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Happy New Year...[ Link to this entry ]
...from the Noswonkys to all nice blog readers.
We are off to Kiama and may or may not have internet access there.
Therefore, the blog may or may not be updated for a few days.
Friday, December 31st 2004[ Link to this entry ]
Yuko filled in the feedback form by ticking the happy face. However she also wrote one criticism; they didn't give her hair conditioned and a shower cap one day! I'm outraged!
We then checked out and had breakfast at Amaki. The news continues to get worse and worse in Asia.
Before leaving Kiama we visited the supermarket and shopping mall where Yuko may have lost her ring. They said it had not been handed in, but at the mall they took our contact details.
The return trip was uneventful. Coming back over the Harbour Bridge we saw the much-hyped mirror ball in place for tonight's New Year celebrations.
At 11:40pm we walked up to our usual fireworks-watching vantage point on the high field of St. Ignatius College. As we entered the field we could hear a bunch of young hoons approaching singing patriotic songs (Advance Australia Fair, Waltzing Matilda etc.) very loudly. They followed us onto the field and joined the crowd of about 50 people who had
Before leaving Kiama we visited the supermarket and shopping mall where Yuko may have lost her ring. They said it had not been handed in, but at the mall they took our contact details.
The return trip was uneventful. Coming back over the Harbour Bridge we saw the much-hyped mirror ball in place for tonight's New Year celebrations.
At 11:40pm we walked up to our usual fireworks-watching vantage point on the high field of St. Ignatius College. As we entered the field we could hear a bunch of young hoons approaching singing patriotic songs (Advance Australia Fair, Waltzing Matilda etc.) very loudly. They followed us onto the field and joined the crowd of about 50 people who had already gathered. They continued singing, swearing, and throwing burning objects high in the air.
I took a picture of them...
|Hoons with burning objects|
The new year began and the firework burst forth...
|This picture is stolen from another website. Our view was of lesser quality.|
We toasted the new year with Strawberry sparkling wine, but it was hard to relax and enjoy the show while constantly having to listen to the hoons.
I poured the wine discreetly and slipped it back in my bag lest the hoons see it and get over-excited!
And thus, another amazing year in the lives of the Noswonkys, ends.
Come back in 2005 for the continuing adventures of the Noswonkys. The first topic for next year will be Sex on the Beach.
Thursday, December 30th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
The headlines are grimmer and grimmer every day. The front page number of 68,000 dead was already surpassed by many thousands by the time of this picture.
The internet café opened today, so we went to check our email and stuff. Yuko wanted to check where her blog was in the blog rankings. It was a bit hard to find it as the computer did not have Japanese fonts installed. However, we found it eventually. It had only dropped a few places in the rankings despite there being no postings for the last three days.
I then posted a brief interim report on our trip and then we left, having used 30 minutes. This cost $5.50.
|Internet Café and bookshop|
We decided to go to Nowra for no particular reason other than to have a look.
We stopped at Mount Pleasant Lookout where we looked out... and it was pleasant...
We also stopped at a shop called the Tin Shed. Its name is appropriate.
There was a lizard living in there...
This is typical of the kind of stuff they sell.
|Today's Teenage Violence Indeed!|
|Table Tennis bats from the pre-industrial era|
Nowra and Bomaderry
Nowra itself reminded us of Chatswood (a bit).
|Helicopter on a stick|
Yuko donated some money to this busker...
...and he and his dog posed...
We checked the house prices and found that they are even lower than in Kiama.
I hugged a chain. This is the anchor of the infamous HMAS Melbourne.
The rail line ends just before reaching Nowra and there is no rail line going south from there. Nowra is served by Bomaderry station just to the north.
We liked the Chinese place yesterday so we went back today.
|Chicken and Macadamia Nuts and Seafood Combination|
Yuko asked one of the staff about Asian food shops in the area. She said the nearest would be in Wollongong and looked up the name of the street for us.
Yuko asked for a doggy-bag to take the remaining rice back to the motel. She said it was very good rice, despite being long-grain.
Wednesday, December 29th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
After breakfast we met this dog, who was imprisoned against his will by a chain.
|Sad Kiama Dog|
|Yuko says hello to the sad Kiama dog|
We then did what we came here to do. Lie on the grass overlooking the cool blue waters of the Pacific.
We lay lazily on the grass for two or three hours.
The sea was angry that day... seriouly. The waves were as big as I've seen in my short sheltered life. So I thought it would be a good chance to see the Blowhole at its best.
Note: It is unclear whether "blow hole" should be written as two words or one. The plaque below uses two, while the Kiama Website uses one. I therefore choose to be similarly inconsistent.
Sure enough, the Blowhole was putting on a spectacular show.
Then we went around to the inlet where the water goes into the Blowhole. The wind was intense and the sea was like a huge washing machine. Thousands of white blobs of froth were swirling up from below and hitting us as if we were being spat on repeatedly. It was impossible to avoid the stuff getting into your mouth and I could taste the salt.
|This picture shows some of the white blobs of 'spit' swirling up from the sea|
Then I saw a rare sight...
|Dog on Man|
Of course, Yuko had to buy fish. In this case oysters.
So Yuko ate her oysters...
...and I crashed flat out like a lizard drinking. Compare...
We found two Chinese restaurants and went inside both of them to sus them out.
|The House of Canton - There seemed to be no Chinese staff and no Chinese customers - Not a good sign!|
|The Dragon Garden - There were Chinese staff AND Chinese customers!|
We went to the Dragon.
In the evening there was a Jazz concert in the park just across the road from our motel. We had intended to buy Chinese takeaway and go to the park for the concert. However, it was just too cold!
But after dinner we took a quick look before returning to the motel. It didn't sound like Jazz to me; more like blues/rock.
The audience was small, probably due to the cold weather.
Tuesday, December 28th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
In the mornings, one is likely to see Towel-Heads roaming free.
I noticed this café just across the road from our motel, so we decided to try it for breakfast.
It turned out they had a nice deck area out the back.
And the owner was a very friendly and gnomic fellow.
And they served teddy bears with the coffee.
We liked it!
|This may seem like just another typical photo of the Noswonkys, but it may become significant later.|
We both forgot to pack some important stuff (I forgot toothpaste) so after breakfast we made a quick trip to the shopping mall.
|The visit to the shopping mall may seem insignificant now, but it may become important later.|
|Shopping for milk|
Yuko wanted to go to Seven Mile Beach for purposes which I am not at liberty to reveal. So we went.
On the way to Seven Mile Beach we turned off into Belinda Street...
... and lo! Green Belinda...
We also stopped to say hello to this cow...
|After I took this picture, the Cow turned and walked away in disgust.|
At this cow stop, Yuko noticed that a ring was missing from her finger. We searched the grass, but to no avail. Later inspection of photographs showed that the ring was in place at the cafe, but it may have slipped off any time after that. We gave up looking and continued to the beach.
Despite the fact that this sign says Shoalhaven Heads Beach, we were assured by everyone we spoke to (two people) that it was also Seven Mile Beach. Well, actually one of them just mumbled in our general direction "Yeah... I think that's Seven Mile... yeah I reckon...".
We had to follow a path through the dunes to find the beach. As there are many such tracks leading onto the beach, we decided to use this piece of black wood as a landmark to indentify this particular path when we returned.
|Black wood used as a landmark|
It's not a particularly crowded beach!
|On the beach|
After walking some distance along the beach we came upon a café.
It was extremely windy and quite cool so we didn't stay long and Yuko did not achieve her objectives (which I am not at liberty to reveal) in visiting the beach.
We looked around the town. The two most important landmarks in Kiama are the Arch...
|The Arch in Hindmarsh Park. Lest We Forget indeed.|
...and the White Cow...
|The Kiama Cow. I don't have a song for a white cow.|
We also located the only known internet café in Kiama, but it was closed until Thursday.
|Internet Café closed|
We examined the Real Estate Agent's windows and decided that house prices here are less than half those in Lane Cove.
|This house has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a double garage and the price is only $419,000.|
Last year we went to a restaurant called Esse which was very nice. We wanted to go there again this time. When I looked for it, it appeared to be still there, but with a different name. It's now called 55 on Collins. In the afternoon we looked at their menu posted out the front and Yuko liked the sound of the duck.
So we made a booking for the evening.
Meanwhile, Yuko had to eat a rice ball to prepare her stomach for dinner.
|55 On Collins|
But when we sat down in the restaurant and looked at the menu, there was no duck! They had changed the menu in the three hours since we'd made the booking. Despite this, the food was very nice.
After dinner we went on a light tour to see what kind of show Kiama can put on. It was fairly subdued, except for...
|The third-best display|
|The second-best display|
We then looked for the house we saw last year... and here it is...
|The best display|
The rest of the pictures are other views of the same house.
|I made a donation|
Monday, December 27th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
We are off to Kiama...
But first the fish had to be hospitalised, for the duration of our absence.
|The fish live in the pond, while being protected from wildlife by a plastic container and a net.|
We started out at about 12:20pm.
We bet $1.00 on how many Belindas (new Beetles) we would see today. I guessed three, while Yuko guessed two; closest wins.
Yuko took many, many, many photos on the way...
|Yuko taking one of several hundred photos|
Including this one...
|A fat arse|
We stopped at Sublime Point to admire the view.
Somewhere around Albion Park the traffic slowed to a crawl and it stayed like that for a long, long time.
It was 3pm and we were hungry so we decided to get out of the gridlock and stop at McDonalds for a late lunch.
When we got back on the road the traffic was still crawling. There were signs indicating roadworks, but we never saw anything in particular that was holding up the traffic. It just suddenly started flowing again and the true cause of the delay remained a mystery.
We eventually arrived in Kiama almost four hours after leaving home.
|The Kiama Terrace Motel|
|Belinda at the motel|
Almost as soon as we got into our room there was a deluge of heavy rain.
|The view from our balcony|
We were tired and it was quite cold outside. We didn't want to walk far, so we went to dinner at the motel restaurant, the Fishbone. It was adequate.
During dinner I conceded that we hadn't seen any Belindas all day! I therefore had to pay up...
|Paying my debt|
Sunday, December 26th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
Boxing day is the most relaxing day of the year, and a day for more woosy musings on coffee and cafés.
Lane Cove was almost deserted...
But Epitome was open and although the upstairs section was supposed to be closed, they allowed us to sit on the balcony.
It was so nice that we stayed for about three hours and had breakfast and lunch! I played an 89 move chess game against Fritz (a computer program) which ended in a draw by insufficient material.
We were there so long that the waiter who was looking after us went home and nobody remembered we were up on the balcony. Yuko had to call them on her mobile to request a new waitperson. Klaudia was assigned to us and we added her to our photo gallery of Epitome staff...
|The very friendly Klaudia|
We also observed some people down on the ground who seemed to be still using film...
In the late afternoon I went Cycling in the College as I felt that I should get some exercise. Yuko was too busy watering the garden so she didn't come with me. I also dropped in and said hello to Mother who was also watering.
Noswonky Christmas Message[ Link to this entry ]
Merry Christmas to all nice blog readers.
To the non-nice readers I wish you an eternity burning in hell.
Saturday, December 25th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
Click "play" to set the appropriate mood for reading this blog entry...
It was a quiet, simple Christmas; just Mother and the Noswonkys.
|The table was set|
|The presents wrapped|
Food was eaten.
We then ripped open the presents in a frenzy of materialism...
And there was great merriment.
|The presents unwrapped|
Friday, December 24th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
|No coffee today! Not even a primitive one.|
It was a pretty relaxed day. Just a bit of real work in the morning and then most people started disappearing after lunch.
I left at about 3pm just as a storm was moving in on Sydney...
The rain came down while I was at Lane Cove doing some last-minute Christmas grocery shopping.
I found a dead lizard on the carpet. It appeard to have suffered a physical trauma consistent with an impact by human foot.
Yuko was the prime suspect due to her history of stepping on lizards. When questioned, she denied any involvement.
Epitome closed at 4pm today, although it will be open on Christmas day and Boxing day. So tonight we tried a new restaurant...
|Piazza Pizza in Lane Cove Plaza|
Actually I have been there before but the last time was in 1991 for a work lunch. However, the place has been under new management since 1992, so it counts as new.
|We sat outside in this tent-like structure.|
The food was extremely adequate. Yuko was particularly impressed by their garlic bread. It comes close to the standard of that from Capitano's at North Sydney. She has regarded Capitano's as the best garlic bread in Sydney since she first tasted it as a poor struggling student back in 1992.
And... I got a cappuccino after all...
Thursday, December 23rd 2004[ Link to this entry ]
So I went to La Kantina which is a short walk down the road.
I tried their coffee. It was adequate.
But today was their last day!
At a meeting today, I made a fool of myself by wearing my Christmas hat with flashing lights. I didn't want to make more of a fool of myself by taking a picture.
Then we were invited to indulge in some "responsible drinking" and table tennis...
|Responsible drinking at Cochlear|
One of Yuko's friends, Keiko, had a baby, so Yuko, Etsuko and another Keiko had to go to Homebush to see it.
|Keiko and Yuko (note the terrorist circled)|
|Keiko, Yuko and Etsuko|
|Keiko and Baby|
A big present has appeared under our Christmas Tree...
Wednesday, December 22nd 2004[ Link to this entry ]
As can be seen from this sign...
...today was the final day for the coffee truck this year!
|The coffee truck on its final run|
In the evening we went on a Christmas Light Tour with Mother. First we stopped at Taiki for a small dinner.
Mother had some success using chopsticks!
But only some.
Mother then bought us coffee at the café across the road from Taiki. It turned out they serve Mokador...
Then we drove over to the Canada Bay and Five Dock area to look at the lights. In past years we have gone to Bonnet Bay a couple of times, but it's quite a long way. The lights we saw tonight were of a high standard.
You can tell how good a light show is by the number of ice-cream vans. Tonight, it was a three-van show...
|One of three ice-cream vans|
|The best photo - shot by Yuko.|
There was surpringingly little traffic in the streets, but there were a lot of cars parked and hundreds of people walking along the paths gawking at the lights. We parked our car and joined them...
When we got home, Mother gave us some pre-Christmas presents which she wanted us to open immediately.
The reason for openeing them before Christmas was that they were to be used on Christmas day.
|I got a Christmassy candle|
Tuesday, December 21st 2004[ Link to this entry ]
|The penultimate Mokador for 2004|
In the morning Yuko was graunched and could not eat toast. I went to work, abandoning her on the sofa!
The Bunny called Fluffy, or one of equal value, has been found...
The clock has been placed in its ultimate resting place...
I bought a present for myself today. This is for Mother to give to me for Christmas. Of course I can't say what it is in case I read it.
After a moderately warm day, it was nice and cool in the evening. We therfore ate Mother and Child outside...
|Eating Mother and Child|
5542 Days Ago
5542 Days Ago
Monday, December 20th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
Nothing of note happened today. It was just back to the grind, and the ground...
Sunday, December 19th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
It was carols by candlelight tonight in the Lane Cove Plaza.
But rather than mingle with the masses, we went to Epitome for dinner. We had intended to sit on the balcony overlooking the carol singers. However, it was very hot all day and we decided to change our reservation to an inside table.
By the time the carols started the cool change had arrived and it was quite pleasant. However, we were glad not to be sitting outside because it became extremely windy at times. Some people who were out on the balcony had to leave because it got too windy.
Meanwhile, the carol singers massed.
We could hear the carols very well from our inside table, even with the glass doors closed. Other diners at Epitome decided to sit outside on the ground level to listen.
We were served by Vanessa, who put strawberries on our glasses to match our strawbeery wine.
There was one small problem... Little insects kept landing in my wine...
They looked like some kind of fruit-fly. I had to keep finshing them out with a knife.
Everything else was fine and dandy!
After dinner we did a light-tour of Riverview. The displays were still very sparse and lacking in biggness. This was the best one, just around the corner from Mother's house...
|At the top are nine (9) reindeer, which I think is one too many.|
Saturday, December 18th 2004 (II)[ Link to this entry ]
After leaving Epitome, we spotted a Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) in a darkened corner. I was able to photograph it. This is undoubtedly the best quality image taken of a Tasmanian Tiger in recent times. It clearly proves that the animal is not extinct.
Yuko's French clock has been at the repair shop since we dropped it there way back on September 25th. They said it would take eight weeks, but it has been more like twelve! But today, it was ready to be picked up, so we went to pick it up.
This is Dan the Clock Man who instructed us on the correct use of the clock.
|Dan the Clock Man|
The shop is full of odd looking machines which may or may not be clocks.
When we got the clock home I had to install the pendulum. It worked!
We haven't decided yet where to keep it. This is a temporary location.
Saturday, December 18th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
|Today's coffee picture is deferred to make way for this party image|
Today's blog is devoted to the Cochlear Christmas Party. Accounts of the other exciting events of today have been deferred. Come back tomorrow to read about:
The party was held at the Convention Centre at Darling Harbour.
Before going inside, we milled around at Cockle Bay. As usual, there was a juggler with an American or Scottish accent. This one was a big fan of audience participation. I guess getting them to participate shames them into giving money at the end.
There were three parties happening on different levels. We probably could have gone to any of them.
|That middle one sounds a bit scary... HR people in masks!!!|
|Obligatory photo with Christmas Tree|
Before the doors were opened, we milled in the foyer as drinks were served. By 7.15pm there were a lot of people milling.
|Is this dress inside out or what?|
The first person I engaged in conversation was the guy pictured below. He doesn't work for Cochlear, but his wife does. He was my boss for a couple of years back in the mid 1980s.
I said "G'day Len. Do you remember me?" He didn't. I reminded him of the context... "Telectronics... 1985... Rework department... Peter...?" At that point he had a flash of memory; "Peter Stanton?" he said. "No" I said, "He was the gay one."
|Len (who eventually remembered me), Catia and Noswonky|
They opened the doors into a dark magical world and the people streamed in.
|The view from inside|
The room was huge. Even with 62 tables of 10 people each, there were still huge empty areas.
There was food.
My colleague Kostas forced me to eat more food.
The main course was Thai and there was also non-Thai.
People and Dancing
This is our Christmas attire.
But as expected, the Christmas attire of most of the guests was sub-standard. Only a handful of people wore Christmassy stuff. The best were these antler-wearers...
Of course, all Cochlear events are swarming with audiologists.
|A gaggle of audiologists|
Of course there was dancing...
|There could possibly be an ex-CISRA person in this picture|
|Things got very yellow at times|
|The dance floor|
Click the play button to set the mood for this section...
There were two bands, both of which were of a good standard. The repertoire of both bands was pretty much pre-1985.
First, there was Stapedial Reflex, a band whose members are all employees of Cochlear. Of course, being a Cochlear band, their name is taken from a medical term related to the ear. They did a reasonable version of Dancing Queen and Yuko liked it.
I might start my own rival band to compete with them. I will call it Skin Flap Infection.
The other band was Network, a band whose members are not employees of Cochlear. Of course, being a non-Cochlear band their name has nothing to do with medical terms or the ear.
At 10:45pm, Santa arrived. He had a "nice" list of people he had presents for. He didn't have anything for us! I assume that means we wer on his "naughty" list.
|Yuko and the Man in Red|
Even More Photos
The rest of the photos are here!
Friday, December 17th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
Santa (or his representative) came today with a stack of envelopes...
Inside was a Christmas wish from the big bosses, a gift voucher, and a photo of almost everyone in the company. Unfortunately, the photo was taken just before I joined, so I'm not in it.
The atmosphere at work today seemed very casual and Christmassy; what you might expect on the last day before Christmas, even though it wasn't.
Late in the afternoon an announcement was made on the PA that there were free Krispy Kreme Donuts in the reception area. This created a stampede of shameless sweet toothed people.
Krispy Kreme are drug pushers who go around handing out free donuts to entice their innocent victims into a life of addiction.
|I ate the one at bottom left|
We ate dinner (curry) under our new umbrella for the first time.
|The umbrella does not appear in this picture, but it is there!|
Thursday, December 16th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
The house at St. Leonards, where I grew up, is for lease.
My parents sold this house for $63000 in 1979. I think that may have been a mistake.
Mother came to dinner and was in awe of our Christmas tree. She doesn't believe in fibre optics because it's just not possible!
|Mother with the fibre optic tree which she does not believe exists|
5547 Days Ago
5546 Days Ago
Wednesday, December 15th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
The party details were posted on the wall today. There will be 620 people. There was a list of the people attending, and also a list of the people who are not attending. I guess this is so that everyine knows who the PIKERS are so they can be mocked and ridiculed.
We are on table 13, which seems appropriate. I was interviewed by Cochlear on the 13th, I started work at Cochlear on the 13th - exactly 13 months after being sacked by CISRA - on the 13th.
I had my PDR - which stands for Something... something... Review. It's basically the regular performance review. For me it was a review of my first three months. I got a Full Performance rating which means that I haven't done anything really bad yet.
Because I was too lazy last night, I did not charge Mitsy's battery and so Yuko gave me a lift to work again.
Because I was carless, at lunchtime I tested the Village Express which is a little bus that shuttles between Lane Cove shops and the Industrial Area. Being a free service, It's very popular...
|I was the only person on the bus (both ways)!|
After work I charged Mitsy's battery. I haven't tried starting the engine so I don't actually know if it worked; I'll try it in the morning.
Mother is coming to dinner tomorrow, so I thought I'd better get the Christmas tree up. It is a 'green' tree in the sense that it did not have to be killed.
|The balloons have been up there since Mother's birthday in October!|
Then I wrote the blog...
Tuesday, December 14th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
|Today's coffee image was supplied by Yuko.|
In the morning, Mitsy refused to move (the battery again). So Yuko gave me a lift to work.
|Yuko prepares to return home after dropping me in the general vicinity of Cochlear|
Which reminds me... it's 11pm and I haven't put Mitsy's battery on charge! I think I'm too lazy to do it. The battery charger is being used to power Christmas lights and it's not a trivial matter to switch back. I guess I'll walk to work tomorrow.
Yuko went to lunch at Balmoral with Seiko.
It is to this that I owe today's coffee picture. Here's another one...
|Coffee (or Tea) and Sea|
They went to the Bather's Pavillion which is where we have had breakfast on several occasions. You can't beat that view.
After returning from lunch, Yuko went out walking and met these three girls...
... who gave her this note...
If I had been there I would have informed them that their fluffy bunny is now a stiff; bereft of life; it rests in peace; its metabolic processes are now history; off the twig; kicked the bucket; shuffled off his mortal coil; run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! It is an ex-bunny!!
But I wasn't, so I didn't.
The hoisting of the light-snake continued...
|Throwing the ball in a sock over the roof|
|Pulling the snake into position|
|The snake is almost in postion|
|The final result|
This is why we can't sign the Kyoto Protocol.
Monday, December 13th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
Today it is exactly three months since I began working at Cochlear. Thus, today also marks the end of my probationary period. As my boss has given me a task for tomorrow, it looks like I passed!
It's embarrassing to be seen around Lane Cove being the owner of such a tiny Christmas light display. I therefore took steps to upgrade by purchasing some additional lighting units.
|A snake of lights|
|A tangle of lights|
|The snake passed electrical testing before being installed...|
I know the secret of how the Pyramids of Egypt were built. They obviously used a couple of pieces of string and a tennis ball in a sock. With this equipment it is possible to hoist anything into any desired position.
You might, for example, want to place a huge stone atop an enormous pyramid... or you might want to put a set of Christmas lights on the roof of your humble home...
|Tennis ball in sock|
Just tie the sock to the string, throw it over the high thing, and then you can hoist anything up to whereever you want.
|The snake about to be hoisted|
|The snake after being hoisted onto the roof|
The project was not completed by sundown, so it will be continued tomorrow.
Stats[ Link to this entry ]
I've been experimenting with third party stats reporting. Here's a summary of the stats for this site for the past week...
Sunday, December 12th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
After having breakfast on the balcony at Epitome, we came downstairs only to find two diners familiar to us. Russell (my cousin) was taking Mother to a play and they had stopped at Epitome for lunch before going to the theatre.
|Russell, Mother and the Noswonkys|
Russell told us about his recent trips to China and Japan. He said that China was XXX XXXXX XXXXX XX XXX XXXX XXXXX XXX XXXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXXXXXX XXX XXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX XXX XX XXX XXXXXX XXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXX XXX XXX XXXXXXX XXX XXXXXX His trip was also disrupted by two typhoons. One destroyed his umbrella, and the other delayed his flight out of Beijing by a day.
In the afternoon I connected the power supplies for our Christmas lights...
I only hung one extra set that we bought a couple of weeks ago. The rest were still hanging from last year. However, it's hard to see in daylight whether the little bulbs are on or not, so I had to wait until dark for that.
For dinner we went to Balmoral and ate Thai takeaway on the beach. The weather was perfect, except for a little rain before we arrived which had made the sand a little wet.
|We bought Pork in sweet and sour sauce and Chicken and vegetables with peanut sauce.|
|Yuko played music from her iPod Mini|
|And we relaxed on the sandy shore|
Here's a song to set the mood while viewing these images...
Saturday, December 11th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
There seems to be nowhere in Lane Cove where you can buy flammable liquids. The hardware shop has closed and although the supermarket has some, the liquids we require are always out of stock. We therefore went to the huge Bunnings at Artarmon to buy flammable liquids.
They had an adequate selection...
|Imagine putting a match to this!|
Yuko wanted to by several bottles. However, I pointed out that buying large quantities of flammable liquids might get us flagged as potential terrorists. We just bought two bottles.
In the evening we decided to go into the city to see what the Christmas tree looks like. Actually we had planned to go last night (Friday), but it rained and we postponed.
First, the most important thing: food. We chose the simple, rustic style of Asuka which is located near the junction of Kent and Market streets. There is a convenient carpark in the same building and it's close to Darling Harbour.
Then, we strolled up to Martin Place to check out the tree. It was adequate.
By the time we got back to the vicinity of the carpark we were a bit tired (it was after 9pm!) and decided to go home. But then we made the wild, radical decision to go to Darling Harbour too!
|The Novotel sign was, appropriately, missing the 'VOT'|
|The tree from across the water|
We had some difficulty getting coffee at Darling Harbour. Eventually, we resorted to buying cappuccinos at Starbucks and sat on the boardwalk by the water to drink them.
Throughout the evening, Yuko was snapping pictures willy-nilly with her new camera. We could only walk a few metres between shots! I might have to limit her to 50 pics per day.
Friday, December 10th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
The writing course continued and concluded. We learned about commas and apostrophes and other exciting stuff like that. Our facilitator was very much a fan of the semicolon and said that he would fight for it if called upon!
|The training room with no people again|
There was more free food of course...
The most important thing we learned today was summarised by the facilitator on this board...
Yuko liked my IXUS 40 so much that she ordered an IXY 50 from Amazon Japan. Today she picked it up from the post office...
When I got home, we took each other's pictures at the same time...
It appears the cameras are exactly the same, despite their different names.
Thursday, December 9th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
No coffee today! Instead, a picture of the tree at the entrance to the Cochlear reception area.
Tech Writing Course
The first day of the training was good. There was no play-doh. However, we did get colouring pens.
When we had to introduce each other in the ice-breaking exercise, one guy claimed to be a juggler. So the teacher (who prefers to be called a facilitator), pulled out some juggling balls and asked the guy to juggle. He was not of a high standard and I could have easily humiliated him right there. However, I decided to allow him his moment of glory. Maybe I'll humiliate him tomorrow.
|The training room with no people|
As usual, there was lot's of nice food provided. One plate contained sushi which was only of medium standard.
The main thing I learned from the course today is that you should never call a spade an implement of excavation.
Tomorrow we will talk about commas.
When I came back to my desk at lunch time, [Name Omitted] was putting up the decorations in our area. Quite spectacular!
I demanded we get a life-size animatronic Santa and sleigh with reindeer. She's going to check the budget.
Mother took us out to the Thai place at Mosman. That makes two nights in a row going out and getting drunk and bloated. (Actually I limited my alcohol intake to a responsible level.)
Mother told us that she and Jan had gone to the Art Gallery to see the new $4 million painting they have just purchased. She said it basically a black background with not much else. Later, when I showed her the picture of Laughing Mole's light display, she said it resembled the $4 million painted very closely.
I have not yet powered up our Christmas lights. But after dinner, we drove around Riverview to check the displays of other houses. It was quite pathetic. This was the best we found...
Here is a picture of a tree...
Wednesday, December 8th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
Today I learned two new words: "stiction" (noun) and "sonicate" (verb). However, I was only able to use one of them (stiction) in a conversation - actually a meeting.
Here's an example sentence using both words...
"I sonicated it but could not determine the stiction."
I will try to casually drop that sentence in at the next meeting.
Cutting a Head Open
I'm going to an implant surgery. I don't yet know when this will happen, but the wheels are in motion. I'm looking forward to seeing someone get their head cut open and have a hole drilled in their skull. I've already seen a video of an implant operation, but it was on a dead guy so there was no blood.
The next two days I'll be on another in-house course. I hope we get to play with play-doh and streamers again!
We went to Epitome for dinner and came home so bloated and drunk that I almost didn't write this blog entry.
We had wanted to sit out on the balcony, but it was a tad windy so we stayed inside.
Gary, who is pictured below, was very taken with my IXUS 40. He said he's been considering buying it. So he was very happy to play with mine and take our picture.
The food was superb and excessive...
More Epitome Staff...
|Cris (that's how he spelled it)|
On the way home I found a WMD! Better tell George W.
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Tuesday, December 7th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
While I was preparing breakfast, an Australia Post van came up the driveway and a woman got out and put a package on our doorstep.
I opened it and found this...
|A cereal box with something stuck on the side|
Inside the Crunchy Nut box was a cordless phone with an answering machine...
This is the phone that Marie bought on eBay for Mother who doesn't have a cordless phone. I'm going to pay for it.
While I was at work, Yuko was shooting garbage men. Apparently, they liked being photographed.
Monday, December 6th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
When I got home, our new garbage bin had arrived at last! And with it, the green waste bin Yuko ordered from the council. Total cost: $140.
In order to minimise the chances that a bin will be stolen again, we decided to paint our house number on them. Yuko located a can of ancient white paint in the garage. The lid had to be mangled with a chisel to get it off.
Then a 1cm thick scum of dried paint had to be removed from the surface before a yellowish watery liquid was revealed. I was skeptical that this would still function as paint, but we gave it a try.
Yuko sacrificed a teri-yaki sauce brush and I began painting...
Yuko soon joined in using a stick as a brush.
It was quite difficult at first because of the watery texture of the paint and the substandard brushes. However, as we continued stirring the paint it became thicker and more and more like real paint. We started getting a good thick white coverage.
Then, when we had almost finished, I found a set of paint brushes!
We continued painting... on into the night. The final result...
|They lie on their backs so that the paint doesn't run.|
Last night our next-door neighbours went live with their Christmas light show.
I had intended to get ours switched on tonight, but the bin painting took precedence. I was only able to survey the existing circuits and locate a couple of power supplies which I moved into the central light control room (otherwise known as the laundry).
Most of our lights are still in place from last year (and the year before), so it's mainly a matter of powering them up and seeing how many still work. There's one set that is strung up around the guttering which has been ther for about five years. Every year fewer and fewer bulbs work. I'll try to power them up tomorrow and see if there are enough bulbs still working to make it worthwhile.
Sunday, December 5th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
Yuko's first words this morning: "Where shall we go? Pig?" By which she meant "Let's go to the Hog's Breath Cafe".
So we skipped breakfast and drove to Collaroy Beach where the Hog's Breath is located.
|Belinda and a big tree|
However, when we arrived, we found the place boarded up.
With a sign...
So instead, we bought fish and chips and sat on this terrace looking out over the beach and ocean.
After lunch I suggested we go to the Bahá'í temple at Ingleside. Yuko had never been there but I went there once with my parents back in the early 1980's. I thought Yuko might like to join the faith.
When we arrived a woman approached us and gave us some literature about the Bahá'í religion and implored us to come back next Sunday when they will be holding some kind of Human Rights protest. She then offered to take our picture.
Inside, the temple is very simple. The floor is just a big flat area with rugs here and there and simple chairs for the worshipers. There is a lectern for someone to address the people but it is not raised up as you would expect in a church. The high dome and big windows allow the light to stream in making the room quite spectacular although it is mostly just white with very little decoration.
I didn't take a picture because photographs are not allowed inside the temple.
In the visitor's centre there were pictures of the other Bahá'í temples around the world. I couldn't help thinking that the one in India is a rip-off of the Sydney Opera House...
In the afternoon there was a Christmas Dog Party at Tambourine Bay.
We walked down to gawk at the animals. I was expecting to see dogs in Santa suits or pulling sleighs etc. However, it turned out to be a more low-key affair.
Still, there were some dressed up dogs.
At one point two of the dogs began having sex. I thought this would be a good image for the blog. However it was all over before I was able to snap a picture!
Over at Arse End of the World Yuko has begun audio blogging by illegally posting some copyrighted audio material.
Saturday, December 4th 2004[ Link to this entry ]
Another Epitome staff member has been added to the photo collection...
As we walked from the carpark towards the plaza, we could hear someone singing Over The Rainbow, which of course it Dorothy's song. It turned out to be this band. The woman singing looked like she might be Japanese. She did a pretty good Judy Garland voice (adult version).
We went up on Epitome's balcony and watched them from there. They called another singer to come up and do a couple of songs...
She reminded us of someone we know...
Then we took Mother to Ying's Yum Cha at Crows Nest.
Mother ordered some strange pork dish that turned out to be disgusting.
The rest of the food was nice. Mother took the pork home in a doggie bag. I think her magpies will feast on it.
Speaking of magpies, I spotted this baby pie in our back yard...
|Baby pie and Tomoko|
Friday, December 3rd 2004[ Link to this entry ]
Today I helped the starving children of Murray Farm. However, it was not because I care about starving children, because as I mentioned on Saturday, I'm a selfish bastard. But in the coffee area at Cochlear I saw this box of green shopping bags...
With this sign...
I bought three of these. It unzips and opens into a full size shopping bag.
When I got home there was a bowl of cabbage on the doorstep...
Better than a baby.
Thursday, December 2nd 2004[ Link to this entry ]
As suggested by the council, we put our garbage out last night in a box with a sign for the garbage men...
So this morning we walked down to the road to see if it had been taken.
Now here's the strange thing... It was gone, but it appeared the garbage collectors had not yet been! We knew this because both our neighbour's garbage was still there.
|This is the nature strip where we left the cardboard box of garbage. Our neighbour's bin is there with garbage still inside.|
The only conclusion we can draw is that someone stole our garbage before the garbage collectors came! Interestingly, we have reason to believe that when our bin was stolen last week, it may have still had garbage inside. If that's the case then we may be dealing with a serial garbage stealer.
We took Mother the the Korean BBQ, which we now know is called "Maroo" and narrowly escaped death in a raging inferno.
Our charcoal fire became hotter than normal and began giving off smoke, which normally does not happen due to the ventilation system built in to the table.
The fire got hotter and hotter and redder. We started to feel the heat on our legs as the fire became I suggested that we put out the story that she had cut off her own finger and sent it to a lover. Well, the ear has already been done, and it worked wonders for the value of that guy's paintings.
Yuko, being a VW owner got this magazine in the mail.
I glanced through it and noticed this article, and my eye was caught by the picture in the margin...
Compare with this from Saturday...
Wednesday, December 1st 2004[ Link to this entry ]
A Santa Countdown Clock was installed overnight near my desk by a person or persons unknown...
|I dispute this count|
And the decorations went up...
As I mentioned last Thursday, our garbage bin was stolen. Yuko rang the council last week and they said we would have to pay $65 to get a new one. So Yuko paid the money and they said they would deliver it on Monday. Of course it did not arrive. Yuko rang again today to abuse them.
As tonight is the night to put our garbage out, they suggested we put the garbage in a non-standard recepticle and put this sign on it...
So we did.
Mother has been hassling me for about a month to scan some of her artworks so she can use the copies for Christmas cards. Tonight at last, I did it. There were about 12 postcard size paintings to scan and print. Here are a couple of samples...
Offers to purchase the original works will be considered.
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