Home Archive November 2004
I'm so jealous...
Tuesday, 23 November 2004 1:34 pm

My brother has gone out and got himself a very nice, very shiny new car. Check it out...

Bad food, bad!
Monday, 22 November 2004 6:48 am

Well Serena is in town for the week and I grasped this as an opportunity to blow any low fat gains I made during the week but going to Greasy Joes for a burger with the 'Lot'. To give you some idea of this little ripper it needs to be pinned together to stop it from toppling sideways before it reaches you and is impossible to eat without a knife and fork. There was a fair bit of beer as well but that can't be bad for you, can it?

On the positive side we did walk around the St Kilda markets first just to help work up a hunger. I managed to talk Deb and Serena into posing for a photo outside the entrance to Luna Park. Given the image quality I don't know why the even bothered objecting. Where's Wally anyone?

Goodbye Hotmail, hello Gmail
Saturday, 20 November 2004 5:46 am

Well, I have deleted my hotmail account and removed it from my Outlook setup. They have removed the ability to access it from Outlook if you aren't paying for their premium service. Interestingly enough Gmail have just added the ability to access their mail system from Outlook express.

Anyone want a Gmail account? I got a few invites left?

The 'cams back
Friday, 19 November 2004 8:11 am

Ladies and gentlemen, due to unprecedented demand (Well actually 'Lan' was the only one to ask) we have reconnected the Webcam.

So keep an eye out for Deb as she struggles to complete the second draft on her new novel.

A career in the construction industry, anyone?
Wednesday, 17 November 2004 6:22 am

At work we are planning to move into a new building next year. This is going to involve relocating about 1300 people, and all their IT equipment, into a beautiful new building that PwC will get naming rights on. Pretty cool really.

Because we may need to access the building before it is officially signed over we all had to attend basic safety training, called a Red Card, in case anyone thinks we are actually 'working' when on site.

It was actually a full on 8 hour training course. We were flying over tons of material ranging from the history of the particular laws involved through to what type of fire extinguisher to use on paper fires. In two to three weeks we will all get our official Red Card which means I am allowed on construction sites. Yeaha!

We managed to finish Myst4 on the weekend with a few tips from a walkthrough. It turns out we had completely missed a very important section that was the basis of the whole story. Without it we were basically stuck. Once we got that bit done it got a whole lot clearer what we were supposed to be doing. Oh, and I didn't like the ending, but then again I never do.

The weather lately has been horrible but for the last two days it has been really nice. I even mowed the lawn last night when I got home. (You have gotta love daylight savings). We are REALLY looking forward to heading to Brisbane for Christmas, it is all I can focus on at the moment.

And I should really think about having a mini-Christmas BBQ to our place one weekend soon for all of our friends to come over and enjoy a cold beer or two and a little Christmas cheer. Then again, before I do that, I need to clean up the backyard. It never ends really.

A long time between drinks
Wednesday, 10 November 2004 11:17 am

I thought I should put up a quick update to let you know what we have been up to. I am feeling much better after a few days off last week. I felt really guilty taking the day off after Melbourne Cup but quite frankly I felt like crap.

Deb did well with her horse coming second. It was one of the favorites so she didn't clean out the bank. Then again doubling your money is never a bad think. (Even if I was the one to buy the tickets)

We spent Saturday pounding the shops at Chadstone looking for Christmas gifts for my family. I am not sure how much we ended up spending but we did really well and I have a bunch of really good things. To make it even better I was walking through and saw a swim suite in a store. I got Deb to try it on and it looked fantastic. Score one for me.

The last week and been really busy with work chewing up a huge amount of my time. We have a whole bunch of projects that are due in after Christmas and I think the workload may actually end up killing me. I am trying to get as much done now to avoid having to take anything away with us at Christmas.

In my favour my two meetings today have been cancelled so I can spend the afternoon working on various outstanding tasks.

Oh, and our replacement entertainment unit arrived this morning so I can now head home tonight and install all of our equipment into it. It looks really good (Especially without the dint the first one had.)

Coughs, sneeeze and snuffle
Thursday, 4 November 2004 7:05 am

Well, I am afraid that the Alvers household isn't as healthy as it could be. Deb got a cold last week which she is still fighting and I got a variant that turned my tummy into a little churning mess.

The worst part is that it happened right across the Melbourne Cup public holiday. Not fair really. Deb suggested that I use a sick leave day and take my public holiday later. (I'm not sure that it really works that way but you have to admire her line of thinking).

At work everyone seems to be sick with something and the weather has just turned COLD with temps in the low tens. I ended up taking yesterday off on sick leave and spending it buried in a doona with the occational cat crawling in and seeing if I was OK. (Actually I think they were just trying to get warm but I choose to delude myself at this moment)

Deb also managed to give her keyboard a drink the other night which has resulted in a some interesting, unintentional, bursts of randmom typing. Who knows, it may work like the million monkeys idea. Perahps one morning we will wake up to find the dodgy keyboard has spontaniously typed Shakespere. Actually I would prefer if it wrote something original, like the next Harry Potter novel.

Anyway, we have started to think about the problem of gifts for my family for Christmas. So, over to my Sis and Bro who now have to stump up a shopping list. C'mon guys, tell us what you want.

Oh well, back to work.

Food glorious food
Monday, 1 November 2004 8:47 am

Well another weekend spent adding to my waist line. I have now shaved off my rather patchy beard but I am not entirely convinced that it was causing my 'mysterious' increase in weight recently.

Perhaps it could possibly be all the rich yummy food that I have been eating during winter. Let's see. Friday dinner was Lamb shanks in a rich tomato and olive reduction served with mashed potato. Saturday night was Japanese...I mean LOTS of Japanese and Sunday was Jambalaya with prawns and chorizo sausage.

Ok, so it could possibly be all the food. But I love it so very much. sigh... I guess a real diet is on the books for summer.

Yes! I rock!
Friday, 29 October 2004 11:28 am

You will have to forgive me my little burst of self-congratulation. We have been playing Myst4 now for a week and doing very well. We have only had to resort to the help a couple of times and normally just for a push in the right direction. But we came to the 'Tuning' puzzle and MAN whoever thought this one up should be taken out and beaten.

Let me start by saying that the solution was SO obtuse that we actually ended up consulting an on-line help site which gave us the answer. It still took us almost 30 minutes to figure out how they arrived at that solution.

Then, to make things worst it was also a timing puzzle. You have to set four locks in order and as soon as you set each one a clock counts down and resets it. So you end up getting the first set, then the second and as you start on the third the first one resets. AAARRRGGGHH!!!

In the end I used a tip I saw on the web and had little bits of post-it notes stuck on the screen to help me line up the locks. And then I did it, after an hour of trying.

I have to say the rush at actually making it work was pretty awesome. Anyway, I rock, I am the best, I am the Myst4 master, I master the Myst4...

Sleep debt and B&Bs
Tuesday, 26 October 2004 2:24 pm

I seem to be running a small sleep debt that I can't seem to catch up. All weekend I was trying to steal cat naps when ever I could and last night I was in bed by 9:45pm.

Myst4 is burning a whole in my consciousness so I just know that I am not going to be going to bed early tonight (;-)

Deb held one of her writing workshops at our place last night. Deb, Ian and Kate worked their way through 30000 words of each others novels which took about 5 hours.

I got a taste of what it would be like to run a B&B. I cooked dinner and kept the cups of tea coming. Actually it was quite fun although I am not sure they really liked the pasta dish. Oh well, it was fun to do anyway.

Sunshine, good news and monkeys.
Monday, 25 October 2004 7:22 am

Well that was a really good weekend. We had Jan, Simon, Helen and Dave over for dinner on Saturday night. Deb had the menu under control so I got to take it easy. Actually Deb hates having people in the kitchen so I HAD to stay at the dinner table while she cleaned up or else people just naturally seem to gravitate into our kitchen. (Go figure).

I heard from Mum on Sunday with the best news we have had in quite a while. A secondary scan of her liver has shown that the growths they saw in the full body scan are not cancerous after all. She apparently needs another test to make sure that the second one didn't miss too much but it really is the best news in a while. I am yet to hear from my Brother and Sister but I am sure they will be relieved as well.

And finally onto my 'How to waste an entire Sunday'. The sun was out, the weather was stunning and we were inside with the lights out playing Myst4: Revelations. It was a bit touch and go to start with because the game was complaining about my video card driver. I ended up installing the latest update, with my fingers crossed, and away we went. I think we have only scratched the surface of the game so far. Oh, and we only had one really good fight over it so all up we are learning to play much better together!

Today is the day...
Thursday, 21 October 2004 9:23 am

That's right ladies and gentlemen, it's our wedding anniversary. Deb has been dumb enough to stick with me for four whole years. She has put up with my wild ideas, my constant teasing and occasional forays into home arts and crafts. She has praised my wood working skills, mopped my brow when ill and cleaned up the kitchen after I have destroyed it cooking dinner. She has even learnt how to use the home theatre PC remote control. Trust me ... that's no small achievement.

To top it all off I actually managed to get Deb a card and a gift without her getting me one. That may sound tragic but actually it is a bit of a victory for me. Every time I have tried to surprise her in the past I have been gazumped. I try to secretly arrange to take the day off so Deb asked me the day before if I can take the day off. I try to arrange a trip away so Deb suddenly turns up with a handful of brochures. I never seem to be able to surprise her. I think that is one of the reasons I love her so much.

So, the fact that I got to hand Deb her card and gift this morning and for her to say 'Oh, I didn't get you anything' was one of the best gifts I could have asked for.

Deb, LFM.

Lost for words...
Wednesday, 20 October 2004 6:54 pm

Where do you start with a post like this. I have wondered if posting about it was really appropriate at all. Then again it is my family and close friends who look at the site so I guess you really can be anonymous in cyberspace.

I heard from my sister tonight, and then spoke with Mum, about the results of Mum's recent operation and other tests. Unfortunately in terms of a hoped recovery it is about as bad as you can get.

So we now have to look instead to the future and to cherish every moment that we can have together. As a family this has certainly made me realised how strong we can be, to pull together in the face of whatever comes.

Overall, at the moment, I am just proud to be an Alvers and to be a part of my family. That might sound weird but I can only say how much I truely appreciate the love and strength that we have for each other.

The old saying says you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family. Well, at the moment, I can't think of any other family I would rather have.

We are now all focused on Christmas and the chance to be together for a week or so. It is something that I am REALLY looking forward to and can't wait to see everyone.

Till later...goodnight

A very quick update
Tuesday, 19 October 2004 6:22 pm

I just wanted to say that Mum is back home which is simply the best news. I am currently working on a few tricks for this site so pop back once in a while and see what is happending.

The good, the bad and the pussycat
Monday, 18 October 2004 8:13 am

We had Nicky, Curtis and Nicky's brother Mark over for dinner on Saturday. It was Curt's belated birthday from Deb and I. The night was a lot of fun and rather liquid. I am not actually sure how much I drank but Deb and I didn't get up until 11am on Sunday. We then spent the day re-watching FireFly again with the commentary turned on. Occasionally we would look outside, make a comment about the beautiful weather and then start the next episode.

Dinner on Saturday night included a Jambalaya which was Deb and my compromise between a Pilaf (which Deb wanted) and a Paella (which I wanted). It was actually very very good and something that I will definitely be adding to my standards list.

For those, like me, who don't know what a Jambalaya is, it's a spicy Creole stew made up of celery, onion and green capsicum with chicken, pork, ham and spicy sausage. The whole thing is simmered with stock, rice and juicy fresh tomatoes into the most amazing thing I have tasted in a while.

On Sunday I gave Mum a call in hospital. The surgery has gone well but they have been playing around with her medication a bit which made Mum very very ill. I only had her on the phone for a very short while because she was so unwell. I think she was expecting to come home on Sunday but my sister mentioned that they would probably keep her for another day at least. Needless to say we are all holding our breath and hoping that she comes home soon. It is going to make our trip to Brisbane this year all the more important.

All up it was a mixed weekend of very good and rather bad. Our thoughts and love are with Mum at the moment and I really hope she can come home soon.

Multimedia Extravaganza
Monday, 11 October 2004 11:20 am

The weekend before last we went to Jan & Simon's place for Isobel's second birthday. Not being able to restrain myself I grabbed a few moments of video footage using my XDAII. What? You needed proof that I was a geek?.

Anyway, I now present it here for your viewing pleasure.


Well, don't blame me
Monday, 11 October 2004 8:24 am

Deb has been really into the whole election and probably spent more time than me looking into the various issues and agendas of the various parties. I can hear the 'I told you so...' building up at the moment.

I personally took my approach to the election a little more low key. Having said that I am rather interested to see that the Liberals will basically have control of both the lower and upper houses. It is gonna make the first year of their new term very very interesting.

On the home front we spent Saturday out voting, shopping, cooking and watching. It was a very overcast day that started out with a power outage for our suburb at 10:00am. Luckily it didn't last very long but it went with such an enormous zap that I thought it was going to nuke me TV.

I have given up on loading Linux for the moment. After the reinstall I loaded GNOME on top of Linux but it was so very very very slow that I gave up and flattened it again. I now read that GNOME is being dropped by a few of the Linux distributions in favour of KDE...so I will likely reload linux again and try one of the KDE flavours.

Sunday morning I was playing around on the net and found this rather bad graphic of a geek tshirt that looks like a packing label. So, with a couple of fonts and a little time I designed my own version that even has my own name embedded in the barcode. Now how geeky is that. I don't have the graphic here but when I get home tonight I'll covert it into a JPG and upload it here for you to look at.

The rest of Sunday was spent getting the front yard cleaned up. It's funny but that is now the place that Deb and I actually do spend time just sitting on the front lawn as the sun sets. The flowers out there are pretty amazing at the moment and the new trees are going to be awesome.

Furrgus also out did himself by running into the house at around 9:30pm with a mouse in hand. Deb quickly scooped him up, mouse and all, and put him outside. I feel sorry for the mouse.

The whole weekend was rather nicely topped off with a batch of chocolate chip cookies that Deb made and a quiche for dinner. Not a bad two days at all.

Ok, I'll take another crack at it
Tuesday, 5 October 2004 8:27 am

Well, I started reinstalling Linux again last night onto the laptop. I just cannot accept defeat at the hands of an operating system. This time around though I have loaded GNOME, which is a windows interface, which should make the whole experience a little easier.

Deb picks up her work assignment today which is her first undertaking as 'ALVERS Ink'...not bad huh? Hopefully it will be the first of many, financially advantageous, transactions. Besides that the letter head that Deb has designed looks really cool so I wanna see some invoices rolling out the door. (;^))

And, as confirmed by Deb in her blog, we are DEFINITELY going to Brisbane for Christmas. Woo Hoo!!! I simply cannot wait.

Before then I have three books that I am supposed to be reading: Abolishing Performance Appraisals, The Effective Leader and Emotional Intelligence. I have got a few pages into each of them but I am finding it hard to keep my enthusiasm for any of them for very long. I think I need a long holiday with lots of free time to just sit back, relax and take in the info.

Oh and a special Hello, to our small but dedicated audience who regularly check our blogs. It's nice to know that someone in Cyberspace loves us.

Linux 'aint gonna take over the world yet.
Monday, 4 October 2004 7:23 am

I heard from Mum that last weeks operation went well. We are now waiting for the results of the tests which should be in by Wednesday. Again we are all holding our breath as Mum puts on a brave face.

On the home front I tried installing Debian Linux on an old laptop computer I have to see what I thought about the whole Linux vs Windows experience. Now admittedly I have no idea at all how Linux/Unix works and can only just get myself around a using shell commands. So it was with some disappointment that I got Linux installed, without network support, and launched X into a minimal config.

Now, to say that the envirnoment was completely alien to me would be an understatement. Considering that Apple have managed to put their entire interface on top of Unix you would have thought someone would have made it a little easier for us dumb Windows users. In any case Linux lasted all of about an hour until a reboot and installation put Windows98 back on.

We did make it to Jan & Simon's place on Saturday for Isobel's 2nd birthday. I think the highlight was me trying to assemble her 'Little People' play setting. I'll tell ya, that sucker had a four page instruction manual and needed a screwdriver. 'Some assembly required'.