Sunday, December 03, 2006

Lawnmowers.... up close and personal

This is about as close as you'll get to an "action" shot...

Shhhhhh! Be vewwy vewwy quiet... we're hunting gwass...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dear Diary

Well it's been a little while since I've written anything! Last weekend was kinda hectic between the engagement party on Friday night (tacked on to the back of a work xmas function), with Turkey Day on Saturday night and popping down to Melbourne for lunch. Sunday involved a small flute concert which was a relaxing way to round off the weekend.

Previous weekend involved The Cat Empire (Awesome!) and this weekend involves Yule with a tournament and feast.

I do have some photos lying around as well which should go up but this was more of a wow... it's kind of busy this time of year post.

Mmmmmm sleeeeeeep..........

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A stitch in time

Well, it's been a while since I've tried to panorama anything, and Hugin has gone to 0.6.1, so I thought I'd put together some photos I took from Mt Kiera. This is from the south lookout, looking south. Took me a while to remember how to get it to look okay, but I think it's worked.

They are weird down south.

Last weekend we took a relaxing day off and had lunch at the beach down at the 'Gong, strolled around a bit. Lovely day really. Took a few photos. Most of them were either not so great or interesting, but I was amused by these two.

First one: what happens when you throw the last few chips in to the bin at the beach?

Yes that is a bird inside the bin. No I did not put it in there.

Secondly, I found this guy kinda creepy. Also fits in with the what the hell is this guy doing here in October thing (yes it was still October when we went there).

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Do they call him Snerg the confectioner? No.

Well... I've had my first attempt at making turkish delight. I used a gelatine based recipe since that's what was lying around. What I learned was:

1. Gelatine in sachets means that you can't control the amount. I think I had slightly too little as it didn't really set enough.
2. With that much sugar in it, the gelatine doesn't seem to be forming jelly as such. It still has that gooey consistency (a little too gooey this time around), so if I want to use gelatine it doesn't ruin the texture.
3. I added around 50mL to a recipe that required only a teaspoon. I can pretty much only taste the lemon juice. It's nice but I wasn't looking for lemon delight. Clearly "the juice of one lemon" means a crappy lemon with very little juice. It's quite strong in lemon taste.

I've now obtained some Cream of Tartar (I'm not going to make that from scratch!) and I've added another batch of petals to the remaining rosewater. After it soaks I'm just bottling it because I'm out of roses.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Soiree was fun!

One of my "My brain is full now!" procrastinations on the weekend was going to Soiree. Here's a piccie of the view from high table


Was pleasant to listen to quite a lot of performance and also do a bit of dancing. There was also plenty of good food. Mmmm. I think someone told me they were period recipes, which would explain why the combinations seemed a little unusual (in a good way).

p.s. I just had some fresh tamarind. Yum! Thankyou MissKrin!

9 down, 3 to go!

Hoorah! Had an exam yesterday. That's it for 4 months, then it's back to some subject that I haven't chosen yet...

I was just trying to find out how long rosewater lasts in the fridge, or keeps in general. Have no idea yet but I really must have entered the wrong search terms. In google I tried a few things, one was a search for preserving rosewater. It turned up a recipe that makes me think twice about food and what combinations are disturbing. It's a recipe for "Watermelon and feta salad with clear tomato jelly". For some reason that just doesn't sound right to me. Certainly not right or wrong enough for me to try making it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Strength testing...

On the weekend I tried out the rosewater in a pancake batter. 1 cup milk, 1 cup wholemeal flour, some sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons (North American Metric ones) of rosewater. While we couldn't really taste the rosewater as such, you could tell somthing was there. Not sure if it's a fair test really.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Rosewater is steeping away....

Okay, so the rosewater is busily making itself and smelling lovely. First batch has been squeezed and 2nd steeping is in progress. Might go for a 3rd, depending on how strong it tastes.

As for the Turkish Delight recipes, I'm kind of tempted to make the gelatine version, although it does seem a bit lazy. If I go for that one, it's on Epicurious here or elsewhere with extra lemon juice.

If I do it properly (with cream of tartar and heaps of sugar), I found two choices here and here. The one suggesting the pistachios was a gelatine one. Weird. I thought they would work better in the Tartar by not sinking to the bottom so easily. Oh well.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Proto turkish delight

While we're in farming mode, here's our turkish delight farm. It currently looks like this




which was after we harvested


so now it's busily making rose water. We'll see how that goes. Turkish delight is one thing I want to make with it. Maybe also some "cordial". If it has a strong enough taste there should be plenty to make other stuff too. Any suggestions?

Garden Salad!

Well... not quite yet. We have some overgrown aging carrots that now look like this:


and earlier my folks came by and put in some other vegies. The letuces are coming along nicely


but the cucumbers and zucchini are missing, presumed eaten by snails.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

It's Barbecue Season

So I found this hilarious. It's from White Ninja Comics.

(Click image for the whole comic)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Two funny things happened to me today!

Firstly, it looks like they've finally finished the IT review. We're getting a preliminary speech about it. They've chosen to give us the talk on Friday 13th.

Seconly, the local feminist group were advertising themselves. They had a cake stall. Not they they are reinforcing stereotypes or anything.

Mind you, lunchtime was a crowded with people vying for attention. There was also the Oxfam/Fair Trade cakestall (bought some of their white chocolate with almonds to try out), an oompah band turned up with guys handing out pretzels to advertise the upcoming octoberfest (their choice in muzak was not so good... chicken dance!?!!), and not to be outdone, some guys walked out on to the library lawn carrying a black coffin. I assume they were advertising a play.

I've had 2 iced coffees today plus my usual breakfast coffee. I'm bouncing a bit. Just to disturb everyone, the 1st iced coffee I bought today was a "Vanilla Ice". It's a bit sweet with the extra vanilla, but I do it just so I can ask for "vanilla ice, ice baby". In winter I order a double macchiato and call it a "Mac Daddy". Maybe I need help.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Damn Monkeys and 'Kn Apes

Last night Mz DestructoMeg took me to the Lowin Award ceremony for Australian contemporary composers. I feel so... ummm... cultured or summink. We had canapes and drinkies so it's all good! Was good to have some live performances thrown in to the mix.

On the way home we stumbled across the Sydney Good Food festival in Hyde Park. It was funny because you could see that Thai food is so not exotic anymore. All the Thai restaurants represented had very little queue. Things like Japanese and Himalayan fared much better. And nobody wanted the Indian food... We ambled around but nothing seemed to strike me as particularly delicious. Possibly because I could identify most of the restaurants there.

Oh yeah... driving back home I bought the final piece of the puzzle. I now own a gas bottle.


As of Saturday, high noon, the BBQ has been "cured". There's a few "features" on how some of the buttons work, and it does smell a bit like burned paint, but it's all ready to go! Now to find my pith helmet....

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Barbecue Wrasslin'

Okay... I *think* I now have a fully assembled BBQ. I still have some spare bits. I don't know if they are actually imporant, and I'm not 100% certain of where they go. The diagrams are a bit special, and don't really tell you what is actually going on. I'm just hoping that they aren't somehow structural. Unlikely, but I'm not sure I'd like to see a flaming BBQ collapse in front of me.

I also don't yet have a gas bottle.

I have, however, finished Mr Sheening my armour.

Just doin stuff.

Well.. I managed to get my act together enough to go to Spring War! Well, actually I needed to get out of the city so it wasn't really a choice. Just needed to relax out among the trees... and the battlefield. The highlight for me was sitting in the Turkish Coffee House (a tent with some pillows and low tables), drinking turkish coffee, eating turkish delight and looking out at the trees.

Yesterday I managed to submit my assignment for my current subject. It was handed in on time and I don't think it was as bad as I thought it might be. The relaxing break was a good thing.

Workwise I am witnessing the most overly complicated office move in the history of mankind. Not that it is complicated, just that someone keeps "helping" and changing things regularly. There is always more than one "surprise du jour".

And lastly... I attempted to assemble a BBQ (early xmas prezzie from the folks) last night. There should always be one or two bits left over. It's traditional and adds to the puzzle of the whole thing. There shouldn't be 14 pieces left over. Took a while to work out where I think they should go... this time for sure! How hard can it be to assemble a BBQ? Really?!?!

I also still need to Mr Sheen my armour...

Friday, September 29, 2006

Uncollapsing the core

With the list of intriguing turns of phrase as seen on ForBattle!, I had to publish this little collection too. A friend of mine was so obsessed with the new speak turn of phrase "uncollapsing the core" that he tried to find out what it meant. This was the best he could do:

1. “The uncollapsing theorem proposes that the possibility exists that a person in a deep meditative state can cause matter to assume a quantum superposition of states.”

2. “Collapsing a world works but uncollapsing it causes an out of memory crash.”

3. “In the real world, buildings may collapse into rubble, for example, but rubble does not "uncollapse" to form a building”

4. “Collapsed voids actually uncollapse into simple voids in this phase”

Monday, September 25, 2006

Another fun-filled weekend!

Well... once again it is time to procratinate. I have an assignment due in just over a week (in fact, just after Spring War. Yay for timing.) and a few emails I should write, as well as work to do. So I'm a blogging. As you do.

Friday night was fun. Went to see an Aark concert. Wasn't quite as weird as the other one I went to. Didn't really push the "What is music?" boundaries but was fabulous nonetheless. Some parts sounded a lot like The Necks. Some parts sounded like a soundtrack to a 50s detective movie. I was waiting for someone in a funky suit and hat to be standing somewhere in a darkened corner of the stage. Speaking of which, the venue itself is inspiring too. The Verbruggen Hall is a beautiful hall in a great building. Anyway, it was a great gig. If you are in to music that is a bit out there, it's great.

Saturday night involved going to the St Ursula birthday feast. Not really much to say. Had a great time. Good company.

Sunday was much more fun for me. I strapped on the armour and entered the "Rowany Tournament of Champions". It was a Valhalla style tournament. Considering that the weather was hot and dry, it was a little on the gruelling side. Okay... also considering that my fitness could be a lot better, it was gruelling. I got to the point where I couldn't really throw a shot, or move my shield effectively any more so it was pointless going back on. So how does a Valhalla style tournament work? Simple! If you have a group of fighters in a large field, you play with Melee rules, meaning that you engage your worthy opponent formally. This allows for many simultaneous one on one bouts. Once you have been slain, you watch... if the person who killed you then gets killed, you return from Valhalla to take the field again! This means that to win the tournament you need to kill all who are in the tournament. In a row. There is no other way. So when there are a number of good people in the tournament, and 24 people actually in armour, this can take some time. So despite me not doing particularly well in the tournament, I had a fantastic time and I also feel the better for having had the exercise. It did leave me well exhausted for the evening and I'm feeling some of the pain today. Including the bruises. But at least I've had some fighting before I head off to Spring War next weekend!

Edit: That's right! I almost forgot. I got to see Mic Conway out and about with 2 scary looking characters while shopping at Ashfield Mall. He was rudely interrupted by the Cat in the Hat, but used the opportunity to change "you are my sunshine" to "you are my cat-in-the-hat". Apparetnly he was in town for the Ukulele festival. Not sure my attention span could cope with that much Ukulele.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Yestarrrday were pirate day!

Here's the best thing to come out of pirate day for me. A pirate insult generator! It also has other modes. I likes it a lot, which is why it's going here.

Mr Snerg

I'll cut ye, ye mutinous swine... Prepare for yer doom!.

I'll plunder yer coffer, ye scrappy sea bass... Ye'll meet the rope's end for that, me bucko!.

I'll skewer yer gizzard, ye scurvy-infested matey... Blimy!.

We'll plunder yer booty, ye scurvy-infested swine... Shiver me timbers!.

Yer doom be at hand, ye mutinous pirate... Blimy!.

Enter your name to be insulted:

One of 73 thousand Pirate insults by Insult-O-Matic

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Heaps o' stuff!

Where, oh where has my weekend gone?

I'm typing this out because firstly, I'm procrastinating. I should be doing more studying type stuff or even work-related stuff. Secondly I think my brain has had enough for the day. I can't even decide what I want for dinner.

So where did it go?

Well, on Friday night we went to see Varekai, the latest Cirque du Soleil performance. Wow. Just wow. Watching people fold themselves in half which wearing funky outfits is great! One of my favourite things was the fact that they show that they are human. You can see the expressions of "yeah! I nailed that one!" and "I rock!" before they slip back into the focussed trance of trying not to injur themselves. They guys who were juggling each other were showing the most expression. There was a huge variety of styles of entertainment. The music is played and sung live. Performers vary from amusing side-kick gags to intense juggling and working far too far off the ground. There was also the spectacular costumes tying all the acts together through a nice little story. There was also so much happening at once that I know I missed quite a few things, and if you'd see the same show a few times it would still be great. Of course, post-show was the sit around the pub waiting for traffic to clear. There had to be a rugby league game on the night we went, didn't there? It was funny watching the football-going crowd separating from the circus-going crowd.

Saturday was a stay at home and relax day. Got up late. Cooked up a nice fried up breaky. Ate it on the picnic rug out in the back yard. I like having a yard! Headed off to Newtown to buy some more coffee from Campos (the last of our supply was donated to a good cause). Ended up buying the last of their coffee of the month. It's an Ethiopian blend that I can't seem to remember the name of. Guess it doesn't matter if I can't get it again! Very tasty though. While in Newtown I bought some boats. Somebody decided to get me started on collecting "Pirates of the Spanish Main". Hmmm... something collectable. Hope I don't get too obsessive over this one. At home spent a few hours catching up on readings for my current subject. Not sure what I think of this one. It makes some good points but gets there in very odd ways.

We did of course end up spending the late hours of the evening playing Pirates. I feel the game was a success since half of the boats ended up derelict. We played with only the 2 of us, 30 points worth of ship/crew, a total of 6 wild island plus 2 home islands, with 5 coins on each. This made the game more interesting as each boat had to do at least 2 runs to clean up an island somewhere.

Sunday slept in. Couldn't decide what to have for Brekky, which didn't matter because my indecision was interrupted by a "get out of bed and come and have breakfast!" phone call. Hooray for Ms Baggy-Trousers! When we got to Envy, it turned out the Fitz 'n' Krin were also there and one of them may also have a Pirates obsession. Heh. The it was off to Burwood to meet up with DV and Nw, to go see Mic Conway and his Junk Band. They rock! Turns out I've been looking for them for around 10 years. I saw them come on before Steeleye Span at the Three Weeds (one of them.. can't remember which 3 weeds it was), and thought they were great. They did a great cover of Road to Nowhere which.... strangely... they played this time too. Anyway, back then I thought they were great but promptly forgot their name and hadn't been able to find them since. Now I own 2 of their albums. Maybe I should have asked for autographs while I was there. Ah well... anyway, Burwood festival was fun. There were some fun boats to watch, heaps of great stalls and I got to eat some strange food. I tried a Japanese noodle pizza. Was surprisingly tasty! Well, with the number of sauces and spices poured on top it wasn't that surprising. But I'd eat another one!

After that, it was time for home. Was supposed to go out again to hang out with some people again but quite frankly... too tired. Also needed to get some more study done. I've done a bit. I've also done the dishes and ordered pizza and typed this up. Hmmm... procratination, full steam ahead!

Finality for the real estate agents...

Just as an amusing aside, and so I remember how much I trust these guys, I had to follow them up. Earlier last week I emailed and say hey.. ummm.. about that money. Turned out that she'd forgotten to put in the account number and the money was sitting in a holding account. Apologies ensued and the money actually arrived by last Friday. Wow. That didn't take long at all, did it?

Monday, September 04, 2006

One victory!

I finally called up NRMA to clear up the difference between dates on the cheque and after a bit of a chat and a "hmmm... I'll have a look at that for you" I got a "The difference between what you received and what you should have received was $51. I'm printing out the cheque now. Where would you like it sent?"


Still haven't received my bond reimbursement.....

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Spring has sprung!

While we were up at my parents' house this weekend, I took some pictures of what is growing in their garden. I can see why my mum likes spring so much.






Tuesday, August 29, 2006

An event so close to home it's scary!

I almost could have walked there! Except for the traipsing around with far too much crap. Anyway... here's an idea of how it looked


Much mightiniess was had by all


At the feast aftwards, Mr Tops was there to mull up some wine for us!

sweet, sweet, warm wine....

Anyway... here's an arty shot for you all


and finally here is a warning. Don't move too quickly when people are taking photos in the near-dark. You will lose your head. Largely to the delight of others.


Musicians in the fogs!

Two weekends ago I went to a fabulous feast in the mountains which had mountains of delicious food! Although I took a few photos, not many turned out. Here's a picture of the subtlety (hmmm.... need to check spelling on that one):

Originally uploaded by MrSnerg.

and here's a picture of the fine musicians who helped fill the hall with fabulous sounds while we stomped around "learning" how to "dance":

Originally uploaded by MrSnerg.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Rage. Machine. Inevitable arrangement between them.

Still trying to rage against the machine. The Real Estate agents have come over all negotiable now. I am awaiting their next reply to avoid the going to the CTTT.

NRMA have now sent me the rest of the cheque finalising the last bit of the final stuff of the car claim except I'm not sure where they got the amount and why it doesn't add up or agree with what they said it was.

I also have an assignment due Tuesday. I've kind-of started it. Maybe.

Oh yeah... we also had some fabulous guests staying up from Melbourne. Why are they fabulous? Well for a start they helped us come 2nd in the local pub trivia last night.

Update: Well, the reagents got back to me with a counter-offer. This is getting silly. Do I care? Can I be bothered going to the tribunal? Man this is painful.

Update2: Had enough. It's over with the reagents. Just need to wait for the money to come through. Now to chase up insurance and finish that assignment.

Update3: Well the assignment is handed in on time (yesterday) and I now know where NRMA got their date for their refund from. Need to make some phone calls on that one.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Saint Towbar's Day

Or "How to be a manly man."

First: check you have all the tools. Especially all the fun ones.

After your car is up on the ramps, and you've partly removed the muffler to get to a sheet of metal, you get to drill a hole in it! Yay!

After that you need to remove the rear bumber completely. Which means "Oh crap... I don't have anything to get in to there! What the f&^#$(*^!". Thankfully by then, Dr Scruff had come to help, and point and laugh, so we drove off down to the local purveyor of hardware and found a tube spanner which had better do the trick or we were toast. If it didn't work, I'd have a superfluous hole in my car and have bits everywhere to no avail.

Luckily it did work, giving an interesting new look to the car.

Once you remove those metal caps on both sides, you can see down the chasis. Take a look down my chasis *nudge* *nudge* *wink* *wink* say no more.

The wires you can see poking through those holes are what is provided to orient some metal blocks that the towbar gets bolted to.

Then there was the wiring. This photo was taken in case we didn't quite get it right and had to go back. The plug, and another one, needed to be pulled apart and all the wires removed and put in to different plugs. Why didn't they just provide the correct sockets the first time?

Thankfully once we wired it all up (and checked it with a multimeter) it all popped together quite quickly, and we barely needed Dr Scruff's big lamp. Of course, I owed him a beer.

The next morning I was very nervous as my car refused to start. Thankfully that turned out to be a one-off, and it's been happy ever since! And I feel like a real man:

"What did you do on the weekend?"
"Fitted a towbar to my car."
"Have you used it yet?"
"What are you going to tow?"
"That's not important right now. I have one and I did it myself. Well, with some help."

I do have to thank Dr Scruff. Without his help I don't think it would have happened.

p.s. according to the provided documentation the process should take 1hr 45mins total. Including removing the interior and putting it back in twice. We took around 6 hours, excluding the beer.

Maintaining their rage

After the angry call from the RE-agent earlier, I was wondering how my bond was going and how thye were feeling about the whole thing. I hadn't heard a thing since then. I received a nice little letter in the mail last night saying that they were claiming the entire bond. I hear this from the bond board. Surely I need to at least be given some kind of reason or something!?!

I was going to post about being a manly man and fitting a towbar to my car on the weekend, but yesterday (as opposed to victory Sunday, St Towbar's day) really did turn out to be craptacular after that letter. That crazy rollercoaster of life...

*UPDATE* got a response this morning from my please explain email:

"I will be finalising the bond claim for you today.

The bond has been claimed in full and once the amount claimed is ascertained we will refund you any surplus.

You can expect finalisation letter today."

Weird. Just plain weird.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Lingering details

Well I'm still trying to claim the last parts of my car insurance. I received the refund cheque from the RTA, which was a different amount than NRMA thought it would be. Maybe I should keep quiet about those extra few dollars I got. That may have been down to the fact that the plates were returned to the RTA because the car turned up. Anyway, after getting my certificate of "Car no longer exists" from the RTA and faxing that off to the NRMA resolutions department, I got a fax back from NRMA because there's an extra form to fill in which I didn't previously know about. They seem to require my policy number for some reason rather than just my rego plate details with a few signatures all placed neatly on one form. Found a good copy of the form on the website, better than the mangled been through the fax machine one they sent me. Now I have to find my old policy details back again. This time for sure! This should be the last bit of the insurance claim (just over $150 remaining from CTP insurance which had to be refunded in this convoluted fashion).

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

They sent the angry lady

I got a call from an angry real estate agent about how messy the place is. How it is "filthy" and "unpresentable". She complained about the carpet not being steam cleaned. Well... I told them that! She also complained about only having 4 days to do something about it because someone is moving in then. They would have had 5 if they would have done the inspection when they said they would. Put me in a crappy mood that conversation. Just needed to get that out of the system.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Done and dusted but not steam cleaned.

Handed in the keys today! Momentous moment! And thanks to the wonder of direct deposit, you can now get your bond back sooner :-)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

No longer in my prime!

That's it. I'm no longer in my Mersenne prime. Unless somehow I manage to make it to 127, I won't be seeing another one of those again. To misquote Nixon, "I am not a nerd!"

Enough silliness for one day. I also didn't want to post this on my exact birthday because hey.... that's too much information! Don't want the entire world knowing my exact date of birth.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

New toys are fun!

Well.. they will be when I get time to use them. Still unpacking and putting things in useful places, but at least I got to buy new toys.

Last weekend I bought a bunch of tools (drills, bits, socket set) and some stuff in particular for the fitting the towbar to my car project. I bought the required 30mm diameter hole cutter, which of course turns out to be a specialist tool requiring a drill which can cope. So yes.. this will cost more than having it fitted but at least I have toys I will own forever! I also may need (although not sure how compulsory it is) a torque wrench. Not cheap but could be fun anyway. Jury is out on that one.

And in other shiny tool news, a new version of Hugin is out! Yay! So I may play with panoramas again (when I have the time). It does a whole swag of new projections, and improves the built-in stitching tool. It also apparently multi-threads, which would be great if I had more than one processing core. Oh well.

It's all over bar the carpet cleaning

Well... that's it. Goodbye old flat! Last night was spent doing a final clean-up. Was a good ol' flat. Did its job well. Boy did I keep a lot of junk in there. Some of it is now binned or recycled. Still have heaps to get rid of. Just need to decide what!

A big thankyou to DestructoMeg for helping me with this less than delightful task.

Yeah the carpet is still a bit dodgy and there are coloured stains on the walls which will never be removed (honestly... the place needed painting when I moved in). I am fairly sure that the place is cleaner than when I moved in to it. Maybe I'll get the REagent to organise the carpet cleaning for me. They like taking money out of your bond anyway, right?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

That was tooooooo easy

Recently I subscribed to TPG's offering of ADSL2+. The rates seemed okay, so I went ahead with it. They kept updating me of progress via emails, and yesterday morning I picked up my Zyxel modem. Apparently I now have VoIP if I want it, but the main bit is that it's a funky modem with 802.11g wireless, 4 ethernet ports, and heaps of security features. You can also configure it via telnet session.

The funny thing was that after I finally got my computer to boot again (there was an incident involving the smell of burning circuit board), I plugged the modem in, and straight away I could browse the world. How cool is that? It was all pre-loaded and set up for me. Either that or something really weird is happening. So now I've changed the admin password like a good security person, and I need to work out how to set up the wireless network. Particularly for linux (in Redhat flavour).

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Picking at the carcass

This morning I drove to Smithfield to the auction house were my ex-car is currently housed. Was an interesting experience (well, getting there was fun too...) and it was an odd deeling to see the car in more detail. The thieves had popped open the bottom of the steering column and the key mechanism was entirely exposed. Apparently, according to the auction house, NRMA had not sent the keys through. I was a bit suspicious of the "popping it in the internal mail bag and hoping for the best" approach they had. Not that it really mattered, given the state of the ignition.

So what was left in the car? Almost everything. A few things missing included umbrella, brand new sunshade, cheap-arsed toolkit and matching cheap-arsed air compressor. What was there was my chuck in the car wool blankets, and... my inherited from Aveline large aluminium ex-army frying pan. Woohoo!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I met Peter Garrett! Woohoo!

Last night I was at an event organised by work, called "Meet the CEO". It's a loungechair Parkinson-like interview of random CEOs, covering life experiences and done with a good sense of humour as well. Being an employee of the faculty, I was allowed in to the VIP area. Met a lot of people... many who did not want to meet me (not exactly surprising... I have little to offer them). The only person on the distinguished guest list whom I really wanted to meet didn't show, so I ended up walking up to other random strangers and saying hello. Then it turned out that Peter Garrett was there. I may well have been mid conversation with other people whom I just met but quite frankly... I wasn't going to miss the opportunity. So I wandered up to him and had a chat. He was mild mannered and put a lot of thought in to things he said. Spoke about all sorts of stuff for about 5-10 minutes. After the main event (the 1 hour interview with the CEO of Westpac, Dr. David Morgan), the Honorable Mr Garrett had to walk past me and said "See you later, mate!". He called me mate! That's almost a first name basis!

Well it certainly made my day.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Quick random poll...

If you were a female, on your own, and you saw me lurking in the shadows, wearing a trenchcoat and carrying a bundle of stuff under my arm, would you be really really REALLY scared?

Yes there is a story to this. Was picking up stuff from Megs place last night and had a few things to pop in the back of the car. Well, the car from the people in the other part of the house had pulled up. Since they had to walk around the back of my car, which is where I had to go to put the things in, I decided to wait for them first. This may have been interpreted as lurking. I had left the door in the fence open since my hands were full on the way out. This turned out to be important for the sole occupant of the car. I didn't realise quite what was going on until she (I hadn't even noticed gender) dashed out of the car, powered through the door, firmly closing it without losing speed, and scrambling in through her front door. My first thought was "How rude. Didn't even say hello." This was soon enough replaced with "Ooops. I'm being scary again aren't I?"

Monday, July 10, 2006

That answers THAT question....

A funny thing happened to me while moving house. Some mighty, mighty friends (Ob, Dr_Nik, Dr_Scruff, Topsy, Mouse and of course Megz) were helping me move house when I get a phone call from Maroubra police. "We've located your car" they say. Wow. I thought it was gone forever. Of course it's not my car now, it belongs to NRMA. I did go check it out. Some stuff is still in there but I don't have a key to do anything about that. Funny thing is that it's only about 2 blocks from my flat. Wonder how many times it's been broken in to. The locks looked badly popped. The lovely detective described the car as "Better do something about it. It won't stay there too long. It has a screwdriver hanging out of the ignition." It had been all nicely dusted for prints, with a calling card on the seat from the detectives.

Phoned NRMA... took forever to the helpful phone operator what was going on. Kept needing to check and recheck things. I was doing them a favour by explaining where the car is, since it's theirs now, but they kept insisting that they were assisting me. I guess I still own the contents, which I'll have to figure out how to get now. They gave the worst instructions to the tow truck guy picking up the vehicle. He thought is was a smash, not a stolen-recovery, and didn't even know the colour of the car. He contacted me on my mobile to get real directions, and was nice enough to thank me after he found it. Actually.... he was ecstatic about it. Probably because it was Sunday night and he wanted to go home.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Old meets new

While up in Brisbane I took this photo. I quite like the contrast of age, style and charater.

Send them to the Hague. Now.

Honestly... how is this not a crime against humanity? (Not the lack of focus... the colours.)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

New toys!

I just picked up a new towbar kit (towbar, ball and wiring harness) plus a set of roof racks. Ended up buying 'Genuine Toyota' parts because they were cheaper than anything else I could easily find anyway. Who would have thought? Still have to work out how to install them though. The towbar looks easy enough and the wiring kit may have a few tricks in it but there aren't exactly instructions with these things, so it could go either way.

Stay tuned for more exciting car news.

Looks like the wiring kit includes some instructions although I'm not convinced yet they are good ones. Once I have pulled my car slightly to pieces I will know. When my car was stolen, it had my (cheap and nasty) toolkit in it, so I'll have to get a replacement. Which means.... MORE TOYS! Yay!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Yet another panorama

Quick(ish) and dirty attempt this time. Just wanted to put it together to see what happens. It's at Gunlom again, but looking up to the lookout where the other Gunlom panorama was taken. I might need to compile the software myself to get the current version and start messing with different projections. I'm using cylindrical at the moment but I want to see how it goes with Mercator, which means either waiting for a binary to turn up or compiling my own. Could try rectilinear but that would probably distort the image too much.

Hooray! Finally got a Flickr account!

I have many photos of the Darwin trip now on Flickr. Of course they are backwards because I am uploading them forwards. I'll fix it when I can be bothered. Maybe. I still have more to put up there I think.

Edit: Hoorah! 61 photos uploaded!

Monday, June 26, 2006


Alright... I should stop procrastinating. But until I do.....

You Are Heineken

You appreciate a good beer, but you're not a snob about it.
You like your beer mild and easy to drink, so you can concentrate on being drunk.
Overall, you're a friendly drunk who's likely to buy a whole round for your friends... many times.
Sometimes you can be a bit boring when you drink. You may be prone to go on about topics no one cares about.

Your Inner European is Italian!

Passionate and colorful.
You show the world what culture really is.

Your Quirk Factor: 65%

You're so quirky, it's hard for you to tell the difference between quirky and normal.
No doubt about it, there's little about you that's "normal" or "average."

Your Personality Profile

You are funky, outdoorsy, and down to earth.
While you may not be a total hippie...
You're definitely one of the most free spirited people around.

You are very impulsive - every day is a new adventure.
However, you do put some thought behind all your actions.
Still, you do tend to shock and offend people from time to time!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

More pictures!

Well it was a rather fun weekend, and I took some photos on Saturday which I think are worth sharing. Firstly, these little guys (there were actually 2 of them) landed on the balcony across from me, then flew to my balcony and did not seem even remotely scared. So I wandered off and got my camera, came back and they still hadn't moved. This shot is a little more action than I thought it would be, and looks like birds have taken to skipping. Which is fair enough. If you've been flying for so long, why not?

This next little piccy is from my brother's place up in the mountains. The smurfs have moved in and are taking over his front yard.

I think this mushroom is a Amanita muscaria or 'Fly Agaric' although apparently getting a definite ID on a mushroom is very difficult.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Fog is soooo sexy!

It was so awesome to see Sydney blanketed in fog this morning. I didn't realise how much of Sydney was fogged in. If I did, I would have brought my camera on my journey to work and taken photos of some of the sandstone buildings emerging from the fog. Oh well. I did take a couple of shots of the lack of view from my balcony which I'll pop up real soon now (tm).

The sun can *almost* get through!

Monday, June 19, 2006

One more time for the dummies

Okay... I had to try it again. This time for sure. Wanted to get the contrast right and it looks like it helped. I changed the contrast anchor to be the 1st frame (instead of the 3rd) and left the position anchor as the 3rd frame. Am I OCD? Maybe. Just wanted to get it to look as good as it can. This is also here partly so I remember what I did and can get it right much easier next time I try panoramas.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Gunlom Revisitied

Alas, I can't actually go back there right at this minute, but at least I can still keep tinkering with the photos. Still using Hugin, but using the PTStitcher engine rather than nona and enblend. This allows for colour and brightness correction, and has a different way of blending the borders. I also leaned how to add extra contol points to control horizontal and vertical features, which has left me with a much better horizon. At least I'd like to think so. There are 2 ways to make these things better. One is to use a tripod and the other is to learn how to use the camera better to lock down all the brightness/exposure settings. Even if I only locked the camera settings, it would already have made it much better.

Edit: While I'm on a roll, here's the Nourlangie Rock and Arnhem land photo redone similarly.

Moonrise over Cold War

It's a bit of a shame that I didn't figure out how to take a proper photo of the moonrise before the colours disappeared. It was a lot more purple in bands across the sky, but those photos are all a little blurry. Still I think this one turned out okay. Kinda. Sorta.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Nourlangie Rock with Arnhem Land Escarpment

Guess the title says it all. What it doesn't say is that this took several attempts to try to get horizontal to be reasonably correct. I ended up rotating the image by 0.2 degrees (2 degrees got flat horizon but then Nourlangie rock looked like it was going to fall over). Looks like there's a long way to go to learn how to use the panorama tools properly. The view is from Nawurlandja.


Ok... here's my attempt to panorama pictures taken from a lookout on the way to the top of the falls at Gunlom (from the previous post). I got off my butt and looked for something myself to do the panorma. I used Hugin with autopano and enblend. Results are okay but I wonder if there's any other auto blending tools out there which would help with the colour matching.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Kakadu in 6 easy steps

First, pop out for some rock art in Ubirr

Then hang out in Ubirr for the sunset

Enjoy the clear pools at Boulder Falls

Squeeze thorugh some rocks at Gubara

Enjoy the view from the hotel room at Kambolgie

And watch the water fall down at Gunlom (without pestering the local crocs)