5 smartarse remarks
Saturday, August 27, 2005
So much to get through, Colonel
Lots been going on since the last update. The second day of the cricket’s on now, so this update may tend a little towards the distracted at times:
- The mystery of the missing guest - So it turns out that Frank wasn’t able to make it to dinner on account of having a stomach infection. Now he’s on antibiotics for at least a week and may need more treatment if that doesn’t work. Hopefully he’ll be better shortly – we’ll probably schedule another dinner party soon after we get back from New Zealand, as he’s terribly fun company.
- This is an ex-Telstar - So Fiona’s beloved car started overheating and losing pressure last Saturday, and by the end of the weekend it was pretty apparent we should stop driving it until we could get it looked at. There was a distinct suggestion that some kind of explosion might result in further use. Hector came over during the week and sadly pronounced it a bit too expensive to fix. This could have come at a better time – two weeks before we leave the country, and immediately after we sign up for a roof restoration. So we’ve had to cancel the latter (no point cancelling the trip, since it’s half paid for and is also obviously not something we’ll be cancelling) and since then Fiona’s been looking for a replacement. Since the Telstar’s done something like 350,000 km, we’re pretty much after something that will similarly keep going and going forever, or at least 10 or so years. One likely prospect, a Mazda 626 for sale in Sydney, was being offered for well under the usual market rate. Unfortunately we got the NRMA inspection report today which suggests that the car’s been in an accident and needs a lot of work. So while that one’s not quite off the drawing board – the sellers think it’s fine, so they’re going to get a second opinion and bring the price down if there’s work that needs doing – but it looks like we might have to keep at it.
- Lumpy - Discovered a surprising lump on my leg on Tuesday night, unpleasant colours and extremely painful. The surprising part was that it must have been around for at least a couple of days without me noticing. Anyway, it hurt, so I disdained my usual treatment of picking at it in favour of getting a doctor to look at it. As expected it seems to be an ingrown hair that’s become infected, though it could also be a cyst (that’s become infected?). A course of antibiotics for me, and hopefully no need for any kind of excision. Seems to have started going away on its own anyway, so I don’t expect it to bother me for long.
- Spy games - In my usual style, rather than pick up some old game that I know and love and know how to run well, I’ve gone and picked up a copy of the newly revised Spycraft roleplaying game. It’s about spies, doncha know. I’m looking at running a game based on a secret intelligence branch of Doctor Who’s United Nations Intelligence Taskforce (which on the show was mainly depicted as a military detachment without a huge resource of intelligence to speak of, notwithstanding the Doctor’s occasional help). It’ll have Cold War shenanigans, Bond-esque super-criminal masterminds and (as Jimbo puts it) cars crashing into Daleks. Well, it might have something like that, anyway. Reckon it will be fun. We’re not rushing into it, though – the rules are pretty complex, and I want to get across it pretty well before I start trying to run it. In the meantime, we’re playing board games and probably will start the odd session of D&D run by Chris when we get back from hols.
- More dinner - We’re having another dinner party tomorrow night – Mauro and Tracy, more of Fi’s old Raiders club co-workers. So tomorrow will be another big day of cooking and cleaning (not so much cleaning though, since the place is still relatively tidy after last week’s scouring). Another duck dish is on the menu (duck breasts with balsamic cherries), as well as pumpkin and fetta pasta, and something else I can’t quite remember. Oh, and the usual bucketloads of wine. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
Right. Lunch is over at the cricket. Back to it.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
After the dinner party
Dinner went okay, though Frank didn't make it and Emma and Chris were clearly pretty weary from their travels (and Emma's been sick, so she was positively subdued). None of the dishes were particularly thrilling, which is a shame.We always like to try out something new for our dinner parties, but I suspect we might have been better off last night with at least one tried-and-true course. Never mind, was still heaps of fun.
It was ChrisT's birthday yesterday (unrelated to the timing of the dinner party, but a nice bonus). Amongst the swag were a couple of new games - Puerto Rico from us and Zendo from Linda, both of which come highly recommended from various sources and should keep his devious strategic brain ticking over – and a copy of the third season of Blake's 7 with what looks like a Ludo popper on the cover. Don't ask. Anyway, all of this should keep him occupied for a while.
While the World of Warcraft bug hasn't completely released its deathgrip on my vital organs just yet, I have been starting to think about considering the possibility of entertaining other forms of escapist distractions. Since we've been doing not much other than board games for the past few months of Tuesdays, Chris is obviously thinking along the same lines. He wants to run a D&D game that parallels his one-Saturday-a-month game, which I occasionally make but more often miss. After that, I'm thinking about a seventies spy thriller game, the details of which I have yet to commit to paper or indeed my forebrain. Keeping things simple and short seems to be the ticket, otherwise we all lose enthusiasm and interest trails off.
Things are a bit stressful at work – while on the one hand Project Porkpie is moving along at a nice pace, there's a growing gnawing feeling that the timeframe is tighter than we'd like. This is pretty normal for IT projects, but it's particularly difficult given that there isn't much we can drop out of the scope in order to bring it in on time. Given my predilection for stressing about things that I can't do much about, like reality, I can see a long, long few months stretching out ahead of me. I know intellectually that at some point I'll just have to stop giving myself a hard time about the fact that there is more work to do than there is time left to do it in, but until I actually go through it and emerge with my sanity and job intact, I'm not really going to get there.
Did I mention how very very much I'm looking forward to the New Zealand trip? Probably not, since Mum didn't know about it, so here it is: I can't wait. Two weeks, six of us on the ski slopes at Mount Hutt (or five, since Fi sounds more and more resolute about not being arsed about skiing), then exploring South Island, looking at glaciers and fjords and canyons and wineries. It won't be exactly relaxing, but it will be a welcome break.
2 smartarse remarks
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Live from the dinner party
Mz Lindor, ChrisT and Mz Emma are due here in the next half hour or so for another of our epic dinner parties. I say epic because it takes all day to clean, cook and otherwise prepare for them, so by the time you add four or five hours of eating and drinking on top of that, it certainly feels liked you've walked across Mordor and been thrown into a volcano.
Frankie E may also be joining us, depending on whether the hospital comes through for him. He's apparently been having stomach pains for the past few days and thought he should probably go and check it out. Hopefully he'll be okay, but we don't yet know whether he'll show or not.
The menu is a bit experimental, as usual. All vegetarian, except with an alternate meaty main for the carnivores. The soup's an asparagus affair with parmesan crackers. The second course is a sort of layered tower of eggplant and dumplings made from chickpea flour and buffalo mozzarella (it sounded inteersting – not sure how it's going to go though). The vege main is a pasta in walnut and gorgonzola sauce. The meat main is veal with a porcini and coffee sauce on a turnip mash. There are, of course, wines for each course.
I'm stuffed, and I could do with a feed. Had yesterday off because the cold that's been harrassing me for a fortnight (and laying Fi out for even longer) finally became too much to struggle against. Instead we lay in until about lunchtime, then did the grocery shopping and cleaned the house. Fun day off.
Guests have arrived. More later.
0 smartarse remarks
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Winter – well, that was exciting!
Everyone here is clustered by the window enjoying an extremely brief and utterly rare Canberra snow shower. It took all of two minutes to come and go, and there’s no real evidence of it now, of course (ground’s too warm, not that you’d know it if it came in contact with your skin…). It’s kind of reassuring to be able to point at something tangible that says “You know, the winter’s here really are pretty bitter”. And hopefully it bodes well for the New Zealand ski trip that’s about three weeks away.
Update – ooh, ooh! It’s back! More updates to follow!
Oh, my, yes
In the weird and murky world of fan fiction, there is a particular phenomenon known as the “Mary Sue”. This is where the author inserts a new character - essentially themselves with various wish-fulfilment trappings (ranging from the innocuous, such as mysterious and alluring physical features, to the ridiculous, like magical powers) – who saves, helps, is rescued by or is otherwise the best new friend of the regular characters, not to mention everyone else they meet. Harry Potter fanfic, for example, is rife with Mary Sue-esque new students at Hogwarts who are braver than Harry, smarter than Hermione and…um, taller than Ron (and let's face it, Harry Potter skirts dangerously close to Mary Sue-ism in the original text...)
This Lord of the Rings effort is a Mary-Sue parody, and a sublime one at that.
0 smartarse remarks
My newly-reconstructed back tooth disintegrated again on Monday, resulting in yet another morning of reconstructive dental hilarity. At first I assumed that the filling I got a couple of months ago had just broken down, but in fact it was another quarter of the same tooth that has shaved off like a bit of errant iceberg. Turns out that the real problem was with the tooth in the opposite jaw putting too much pressure on it when I grind my teeth (which I do unconsciously all the time, and pretty much always have). I have now had the offending protrusion flattened out a bit. If that doesn’t work, the next step is a rather expensive crown, so I rather hope that it does work…
Saturday, August 06, 2005
You can see our house from up here
I spent about half an hour on the roof today, applying a hacksaw (and some rather less delicate instrumentation) to remove part of the guttering. According to the guy that came to give us a quote on restoring the roof, when the extension was built, they ran the new guttering in to meet up with the roof cap of the original house. But what thet seem to have done is lift the roofcap slightly to accommodate the shape of the gutter. So ever since, if it rains sufficiently heavily the water running down the extension gutter, instead of meeting the sloped roof and running off, jets up along the underside of the roofcap and runs down the roof and beams on the other side. This, rather than mere simple holes, has been the cause of our leaks and drips every time it has rained heavily since we moved into the house.
Since this is clearly a result of building efforts dating back to the early 1980's, when the extension was built, this means that the roof of our house will have been leaking in the same place for more than 20 years without anyone actually having done anything about it. Judging from the condition of parts of the roof, nobody with any great expertise in the field has been up there in all that time. Yet another complete non-surprise, given the frequently shoddy renovation and maintenance efforts that have taken place here over the years. I feel better about all the minor bungles that we've committed over the last year – none of them have been anywhere near as stupid as some of the stuff our predeccessors buggered up.
Anyway, I hacked off about half a metre of guttering so that it will drop onto the roof early, rather than running right up to it. The roof guy reckons that will do the job (and hell, it can't make things any worse that having to get up into the ceiling cavity every single time it bloody rains). And it was a nice day to be outside, so – bonus.
Al's footprint shrinks slightly
3 smartarse remarks
Fiona's brother Al is moving back to Melbourne sometime soon, and will need some of the stuff he's been storing in the garage since he left here in January. We spent the morning sorting out which of his twenty or so packing crates are actually useful, and which ones are (in some cases literally) rubbish. Al has one of the most serious cases of packrat behaviour I've ever seen (yes, worse that Simon) and sorting out what stuff is actually going to be of some use to him in what will presumably be a limited space is no simple matter. He's bound to want something that we dismissed back into storage as 'useless crap'.
Still, all this does mean that we will get several square yards of our garage back before too long.