Sunday, December 31, 2006

Farewell 2006

Because no other blogger in the world will be doing a wrap up of the year just finishing...

I have to say that, despite my current bout of nasty fatigue having the potential to negatively colour my feelings, 2006 was a really positive year for me. I made at least one new friend, strengthened other friendships, found the cause (and some of the solution) to years of nausea, walked heaps, blogged plenty (almost twice as much as 2005), regained my enthusiasm for work (which had endured 18 months of doldrums), lost 10 kilos and even travelled to far-flung Melbourne.

The trick for me now is to not see that as being the end of the line, but as a launching pad. There is still so much for me to do to feel comfortable with who I am, to increase the positive contribution that I make, to actually feel like I'm not just squandering some vast well of potential by not acting on any of it.

Will I be writing a post 12 months from now where I bemoan missed opportunities, or will I be celebrating great success in meeting my still nebulous goals? You'll just have to keep reading to find out :) Thanks for joining me on the oft-dull journey so far!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The dark side

On the other side of the customer service coin, or somewhere in the middle, I bought a new DVD burner on my way home yesterday and the sales guy, although friendly, was a bit too keen to dazzle me with his detailed knowledge of not only the item I was buying, but also computers in general. Since I at no stage had a chance to get a word in, he had no real way of knowing what my expertise level was, and didn't seem too worried about whether I comprehended his techo spiel. Perhaps I'm too obvious an IT geek?

Nonetheless, I now have a fully functional DVD writer in place, as opposed to the barely limping one I've been dealing with for over a year. Even better, the drive worked first time, which I haven't been able to say very often in my previous CD, DVD and hard drive self-installs.

I did, somewhat ironically, miss the slightly-dusty-but-still-easily-readable label at the bottom of the case telling me how to take the front off so I could actually remove the existing drive. After that, though, it was plain sailing :)

Lights out

Yesterday, after a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon catching up with K, having lunch and seeing "Happy Feet" with B and The Boy, and avoiding a thorough drenching in the sudden downpour (which arrived while we were in the movie), I got home to find that my lights were out. All my appliances continued to work, and flicking the circuit breaker did nothing.

I called ActewAGL, got straight through to an operator, and something mysterious was done to fix my lights within an hour of the call, before it was even dark outside. So, in an era of poorly thought out automated messages, it's nice to find a bastion of excellent customer service which involves real people solving a problem in a timely way with a minimum of fuss.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Slow learner

A list of the simple, obvious things I've been trying to drum into my head over the past several years in an effort to clean out lots of mental baggage. Am I getting there? Not really, but I remain optimistic that with continued effort I will successfully deculcate myself of any last vestiges of adult thinking :)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

[TV] Bones

If being compelled to watch 22 episodes in 4 days (especially when I worked on 2 of those days) is any indication of quality, then this is a winner. If that's not enough evidence for you, well there's just no pleasing some people... but I'll try and satiate your curiosity.

Emily Deschanel plays Temperance "Bones" Brennan, a major genius in the field of forensic anthropology, who speaks her mind and is usually right. David Boreanaz plays Seeley Booth, an FBI agent who convinces Bones to become his unofficial partner. Hijinks ensue :)

This is the closest you're going to get to the Mulder/Scully camaraderie of The X-Files, with the addition of a host of quality supporting characters, all of whom have interesting back stories that are gradually revealed as the season goes on. There are plenty of comedic touches, genuine tension and drama, tugging of heart strings and one moment that actually made me jump in surprise, which almost never happens. There's action too, but the beauty of it for me is watching smart people come up with answers to problems, instead of rushing around shooting everyone.

Basically, I'd like to believe I'm smart enough to maybe make it into Bones team in a small supporting IT role :)

We want action!

"So Bertie", I hear you ask, "did you actually graph anything for November?" Sadly, the answer is yes. Happily, you now get to see those graphs...

First, an above average walking month:

"Sure Bertie, those columns look great, but what if I want to see them as lines?" I'm glad you asked :)

Finally, with a slight improvement of 0.04 over last month's ADAC (despite partying too hard for my birthday and forgetting all about weights) the overrated action count:

New music

Rather than continue with my lack of posts, here's one of my many easy outs. You know the one , where I list all the new CDs I've bought without actually bothering to say any more about them...

Nothing Safe - Alice In Chains
Mutations - Beck
Blur - Blur
The Datsuns - The Datsuns
Greatest Hits - Devo
I Don't Think I'm Pregnant - Diana Ah Naid
Mallee Boy - John Williamson
Attack - KMFDM
Hau Ruck - KMFDM
Bricks Are Heavy - L7
Public Warning - Lady Sovereign
Hollywood - Little Birdy
Freaked Out And Small - Presidents of the USA
Love Everybody - Presidents of the USA
John Henry - They Might Be Giants
They Might Be Giants - They Might Be Giants
Here's To The Mourning - Unwritten Law

Monday, December 11, 2006

Stupid new toys!

OK, obviously as soon as I got access to Blogger Beta, I decided I'd change all three of my blogs. It worked OK for two of them, but this one had been so heavily modified that it's going to take me some time to restore the 3 columns and other niceties I'd put so much work into.

I could just go back to the old one, but I'm practising only moving forward :) A chance to learn a whole new set of syntax, specific to Blogger layouts...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Much easier than thinking

Stealing material from B, here are my much less interesting answers...

Four jobs I've had:

Research assistant at CSIRO
Maths tutor
Coder extraordinaire
Team leader

Four Movies I could Watch Over and Over:

Terminator 2
Bad Eggs
The New Guy
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

Four places I have lived:


Four TV Shows That I Love:

Veronica Mars
Arrested Development
The X-Files

Four places I have been for a vacation:

Byron Bay
Around Australia

Four websites I Visit Daily:

I don't actually go to websites much, thanks to the wonders of RSS feeds, but here are some blogs I lurk at...
Slow Leadership
Management Craft
Positive Sharing
Joel On Software

Four Favourite Foods:

Tuna and rice
Chicken schnitzel with mushroom sauce
Spaghetti bolognaise
My Dad's chips

Four places I would rather be:

Location-wise, I'm pretty happy right here
More metaphorically, with friends

Four friends blogs I read every day:

Krafty Kuka
Dreaming All The Time
Hello, Here's Me!
Two Fruits

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Destination: Mystery! (Part 3)

Day 5

Caught a train to Em's and spent the afternoon chatting with her, and having a lively debate on politics and world affairs with her grandmother. Enjoyed a few forkfuls of mixed vegetable fried rice for dinner, my most substantial eating for a week (I'd forgotten how awesome food could taste!).

Day 6
Walked uphill into the CBD to meet Jen and AM for lunch, at a lovely little eatery called "Wheat" (the irony of this, given my gluten-free past, was not lost on me as I struggled through part of a tasty chicken salad). Tick catching up with my 3 Melbourne friends, my trip was now complete!

Had a brief chat with Em on the phone, distracting her from all the work she was stuck late at work trying to get done, then spent the evening in front of not much on TV and some more fried rice.

Day 7

Wandered the Crown Casino Complex and Federation Square, taking a sunnier set of photos to complement the overcast ones from earlier in the week, while trying to work out at least one touristy thing to do. An hour of walking later, I stepped into the Immigration Museum, which was just round the corner from my hotel, and spent an enlightening 3 hours looking at everything on offer.

On my way back to the hotel, a young guy asked me for directions to Lonsdale St, and I confidently pointed him in the right direction (confirming, when back in my room, that my confidence was warranted). Almost a local in one week!

My final night in Melbourne was made perfect by an actual restaurant meal with Em and, as I saw her off at the train station, my thoughts turned to my imminent return home.

Day 8
Woke up at 5.30 having had 3 hours sleep and, after killing some time trying to stomach my breakfast, headed into a windy, cold Melbourne morning. The beginning of my trek home! My plane was delayed by half an hour, which was exactly what I didn't need, but I had the whole back row of the plane to myself and a little shut-eye let me enjoy the view as we closed in on Canberra. 13 degrees in Melbourne became 31 in Canberra, but the most important thing as my Dad dropped me off home was that I survived (and even enjoyed!) a week away for only the second time in the past 3 years.

Will I be rushing headlong into a new life as an intra/international jetsetter? Well, no, because it was frankly exhausting to fight my poor health the whole week, and it'll take me some time to store up enough energy to launch myself at my next challenge.

The more important question, though, is: Did I enjoy my holiday? To that I can say a resounding Yes. Thanks largely to the efforts of awesome friends like Em and Jen, who spent time with me despite their own busy schedules, I feel that I squeezed every last moment of fun out of my Melbourne week.

Bertie, what was the point of that story? ... I like stories :)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Destination: Excitement! (Part 2)

Day 3
No sleep = Not feeling good. Note to self: Don't stay next to a main street without double-glazed windows next time.

Failed in my attempts to catch up with my ABS pals, but wandered the CBD anyway, in a glorious quest for another salad sandwich. Quite the gourmand, huh?

Tried to nap, but sleep continued to elude me, so I threw caution to the wind and headed to St. Kilda with Em for an extravagant sushi dinner (well, a single piece of vegetable sushi...). Before I knew it, 10pm had rolled around, and it was time for me to leave Em to the excitement(/crowd/smoke/noise) of the Gotye concert while I headed back to bed, finally catching some sleep thanks to the wonders of ear plugs.

Day 4

Yay! Sleep! Still staying very light on the food, but strolled the Yarra waterfront, busily snapping photos for the first time since I arrived. Coincidentally, this was the only overcast day of the entire week, thus my later set to show how much brighter the sights were during the rest of my visit.

Met up with Em to see the outstanding Earth From Above exhibition and do more riverbank wandering (leading to my favourite photo of the trip).

Stay tuned for Part 3 where I catch a train, a plane and see some automobiles!