22, 23:13]
I Do...

It's official ... I'm a married man.

For a long time I was looking forward to our wedding, and I always knew it'd be a really enjoyable day, I must say I can't describe properly how it actually felt on the day. I mean, the ceremony was great, the reception was awesome and our friends and family were fantastic, the feeling of actually marrying Briony was amazing.

In a slightly un-traditional fashion, I was at home with the Bride and Bridesmaids while they were getting ready. In between making them coffee, orange juice and toast, I witnessed the transformation of three girls in their pyjamas at 7am, to three girls looking gorgeous by midday. Just past midday I saw Briony in her dress, and she looked absolutely stunning, like I've never seen her before.

We headed out for some photos in Belair National Park, then took the Hummer to Murray Bridge for some more photos. After that we headed to Monarto Zoo for our Ceremony and Reception.

I wasn't sure if I was really all that nervous, but once we actually pulled up in the Hummer, I realised that literally all eyes were on the Bridal Party. Then I started getting nervous! We ushered our guests to witness the arrival of the three girls on camel back, which really had to been seen to be appreciated. They camels were all dressed up, slowly walking with the girls under their parasols.

A couple of minutes later, I was standing on the platform with our Celebrant, Sylvia. Briony quickly arrived, and the Ceremony began. Strangely enough, even though 70 pairs of eyes were looking at us, my nerves vanished. I don't know what happened next, it felt like 2 or 3 minutes, but I heard Sylvia declaring us Husband and Wife, and inviting us to sign the register. It all happened so quickly!

After the signing, I know I tried to get a beer for myself. But after one mouthful, it got taken away so we could get photos done. Again this all happened really fast, then we were inside for photos with the cake, then the guests were all coming inside ready for the Reception to begin!

We had some really excellent vegetarian food for ourselves and our guests, followed by the cutting of the cake and speeches. Briony's father, Ted, gave a really nice speech. He was nervous as hell, and perhaps had a hard time reading his speech without his glasses, but I'm sure the whole room knew the speech was from the heart. My best man and brother, Oowan, gave a really great speech, followed by a few light words from myself and Briony.

After the speeches we did our Bridal Dance to Beyonce's "Halo". The dance went well, nobody fell over or bashed into a wall, so we were ecstatic. The rest of the Bridal Party came onto the dance floor at just the right time too. Talk about winging it at the last moment :-)

After our dance came Lisa, the bellydancer! The whole room, particularly the guys, were transfixed as she's absolutely brilliant at what she does. She called me up to dance with her, followed by Briony, and then a few of the guests too!

After Lisa's performance it was time to mingle with our guests. The opportunity to have all our friends and family in one place was an honour, however the 90 minutes we had allowed for this simply vanished. Before anyone knew what was happening, our transport had arrived and it was time to leave.

Well it's late, we are leaving for our Honeymoon in the morning, and this blog entry was supposed to be brief. I'll write some more later on with a stack of photos. Here's a couple of nice ones, I should really get some sleep if I want to catch this plane in the morning!

[Monday, 2009-01-26, 22:34]
A tour, a sleep-in and a BBQ

Tonight marks the end of the 2009 Australia Day long weekend. It's also the end of the 2009 Tour Down Under.

On Friday myself and the rest of the Mud, Sweat & Gears group took part in the Tour Down Under Community Challenge. Most of us rode the 97Km course from Mount Pleasant to Angaston. This year was a record crowd of over 7000 riders, all wearing the same clothes, so it was pretty easy to lose your riding partner(s) and end up on your own. Thankfully I managed to stick with Matt for almost the entire ride. Both Matt and I found comfort in that every part of the ride that was uphill, even though we were riding heavy mountain bikes, we were passing road bike after road bike... that'd be our weekly hills practice proving strong!

I had to leave Matt around 5Km from the finish line though. I had previously set myself a goal of finishing the 97Km in under 4 hours. We had been keeping a reasonable pace the whole way, but I could see we weren't quite going to make the 4-hours. So I rode ahead, about as fast as I could, and crossed the finish line with 21 seconds to spare!

After the ride was done we stayed in Angaston for an hour or so, had lunch, then packed up and headed back to Mount Pleasant to grab the car back home.

Saturday was a day of rest, feeling tired after the long ride on Friday. Briony and I pottered around the house, did a few chores, went to the shops and bought a kennel for a second dog we have temporarily at our home. We also had to buy a "bucket" for Sophie's head, as she's been biting herself lately, we think she might be allergic to the dry grass outside.

Today we went to Camilla and Brenton's place for an Australia Day BBQ. The weather was great, the company was great and the food was fantastic. It was also nice that there were 3 or 4 other people that did the Tour Down Under Community Challenge on the Friday, and to hear their stories from the day. We couldn't stay long at the BBQ though, as we had to get home and do our wedding plans - there's only three weeks to go!

Bed time now, have to get up early to water the lawn tomorrow - we have 5 days of extra hot weather coming up, and our grass will be looking a little worse for wear I'm afraid ...

[Friday, 2009-01-16, 22:45]
User error. Again.

Being someone that works in the technology industry, I already know that 90% of problems are caused by the user's ignorance, or sometimes laziness in the case of those that fail to check the obvious. But it's amusing when these apparent problems come from family members doing something stupid :-)

Before tonight, the gold medal session was when an un-named member of Briony's side of the family asked for help as the computer just stopped playing sounds. After verifying that the speakers were on, and plugged into the right hole, and unplugging them and plugging them back in, and finally checking all the settings, all seemed fine. In an act of desparation, I asked to reboot the computer into Windows, just to make sure the speakers actually worked. They didn't. We played a song in media player, no sound. I asked to check the volume control on the speaker itself. Next thing, I hear music. My point? After all that messing around (about an hour), and checking cables and plugs and settings, and checking that the speakers were on, it ended up being the user doing something silly, as usual.

So why did I tell you that story?

Well firstly, I like stories. But secondly, is because tonight, a different member of the same family did something stupid. This time it was Briony herself. We're walking home from the train station, and I'm getting harrassed about the computer needing a reinstall. After many points that I already know about, I get told "the mouse doesn't work". I suggest "doesn't work" likely means "unplugged". We get home, have dinner, and then I get called to come fix the mouse. I find that the mouse does work just fine, but only moves up and down - it doesn't move sideways very well. I conclude this has to be a physical problem, not a software thing. So I turn the mouse upside down, and I find a dog hair stuck in the laser sensor.

So I gave Briony a hard time and we had a good laugh. But, if your mouse starts to fail, would a normal person not CHECK TO MAKE SURE IT'S NOT DIRTY (or covered in a giant hairball?) before they yell for tech support? If only I could bill my family members a "stupid" fee every time they blame the system for blatant human error, I'd be a rich man.

11pm again. End of stories for tonight, going riding tomorrow, bed time now.


[Friday, 2009-01-02, 22:27]
Happy New Year!

The first post of 2009, cool! Well, I'm going to give it all tonight - a story, a photo, and a rant ....

First, the story. It's only a quick one, just about our New Year's Eve adventures. We headed up to Tristan & Rachel's place at Kapunda, which is about 90 minutes drive from home. It's been a while since I've driven up North, and I was surprised how little space there is between Gawler and Munno Para/Smithfield!

Anyway New Year's was a good night, we just hung around, relaxed, ate and played some pool. I found a new best friend in Tristan & Rachel's crazy dog, and Briony found a new best friend in their sheep! While all this was happening, Michael and Frank were busy with 40 boxes of sparklers, scratching all the grey flammable material into an old lemonade can. They set it on fire later in the evening. The resulting fireball was impressive, but for the 12 seconds it lasted versus the two hours it took to prepare, it hardly seems worthwhile ...

We stayed at a small Bed & Breakfast at Kapunda called the Pepper Trees B&B. It was beautiful and very comfortable, well priced and the breakfast was excellent. Definitely recommended!

And now for the rant. Well actually its more funny than rant - just something I found amusing. So we wanted to get some photos printed. I grabbed my old faithful 512MB USB stick, and we promptly made an appearance at an un-named photo store in Blackwood, as I knew they had some of those instant printing machines. So I'm looking for the hole to stick my USB, and the shop assistant explains to me that they don't allow USB sticks because of viruses. He tells me to bring in my SD memory card instead. I then proceed, perhaps a little too sarcastically, that I can just as easily store files and viruses on an SD card, as on a USB stick, and that it's effectively the same thing. He proceeds to get shitty and walk away, so we left.

We ended up getting the photos printed from our USB stick at the chemist down the road, who also has some of the instant printing machines.

So what's the point of that story? Well I just ask, are these machines SO stupid, that they will load and run EXECUTABLES, when their sole purpose is to just load and print photos?? I can only assume that these machines actually run Windows under the hood, hence they are probably likely fail if you sneeze in front of them. Anyway I just find the whole thing to be so absolutely moronic, to the excent of being hilarious.

Enough carry-on for now, let's get the photo uploaded and get to bed - got a ride tomorrow!

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