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K's 18 month birthday   
12:44am 17/06/2012
  So we took K to the zoo for her 18 month birthday and it was great to see her do a double take. She has a little rubber giraffe that travels with her in the pram. At the zoo they have a monstrously big, real giraffe. She looked for a second or two, then there was this awesome realisation that she was looking at a stonking huge, giant, real Sofi giraffe and she got all excited.

Work's been a drudge so not too much blogging or doing anything much at all. Planning to get stuff settled after all the changes before taking a big chunk of time off.


Cats, dogs and babies   
10:06am 29/10/2011
  Yes, I'm still here. Busy but not doing much.

K is powering along, now able to stand her self up for short periods and rampaging across the house with her new found crawling mad skillz. She's at a formative stage in her life so I haven't been out and abut at all much. Most Wednesdays she gets to hang with her grand mother and they have oodles of fun.

We're fostering a dog, but she's shown unforgivable character flaws that I won't live with in the longer term. She's kelpie basenji cross and the basenji side means she has no sense of place and will not stay in the yard unless we staple her to something (which doesn't sit well with her kelpie side which incidentally gives her the athleticism to escape). We've reported back to the fostering folk that she really needs an acreage and other dogs to hang with, she never goes too far and always comes back.

Work is super crazy. We have major re-structuring and an executive who is a bully and an a-grade twat but still has principles. So I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and see if he's net positive as some assertion is what the organisation needs at this point of its life.

Will be seeing a bunch of you soon. It's been rather too long. :)


The Big Blue Room   
11:27pm 07/08/2011
  As per usual, life has been all consuming and I seldom get a quiet evening to gather my thoughts and bang out some more lengthy thoughts on the world and goings on.

Much practical self sufficient cleverness at home like home made sausages, bottled my latest batch of cider. The cider is working up really well and I'm going to try for bulk quantities next season. This time I got gravity for 6.5% from juice alone and the clarity going into the bottles was great (plus it smells really nice too). Will definitely insist on a secondary ferment so no bottles cracked until Christmas at the earliest.

Also got a rare clear afternoon and burned through a raft of neglected chores around the house.

K is coming on great. Lovely engaging bubba.


Just a quiet Sunday morning   
10:14am 10/07/2011
  Came down with a slightly horrible virus thing on Friday night and spent most of Saturday wrapped up in a doona. Woke up feeling clear headed this morning so I'm have a some tea and listening to the wild winds outside and thinking that I won't get on to all the stuff I was going to do today. Maybe go for a drive and socialise a a little bit.

There's been a bit of post-age in my f-list about social media including Google+. I've set up an Appleseed account, but a social platform needs to be inclusive. I've got a couple of geeky friends, but a critical mass is needed. I'm not sure swapping Zuckerberg for another .com tycoon is any help. It would be nice if I could stitch together a range of services to put forward (or subscribe to) whatever I want; lengthy posts like this stream of thought, or random one line updates ala Doogie Hauser. Sort of like how UseNet used to work.

Alas, the only good thing to happen in the whole social media area is the massive write down of that horrible eyesore that is MySpace. Rupert, it couldn't have happened to a more deserving person.


Occasional friends   
10:36pm 13/06/2011
  The tempo of life has changed a lot over the last couple of years, even more so in the last six months.

So this long weekend was quite different and refreshingly so.

Saturday was bubba's "half year birthday" and we had a small coffee and cake thing with half a birthday cake, and then spent the afternoon on the couch nattering with bagg_lady. Completely non productive but enjoyable.

Sunday was heromyk's Big Significant Number birthday so we had a quiet lunch at a local club with a bunch more people we see rarely these days.

Then I bumped into one of my old bosses at Bunnings.

Last night we caught up with N and R over dinner (have not seen them in a long while), and tonight we all to briefly caught up with a bunch more people after B's work finished (R, M and more at post pheno drinks).

It's nice to see that as the world changes, people continue. Even if you only see them rarely.

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Bubba on the radio   
12:13am 21/04/2011
  Well not actually. She sat in her pram and sucked on a grape then boogied a bit for a couple of songs. All told a happy baby and quite well adjusted.

Home made venison sausages to pick up. 2 kg of back strap fillet in the fridge. A whole haunch hanging for a week or so. Put a bid on some sausage making apparatus.

Got some poles planted in the front yard for a sail to protect the car.

Plus have a package to post provided I can get to the post office during business hours.


So that's where time goes   
11:36pm 22/03/2011
  Haven't been blogging much anywhere. The baby thing is a full time occupation and what time I do have between baby and work does not leave too many brain cells. Even reading is suffering.

Home made pickles have been a triumph.

I've been enjoying the wetter than usual summer after such a long stretch and am now reminded each morning that winter is approaching. The plum tree is dropping its leaves and the tomato plants are slowing down.

K has been progressing faster than I would have believed. She's now "talking" (well, babbling enthusiastically) and holding her head up for prolonged periods (showing that she does indeed possess a neck, not just a crevice for accumulating lint).

We saw the tsunami unfolding live on TV, it was an amazingly moment of pure news, unfettered by lame journalistic tampering. It was hypnotic to watch unfolding across the landscape, devouring all in its path.

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11:44pm 01/02/2011
  I've been lurking a bit and enjoying people's posts. LJ has a very different tempo to most other blogging and I like the more considered tone.

Anyway, domestic bliss continues. Katja's just coming out of her first ever cold. Quite probably the most horrid experience in her life as I can't think of anything else other than the birth itself. Asides from that she's been trucking along and we even took her to properly meet grand dad last week.

Tomatoes are growing fantastically well, but the wet summer has trashed everyone's grapes. If you want tomatoes, give us a call.

Would have dearly loved to see Amanda Palmer with Mik tonight, but I'm glad they have managed to find each other considering their musical sensibilities. We'll hopefully catch up with both at the Ninja thing tomorrow.

Finally finished the windscreen on the boat and baptised it with "pickling gel", a lovely concoction of nitric and hydrofluoric acid that has a most alarming MSDS. Nasty, nasty toxic stuff.

I also did a job interview. That will be quite a conundrum if it nets an offer. Work has been great, but there's a number of concerning signs in the organisation.


Summer holidays   
10:36pm 16/01/2011
  Back at work but in summary a long, languid, lazy summer with a new little Human (Katja) enforcing a bit more time at home, but less time on the 'net
  - Did I mention the baby that's consuming every spare hour? Sheesh, it's incredible, but needed, worth every sleep deprived minute
 - complete boat welding project
 - awesome garden producing cool stuff like our own Polish pickles.
 - a spot of fishing at Blowering where the water was right up so we camped in the trees
 - defrosted all the freezers
 - tidy up the house
 - tidy up the back yard
- Home brew coder is an order of magnitude more amazing after a year of cellaring
 - Worked out that AFP is probably going to be a child friendly gig, a good friend of ours has been invited to participate in the guerilla gig too

Anyway, the cider's run out so it's time for a walk before bed. 2230 and it's still nearly 26C and the humidity is nudging 60%. Urgh.


Perfect Night   
12:33am 21/12/2010
  Tonight would be a perfect night to be out bush. A gibbous moon, a slight breeze rustling the eucalypts and some scattered cloud. Cool, but warm enough to not require winter clothes. I'd set up my swag so that the morning moon would not wake me and doze off listening to the sky. As it was, I made myself a mug of tea and just stood in the back yard looking t the sky, ignoring the city around me.  


11:47pm 12/12/2010
  So we are proud parents now. She's a lovely little wee thing who is a credit to her mother's understanding and skills. It's a truly unique experience with truly unique results.  

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08:36pm 29/11/2010
  So is anyone interested in some Appleseed invites?

I've been keeping an eye on options and Appleseed has enough differentiating factors to warrant giving it a red hot solid go.

It's not all there yet, but I see this as a long term prospect.

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The Social Network   
08:19am 20/11/2010
  So we went and saw The Social Network last night.

- If it's a reasonably faithful portrayal of Mark, my concerns about FB's ethics are well founded. After all this recent posturing about openness, it's a clear that people value inclusion more than they value freedom. My only relief is that Murdoch ignorance killed MySpace and our evil overlord isn't a guy called Rupert. Mark is not evil, but amoral and I'm not sure what's worse.

- It was nice to see some Old Skool LJ happening.

- It was nice to have real hacking properly portrayed. Especially since I'd spent the morning doing exactly similar stuff at work to harvest and fix things in loosely structured collections. (big buzz was having a colleague wanting to just sit over my shoulder and watch me write code)

- Music by Trent Reznor

This is also as good an opportunity to respond to posts about blogging preferences. I'm not moving the DW as no matter how enlightened the incumbent landlords are, there's minimal difference in capability and surety when taking a longer term perspective. I am loath to give FB more oxygen than I must and FB supports brief chat, not sustained thought (so they are very different things). That and FB reminds me about The Onion article where Google's new privacy policy lets users move to an isolated Mongolian village.

P.S. FB's new messaging has been dismissed as "FB Wave". This i accurate but wrong. Google Wave could have been awesome but it was plumbing not connected to anything useful. We may yet see the Internet reduced to a Walled Garden.

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Friends and Family   
11:06pm 14/11/2010
  It was a good weekend.

Friday was pizza with old work friends. It was really good to catch up with a bunch of people who work on stuff they care about. It was especially good to see S's kids wandering around raised on the expectation that it's perfectly normal to build your own pizza oven, brew your own beer, raise chooks, grow plants, keep bees, etc, etc, etc. There's nothing quite like home made pizza from a real wood fired oven, especially in such company and seeing such values being imparted to another generation (besides, where else does Eigen vector appear in ordinary conversation?). Seems I need to go help with a barn raising now.

Saturday I helped out at the farm. Just did a bit of lawn mowing until the hay fever really knocked me out much more than I thought. It was good to see A & B living how they want to and not at all giving a s**t about what anyone else thinks. Wonderfully generous, giving people and not at all taken in by pretensions, quite happy to just love living out in the bush.

Saturday night was Roller Derby. Again, heaps of people to bump in to. All doing stuff they love. Nothing like buying beer from the first aid stall.

Today was a family trip with a bit of shopping. I now have an industrial quantity of strawberries, mango, oranges and some sensible shopping from Ikea (linen, jam, mustard and Lingonberry cordial). My own family is also amazingly giving and generous.

Finally a spot of single malt on a rainy night to top things off.

P.S. Thanks to you all of you for being a part of scenes like these over the years. I treasure them all :)

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Another late night (with a P Harness reprise)   
11:53pm 04/11/2010
  We were late for the show and missed the Fuellers, but were in plenty of time to see Mikelangelo's new band The Tin Star. That was OK, because Gregor ended up playing a few songs with Mik anyway, and the encore was a Prik Harness song(!). Tin Star is western/Hawaiian guitars and was very rockin. All very relaxing so I'm glad we made the effort to go. Ended up buying a Fuellers shirt too. Being at the Turner Bowlo, it was a bit like being in time warp, especially with the old song as the encore.

Got home to find a political type newletter in the mailbox. Took a while to figure out just who he was representing (asides from being one of our local members). Wouldn't have picked him as ALP and he certainly wasn't flying the flag either. Hedging bets much?

I've signed up for a Wednesday night welding course, not so much to do the welding course as to gain access to a fully equipped workshop. Very happy with my panel forming efforts thus far. Maybe some pics later.

All the mild wet weather has the garden storming along and it's now very pleasant to sit in while having tea.

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More on packaging and bags   
12:24am 02/11/2010
  We normally shop at the local markets. All our stuff goes in to a basket or bag as-is. We'll get one or two small plastic bags for any meat and gluggy stuff that would otherwise soil or bags. Fruit, veg and other stuff go loose into our bags, they usually come in their own packaging ("skin"). We'll buy cleaning products and the like from the local shops.

Anyway, B (who read my previous post) went to a regular supermarket (which we don't do very often) and was blown away by the abundance of plastic and packaging. Not only is everything wrapped and single served to within an inch of its life, it then gets bagged yet again:
- Individual peeled, sliced apple in plastic bags (please, it had it's own packaging until you peeled it!)
- Strawberries in plastic punnet ended up in an additional plastic shopping bag of their own
- Woman buying a piece of fruit for lunch puts it in a bag, then goes through the checkout and gets another bag, then pulls it out and eats it, putting two bags in the rubbish
- croissants in armoured plastic shells

Yikes! Plastic shopping bags are just a symptom and the tip of the iceberg. Shops should be rated on the packaging efficiency of their product lines.


More dogma challenging   
11:04pm 27/10/2010
  So there's a bunch of groups lobbying and legislating to ban shopping bags in the ACT to save us from global warming. From experience, full life-cycle cost can be fiendishly difficult to quantify. I look from time to time and the most recent calls prompted me to find this study:


Short version: Your re-usable shopping bag needs to last 100-ish trips to be more energy efficient than using disposable bags. That's about 2 years at one shopping trip a week. In our experience they last about 6 months.

So support packaging laws, but not blindly, and not to implement solutions that may make the situation worse.

BTW, we use long lasting calico bags that probably cost way more energy than the eco-bags.

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Light Bulbs   
09:42pm 24/10/2010
  Energy efficient light bulbs are a con.

They are made from hazardous substances, do not last any longer than incandescent bulbs and shatter into millions of tiny shards that rain down over your kitchen. They also cost substantially more than ordinary bulbs ever did.

I wonder if anyone did a full life cycle analysis to prove that they actually give a net saving?

And while I'm at it, photo voltaic panels. Your purchase of panels is tax subsidised and the company buys your power at something like 10 times the rate you pay for power. This was OK when it was just a few trail blazers. Now with so many panels installed, the power companies now want to recover the cost by billing it back to consumers.

It's a bit like the UK campaign to save energy by unplugging your phone charger. A disgruntled physics professor took the wind out of the campaign by a) showing that you needed to connect hundreds of the things to get a detectable current and b) demonstrating that the power consumed was a vanishing fraction of one hot bath.

All so much penance and indulgences for our global warming sins.

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Spring has Sprung   
04:36pm 04/10/2010
  It's a public holiday and it's a quiet, pleasant spring day. There's a rosella singing in the tree outside and I've got some quiet moments to journal a bit.

This morning I went and cut up some old roofing at mum's so it'll fit into the trailer later so I can take it to the tip. Then I filleted and salted three good sized trout that my cousin and myself had caught the day before. I've got three more that'll end up in the smoker later tonight or tomorrow. Lunch was the trout I salted last weekend. Could have caught as many trout as I wanted, but it'll take me ages to chow through this lot plus there's another trip in a fortnight.

I also *finally* picked up my new swag that arrived from Mt Gambier via the bush telegraph. It's lined with saddle blanket and was amazingly warm compared to the first night of the weekend in my old swag. Not only is it more roomy, it also rolls away into a smaller bundle.

The garden was put in a couple of weeks ago and is starting to settle in, complete with redesigned irrigation system. If any of the seedlings haven't established, it's not many. The chooks have also started laying again and we've had eggs and pancakes made from real eggs.


Election 2010 - precedents and parallels   
07:05pm 02/09/2010
  Post the election, I've been continuing to read and have had some really good discussions with a number of people about the result, particularly if there are any precedents in history that might tell us about the turn of events.

By and large, our parliament is a dual party affair. Multi party parliaments do exist, but they are indecisive (Italy, Greece) or have specific measure in place to ensure decisive, durable coalitions are formed (Germany, and to a lesser degree, France). While this provides food for thought in terms of what (I think) needs to be front and centre in any republic debate, it's not terribly helpful in the immediate term.

A bit of an interesting study is the fortunes of Labour in the UK. The graph belowlead me on to this neat summary of UK elections. Elections worth nothing are:
- The 1900 election that gave the new party for organised labour their first seat
- The 1923 election where a fatal under-estimation by Asquith pretty well wrecked the Liberals as a force (losing progressive votes to the Labour Party and also out of fear to the Tories)
- The 1974 elections where the Labour party needed Liberal party support to form a minority government (these two elections seem the most similar to our current circumstances)

So what's it mean? I'm not really sure, but I'm wondering if the traditional Labor model is less relevant and just who was he long term winner in the recent deal between thee Greens and ALP. In both 1923 and 1974, the deals and ultimatums heralded longer term shifts in the political landscape.

The mentioned UK election results as a graph show the long term changes quite well UK elections 1832-2005