| Thursday, April 30, 2009
I got an email yesterday letting me know that I was being followed on Twitter by motherabigail. *snort* "Oh neat," I thought. "People are twittering as the characters from The Stand." This morning I got another notification that I was being followed by VegasWalkinDude (presumably because I tweeted that I'd meet everybody in Hemingford Home). There are lots of other characters out there (Nick, Stu, Larry, Nadine, Tom Cullen). They're all pretty well done, sending @ messages back and forth and following the timeline of the story. That said, reading them on the bus in the rain this morning surrounded by sniffling passengers... it started to creep me out a little bit. I have an overactive imagination.
So to assuage my own anxieties, I just did some Googling. The fatality rate in Mexico (according to this article) is 6%. Which sucks, yeah, but we're not at Captain Tripps levels yet. I'll hold off til the weekend on stocking up on guns and batteries. (I suppose at least the fact that Australia is never mentioned in the books should make me feel a bit safer. Evidently Randall Flag only operates in the continental US.)
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Lyn was the able chauffeur for myself, Miss Fee, and JP. It took us about 90 minutes to get to Mt. Keira Scout Camp, what with fairly heavy traffic through the Shire. The camp was gorgeous. We shared a cabin with Ness, Gemma, and Kelly. After dinner, everybody retired up to the lodge to sit before a roaring fire and get knitting. I think there were around 30 of us all together. Soon the wine was flowing...
And that was pretty much the pattern for the next 40 hours. On Saturday some folks did a dyeing workshop, but I decided to sit in the sun and work on finishing off Rusted Root. Miss Fee and I went for a run in the middle of the day. I bought the last set of Addi Click needles from the shop. (Interestingly, I paid a lot less than $150US for them!) That night, we all got dressed up for a Hawaiian-themed dinner. Then it was back to the lodge for trivia games, more knitting, and copious amounts of wine.
Yeah, we were all a bit hungover the next day. Sunday was quieter, with everyone in recovery mode. We made it back to the city by 4pm, where I was greeted by a very happy husband and pair of silly cats. It's nice to get away every now and then and have them miss you. :)
Update: Donna, Bells, Mary-Helen, and Lyn have all posted photos!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
No, it wasn't me. I headed out this morning for a short jog around the neighborhood, and I headed up Wilson Street towards Newtown as I usually do. I felt pretty good. The sun was shining and it was cool but not cold. My hamstrings were a little sore from my workout at Spudds yesterday. (He made us do hill sprints.) I felt like I was moving at a faster pace than normal though. I came to the one big hill on Wilson and started powering up it. As I neared the top (and the next cross-street), I looked up to make sure no one was coming around the corner... just in time to see a girl at the corner fall to the ground hard. I tore off my headphones and sprinted up to her. A guy coming down the hill on a bike got there first. "Are you okay?" we asked her. She'd rolled herself against the wall of the house on the corner and was clutching an obviously bloody knee. She was in workout clothes, and she seemed pretty shocked and out of it. The guy said something about running to get a first aid kit, and I said I'd stay with her. He took off. So I stood there with her, dripping with sweat and feeling pretty useless. Other people stopped by to ask if they could do anything. "I think it's cut really deep," she said. "I swear I saw white. It could be bone." I tried to be comforting and point out there's no way she cut herself down to her kneecap on the sidewalk. From what I could gather, she wasn't out for a run like I was; instead she'd been on her way home from the gym. I wondered to myself whether she might have been a bit dehydrated, or even have low blood sugar if she hadn't eaten before her workout. The guy came back with the kit and set about cleaning her up with iodine. As expected, it was just a skinned knee. "I hate to leave you," I eventually said, "but I'm going to be late for work if I don't move!" She thanked me for staying with her, and with a wave I headed off. I finished the run and made it home.
I've read horror stories on running blogs about runners having accidents or getting hit by cars. I'm such a clumsy person in general, I figure it's only a matter of time before it happens to me. Hopefully I got some good karma from the incident today, and if I'm ever in her situation, somebody will stop and help me too.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Well, that was fun! A few weeks ago I finally signed up for LinkedIn, after realizing that EVERYBODY else in the industry was on there. I found a few former co-workers, including Christian from Netdecisions in London. (I voluntarily took a layoff package in 2001 to save Christian's job, which also allowed me to emigrate to Australia. The rest, as they say, is history.) Anyway, I added him, he added me, and then I visited his blog. To my surprise, I saw that he was now a fancypants "Developer Evangelist" for Yahoo! and that he was coming to Sydney this week! The Snook and I quickly signed up to attend.
The Sydney Yahoo! offices are stunning. They also won immediate points with me by not requiring me to sign an NDA just to walk in the door (like Google did). They had good beer too. There were maybe 40 or so of us there, and Christian's talk was entertaining and enlightening. You can read my tweets from the event here. He succeeded in getting me to think seriously about using some Yahoo tools and libraries for my next site redesign. Afterwards there was food and everybody mingled, and we got to catch up a bit. Man, was it really that long ago? When Snookums and I lived on Rannoch Road with Alex and Condie, and we spent the cold nights in pubs arguing over the finer points of HTML? Good times, good times.
Neat! Kevin pointed me to this fun Star Trek app that turns a photo of you into a 3D character from the Trek universe. I was going to be the sexy Uhura chick, but she ended up looking a little pig-nosed. Romulan Kris turned out much funnier. At least now I have a vague idea what I'd look like bald!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Woooo! MTV's The State is FINALLY coming to DVD! Unfortunately it looks like some of the music has been changed, since getting the rights was the big hold-up. Crud. I guess it can't be as bad as the Dawson's Creek debacle though.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Our new format for the meetings seems to be working out well. Everybody is very attentive for the business portion, and I've been managing to get through it all in 15-20 minutes. The real test will be next month, when we try our first workshop in the new space. (We're doing "Welcome to the Knitternet" to introduce some of the less computer savvy members to the wealth of online knitting information.) As usual, I spent most of the meeting concentrating on keeping everything running smoothly, so it's not quite as much fun as it used to be. That said, I guess having an organised person running the show means everybody else can relax a bit more. Everybody seems really appreciative of the work me, Rosemary, and Geraldine are putting into it. So the meetings are still rewarding, even if I don't get much knitting done!
Friday, April 17, 2009
For anybody who is curious or confused about my new business title, you're not alone. Even people who are actually in this industry aren't quite sure what the various titles and job duties actually entail. Today I found a great article that finally explains the names and the overlap. Here's me:
IT Business Analyst – This is the analyst who is generally associated with requirements elicitation/analysis and solving problems using information technology solutions. This role is the bridge between business & IT.I love that last quote. That's the key, really. The business and marketing guys have a goal they want to achieve. I take these Feature Requests and turn them into functional requirements and specifications that the tech guys can work from. When the tech guys have an issue - like a technology or resource limitation - I can be an advocate and make a case to the business for what they need. It's fun! I get to be a bridge, contact point, and translater between lots of different areas of the business. And since we're so small, I get to have a lot more input in setting up new processes and documenting existing ones that I might have in a big corporate environment.
THE developer behind the massive former Carlton and United Brewery project at Broadway has called an indefinite halt to construction and says the project will not start until the global economy recovers.Very interesting. On one hand that's more time for the project to be scaled back to a level that meets residents' concerns for overpopulation and green space. On the other hand, it's a massive city block that looks like Wonka's chocolate factory was leveled by a wrecking ball. I posted it to the Life in Chippendale blog; I'm interested to hear what other people think about it.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tonight was our long-awaited Geek Girl Dinner Sydney event. I met up with Issy and Tia at the new Googleplex in Pyrmont. (Not the same one I interviewed at in the CBD. Note: My double Goog-rejection was much on my mind.) The new building is gorgeous, and the emcee mentioned a couple of times how "green" it was supposed to be. We checked in and picked up our swag, then were directed out to the "verandah" for drinks. We had champagne and beer while looking out over the gorgeous Sydney skyline. We made some new friends. There was much mockery of Joomla. Then we were all directed down to the meeting room for the "lightning talks." I got instantly recognized by misswired, who it took me a few minutes to place. (One of the perils of having a blog; being recognised by strangers. Within ten minutes had worked out that we have, like, 20 of the same friends.) Anyway, the talks. Eight different speakers gave five minute speeches about everything from Twitter to Adobe Flex to helpful command line utilities. (I'd offered to give a speech on the Australian online knitting community, but the bill was full. I think my speech would've been better than at least half of them.) Several of the speeches just seemed to be plugs for the chick's business or employer. Also - there were a lot of guys there! I had no idea that it was kosher to bring partners along. I twittered and knitted throughout the speeches. Afterwards we were herded into a (very small) room for more drinks and nibblies. There was much pounding of free Google booze, and much stalking of super-cool Google coder chicks. (I covet those t-shirts with the Google logo with the female symbol as one of the o's.) Thankfully Issy was available to drive me and Tia home. Thanks, ladies! It was a super fun night. I'm definitely up for the next one.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I got an email over the weekend from my 7-year-old brother Joey telling me about that he'll be jump roping at school this week to raise money for The American Heart Association. If you're willing and able, he's got a fundraising page where you can donate. (Unfortunately the credit card form only accepts payment from American addresses so I've just sent my donation to Mom via PayPal. If any other "furriners" want to help, let me know and I can give you her PayPal info.) Good luck, Joey! It's awesome that you're doing such a nice thing.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
I'm supposed to be spending these four days working on porting the Morris & Sons site to the new version of osCommerce. Unfortunately, I'm being hampered by the fact that Quadrahosting's servers have now failed 3 times in the past 24 hours, each for at least an hour. That is really unacceptable. And everybody says, "Switch hosts!" But seriously, name me one that doesn't suck. I'm totally disillusioned at this point. They all suck.
Friday, April 10, 2009
I've started noticing some real, objective fitness improvements at the gym. Yesterday during our circuit I managed to skip rope for the entire 90-second rotation without stopping or messing up. My calves were aching afterwards. Then Spudds sent me to the rowing machine and told me I was going to break 100m in 20s from a cold start. I'd only managed 100m once before, and that was with a slow 30s rolling start. He stood beside me and shouted "Go!", then barked encouragement as I heaved the handle back and forth like a maniac. Final tally? 101m. I got a mighty high-five for that one. :)
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
The Snook's sister and brother-in-law were going out for a special dinner tonight so they asked if we'd mind looking after our nephew. We confidently said, "Sure!" while secretly fearing that we'd be lost trying to entertain a nine-year-old for three hours. But then we remembered, hey! We're ALL ABOUT the nine-year-old mentality. So we fed him cookies and hot chocolate, played some Wii, jammed on Guitar Hero, and messed around with Photo Booth.
We all had a great time. (I got some video of him dancing while playing Guitar Hero that his father has specifically requested I save for his 21st birthday. That's quality entertainment.) And hooray! We looked after an impressionable youth for several hours and he came out unscathed.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
So I didn't get the friggin' blue ribbon. I told the Snook on the way to the Arts Preview tonight that me knitting Na Craga was pretty much the equivalent of Kate Winslet doing a Holocaust movie. I was pandering, and I knew it. If ever I had a shot, this was the year. We arrived and immediately ran into a couple Ravelers. "We won't spoil it," they said. "Go look for yourself." I dragged Snookums through the throng to the knitting cases. And there was my beautiful jumper, completely bunched up and mangled with fishing line... and with a red "Highly Commended" ribbon on it. Again. I know I am a complete and utter ingrate, but I had to strain to be cheerful. Despite my protestations to the contrary over the past couple of weeks, it appears that I really did have a lot vested into the outcome of the contest. I know it's silly. Still, I couldn't help but look upon the blue ribbon winner - a cream cardigan with BOBBLES, for god's sake - with scorn. Don't they know how hot Snookums looked in it? Grrr. Anyway, I quickly drowned my sorrows at the open bar. (Hey, if they're going to charge me $25 plus transport to get out there, I'm going to make it worth my while.) There were loads of Ravelers present, and we even managed to get together for a group picture. Congrats to Donna and Ailsa and Sally and Emma and Gemma, and everyone else who exhibited and who I missed in my irritated drunkenness. HOWEVER, I was extremely pleased to see that Gary Gentle has continued his wonderful tradition of naked lady marquetry. His 2009 entry was exceptionally exquisite!
Monday, April 6, 2009
Man, there has been a distinct chill in the air these last couple evenings! Tonight as I was heading out of work in the dark - we finally had Daylight Savings - I found myself thinking of warm, sustaining comfort food. We still had loads of veg from the box on the weekend. I got home and set to work making pumpkin, potato, and leek soup. While that was simmering on the stove, I decided that we needed some sort of treat to go along with it. A quick check of the pantry revealed several partial containers of honey that needed to be used up. Honey nut cookies!
The cookies turned out great. I subbed in walnuts for the cashews since that's what I had to hand. I was worried at the shininess and wetness of the dough, but they didn't spread too much in the oven. The soup was hearty and filling, if not exactly complicated in terms of flavour. (It's basically onion, potato, and pumpkin simmered in milk for 45 minutes, then blended before adding fried leek and boiled white rice.) It's very cheap though, and we've got plenty left over for lunch.
The second photo there is of the Chocolate and Beetroot Cake that the Snook made on Saturday. As Rachel guessed, it was pretty earthy. However, it was still really good. I'm not the hugest fan of beetroot - I tend to think it tastes like dirt - but it was very well masked by the cocoa in the cake. It turned out dense and moist, and if you didn't know that it had beets in it I doubt you'd guess. Parents - this is a good one to trick your kids into eating vegetables!
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
"The Obamas' vegie patch...is alarming conservatives." See? That's why I want to keep my veggie patch, despite the Snook's protests. (To be fair, my total yield this year was next to nothing.) Still, I feel trying to grow my own food is at least a little bit subversive and political. In related news, we've started up the weekly veggie box again after a bit of a break. They've moved pickup to Saturday mornings at the Farmer's Market at the Chippo Peace Park, which works out fantastic for us. It gives us a bit more time to work out what we're doing with it, and a chance to go to the shops to get any necessary ingredients. Plus the new organiser, Daria, lets us pick out just what we want! Today we got LOADS, well worth the $25 we spent! (Pumpkin, zucchini, beetroot, leeks, capsicum, beans, potatoes, onion, and fennel.) We've already had beetroot risotto, and a chocolate and beetroot cake is cooling in the kitchen as we speak...
Dr. Amy has learned to open the kitchen cupboards. If she learns how to open the boxes of Friskies, we're screwed.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Yesterday I idly tweeted a snarky comment wondering if enough time had passed since the mid-90's Swing fad that I could go see Big Bad Voodoo Daddy without feeling like "a total poser."
Little did I anticipate that BBVD is actually on Twitter and would send me a response. Wow. Unfortunately I realised too late that we're baby-sitting that night, so we're going to have to miss it. Sorry, BBVD!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
For our special anniversary dinner last night, we finally got to try out Glebe Point Diner after hearing about it for so long. (It was awarded a hat in this year's Good Food Guide.) I had tried to get a table for our wedding anniversary last November, but I left it too long and they were booked out. This time I wisely called a couple weeks ahead. We got there half an hour early (since it was raining and we took a cab instead of walking) but they were still able to seat us. The place was busy and the service was harried but pleasant. The menu/wine list was just a single photocopied A4 sheet (since evidently it changes often depending on what's in season). I had crab and chestnut soup as a starter, while the Snook had bluefin tartare. Both were excellent. The soup was creamy and moreish and warming, while the tuna had big juicy chunks that zinged with finger lime. There was a bit of a wait for our mains, but they were worth it. I had crispy duck with Brussels sprouts, fig, and barley, while the Snook had Scotch fillet steak with mushrooms and asparagus. We also ordered some veg ("Roman beans") to share between us. (The portions were more generous that I'd expected though, so I think you could easily forgo the sides.) My Brussels sprouts were hiding under the duck, and they were the best sprouts I've ever had in my life. Soooooo good. The only annoyance I had was that we had to wait forever to get our bill (and ask twice!), but I think that was because the host was busy ordering taxis for people going home in the rain. Forgivable. The cost (less than $70 each) was actually pretty good considering we each had two decent sized courses, half a side, a beer, and a glass of wine. I'd definitely recommend it... if you can get a table!
Note: They do have a couple seats at the bar, which I turned down when they were offered last November. I've changed my mind on them though. It looks like a worthwhile option if you're trying to get in on short notice.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Nine years ago tonight - just about right now, in fact - I was in the Distillers Arms in Hammersmith celebrating being granted a British work visa (which meant I didn't have to go home in a week). Pretty much the whole office had ended up there, and we were partying it up. Half a dozen of us decided to kick on to the "Leopard Lounge" in Fulham to do some dancing. The place was pretty sad, actually, and not very full, but we made the best of it. At one point I was dancing with the cute boy from the office that I had a crush on, and I just decided to go for it. We smooched and held hands. It was an incredible rush, yet at some level even then I knew it also felt completely comfortable and right. We've barely been apart since.
It's been a great nine years. Happy (real) anniversary to my best friend...
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