Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

August 25, 2008

Lots done, lots to be getting on with.

Filed under: friends,joey,property magnatism — lexifab @ 12:56 pm

I just had a surprisingly active weekend considering I only left the house once. Lots of cleaning, preparing for and then DMing my first session of 4E D&D (more on which in another post), lots more cleaning, and a dinner party on Sunday night. Oh, and just for something different, more cleaning before coming to work this morning.

I should say that the house wasn’t *that* untidy, but on top of the usual Saturday morning ritual of vacuuming, washing and generally getting the place shipshape before going out to do the shopping, there was some emergency cleanup action needed on Sunday morning after a very comprehensive Coke spill all over the dining room table, chairs and floor. That stuff gets quite sticky if you decide you’re too tired to bother with it until the following morning.

The dinner party was for Chris’ 40th birthday, a follw up to last weekend’s more raucous and popular get together. It was the usual easy-going triumph of good food, good wine, good conversation and the good dinnerware, marred slightly this time around by the absence of Miz L and Jimbo (both sick) and the fact that Simon and Gavin were both still recovering from serious colds. Still, I think we all had a good time, and the bison pies (field mushroom pies for the vegetarians) were every bit as good as we hoped they would be. Why bison? When interrogated for birthday preferences, Chris decided he would quite like some game, but since I couldn’t get any venison, I proposed radical experimentation. Turns out that bison tastes a fair bit like slightly game beef, and is delicious when slow cooked and baked in pie. Now you know.

Sleep-wise, the weekend was a gradual improvement on the horrors of late last week. It no longer looks like Joey is teething – or at least, that’s not what’s bothering him. He has the snuffles and at least a touch of cold, and is obviously not quite sure how to deal with it yet. At best, he wakes up needing reassurance and a pat at least once an hour. At worst – and for the most part it has been at worst – he wakes up screaming (probably because he’s missed a breath or swallowed phlegm or something) every fifteen or twenty minutes. Hard to get a good night’s sleep under the circumstances. Hopefully it will pass in the next few days.

Interesting event coming up this week – now that the mortgage restructure has settled and our new financial arrangements are in place, we’re gearing up for the ‘learning from the experts’ phase of our property investing plan. That will mean actual workshops and semi-formal training sessions in September, but before that starts we have a chance to go to a meet-and-greet seminar with Margaret Lomas (one of those self-made investment gurus you read about, albeit one who can actually write comprehensibly about arcana like quantity surveying and property market analysis). Should be an interesting experience – I’ve always had kind of an instinctive aversion to self-help spruikers who make a living out of encouraging others to achieve great things like they did (Anthony Robbins creeps the absolute shit out of me, for example). From how she writes, I’m pretty sure that Lomas’ approach is a bit more pragmatic and tangible than just superficial “Golly gee, I know you can do it! Anyone can!” inspirational crap, but if there’s a hint of the latter about it, it may be difficult to overcome my automatic cynical response. It will be interesting to challenge my natual skepticism and see whether I can get anything valuable out of the experience beyond what I imagine will be a temporary and artificial sense of enthusiasm and self-confidence. At the very least there will be finger food.

August 18, 2008

Ready for his closeup

Filed under: joey — lexifab @ 11:21 am

We staged Baby’s First Photo Shoot on Friday*. The whole household, including once-a-week honourary householder Aunty Duck, assembled for a frenzied collection of cheerful shots with Baby Joey. It will be a couple of weeks before we can see them and start work on assembling an album of the best ones, but given the evidence from the photographer’s web site (warning: image intensive site), we expect they will look pretty cool.

Joey is, as anyone who’s met him with attest, pretty happy to have his photo taken, and had a ball with all the attention. He held it together for a surprisingly long time, as well, though eventually he was overcome by all the excitement and needed a settling-down bottle and nap.

Parental hopes remain high that he will demonstrate an affinity with the camera that translates into a lucrative modelling career and fortunes all round.

* Technically his first encounter with a professional photographer was in the hospital, when he was three days old, but as that was someone who just came around to each room containing a newborn offering a generic service, I choose not to count it, just as I discount the constant presence in his life of digital camera-waving parents and the many hundreds of entirely amateur images of him taken in the last eight months. Giving these caveats, the opening statement is entirely accurate!

Not as old as some

Filed under: friends — lexifab @ 10:21 am

The super-secret surprise party for Chris T went off without any significant hitches on Saturday night. Orchestrated by Miz Emma, with able assistance from Polly and Miz Lindor, the old man’s upcoming 40th birthday was well and truly marked by as many of his friends as we could cram into a single overcrowded Chinese restaurant. The duck was reportedly delicious, and what I could make out of the conversation appeared to sparkle (man, a hundred-odd people in a single room – not all of them friends and family, I should add – sure do make a hell of a noise).

Scrupulous security was maintained during the planning phases, so we are reasonably confident that the guest of honour, while perhaps suspicious that something somewhere might well have been up, was duly surprised to show up for dinner to see 20+ known associates wearing party hats or, for the more ostentatious, sparkly ‘Happy Birthday’ tiaras. Being a studied professional at the subtle art of unflappability, Chris maintained his composure and steadfastly expressed only mild nonplussedness. However, I am told that even he was a little taken aback at his present, which was a Timbuktu messenger bag (in striking and utterly unmistakeable stripes of red-copper-orange) wrapped around a new laptop computer. The background image is a composite of self-portraits of various well-wishers waving cheery placards and looking pleased to be associated with the project and its subject. As well they might.

We may have set rather a high bar for future 40th birthday gifts, come to think of it.

So, happy 40th birthday (for this coming Wednesday) Mister the Chris. Try not to dwell on the morbid reality that you are incredibly old now…

August 10, 2008

Surviving a snow day

Filed under: fitter/happier,joey,news of the day — lexifab @ 6:59 pm

Gosh, hasn’t it been a long time since I updated this blog. Tsk. I blame the fact that, with the return of something resembling regular sleeping patterns, I’ve been knuckled down at work catching up on all the stuff I’ve been zombieing my way through for the last two or three months. No time for wasting paid hours of employment writing my internet diary.

Fortunately, things might shortly return to normal on that front as well, with the end of the project I’ve been hammering at now in sight.

This has been a bit of an unusual weekend. I took Friday off in order to indulge in the rare pleasure of watching a movie on the big screen. The Dark Knight, which everyone else in the universe saw three weeks ago, if the box office figures are anything to go by. By that measure, anything I say about it has probably already passed the statue of limitations as regards spoilers, but I won’t give anything especially important away. One thing that did interest me was that this was the first Batman film in which Gotham City was not depicted as…well, gothic. It looked like any large American city (Simon says it was mostly filmed in Chicago, so there you go), and indeed the brief sequence set in Hong Kong, which is depicted as futuristic, clean and gleaming, is clearly intended to contrast with the lived-in griminess of Gotham. The effect of that choice was interesting – it visually divorced the film almost completely from its superheroic roots, moving it much closer in look to an epic crime flick of the vintage of Heat or American Gangster. The visuals were reinforced by the plot and characters – in fact, aside from scenes that employ the far-fetched gadgetry of Batman himself, nothing in the film is especially far-fetched. I’ll make a call – if it hadn’t been preceded by The Departed by a year or so, The Dark Knight would probably have been the best crime thriller of this decade. And Heath Ledger portrayal as The Joker, despite all the hyperbole and hand-wringing surrounding his death, really is as good as everyone has been insisting. Michael Caine was top-notch this time around as well.

So – to the rest of the weekend. Yesterday Jimmy, Simon and I went to the snow. Work put on a bus, which made it logistically possible to get up and back in a day, so I could afford to go without too much guilt at abandoning Fi and the bubba. Also, this was sort of Jimbo’s birthday present. And it was a pretty damn fine day up the mountain. It snowed more or less all day, and by lunchtime there was a bit of wind about and the temperature had dropped to “Shit it’s cold on this chairlift” – but the snow was deep and fresh and the surfaces were very forgiving for noobs who hadn’t been on the powder for at least a couple of years (ie all of us).

I might have mentioned once or twice that the main reason I moved to Canberra from the tropical north was because of its proximity to the snow. I’ve disappointed myself somewhat by not getting up there as often as I would like, especially during seasons like this year’s, which has been nothing short of spectacular. After yesterday, I think that I need to make a resolution that this will have been the last time I go without my own board and/or skis. Hire gear is fine enough for one day, while learning to regain your mountain legs, but if I had had to wear those shoes for another day (or even a couple more hours, probably) I would have been a bit of a cripple.

As it is, I must be a bit more fit than I have been for other trips, since I feel surprisingly fine today. A bit of mild skin dryness which was probably as much due to the cold wind as to reflected sunlight, and a sore knee that owes more to three hours of completely immobility on the bus ride home than to the (numerous) times I crashed on it.

Just as well I am still fighting fit too, because today – thanks to a gift from Miz Lindor – we have been drying a large amount of fruit. Why? Because it’s there.

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