| Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
*sniff* I think I got something in my eye.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Last week my spam radar went off when my site received some innocuous-looking comments from random visitors. I couldn't see that they were promoting anything, so I approved them. Curious, I went to Google Analytics to see if I could spot where they'd come from. HOLY CRAP, my site traffic was going BERZERK. What the--? On Wednesday November 16th alone, I had over 21,000 visits! That's more than fifty times my regular audience.
It didn't take long to find out what had happened. Somebody submitted one of my posts to StumbleUpon and the floodgates opened. In one week, I got over 76,000 hits from them. And what was the post? This one with the embedded YouTube video of "25 Ways to Tie a Scarf." It's not even my content! I simply shared it. The comments kept coming though, and people seemed to think that I was the girl in the video (even though I'd included a link to the site where it's from). Eventually I edited the post to add a disclaimer, but it hasn't helped much.
So what's the fallout from this? That big surge of traffic looks nice, but most of the visitors didn't click on any other page on the site. I doubt they'll turn into repeat visitors. Since the post was so recent, I didn't even have Google Ads on it - I only show them on posts over two weeks old - so I didn't earn any money from it. I had to deal with a lot of very dumb comments from people who don't read very closely. (I have to say, I don't have a very high opinion of StumbleUpon users after this.) On the plus side, I'm very happy that Quadrahosting seems to have handled the extra traffic just fine. Bring on a slashdotting! (Just kidding.)
This was a highlight in my otherwise crappy week. The Snook and I had planned to have a simple Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday night after work. On Wednesday though, I decided it would be more fun to make it an impromptu dinner party. My American friends Josh and Jamie didn't have anything planned, and Kunaal is always up for a gathering. So in the end we had quite a merry little party! I made slow cooker turkey legs, homemade green bean casserole, and gingery carrots. Josh and Jamie brought mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and bread rolls, and Kunaal brought fruit pies. And afterwards, we had a rousing game of Settlers of Catan. I'm thankful to have been able to celebrate the day with such good friends!
Read on for photos and links to the recipes I used. [more...]
Here, practically at the end of the year, the wheels have well and truly come off. As you can imagine, being sick has hampered my running. I haven't hit the road in nearly two weeks. I'm meant to begin marathon training on December 1st, so I'm really hoping to get over this in the next few days.
Nov. 12: 2.19km (walking)
Nov. 13: 10.58km
Nov. 14: 2.88km (walking)
Nov. 14: 2.97km (walking)
Nov. 15: 5.75km
Total this week: 0! The dreaded donut!
Total in 2011: 969.96km (606.2mi)
To meet my goal of running 1100km in 2011, I should be at 994km right now. Ouch. A full 24km behind pace. It's moving beyond my grasp...
The reason I've been relatively quiet all week is that I've been SICK. It started a week ago on Sunday when I was really run down and sleepy, to the point where I even took a nap (which I never do). On Monday I woke up with a fever and sore throat. I stayed home Monday and Tuesday, thinking it was just a cold that would clear up with rest. I dragged myself to work Wednesday and Thursday, hoping to trick myself into feeling normal. By Friday, my sore throat was still raging (to the point where it was difficult to sleep). So I went to the doctor Friday with a suspected case of strep throat. He gave me antibiotics and sent me home again. So I've had another two days of pretty much lying prone on the couch, and I still don't feel very good. My throat is still sore; I still feel exhausted; and the mucus in my throat has caused a bone-rattling cough. This really sucks.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Seven years ago today - well, really tomorrow Australian time, but it was today US time (time zones make everything squirrely) - the Snook and I got hitched in Vegas and partied with Elvis. SEVEN YEARS! Time does fly. As is our wont, we went out to a fancy restaurant to celebrate. And not just any fancy restaurant - we went to Momofuku Seiobo! This is David Chang's first Momofuku restaurant outside New York, and it opened a few weeks ago in the newly revamped Star Casino. It's been getting rave reviews. Getting a reservation was always going to be tricky. They use an online system that only takes bookings 10 days in advance, and it opens each day at 10am. Since the restaurant only seats thirty, the tables are gone in seconds. The food gods were smiling though, and on our second attempt, we scored a table! I was SO EXCITED.
Finally the day arrived, and we got all frocked up and headed to the Casino. It took us 20 minutes just to find the restaurant! (Tip: It's across from Zumbo's new outlet.) As you might expect, I took photos of just about everything. Read on if you want to see all the amazing things we ate... [more...]
Friday, November 18, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
The Snook has now raised over $200 for Fauxvember. Woo! And also: swoon.
There was an article this morning on Get Rich Slowly called "The Many Ways to Control and Know the Flow of Your Dough". It reminded me that I've been meaning to post about this too. It's not a sexy subject, of course, but it's actually something I'm quite proud of. We started tracking our finances last year and now have detailed data going back for more than 12 months about all of our expenses. I can tell you how much we spent on groceries, how much we spent on the cats, how much we lost to bank fees, etc. It's pretty invaluable.
So, how did we get here? The Snook and I have historically not been hugely organised with our finances. Since we've been together, we've earned enough to do what we want and that's pretty much all we cared about. That all changed when we bought our house. I started reading finance blogs like GRS and The Simple Dollar. I knew we needed to have an emergency fund of a couple months' expenses, but I had no idea what we actually spent. It was time to start tracking. I first tried out an iPhone app called "Cha-Ching" for several months, but they got bought out by Quicken and development stopped. I know a lot of people like online services like Mint, but support for Australian bank accounts is/was pretty crappy. (I'm wary of using the cloud for my financial data too.) Then I discovered MoneyWell, and we've been using that ever since.
I'm not gonna lie; there was a learning curve. MoneyWell uses the metaphor of envelope budgeting, which I had to get my head around. We also experienced some syncing issues between the iPhone and desktop versions, which have thankfully since been worked out. I'm sure I don't use 70% of the powerful features in the app, but right now it's perfect for our needs. For the first few months we used it solely for tracking, but once we had an idea of our monthly expenses, we started using it for budgeting as well. Here's how we use it now:
The upshot is: tracking your finances is a really, really good idea. You don't have to be all high-tech about it. A pencil and some paper works just fine. (If you're a data nerd though, I do recommend MoneyWell for Mac and iOS.)
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
I need to catch up a bit! It's not too difficult, considering that I took all of week 44 off running. It seems to have done me some good too! The tiredness and aches that I was feeling in my lower legs has mostly dissipated. I got in a couple good runs in Victoria last weekend, and I got in a good one on Friday. Amazing what a little rest can do...
Oct. 31: 3.25km (walking)
Nov. 2: 2.70km (walking)
Nov. 5: 6.22km
Nov. 6: 10.30km
Nov. 9: 2.79km (walking)
Nov. 11: 6.01km
Total this week: 22.53km (14mi)
Total in 2011: 953.63km (596mi)
To meet my original goal of running 1100km in 2011, I should be at 951.9km right now. So I'm pretty much right on pace now! Just have to hold on for the next month and a half...
That's pretty brilliant, even for someone like me who only ever wears the same scarf in the same way all the time. (Miss Fee will love it! She owns All The Scarves.) The behind the scenes look at the making of the video is cool too.
Update to add: I think I need to clarify that I AM NOT THE GIRL IN THE VIDEO. I just saw it online and shared it. The video is from Wendy's Lookbook.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
We are eleven days into the month, and as you can see the Snook's 'tache is progressing nicely. His fundraising tally is now up to $65, and he's closing in on his target of $100! (Special thanks to Sally and Anonymous for contributing.) I've been trying to convince him that he needs to "incentivise" people to donate... something like maybe JOINING TWITTER if he hits triple digits? So if you'd like to join me in putting pressure there, please consider donating. And Sing Ho! for a Mo!
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
This past weekend was a special one. Many months ago, my friend Ailsa came up with the idea of a Knitters' Retreat at Sewjourn, a crafters' cottage in country Victoria. There were ten of us who ended up going, and it was fantastic. We all flew down on Friday and then drove out to Lancefield, about an hour outside Melbourne. Over the next two days, we knitted, we laughed, and we ate cheese and drink wine like it was a competitive sport. Some of us went for a run (and got lost and had to be rescued by the others). We ate at a fancy restaurant. We visited Hanging Rock, where SOME PEOPLE delighted in playing the panflute on their iPhones and threatening to jettison OTHER PEOPLE out of the car INTO ANOTHER DIMENSION. (Namely, me.) It was all a lot of fun. My photos are here, but you can see others over at knitabulous, missfee, a room of my own, jp knit 'n' natter, and Shades of Grey. Thanks to Ailsa for inviting me along, and to all the other ladies for making it such a memorable weekend! [more...]
Monday, November 7, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
After taking 2010 off, we were back with a vengeance for Halloween 2011! This year was our eighth party, and it was bigger and better than ever. More than forty guests packed into our house to show off their costumes, sample our spooky food, and have some fun. Oh, and we made a Meat Head. It was CREEPY AS.
As always, I've got photographs that attempt to document the insanity. (There are recipe links for the curious as well.) Our friends outdid themselves this year, and there were some seriously amazing costumes. Most of the photographs were taken by Jonathan Feldman and myself, with a few from Jamie Griego, David Edgar, and Jane Matlock as well. Thank you to the photographers, and to everybody who came along!
And if you have any photographs of guests that I don't have, please let me know!
Update: Thanks David for the picture of Issy as Bellatrix!
Frocktober has come to an end for 2011, and I'm happy to report that the initiative has raised over $112,000 so far. As for me, I managed to wear dresses or skirts on 22 days out of the month. I had no idea I had so many non-pants clothing options in my closet! Here's a recap of some of the different outfits I rocked this month:
One interesting side effect of this experiment has been the number of times people have commented about me "losing weight." I actually haven't. It's just that the vintage styles are more fitted than my modern clothes, and they show off my existing shape better. I guess there's a lesson there, and I should be in 50's drag all the time!
Well, Google has finally pulled the pin on their promised Reader changes. IT SUCKS. They have completely removed the existing sharing and commenting. Now you're meant to share to Google+ and comment there. I hate it. I seriously considering changing RSS readers altogether, but I can't find a web-based one I really like. So I was moaning on Twitter when gilmae responded: "There's always your blog..." Huh! That's right; I used to share links here all the time. So I quickly modded my existing post-to-blog form so that I could invoke it from Reader's "share to" menu. Seems to be working fine. This means that you're going to start seeing a lot more individual linky-posts here. I hope that's okay!
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