Friday, December 26, 2003

is it hot in here?

my bedroom: smallest in the house, smallest window of all rooms. upstairs, so gets the warm air. and in the best side of the house to feel the full brunt of the afternoon sun. not the best place to leave a computer running all day...

while i had escaped to the rumpus to hide out for most of the day (only room with air conditioning), my pc was slowly heating up. when i got back, it was in the middle of a scheduled virus scan and popping errors saying the hard drive was overheating!

remove cover, shift portable fan in position to blow, blow, blow. now it's sitting at a cool 42 degrees... that's down 20 from a peak of 62 :|

- - - - -

week 1 of my holidays is nearly over... what have i done? some potted highlights from the last few days:

monday: dinner at friend's place, carolling afterwards, and then standing around at mt cootha singing away with an impromptu a capella performance of the carols we'd learnt and also a few other christian songs. wonder what those around us thought of us! hehe...

tuesday: hung out for most of the day in the city and south bank watching free event after free event. [click for photo log]

wednesday: tagged along with my parents to a christmas eve concert at logos church in mackenzie. first time i've visited their new building - rather grand looking it is... being temporarily excited with the "discovery" of messenger plus - rather useful, i say.

thursday: christmas day service at church, driving around looking for a place that's open for lunch, hanging out at the tans', and extended family dinner back on the southside.

i think i'd rather be working - at least that way you get to spend the hottest parts of the day in air conditioned comfort ;)

oh winter, where art thou?

Monday, December 22, 2003

engineering a reunion

caught up with some of my engineering coursemates thursday night. with both adrian and jasper (gone to the US and canada respectively) back in town for christmas, a few of us took the chance to meet and catch up.

dinner was at the cafe colosseum near home - interesting sounding pasta items (mine was the "rabbit ravioli", and fairly well presented plus ok value for money (further savings to be had courtesy of the entertainment book).

afterwards we retired to ted's apartment... this was the first time i had seen it, and boy it's nice! fifth and top floor of a single block, 4x balcony's on all corners, really nice river views, and complete with modern kitchen and large screen tv. photos here, and samples of the views here:

yeah i like nightscapes :)

Friday, December 19, 2003

oh but it does feel awful...

... knowing that those who *are* going to go will be called to a meeting, and then seeing people you know being rounded up at the appointed time. even though i wasn't all that close to them, three guys i work with/near are among the list.

i was told to go home early. just as the meeting got underway. so not even a goodbye - though what do you say?

and so i came home... :|

not for me, it seems

i've been informed that there are people who will be going, but i will not be one of them.

and that those staff who are continuing will keep getting paid weekly in arrears during the break.

yay... ?

Thursday, December 18, 2003

gloom today, doom tomorrow?

i've just glanced at my water bottle and realised that i haven't had even a sip of water all day!

rumours (if you afford them any weight) are that tomorrow might be d-day for a "closing" announcement. might be "fitting", given that the bulk of the company will be on 3 weeks of unpaid leave after tomorrow. *sigh*.

having problems with the doro playing nicely with adsl on the same line at home. low volume plus the odd crackling. and why would you make the the hands-free speakerphone half duplex? even the speakerphone on our old analog cordless (which got along well with adsl) was full duplex. some design decisions i just don't understand...

oh well. there's nothing like a spot of retail therapy to give you that boost of buying power. bought my monitor (a 17" flatscreen samsung syncmaster 785MB) yesterday, much nicer on the eyes though there are a few niggly things with the picture that make it not an 100% satisfactory purchase. also it's the first time that union shopper has really failed me by not being able to source a cheaper price - this time round the best they had was $65 more expensive!

they also couldn't beat $395 for a sony mzn710 md recorder that my dad was after. his previous unit has started playing up after almost two years, and isn't recording properly anymore. hence the requirement for a replacement. it came in a promotional bonus pack, from which i scored the backpack, cos all he wanted was the recorder :) gotta say the bonus headphones look pretty stylish - pity i don't go portable audio-ing often enough ;)

so another season of survivor is over - i'm reasonably happy with the outcome (not so much who won, but who didn't win). no matter how much you try to separate the game from real life, i believe you're still accountable for your actions, regardless of the situation/circumstance in which you find yourself. now that my monday nights are emptying fast (with the departure of alias and survivor), i've latched onto the new show on friday nights "our generation" (called American Dreams in the States). i like the premise (the tie-ins with 'american bandstand' are quite clever), and find it to be pleasant and enjoyable viewing. plus i like the period music :)

Saturday, December 13, 2003

entropy is...

(in the non-thermodynamics sense of the word)
  • getting a cold in summer... less than two months after my last cold... *shakes head in disgust*
  • closing the sliding door on my wardrobe, knowing that i needed to move my hand out of the way (or else it would get squashed!) and the neural pathways not acting fast enough to effect the required physical movement to get my pinkie clear :(
  • leaving the house having turned off my computer that was in fine working order, and coming back a few hours later to turn it back on and finding that my monitor has turned blue. it's 5 months out of a 3 year warranty, will cost me $55 to get a repair quote, and probably $110 minimum labour charge plus parts for a repair. by which time a brand spanking new true flat model for ~$200 (with an equally new 3 year warranty) is looking the decidedly more attractive option. lucky for me there's a spare monitor at home, but it makes strange noises in power saving mode, can't run the same resolution as my blue monitor, and even then is a bit fuzzy... i'm not sacrificing eye strain over money, so i think i'll get me a samsung 785MB.
  • my shoes (the pair i wear most often, and about the only pair whose purchase i remained happy with after getting a new pair back home and wearing it a few times) falling apart. and squeaking. i hate squeaking shoes. shoe shopping is not my forte.
  • my g-shock watch shedding its shock-absorbent urethane outer layer. so now it looks rather thinner and is not as well protected... it's lasted nearly 7 years and had its first battery change earlier this year. the internals are still good, so even though i've been eyeing off some of the offerings in the "tough solar" range, i should really save my money for more necessary purchases...
  • the administrator at work telling us that, even though the previously arranged 3-week long shutdown over christmas/new year is still going ahead with everybody going on annual leave, we won't be getting paid for it.
  • another MSIE vulnerability that could prove rather nasty. doesn't seem to be any fix/workaround available to joe blow at home... caveat emptor!

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

what's voluntary about this?

says a colleague to me as i was walking past mid/late morning: it just keeps getting better for you doesn't it?

me: what do you mean?

him: first they make you take leave you haven't got, and now this...

rewind a few hours... i walk into work to find people putting up christmas decorations. i even got a piece of tinsel to use for my work area (i tied it in a bow and draped it across my pc - very artistic i thought :p) the mood is relaxed and jovial...

within an hour an abrupt and compulsory meeting for all staff was called, whereupon we find out that the company has gone into voluntary administration. that's the "this" referred to above. yup, feel the mood dive...

just as we were all leaving that meeting i got a call from a job prospect - work that is not too dissimilar to what i'm doing now, but even less pay (if only ever so slightly). do i jump now? or wait and see? don't really want to be going back to centrelink after we ended our previous 6-month long love-hate relationship! hrm...

oh well, got to play with new toys at home... courtesy of my parents' first reward after a few years of collecting AMEX points - doro 5045+1 cordless digital telephones. we've got the silver version... nice and sleek :) would be even better if the LCD and keypad were backlit, plus throwing in a bit more memory for the answering machine wouldn't have hurt.

alas, one son's novelty is another mother's technology learning curve ;)

Monday, December 08, 2003

handle handel?

so i went to a performance of handel's messiah on saturday night - never really been to anything like that before - and i think most of it was lost on me, as one who fails to appreciate the finer points of music. still, good horizon-broadening experience, and a nice enough (though expensive!) activity to share with a friend. it was performed by 4 soloists with the backing of the brisbane chorale and queensland orchestra. apparently it was a very rare performance, given that they were using handel's original manuscript.

i pretty much knew nothing about "messiah" heading into it, other than having heard the term mentioned in conjuntion with the composer (and i don't know much about him either!)... once again google was my friend in pointing me to a bit of background skimming :) and i even remembered something i had read about why the audience stands during the hallelujah chorus (the only part of the whole performance i vaguely recognised) at the end of part the second! see, i do have a culture bone in my body ;)

anyways, took a snapshot before i went into the venue (main auditorium, brisbane city hall) - gives me an excuse to show a pic in my blog :p this is the christmas tree at king george square, with the city hall and clock tower in the background.

haven't yet found an easy/convenient/free way to upload photos to which i can directly link, so this will have to be an irregular special. so back to handling handel's messiah... it's all about / inspired by (bible verses concerning) the birth, death and resurrection of the God-man jesus christ. and as per most of the advertising/publicity associated with performances of handel's messiah, this is a "must-see". make sure you don't miss out on the CHRIST of christmas.

feliz navidad :)

sick equation

a. saturday - out in the cold wind and rain
b. sunday - around person with throat infection (and another starting to get a sore throat?)

a + b = ...

c. today - wake up with slightly dry, slighty sore throat. going through about twice the amount of water i usually drink at work...

hrm :/

ps. some pictures from the outings with international students (dinner tuesday, city saturday)

Thursday, December 04, 2003

ye olde holiday season

the powers that be at work have decided to shut down the company for three weeks over christmas and new year... so everyone's required to take 12 days of annual leave. i'm reasonably happy to have the time off, but it means i'll have to go into negative figures for my annual leave balance :( or not get paid! oh well... nett result being that i'll be having holidays from 19 dec - 12 jan exclusive. now all i need to do is figure out how to squeeze some value out of that time :)

- - - - -

one of the good things about working so close to home is that on the odd occasion where i find out that a FOM could use something that i probably have at home, i can...
  • drive off during my lunch break and pick it up from home
  • drop if off at said friend's place for a quick test to make sure it fits the need
  • hang out with friend and another visitor for about 15mins
  • drop them off at the local shops on my way back to work, within an hour of my departure
ahh... local community... i think we don't get enough of it these days.

- - - - -

that was my day on tuesday. then at night i (and a few other yfers) went along to something that fatty had organised for two taiwanese students she's been meeting up with to do CE (christianity explained). we had dinner at montezumas, and then went to nene's house to watch the jesus video in mandarin. it was good to be able to help answer some of their questions, and to hear their interest and of things they remembered from what they'd read and discussed with fatty. they'll be going back to taiwan soon, but both have christian friends there so hopefully their quest for truth will continue.

- - - - -

after a brief exchange stemming from a game of cranium last night, i seriously think that the definition of "ubiquitous" should be amended so it doesn't appear so synonymous with "omnipresent". just leave it at 'widespread', i say.

music::streams cd (word records)

Monday, December 01, 2003

"what the heart loves, the will chooses and the mind justifies"

(a key Reformation principle, as quoted in an article from the latest issue of the Briefing)

which reminds me, i recently bought two books on the Reformation from Matthias Media... really should get around to reading these some day...