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

November 17, 2008

Quick update

Filed under: family,joey,news of the day,property magnatism — lexifab @ 6:55 pm

Snatching a very brief window here while Fi looks after the baby to get this up to date. Sorry about the infrequent bloggage – in theeory I should be able to slap down an entry every day, but this week I’ve been either technologically inept (really, why do these things need a manual switch to turn off the wireless – and how did I manage to switch mine off considering it sits in one place most of the time? Incompetence, I guess) or busy with a variety of distractions, Joey first and foremost. It’s taken me two days to get this paragraph written, to give you some idea. It’s not easy writing about six words in a session…

Some sad news on Saturday: Mum’s aunt Bee, who would have turned ninety this week, died yesterday. She had been in decline for quite a few years but was, in the vernacular, a tough old bird. A lifelong heavy smoker, veteran wartime nurse, widely travelled – Bee packed a lot of life into her years. To me she was a bit of a cypher – she could be very cheerful, especially in the company of my grandmother Nan, and she had a cynical dry wit that had an obvious appeal for me, but she could also be quite sharp and didn’t always approve of some of our behaviour as kids. I think that might have been about never having had a family of her own. In later years she and I bonded over the cricket though – we never had any difficulties chatting together through a Test match. She’s lived with serious illness for the last few years, and I gather that she was more than ready for the end, so it’s good that she didn’t have to suffer any longer. But I do wish I’d had a chance to see her again.

In happier news, Fi and I have officially entered the property business – we’ve had an offer accepted on a block of flats in Tamworth. Very small, very simple accommodation, very much at the lower end of the rental market, but they should be able to both pay for themselves and help us pay off our home loan faster, so hooray. I’m fairly certain this was the right way to go, especially given the surprising horrors of the share market of late. I think we’re past the point where we are concerned that we aren’t doing the right thing – but now we’re moving into the scary Just Do It phase. I keep telling myself that if we can survive the paperwork with our sanity and confidence intact, we should be good.

If anyone (and I know there are a few of you out there) wondering why old Flashie hasn’t been seen striding manfully about Middle-Earth of late, it’s because I made what should not have been the surprising discovery that my LotRO account did indeed expire sometime in the last week. So that’s it for another MMO. It’s pretty clear to me that there won’t be remotely enough time to resume my online exploits any time in the perceivable future, even though there are some attractive options out there (not least the expansions for both LotRO and WoW). Luckily, there are a few PS3 games floating about the house now to keep me occupied in my scant spare hours. Including Guitar Hero World Tour, which is piece by piece giving me an unexpected opportunity to develop my drumming skills, of all things. I suck pretty bad at it so far, but I can handle criticism…

NaNoWriMo: You will please express no suprise to learn that I have not written a word. Has anyone else taken a shot at it?

Fiona started back at work today, after a year’s maternity leave. I only mention it to caution that you should probably not ask how that’s going.

October 31, 2008

A necessary reconsideration

Filed under: now playing: anything,property magnatism,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 8:49 am

I am reminded that I have a few things on my plate:

  • Work – Still eight hours a day for another week.
  • Gaming – one weekly D&D game (Tuesdays), one fortnightly D&D game (Saturdays), the fortnightly Burning Empires game (Wednesdays, though currently on hiatus until the end of the property workshops), the Burning Wheel game in preparation (Wednesdays, to replace the BE game), plus a couple of other things being mooted.
  • Computer gaming – one weekly Lord of the Rings Online game (Thursdays)
  • Property stuff – the workshop on wednesdays (albeit only for one more week), plus time devoted to making sure our household finances are up to date, plus time for background regional research and property reviews, and (when we actually buy something) some amount of time for dealing with property managers, problems etc
  • Baby – Needs cuddles, feeding and changing. And sooner or later needs The Hobbit or The Iliad read to him (just as soon as he stops attempting the destroy any paper object within arm’s reach).

I probably don’t really have time for NaNoWriMo, do I? And for that matter, one or two other things on that lists are going to have to go on the back burner as well, at least for a little while.

October 30, 2008

Competitiveness rising

Filed under: property magnatism — lexifab @ 10:59 am

Another couple in our Wednesday night property investment workshop group has had an offer accepted on a place somewhere in western Victoria. Our own program of property research and bargain hunting has been disrupted by successive weekends away.

Fi and I are struggling to contain the irrational urge to compete with them. Fortunately, our cherished son is applying inadvertant brakes by demanding almost constant attention. Our real estate website browing time thus constrained, we have yet to take the plunge.

September 13, 2008

Flowers and spreadsheets

Filed under: family,property magnatism — lexifab @ 5:37 pm

In preparation for the property investing gig, we are getting our financial affairs In Order. Apparently this means spending my leisure time doing more or less what I spend my working week doing – I have just spent way too many hours in a row trying to cram our household acounts into some money management software from the Destiny people. It’s gradually starting to make sense, but I’ve had to overcome some tremendously user-unfriendly design to get there. And the last half hour or so may or may not have undone all the good work to that point. I don’t know yet, and I don’t really know how to find out.

It’s probably better that I stop while I am at least nominally ahead.

In rather more pleasing news, Fi’s brother Niall has just won a couple of garden design awards at this year’s Floriade, which opened today. He’s pretty good with the flowers – he came sixth in the world championships in St Petersburg a few years ago. Who even knew that they had a world champs for floral arrangements? According to ND, apparently the Germans always win it.

Anyway, if you’re in Canberra and going to see the pretty flowers, his is (unsurprisingly) the Priscilla Queen of the Desert-themed arrangement.

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.

July 22, 2008

Bigshot business types

Filed under: property magnatism — lexifab @ 11:47 am

Loan refinancing docs have been submitted. Soon we will have access to a startling quantity of money for the purpose of property investment. Then comes the actual hard work of, you know, identifying and purchasing and (possibly) renovating said properties, which seems all the more daunting on several successive nights of bad sleep (yes, again!).

This would probably all seem less threatening had I managed to see The Dark Knight yet, but I haven’t.

July 11, 2008

Surprise wealth

Filed under: property magnatism — lexifab @ 12:56 pm

As part of our plans to restructure the mortgage and get into property development, we had a valuation done on our house this week. Slightly surprising result – it’s apparently worth several tens of thousands more than what we had been worried was a slightly optimistic estimate on our part. Nice to know that, even in a half-renovated state, it’s actually proven to be a sensible investment (as well as a nice place that we have no intention of moving away from, obviously).

So, probably without further ado, we can move one step closer to our empire building project. I’m looking forward to it.

May 23, 2008

Idle thinks for a Friday afternoon

  1. Hmm. In fact every single podcast I listen to on a regular basis was not suddenly and simultaneously being recorded at incredibly low sound levels. This revelatory comprehension burst forth yesterday afternoon, moments after I purchased a new set of earplug headphones for my mp3 player. Turns out the old ones had more wrong with them than having a slight crackle.
  2. It’s astonishing how surprised I was by the discovery of point #1.
  3. Linda and Chris have apparently secured new lodgings, which is jolly good news and a complete relief. Now all that’s left is the mucky business of packing up, moving and cleaning, but at least the main problem is done with, the rest being logistics.
  4. Fi has instituted a solution to the sleep deprivation issue over the past few days, which, while not entirely satisfactory because it involves me sleeping on the couch for half the night, does achieve the critical goal of allowing me to get at least five or six hours of rest a day. This comes at a small cost, you may perceive, but it should hopefully just be temporary while Joey’s current hobby – twisting and bellowing for half the night – runs its course.
  5. I’ve been neglecting a lot of things lately (no, not my child!), including but not limited to: my writing, my job, my gaming, my enthusiasm for activities more energetic than watching early morning variety shows, this blog. Lots of good reasons for this, not at all unrelated to point #4, but with renewed vigour comes a renewed sense that I could be using some of my time a litttle less unproductively. However, The Lord of the Rings Online presents a compelling case to the contrary.
  6. I am never so strategically-minded as when I am participating in a work planning day. Seriously, if my team want me to be more productive – and given the extent to which I have been otherwise over the past few weeks I would be surprised if they did not hold this view – they should just hold a planning day each Friday morning, throw together a random agenda, and just let me spout off with opinionated verve about what’s wrong with the world. I swear, I have solved all our problems today.
  7. Other Doctor Who stories which may be feeling slighted after I declared ‘Blink’ to be their First Among Equals include (in no particular order) ‘The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances’, ‘The Robots of Death’, ‘The Pyramids of Mars’, ‘The Caves of Androzani’, ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’, ‘Terror of the Autons’, ‘Army of Ghosts/Doomsday’, ‘The Aztecs’, ‘Terror of the Zygons’, ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’, ‘The Curse of Fenric’, ‘The Seeds of Doom’, ‘Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways’, ‘Enlightenment’, ‘The Horror of Fang Rock’ and ‘The Carnival of Monsters’ (shut up, I liked it!). However, they must grudgingly bend a knee to their emperor, for life is short and ‘Blink’ is hot.
  8. I really, really like Doctor Who. Discuss.
  9. Our first attempt to get some financial advice around property investment – with an accountant on Wednesday afternoon – was a bit of a bust, although probably useful from a taxation point of view. We’re not completely clear about what we need to know, apart from establishing how much we can afford to risk early on, which to be honest we will likely end up figuring out for ourselves. It seems, however, that guidance on translating general advice to our specific financial circumstances is not quite so easy to come by. We have another session on Monday which is more promising, but which will probably involve someone trying to sell us their prepackaged option. Still, should be something useful in it for us, and if not then we’ll just take the bull by the horns and get one with it ourselves.
  10. The new edition of Dungeons and Dragons comes out in two weeks. I am infeasibly excited in a way that can only possibly end in disappoitment and bitter recriminations, or at least more Burning Wheel. This reminds me that I started that ’10 great things in gaming’ series of posts a while ago and never got back to it. I may attend to that if the current resurgence of enthusiasm for blogging continues for the next week or two.
  11. It is time for beer. Past time, in fact.

May 6, 2008

Ouch! Keep your grindstone away from my nose!

Filed under: fitter/happier,friends,property magnatism,workin for the man — lexifab @ 10:59 am

So. Holiday over. Back at work. Finding it hard to care. No surprises there.

Coffs Harbour turned on cool but otherwise perfect weather for our stay. Idyllic and magical as always, and the surf was, if anything, better than last year. Would have been marginally better had Andrew and Von been able to join us, but they have stuff that needs doing, so we struggled on manfully in their absence, playing ping pong (the boys), doing lots of shopping (the girls) and making a day trip out to Armidale to visit the Fellowses (the boys again). It was odd actually seeing Amanda face to face for the first time in five or six years, considering we’ve been chatting pretty regularly through online games during that time. But we had a good time meeting the kids, catching up with Chris and Amanda, making the happy discovery that our old kitten Em is still around, and being introduced to Snuffkin, Destroyer of Worlds (an Irish Setter-Golden Retriever cross, one of the most terrifying breeding schemes imaginable). It was well worth a visit, and now (I think) I could actually find the place again the next time we happen to be heading north, so we should be able to manage more visits in the future.

We also saw Iron Man (short review: much, much better than it has any right to be, and stay for the end of the credits), visited the Big Banana – Evan, Sara and I went ice-skating! - and reignited our plans to get into property investment, even going so far as to inspect a couple of places. We have to do some research and planning before we get underway, but that will probably get underway some time before the end of June. Exciting! Hopefully we’ll be so successful we’ll all be able to retire early. It’s nice to dream, at least.

But in the meantime I have an internal press release to finalise and a presentation to prepare, so I guess I’ll just go do that.


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