asklepia: Galaxy NGC 2074 (Default)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 11:14pm on 01/01/2013 under
I am somewhat dismayed and even ashamed to find how long it's been since I updated - Dreamwidth suggests two whole years, which I'm sure isn't really the case, but LiveJournal has access problems (again) so I can't check. One year or two, it's definitely been too long. I haven't defected to tumblr or twitter, I'm just not updating.

Life is definitely better than it was a couple of years ago. My job pays an extremely good salary and I'm on track to have sufficient saved up to take early retirement in two or three years - exactly when I retire will depend on how many trips I take beforehand (and how many books I buy), but I'm aiming for 01 January 2015. Even though I am very lucky to be able to work from home two days a week, I still find the office days physically difficult and exhausting, and I'll be glad to be home all the time and not have to worry about it.

My father's house remains unsold, but I believe that the market is starting to pick up again, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that someone will want to buy it soon (not least because it would bring forward my retirement date). At least it's occupied, so vermin are unlikely to move in, and my brother will be keeping it in good repair.

Hmm - Two years is 730 days. Take away weekends, public holidays and annual leave and I'm left with 440 working days, and if I maintain the 40% at-home ratio, that leaves me 264 office days. I think I need a countdown chart.

Addendum: LJ is now up and tells me it's 15 months since the last update there (not much of an improvement over 2 years, really). Thank you [ profile] wellinghall for the note some months ago - I'm sorry I didn't see it at the time.
asklepia: (Clouds)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 02:18pm on 12/01/2011 under
I'm not affected by the floods - I got back to Canberra just before Christmas and although we have had more rain than usual, there has been no recurrence of the flooding that affected Queanbeyan last month.

I'm 99% certain that the house in Brisbane is OK too - the suburb is in a relative rain shadow and it's on fairly high ground, so I'm not anticipating any flood damage (though rain and wind may affect it, of course). I don't know how this will affect the eventual sale; there are too many variables to take into account.
asklepia: Galaxy NGC 2074 (Default)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 10:34pm on 06/01/2011 under
1. "Bohemian Rhapsody" played on four violins: (I can't get it to embed, sorry).

2. Thierry Legault's picture of yesterday's solar eclipse, with bonus ISS. You can see it at the Bad Astronomy site (among other places). And ... am I the only one who thought it was a TIE fighter?
location: Home
asklepia: Galaxy NGC 2074 (Default)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 11:11am on 03/12/2010 under
My brother and I have been working hard on the house, getting it ready for sale. I'm doing most of the painting and scrubbing; he is doing most of the repairs, handling the eBay sales and sorting out the legal stuff. We are taking it in turns to carry carloads of stuff to the charity shop and do the daily Bunnings run (it's a hardware store).

He took up the loose tiles in the lounge a few weeks back - it appears that the concrete itself didn't crack, it just flexed, which is a huge relief. When he took the tiles up, we found that they had separated from the grouting underneath, which suggests that they were already under some stress (probably thermal) and it didn't take much for the grouting to give way. He managed to salvage some of the tiles intact, which means we can use them to patch the corridor.

Floor 2010-10-29 following removal of 12 tiles

Today he had some people come and take up the rest of the tiles and grind off the remaining grouting. The noise was horrendous - I was down the other end of the house and I still resorted to earplugs. My brother said it was like being in refit, to which I replied that we should be thankful the heads are still working (which they are, though the bathroom and toilet doors have no handles at the moment because I'm painting them). The workmen were very quick, though, taking only 90 minutes to do the job, and they cleaned up all the mess as well.

Floor 2010-12-03 following tile removal and grinding

The bare area will be replaced by DIY vinyl flooring in a timber pattern. The bedrooms and family room already have this in place, so it won't look too weird, and it's a hell of a lot cheaper than re-tiling the lounge, dining room, kitchen and hallways.

This is what happens when Alison gets distracted while painting and loses her balance:

right foot covered in paint right foot covered in paint

Yes, I stepped in the paint tray. Luckily it's acrylic and came off easily in the shower, and I was almost finished anyway. At least it's better than what happened the last time I lost my balance, a fortnight ago:

left foot showing plug imprint

For those who don't recognise the pattern, it's a 3-pin plug. It hurt. There was a lot of blood. I will try very hard not to do that again.
location: qld
Mood:: 'busy' busy
asklepia: (soccer)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 10:07pm on 14/06/2010 under , ,
1. I set my alarm clock for 0415 this morning so that I could watch the Germany-Australia match and demonstrate patriotic pride. Fortunately for me, the alarm clock failed to go off (it needs a new battery) and I was spared the anguish of watching the 4-0 whitewash as it happened. I know that in theory Australia can still advance to the next round, but ... well, I wouldn't wager one dollar on it. Mind you, with New Zealand, England and Denmark as secondary barracking choices I can't complain too much, since at least one of them will get through.

* * *

2. I was saying all through May that for some reason I didn't feel the cold this year. Now I know why: it wasn't cold then. Winter arrived last week with a vengeance, with nights dropping to -5 Celsius. I am giving serious consideration to buying a small heater for the bedroom - either that or moving my camp bed into the living room for the duration. Brr.

* * *

3. I've been quilting again - I'm making a lap quilt for my Dad, in scarlet and black cotton flannel. It's cuddly and fluffy and very warm, and I almost don't want to give it away. I have more flannel so I think I shall have to make another for myself - I have a queen-size flannel quilt already, but it's too large to put over my knees when I'm at the computer.
Mood:: 'cold' cold
location: Home
asklepia: Galaxy NGC 2074 (Default)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 09:28pm on 28/04/2010 under
"Black holes are what happen when there is too much of a good thing, only without the good."

From this io9 article.
asklepia: Galaxy NGC 2074 (Default)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 06:10pm on 21/04/2010 under
We are having beautiful autumn weather here, which I am taking advantage of while it lasts, sitting on the balcony in the sun, looking out on colourful foliage, watching people walk by and trying to ignore the raucous cockatoos. The Bureau predicts a change at the weekend (just in time for ANZAC Day, of course) so I'll have to dig out the heater from the spare room.

For those who are interested in eccentricities, today is the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Principality of Hutt River (formerly known as Hutt River Province), a nation of uncertain legal status that lies within Western Australia.

Less amusing is the news that YouTube is taking down all the Downfall parodies. I've seen some very funny ones, and it's a shame that the film company is being so obstructionist when the clips fall under fair use and parody provisions. Even the director is on record as saying he enjoys them. Let's hope the film company sees sense soon.

Apart from that, things are quiet, Dad is well and so am I, and I'm planning my winter quilting projects (which bear a marked resemblance to last year's projects ... probably because I didn't finish them last year).
Mood:: 'content' content
asklepia: Galaxy NGC 2074 (Default)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 02:47pm on 27/02/2010
Microsoft is accusing Google of strangling opposition and locking customers into its products ...
asklepia: Galaxy NGC 2074 (Default)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 08:03pm on 20/02/2010
Under the heading "Sid Meier is a genius and I will worship at his feet forever":

Civilization V is being released later this year. I have loved this game since I first encountered it over a decade ago (Civ II), so I am really looking forward to the new iteration, hex tiles and all (and I hope it doesn't clash with WoW:Cataclysm because that would be just sad).

I really wish they would redo Alpha Centauri though - that was my favourite Meier game and I still go back to it from time to time.
asklepia: Galaxy NGC 2074 (Default)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 02:50pm on 01/02/2010 under
The single most important thing you can do to protect your privacy online is to use Mozilla Firefox with the NoScript plug-in.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation can give you an estimate of how identifiable you are, based solely on the data that your browser cheerfully hands out to any website it visits. They have set up a webpage called Panopticlick which gives you immediate feedback on your information leakage.

My results are as follows: under the cut )

Test your own browser at the Panopticlick page.

Get more information from EFF on how to protect yourself here
asklepia: Galaxy NGC 2074 (Default)
I almost wish I were living in Alice Springs for the next few weeks. The entertainment value of this story promises to be high (for a spectator at least, though probably not for the participants). And for those who don't know the author, she is a writer who is about to move to New Zealand (lucky her).

On a different topic entirely, is anyone else having problems accessing Eldalamberon? I wanted to see if some other back issues of Parma Eldalamberon had been reprinted (besides 14) but I can't get in at all, on any browser.
asklepia: Galaxy NGC 2074 (Default)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 05:21pm on 19/01/2010 under ,
Cool weather continues (well, mid-20s, which is cool to me but may well seem like heat-wave weather to others), enabling longer walks and perhaps a minuscule rise in cardiovascular fitness.

Quote of the day (from here):

I don't know anyone who was made more fearful by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab setting fire to his crotch. I know a lot of people who are afraid to travel because they've heard reports of abusive behavior by security personnel at borders and airports.

For those who write (or read, or watch) science fiction, there is a very interesting article here on The Physics of Space Battles. Much food for thought there.

And finally, I am very pleased that Christoph Waltz won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. It was an a standout role in a standout film.
Mood:: 'happy' happy
location: home
Music:: SW1: OST
asklepia: Galaxy NGC 2074 (Default)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 06:01pm on 13/01/2010 under
The cool change came through this afternoon, thank goodness. I hope that it doesn't take too long for the building to cool down (my apartment block is solid concrete, so occasional hot days don't bother me much at all, but several days >35 C means it heats up like an electric oven and takes ages to cool down again). At least we didn't have the extremes that Melbourne and Adelaide have had; I have felt so sorry for them this week, especially with Melbourne setting a new overnight record of 37 C ([ profile] kerewyn, I hope you didn't melt).

Perhaps I'll be able to sleep tonight.
Music:: Little River Band - Cool Change
asklepia: Question mark (Question)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 09:03pm on 09/01/2010 under
Good grief, impossible indeed!! - The Impossible Quiz

The one I got wrong: under the cut, no cheating! )
Mood:: 'smug' smug
location: home
asklepia: Rotating strobe light (Strobe)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 01:44am on 01/01/2010 under
It's been an odd year for me. Of the "interesting developments" I mentioned last year, the only one that actually happened was leaving my job. My new job has been delayed, in part because of Dad's illness, and that has forced me to be a lot more cost-conscious than I have been for years.

I can't say I have much enthusiasm at the moment - I can't even be bothered making any New Year's Resolutions - but I hope that 2010 is better for everyone.
location: qld
asklepia: (Christmas)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 03:22pm on 25/12/2009 under
Christmas lunch has been cooked and eaten; we await trifle later in the afternoon. In the interim, we are watching "The Man Who Knew Too Much", and I have selected a few morsels for your consideration.

A steam train came to the rescue of stranded passengers wishing to get from London to Dover. It just goes to show that old technology has its uses.

After reading this story about the criminalisation of various substances, it makes me wonder how long nutmeg and bay leaves have to go before they, too, become illegal.

I think I'm going to be looking for an e-reader next year. I've been using my trusty Palm T3 since 2004, and I love it to death, but it's getting old, the HotSync is getting temperamental, and I'm not sure how much longer the battery will last (5 years is a long time in electronics). I'd be happy to buy another Palm, but they seem to have ditched the PDA concept in favour of multi-function phones, and I have a real problem with that because I don't want my data in my phone. I've been looking at the various options and reading reviews, but none of the models fills me with enthusiasm at this stage. Of the ones I've seen reviewed, I think the Sony PRS-600 or PRS-300 would be closest to what I want, though still not ideal. Interestingly, my opinion was formed before I saw this EFF table on how e-readers can spy on you but has now been substantially re-inforced.

If you need a picture to convey the wonder of the universe, try this Hubble photo of the M30 galaxy - available in various sizes as JPEG or as a 34MB TIF file.
Mood:: 'Replete' Replete
Music:: "Que sera, sera"
location: qld
asklepia: Galaxy NGC 2074 (Default)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 01:27pm on 24/12/2009 under ,
I'm back in Brisbane for the holidays: it's lovely and warm (around 30 Celsius) but rather humid. We are having turkey breast for lunch tomorrow (much more sensible than a whole bird for two people) followed by wine trifle, which is one of the few dishes that I can do well, probably because no cooking is involved. My dad looks very well and is better than he has been in a long time, though he still has his ups and downs.

I will be sending out e-cards very shortly, but in case I have mislaid anyone's email address (quite likely), please accept my apologies and my wishes for a very happy Christmas and/or secular holiday season.

Christmas Lolcat under the cut )
Mood:: 'happy' happy
asklepia: Question mark (Question)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 01:51am on 19/12/2009 under
Gacked from [ profile] the_marquis, and depressingly accurate. Oh well, it's better than being an airhead. Results below the cut )

And ... you know you're a nerd when you go through the code you're given for this test and not only do you correct the text but the html too. *sigh*
Mood:: 'pensive' pensive
asklepia: Galaxy NGC 2074 (Default)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 12:03pm on 16/12/2009 under
Two good pieces of news today:

1. Christoph Waltz has been nominated for the Best Supporting Actor in the Golden Globe Awards. I would have been extremely disappointed if he had missed out because it was a bravura performance. To act in a foreign language is difficult enough (viz John Malkovich's very wooden performance in Les Misérables a few years ago) but to act convincingly in four languages (one of which he did not speak before filming) is amazing. If Inglourious Basterds only wins one award, I hope it's this one.

(And on a side note - Avatar gets nominations already? It isn't even released yet!)

2. From some time next year (date to be announced), Australia will relax security arrangements for air travel. It won't be a complete roll-back to 2001, but we will be able to take knitting needles and crochet hooks on board, and we will be able to use metal cutlery on planes and in airport cafes. Also they will allow people to carry duty-free alcohol through to domestic transfers.

I am so glad to see this - I do a lot of international travel and I really miss being able to do crafts during the long flights. I'll have to go and find all those piecing and cross-stich projects I put aside in 2001. And maybe I'll actually finish something!

3. Not news but a link: a gorgeous "cat meets snow" cartoon here.
Mood:: 'happy' happy
asklepia: (Headdesk)
posted by [personal profile] asklepia at 05:52pm on 13/12/2009
Peter Watts, a Canadian writer, got arrested for asking a simple question. And they wonder why people look sideways at the USA these days.


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