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Thursday, March 31 2005

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Kazuki

Late last night, Kazuki rang us from home. I told him that I have his aeroplane and that I'm going to keep it. Fortunately, he didn't understand me.

Today I received the following email from Kazuki's parents...

Dear Peter

Kazu came back home yesterday and he miss you very much. He enjoyed his stay and he wants to visit you again. We are glad that he learned many things from this stay and it's definately valiable opportunity for him, Thank you very much for all and we hope you also enjoied with him.
Please take care.

Regards,
Toshihisa and Tomoko

Cochlear

A team leader in production died over the Easter weekend. Apparently he used to work at Telectronics, so I thought I might have known him. But although the name sounds vaguely familiar, I don't really remember him.

XXXXXX XXX XXXX XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX XXXX XXXXXXXXXX X XXX XX XXXXX XXXX XX XXX XXXXXX XXXX XXXXX XXXXX XX XXX XXXXXX XXX XXXX XXXX XXXXXX XXXX XX XXXX XXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX

XXXX XX XXXX XX XXX XX XXX XXXXX XXXXX XX XXXXXXX X XXXXX XXXXX XXXXXXX XXXX XX XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX

X XXXX XXX X XXXXX XXXX XXXX XXXXXX XXXX XXXX XXX X XXXXXXX XX XXXX XX XXXXXX XXXXXXXXX XXX X X XX X XXXX XXXXXXXX

At lunchtime I played a few games of Table Tennis and found I was hitting the ball quite well. Must be all that practice with Kazuki!

While buying unhealthy food from the vending machine, I noticed this nice new RONKU*, which did not exist before. I would be a nice reception area, but it's nowhere near the entrance.

Cochlear RONKU
(This photo was made with some software called PhotoStitch
that I found lurking on my computer)

English in Japan

Nothing else happened today, so here's another picture I took in Japan...

This was on the door of a restaurant. It refers to the system they use for washing the dishes and utensils.

* Room Of No Known Use

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3080 Days Ago
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Wednesday, March 30 2005

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Kazuki Has Left the Building...

Yes, the small one has returned from whence he came.

Kazuki's room abandoned

Kazuki's flight was scheduled for 11.35am...

And his mother was on the phone last night, telling Yuko to get him to the airport at least two hours early. She didn't want him to miss that flight. Neither did we! So Yuko decided to leave home at about 8.15am. As I had to go to work, I did not go to the airport with them.

Kazuki wanted to take the flag with him, so I was asked to mutilate it...

Flag mutilation

I made coffee, and Kazuki was again mesmerised...


Video of mesmersised boy (2.3MB)

We said goodbye...

And Yuko and Kazuki left on time.

Leaving for the airport with Yuko


Click for Video (1.8MB)

After they left, I discovered that Kazuki had forgotten two things. The first thing he forgot was...

Shoes

The second thing he forgot is mentioned below.

At the airport, Yuko handed him over to the JAL staff without any major debacles.

Airport

At about 10pm Kazuki's mother called to report a successful pickup at KIX.

Bardeli's

To celebrate our new-found freedom, we went to Bardeli's for dinner. We spoke to the chef, and found out that the Pepper Boy is the chef's son!

Food

I played with Kazuki's aeroplane, which was the second thing he forgot to take...

Playing with the aeroplane

From Message
Mungo Whacko
4/04/2005
5440 Days Ago
"Sorry - didn't hear properly" - better version: You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin' to? You talkin' to me? Well, I'm the only one here. Who do the ---- do you think you're talking to? Oh, yeah?

From Message
Webslave
4/04/2005
5439 Days Ago
Yes, a much better version. I'd better make video of it.

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Tuesday, March 29 2005

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Breakfast

Back to work today, so rather than going to Epitome, I made breakfast. Kazuki was mesmerised by the coffee maker...

Cochlear

It was yet another day dominated by cake and beer. There was cake in the morning and then, in the afternoon, beer and nibblies...

Morning
Afternoon

The afternoon session was to celebrate the introduction of an automatic hand-shaking machine.

How do you do?

The celebration involved a ribbon-cutting ceremony and the use of helium balloons (of which more later) for a festive appearance.

Meanwhile...

Yuko and Kazuki took a ferry ride to the City...

Greenwich Wharf

Ferry

Such a cliché touristy background! Kazuki shows his disdain.

Balloon Heist

After the party was over, I pilfered a bunch of helium-filled balloons and secreted them in my getaway car. I then decamped.

The Getaway
Receiver of Stolen Goods

Fire

Before I got home from work, Yuko and Kazuki cooked the fish they caught yesterday and ate them. They used the charcoal cooker out on the terrace...

Fire Tamed

Swimming

After I came home from work, we went swimming at Lane Cove Aquatic Centre.

Lane Cove Aquatic Centre

Kazuki and I frolicked in the water while Yuko took pictures. However, a pool-guy came over and told Yuko that photographs are not allowed! But it was too late...

Swimming

The water simply provided Kazuki with a new medium to harass and torment me. I had to keep swimming to avoid extreme pain and suffering. Good exercise!

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Monday, March 28 2005

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Wake-up

Kazuki usually wakes us at 8.30am. Today he woke us at 7.15am! This is a tad earlier than I prefer on a holiday. His body-clock is still on daylight saving time.

Attack

Kazuki keeps attacking me. I have to be on the alert at all times...

More Fishing

Kazuki wanted to go fishing again... so, as I'm not a fishing person, I had free time while Yuko and Kazuki fished.

I was attacked again just before they left...

Late in the afternoon I went over to the Wharf to say hello to the fishing party. This time I cycled. It takes a lot of energy to cycle to Greenwich because there are a lot of hills, but I made it...

The catch was more impressive today...

Fish


Click for Video (0.9MB)

Maroo

In the evening, we picked Mother up and the four of us went to the Maroo Korean BBQ at Eastwood.

Maroo

It was very crowded tonight. I expected it to be quiet on a Monday night public holiday.

Food

As usual, we asked for a fork for Mother. However, they gave us two forks. I guess they saw two white people, and just assumed we needed two forks!

Racists!

Racists' Forks

Preference

It's official - Kazuki likes me better than Yuko! She asked him.

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Sunday, March 27 2005

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Clocks

Daylight saving ended. I adjusted the clocks...

Eggs

In the morning, Kazuki found some Easter eggs. The Easter Bilby must have visited during the night! A short time later, I discovered a much bigger egg hidden near my computer.

Small Eggs
Big Egg

Because I got the big egg, Kazuki challenged me for it and we faced off...

Face Off!

I agreed to give him a small section of my egg.

Fishing / Mother

Yuko used to be an avid fisherwoman, but she hasn't fished since the introduction of fishing licences. However, Kazuki wanted to go fishing, so this morning we went to the Bait and Tackle shop at Willoughby to buy a fishing licence. Yuko bought a three-day licence for $5.00, along with some bait. Only those over 18 require a licence, so Kazuki was exempted.

Then, while Yuko made rice balls and prepared the fishing equipment, I took Kazuki around to say hello to Mother.

Preparing rice balls for the fishing trip

Kazuki meets Mother

Mother gave Kazuki some presents and he said "Thank you" which is the most English he's spoken so far. Then I released him in Mother's garden to look for mushi (insects).

Yuko and Kazuki went fishing at Greenwich. Not Greenwich wharf, but the Bay Street Wharf which is also at Greenwich.

I didn't go with them, but a bit later I drove over to say hello and take some pictures...

Yuko and Kazuki (circled)


Click for Video (0.7MB)

Unfortunately, I wasn't there to see this massive fish hauled in...

The total catch was adequate for a meal...

This fish had a parasite living in its mouth

Kazuki also did some of the post-processing...

The fish were cooked and consumed by the fishing party.

Dinner

I declined to eat it, as it came from the filthy harbour.

Vocabulary

Kazuki's English vocabulary is now:

  • Hello
  • Aeroplane
  • Big / small
  • Thank you
  • Oh my god!

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Saturday, March 26 2005

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The Guest

Our lives have been taken over by this small visitor from another part of the planet!

Kazuki brought me a present from Japan - this shirt...

Epitome

We went to Epitome for breakfast because Kazuki was shouting (not in the loud voice sense, but in the paying sense).

During breakfast, Kazuki demonstrated his talent as an aircraft designer...

Kazuki found a Ladybird in the car. He likes mushi. I said "I don't like mushi".

Cochlear

It was raining, so we went to Cochlear to play table tennis. It was here that Kazuki began acting like a koala, and treating me like a eucalyptus tree. This continued for the rest of the day.

Luna Park

In the afternoon, we went to Luna Park, driving to St. Leonards and catching the train.

We took some touristy shots...

At Luna Park, they measured Kazuki as this determines which rides you can go on and how much it costs for a day-pass.

Measuring with a stick

On the recommendation of the girl with the stick, we bought a green pass for Kazuki. The green pass is for people under 130cm. This turned out to be a mistake.

We went on the ferris wheel...

We ran through a pair of rotating barrels...

We went on the big slide about three times. Then, Kazuki went one more time alone. The thumbnail below shows Kazuki and Noswonky coming down the slide, but the video is just Kazuki.


Click for Video (0.8MB)

Kazuki also went on the really big slide. That's the one that starts with a vertical drop. I was too scared to go with him.

Kazuki wanted to go on the "Spider", which was too scary for me. The guy measured him with a stick and said he was tall enough (over 130cm) to go on the ride. However, when they scanned the barcode on his pass, the machine refused him entry. This was because the pass he had was for people under 130cm!

The stupid girl who had measured him originally must have thought she was doing us a favour by letting him have the cheaper pass, but in fact she excluded him from The Spider!

We discussed going to buy some Lunas (Luna Park currency), to pay for the ride, but Kazuki said not to bother.

Then we went home.

Channel 36

Channel 36 on Optus is the Cartoon Network. We put this channel to good use in the evening.

I never realised that Barbie had an acting career in addition to her doll career. Tonight we watched a movie in which Barbie starred in a movie playing the role of Rapunzel...

Next week Barbie will be playing both starring roles in The Princess and the Pauper.

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Good Friday

[ Link to this entry ]

The Guest

Name: Kazuki
Gender: M
Age: 8
Residence: Nara, Japan
Flight Status: Unaccompanied Minor
Aliases: The Guest

Airport Pickup

No Epitome today. Instead, we drove to the airport to pick up the unaccompanied minor travelling from Osaka on JL-777.

We had breakfast at a cafe at the airport while we waited. It was adequate, but not up to the standard of Epitome.

The flight was due to arrive at 10:50am, but it was about 15 minutes early. Kazuki came through the gate with a woman from the airline who had to verify that we were the people designated to pick him up. We were!

We took a few pictures before leaving the airport.

Yuko and Kazuki

Kazuki meets Noswonky

Kazuki had a nifty mobile phone which his mother had rented for this trip. He called his mother to tell her he had arrived safely.

Phone Home

Kazuki and a frog

On the way home, we saw a plane almost land on the road in front of us...

Aeroplane, only just up in the sky

When we got home, Kazuki waved his flag about enthusiastically.

Flag waver

Kazuki demonstrated his intellectual side...

The Park

In the afternoon we went down to Tambourine Bay Reserve for some physical activity. I cycled while Yuko and Kazuki walked.

Ball throwing

While we were playing ball, a dog approached us with a big stick in his mouth. It looked like he wanted to play. The normal procedure is that you throw the stick and the dog runs and fetches it. However, this particular dog seem unfamiliar with the rules. He refused to release the stick, even when I lifted him off the ground...

Dog holds stick

Kazuki demonstrated his physical abilities...

Feats of strength!

Swinging

We then went down to the tidal pool and Kazuki tested the water...

Dinner

Kazuki helped cook dinner. He cooked an egg for me and it was very nice.

Cooking my egg

We ate dinner and then Kazuki immediately fell asleep on the sofa with food still in his mouth!

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23/01/2007
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Thursday, March 24 2005

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Blog Debacle

Avid readers may have noticed a delay in the posting of yesterday's blog entry. This was due to some gremlins that were affecting my web host last night when I posted.

As far as I can determine, my web host copied my site to a different machine and gave my site a different IP address. However, they didn't tell me they were doing this. I continued to upload files to my old IP address, which was still valid. But when I looked at my site, the changes did not appear because I was looking at the new site.

It was very vexing and it took several hours of puzzlement to figure out what was going on.

Bastards!

Coffee Truck Banned

The coffee truck guy has been banned from sounding his horn in front of our building. He told me there was a complaint from "The Board". He can still sound the horn in the side street where I normally catch him, so civilization has not ended completely...

Card

I bought a new memory card for my camera. The price was $161. This will allow me to shoot up to 3000 low-res photos per day, or 24 minutes of medium quality video.

Naked

When I got home, Yuko made a "V" sign to hide her nakedness...

Mother

Mother invited us to her house for dinner. We ate a sheep's leg.

Yuko asked Mother to examine her teeth. Mother was impressed.

Mother examines teeth

The Guest (-1 day)

As I write this at 11:30pm, The Guest has just boarded the plane for the journey here. Everyone involved is either excited or in a state of panic.

English in Japan

Here's a picture I took in Japan...

An extra letter?

From Message
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5/12/2007
4464 Days Ago
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5/12/2007
4464 Days Ago
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3/01/2008
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3/01/2008
4436 Days Ago
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3/01/2008
4435 Days Ago
My mind is like a void, not that it matters. I've more or less been doing nothing to speak of. I've just been sitting around not getting anything done, but so it goes. Not much on my mind worth mentioning. I've just been letting everything happen without me lately, but it's not important.

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3/01/2008
4435 Days Ago
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Wednesday, March 23 2005

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Cochlear

Cochlear's new product range has been launched in a blaze of publicity in the U.S. They decided to name it after a tampon...

Yes, it's the Nucleus® Freedom™.

An anonymous Implant Analysis Engineer drinks a toast (from a non-eco-friendly foam cup) to the new product range

Later, I found a stash of nibblies unattended on someone's desk. Naturally, I pilfered them and decamped to a meeting room.

I think every reader should buy a Cochlear share.

Guest (-2 days)

I received an email thanking me for inviting The Guest to stay with us. Actually I didn't, but it was nice to be thanked for it anyway.

Electricity

While I was doing some mundane grocery shopping at Lane Cove, our neighbour Maria (not the flouter) and her daughter approached me and said that the power at their house was off. She asked if we had electricity at our house. I rang Yuko to find out and she said that we indeed had electricity. Maria then speculated that she might have a blown fuse and said "I'll have to learn how to fix a fuse". This sounded like a hint for me to offer to take a look at it. But I didn't.

English in Japan

Here's a picture I took in Japan...

After reading this, I felt diffident!

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Tuesday, March 22 2005

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Rain

It rained.

Cochlear

There was cake at Cochlear... again. I declined to eat it because I had just eaten the brownie pictured above.

Birthday cake

However, later in the day my attitude changed, There were a couple of training sessions running and I was able to scavenge a left-over item as I passed one of the training rooms.

Meanwhile... a blog reader at Cochlear, having read about Laughing Mole's experience with his Cochlear share, told me about the Employee Share scheme. Under this scheme, employees were given a package of Cochlear shares each year. However, the scheme was abolished when I joined the company!

Then I said that I could still buy Cochlear shares on the ASX. The reader replied "You'd have to be an idiot to do that", and walked away laughing!

Rain

And it rained...

Rain at Lane Cove Plaza

When I took the picture above I was concentrating on the water flowing over the steps. It was only later that I noticed the fat dude in the background who appears to be looking at me. He probably thought I was taking his picture.

Bardeli's and the Pepper Boy

Because it was raining, we decided to go to Bardeli's. It's a good place to watch the weather while eating.

Climbing the hill to Bardeli's. Note Belinda in the background with a glowing number plate.

Yuko likes their garlic bread - very crunchy.

We were the only customers. Presumably, people stayed home because of the rain, while we did the opposite.

The Pepper Boy at Bardeli's is serious about his job. He brandished his grinder in front of us and we accepted his offer of pepper, lest he use the grinder on us.

The Pepper Boy

How much you tip a Pepper Boy is directly proportional to the size of his grinder.

The Pepper Boy brandishes his grinder

From Message
Laughing Mole
23/03/2005
5451 Days Ago
Cochlear share price

I hope buying a Cochlear share didn't make me an idiot. So far it's increased by $3.46 since I bought it. All I need is another $53 increase to cover the brokerage and I'll be, er, laughing.

Camera

I got my camera back this week, fixed for free![1] The alchemist had quoted me an outrageous price to fix it - I said that was too much and asked for it to be returned with no repair. Only a week later,[2] a minion contacted me and said my camera was ready to pick up. When I arrived at the alchemist's repair stall, another minion handed over my camera together with an enormous bill. I explained that I hadn't authorised the repair, and all the minions went away into a huddle for ages. When they returned, they said that because it was their mistake, there would be no repair charge. Woohoo!

[1] Well, they did charge me a quotation fee, but I wasn't going to haggle over that.
[2] The alchemist had my camera for six or seven weeks, so an extra week to get it back to me was positively brisk.

From Message
Laughing Mole
23/03/2005
5451 Days Ago
XXXX XX X XXXX XX XXX XX X XXXXXXXX XXX XX XXXXX XXXXXX XXXX XX X XXXXX XX XXXXXXXX

From Message
Laughing Mole
23/03/2005
5451 Days Ago
Pssst!

XX XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXX XXX XXXXX XXXXX XX XX XXX XXXXXXXXXX XXXX XXXX XXXXXXXXX XXXX XX XXXXXXXXX XX XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX XX XXXXXX X XXX XXXXXXXX XXX X XXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXX X XXX XXXXX XX XXXXX XXXX XXX XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX XX XXXXXXX XXX X XXXX XX XXXX XXXXX XXXXX X XXXXXXXX XX XXX XX XXXX XXXXX XXXXXXX XXX XXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXX XXX XXXXX XXXXXX XXXX XXXXX XX XXXXXXX XX XXXX XXX XXXXXX XXX XXXXX XXX XXXXXXXX XXXXX XXXX XXXX XXX XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXX XX XXXXXX XXXXXXXXX XX XXX XXXX XXXX XXXXXX X XXXXX XX XXXX XX XXXX XXX XXX XXXXXXX XXX XXXXX XXXX XX XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX XX

From Message
Webslave
24/03/2005
5450 Days Ago
I think you'll find what you're looking for in Northbridge, and to a lesser extent, Neutral Bay.

From Message
Webslave
29/03/2005
5445 Days Ago
Camera

I wonder if that's the same alchemist I had dealings with a few years ago...

I took my video camera to the alchemist. He quoted me an outrageous price to repair it. However, as the repair was still cheaper than buying a replacement, I agreed.
A couple of weeks later, a minion contacted me saying that my camera was ready to pick up. I went to the alchemist's repair stall and handed over a huge amount of money. They gave me back my camera with an itemised list of the rituals they had performed and the parts they had charged me for.
But when I got home, I discovered that the camera still had the same fault! I returned to the alchemist and he said...

"We forgot to fix it."

From Message

5/02/2007
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Felder orients citizens autopilots incomes twang?... Thanks!!!

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dip Peru,Gorham frocks omnipotent dens

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Brazilian circumstances Saskatoon skewed:flank vilifies rottenness?skulked

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candor!Sian.literalness travelers Jesuits offender Reub .

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Monday, March 21 2005

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Photo Count

Amazingly, I only took five photographs today. That's about 20 percent of the count for a typical day. Only one of them is fit for publication.

This filthy animal trespassed onto our property. I hurled a heavy object at the foul feline as it snuck slowly past our dish...

Filthy animal

The disgusting creature evaded the projectile and decamped into the garden and over a fence. Had Yuko been home, the outcome might have been more satisfactory. But at least our fish are safe...

This photo was taken by Yuko, which is why it does not count towards my photo count.

Comb Allegation

Actually what I wrote above about only taking five photos is not true. I took another photo, but I used Yuko's camera.

Yuko accused me of cooking her plastic comb in the oven. She claimed to have found it there and said that should apologise.

Cooked Comb

I denied any involvement in the incident and refused to apologise.

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Sunday, March 20 2005

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More Fish

After breakfast, Yuko went to the pet shop again...

Pet Shop

Another three fish found a new home...

Fish

The Guest (-5 days)

In five days time a guest, of unspecified age and gender, will arrive to stay with the Noswonkies. The Guest will stay in the Japanese Room. However, as the room has recently been been in a state of disarray, I began putting it in order today.

Japanese Room

I picked up numerous video tapes and CDs which were strewn willy nilly about the floor, and placed them in a more ordered state. The next task is to try to reduce the rodent population.

Tapes

Meanwhile, Yuko organised boxes in the hall...

Boxes

Blog

I am considering changing my Blog management software. The current system is entirely home-grown. However, there are some advantages in moving to a third party package. The main advantage is that other people's software is better!

To that end, I spent a lot of time over the weekend messing around with WordPress and reading stuff about it.

Here's a prototype, although it might end up looking completely different.

Having two years of archived postings, it's critical that I be able to port my old data to the new system. Tonight I proved that it can be done without too much difficulty.

I'm now trying to figure out what to do about hidden text. You know... the bits that looks like XXXX XXXXXXX XXXXX XX XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXX

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Saturday, March 19 2005

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Working at Epitome

At Epitome, I did the data entry of this week's results for the Chess Club Championship which is now in progress. Every week during the tournament, Norm sends me seven Excel Spreadsheets containing the results for the seven divisions. I print them and then transcribe the results for posting on the web site. It's a moderately tedious process, which is compounded by the fact that Norm makes a lot of mistakes. I wish he would at least use formulas to calculate the total scores. Instead he adds them up manually and I have to fix up the mess.

Then, I saw a bunny coming out of Holgate Real Estate. I hope it's not thinking of buying in this area!

Bunny

Dead Fish

In the afternoon we went to the Fish Market, a place where money is exchanged for dead fish.

Fish Market

It is a filthy, disgusting place strewn with refuse...

Garbage

However, the dead fish are pretty good...

Dead Fish

And so are the melons...

Nice Melons!

Birds waited for free food...

Pelican

And Yuko took this arty picture of the bridge she calls the Madonna Bridge, for obvious reasons.

ANZAC or Madonna?

Rice

Yuko also bought a 10kg bag of rice. I found this was the easiest way to carry it...

Rice Transport

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Friday, March 18 2005

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Rain

It rained!

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Thursday, March 17 2005

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Brownie

I may be developing a Brownie addiction! I've discovered that there is actually a magazine about Brownies.

Media and Promotions

I mentioned on January 12th that I was called by a journalist from the Herald Sun.

Recently, several other people have called me, apparently thinking that my number is either the main number for Cochlear, or the number for Media contacts.

Yesterday a school-kid called asking for information for a school project. I asked her where she got my number and she said it was "on the web". I asked for the URL and she directed me to this page, which is part of the Australian Biotechnology Directory site.

Sure enough, at the bottom of the page are the contact details for the "Cochlear Media and Promotions Manager". The contact phone number given (9425-5343) is my direct number!

Perhaps I should start answering the phone by saying in a cheery voice "Cochlear Media Promotions. How may we help you?"

Exit

Meanwhile, I noticed that this Keep Clear sign was being blatantly flouted!

Area not clear. Actually this photo is not clear either. I would have re-shot it, but just as I took this picture, the door opened (visible at bottom right) and the flouter himself returned to tend his ladder.

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Wednesday, March 16th 2005

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ID

After just over six months using a picture of myself from my days as a terrorist, I finally got my official ID badge today...

The terrorist picture is now on the back.

Search

In response to a suggestion from a reader, I spent the evening adding a search facility to this blog.

This first implementation is a bit primitive. You can only search for an exact word or phrase and if a phrase spans more than one line (in the source file) it will miss it. There is also a bug which sometimes causes the page formatting to get messed up, and sometimes not. The result display order is a bit odd too. But it works!

For example, try typing "ixus" in the search box...

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Tuesday, March 15th 2005

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Cochlear

I have now completed six-months and two days at Cochlear without getting a proper ID badge. I wonder if this is close to the record, or if it is the norm. Of course I have the electronic card thingy but with no official photo stuck on it. Instead, I have been using this picture...

However, today they finally caught up with me and forced me to be photographed. Looks like I will have a real id soon.

Eating

We invited Mother to Ponto-Cho. But when Yuko rang to book, they said it's closed because of a "rental problem". I'm not sure what that means. Anyway, we went to Taiki at Lane Cove instead.

The "Taiki" sign is over-exposed

When we picked Mother up, she said she'd got into a fight with some goon and that's why her nose was bandaged.

The food was moderately excellent.

However, Yuko spent a lot of time engaging the waitress in conversation, which delayed the transportation of our order to the chef.

Mother noticed two bowls of salt on the step at the entrance. Yuko explained that this is a traditional symbol of purity and good stuff. They put fresh salt out every day to ward off bad vibes etc. That's why Sumo wrestlers throw salt around before a match.

Salt on the step

Post-Eating

We then went to our place for coffee and dessert. Mother was mesmerised by my Composers book...

Then I drove her home. An alien spacecraft had landed on the road outside her house waiting to abduct passers by. Not wanting to become a victim of bizarre experiments, I pushed mother out of the car and sped off. I wonder if Mother managed to get into the house without being abducted...

Spacecraft

From Message
John Leftfoot
20/03/2005
5454 Days Ago
How the fcuk is Pontocho doing? It's been my favourite N. Bay place to eat since I learnt from your blog about it. Are they going out of business or something?

From Message
Webslave
20/03/2005
5454 Days Ago
Mr Leftfoot,

That's a very good question. We don't know whether Pontocho will open again. We were too hungry to ask about the details of the "rental problem". We will certainly investigate and pass the information on to you.

PS: What the fcuk do you think of your ISP?

From Message
John Leftfoot
21/03/2005
5453 Days Ago
I think it is fcuking fantastic - no sheet!

From Message
Offended Very Casual Blog Reader
29/03/2005
5445 Days Ago
Language !!!

From Message
Webslave
30/03/2005
5445 Days Ago
Your offence has been noted. That Leftfoot dude is a fcuking trouble-maker!

From Message
John Leftfoot
30/03/2005
5445 Days Ago
Hey, "Offended Very Casual Blog Reader", are u from a disadvantaged minority or what? R u English? R u a communist? R u sick in the head?

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Monday, March 14th 2005

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Cochlear

While playing TT, or rather while watching TT, I discovered a new feature of my camera. I have mentioned it in a reply to yesterday's entry.

TT

Then, in the afternoon an email went out to all, saying that XXXXX XX X XXXXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXX XX XXXXX X XXXXXX XXXX XXXXX XXXX XXXX X XXXXXXXX XXXX XXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX

I suggest readers buy a huge number of shares now.

Science Experiment

Yuko decided to research lunar impact craters and conducted an experiment to test her theory of crater-ray formation...

Note the similarity to real lunar ray patterns...

However, Yuko's experiment also produced a circular blob-pattern which is not visible in the lunar images.

Her theory may need some refinement.

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Sunday, March 13th 2005

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European Rice Culture

This shop at Lane Cove...

...had a set of kitchen cannisters for holding stuff (indicated by red arrow). Among them was one for rice. Yuko was shocked by its small size. In Japan, a rice container would be significantly bigger because, of course, nothing is more important than rice. This cannister is an indication of the lowly status held by rice in European cultures...

Punch Mini

Yuko keeps punching me, not only when she sees a buggy, but also whenever she sees a mini. I was struck in the arm at the sight of this one, and I did protest heartily!

Punch Mini (no returns)

Not only that, she insists that when I see a buggy I should say it in Japanese...
"Ichi da buggy! Okaeshi nashi!"

I may have to lodge a protest with the Punch Buggy Governing Body.

Shot in the Arm

I went for my second of three Hepatitis B shots today. The first was one month ago and the third is five months from now.

These are the vaccinations that Cochlear is paying for because my job exposes me to blood-bourne pathogens which may cause disease, disfigurement and death.

Chatswood Medical Centre

The doctor also gave me a Tetanus/Diphtheria shot as there was none in stock at my last visit. The HepB shot in the right arm didn't hurt at all. Then he gave me the Tetanus/Diphtheria shot in the left arm because he said it might "give me some problems with the arm". He was right. My left arm still hurts! The injection itself hurt too because, as the doctor said, "it's a bigger needle".

Hurting arm

From Message
Laughing Mole
14/03/2005
5460 Days Ago
The alchemist's apprentice finally got back to me today and said it would cost many hundreds of ducats to re-educate the pixie in my camera. Sigh. I think it might be better to disown this pixie and acquire a new one. You seem happy with your camera. Might I inquire of its lineage and birthmark? (In "Camera size comparison" it looks like a Canon Ixus 40, but I can't tell for sure.)

From Message
Webslave
14/03/2005
5460 Days Ago
Mr Mole,
I refer you to the blog entry of November 27, 2004 which relates the story of my camera's lineage.

I am indeed happy with it. Only today I discovered a feature that I was previously unaware of - the ability to edit video in the camera!

The only downside is that the software that comes with it (something called ZoomBrowser) is a bit buggy. I understand Canon outsourced it to some dodgey outfit at the arse end of the world.
But that camera itself is a magnificent piece of equipment.

From Message
Laughing Mole
14/03/2005
5460 Days Ago
Ah - the magnificent 27 Nov 04 entry!

Actually, I tried Googling your site for Ixus before posting my question, but all I got was this. Maybe Google hasn't indexed your site in the last four months.

My camera also came with something called ZoomBrowser, but I refused to use it.

PS: If you have time left over after your primary duty[1], you could add a built-in search facility to your site.

[1] You know what I'm talking about.

From Message
Webslave
14/03/2005
5460 Days Ago
You might have had better luck with Yahoo search. They have indexed all my references to nakedness, and probably cameras too.
However, the search engines get confused by the fact that stuff scrolls off the main page of my blog after a few days.
I have thought about adding a search facility. Do you think it should index the text in the hidden bits too? This might make things very interesting.

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Saturday, March 12th 2005

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Cow

We saw this black and white cow at Lane Cove disguised as a tiny dog.

Cow

Her name is Ruffles.

Ruffles the Cow

Fifty Years Ago Today...

Note: Additional photos of this event are in the Photo Gallery

On March 12th, 1955, Betty (my favourite aunt) and Bruce were married.

Betty and Bruce 51 years ago

Today, a party was held at my cousin Lynette's house to celebrate this momentous anniversary.

Of course, there was a cake...

... which was cut by the happy couple...

Betty and Bruce received letters and cards of congratulation from the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Governor General, the Premier of NSW, the Governor of NSW, and the Noswonkies. Below is a politically balanced sample. It is interesting to note the difference in verbosity between these two letters...

Speeches were made by my cousin Lynette, my other cousin Russell and Bruce. Everyone cried.

Lynette makes a moving speech
(Mother is indicated by the red arrow)

Bill, a fisherman, was there too. He told Yuko that he caught a shark on his line which came to the surface and looked him in the eye before he cut it loose. She asked him how big it was, but he said his arms were not long enough.

Inadequate shark measurement

The Noswonkies

There were 31 people at the party, including my two cousins-twice-removed*, Ashleigh and Thomas. We had not seen Ashleigh since 2002 when she was the size of a loaf of bread. Yuko tried to teach her to make the "V" sign...

V Lesson

She almost got it...

Ashleigh

This was the first time we'd seen my other cousin-twice-removed, Thomas...

Thomas and Yuko

But I preferred to play with my dolly...

Mother was there too...

Mother and Noswonky

Bruce asked me to take pictures of everyone with his camera. I was quite shocked by its size compared to mine.

Camera size comparison

Note: Additional photos of this event are in the Photo Gallery

*Cousin-twice-removed = Cousin's grandchild

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Friday, March 11th 2005

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I chose not to buy coffee today. I hope my readers are not too shocked.

No Exit

When I tried to leave the Cochlear building, I found my escape route blocked.

Fortunately, I was able to escape through another door. But for how long?

XXXX XXXXXXX

X XXXX XXXX XXXXXX XX XXXXX XXXXXXX XX XXXXXXX XX XXXXX XX XXX XX XXXXXX XXXXXX X XXXXXX XXXX XXXX XXXXX XXXXXX XXX XXXXXXXXX XXXXXXX XX XXXXX XX XXXXX XX XXXXX XXXXXXXX XX XXXXXXX XXXXXXXXX X XXXX XXXXX XXX XXXX X XXXX XXXXXXXXX XXXX XXXX XXXXXXX X XXXXX XX XX X XXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX XX XXXX XXXXXXX XXX XXXXXXX XX XXXX XX XXXXX XX XXX XXXX XXXXXXXXX XX XXXXXX XXXX XXX XXXXXX XX XXXX XXXX XXX XXX XXX XX XXXX XXXXX

X XXXX XX XXXXXXXXXXX XX XXXX XXXX X XXXX XXXX XXXXX XXX XXXX XXXX X XXXXXXXXX XXXXX XXX XXX XXXX XX XXX XXXXXXXX

Composers

Knowning your composers from your de-composers is an important social skill. To that end, I bought this hardcover book at Lane Cove for the surprising price of $17.95.

It has a brief biography of all the great composers and a lot of the scum composers too.

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Thursday, March 10th 2005

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Morning

Evening

Birds and Stars

We went to Epitome for dinner and sat out on the terrace. I again attempted to photograph the birds as they flew overhead. The sky was still moderately bright and I used the flash to illuminate the birds as they flew low overhead. The results are below. At first I could not understand why the birds seem to be throwing shadows on the sky...

I now think I know what causes this effect. The bird is moving forward against a bright background. The shutter opens and the flash fires, producing a bright colourful image. But the shutter stays open a bit longer as the bird moves forward, creating a dark trail in front of the bright image.

I then noticed the Southern Cross rising in the south-east. I was surprised at how well my camera was able to to capture it...

Southern Cross (Crux) and Pointers

Key

The Southern Cross appears on the right-hand side of the Australian Flag...

The pointers are Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri (the two brightest stars in the constellation Centaurus. They point to the Southern Cross, as you can see from the picture.

You can find the direction of south by following the long arm of the cross 4.5 times its length. That point in the sky is south.

The dessert was also captured quite well by my camera...

Anniversary Debacle

Mother called me at work today to tell me that today is Betty and Bruce's 50th wedding anniversary. So in the evening, I rang them to say congratulations. However, they told me that today is not their anniversary! In fact they have only been married 49 years and 363 days, so I was humiliated.

While I was on the phone I also apologised for not attending their wedding as I was unavailable on the day. They said they didn't mind because they didn't invite me anyway.

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Wednesday, March 9th 2005

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Not as good as Mokador!

Situational Leadership II

Today I learned Situational Leadership II. It was an in-house course in the sense that the facilitator and all the participants were from Cochlear. However, it was conducted off-site at the Mercure Hotel on the Pacific Highway at St. Leonards.

The Venue

Lobby

I asked Barry, the facilitator, why the course was held off-site when Cochlear has plenty of space. He said that it prevents people going back to their desks during the breaks and getting side-tracked or distracted by work during the training.

The main topic of the training was this...

Chart

It was about empowerment and bending your manager to your will. And we also got a free pen!

Free Pen (and other course materials)

It's called Situational Leadership II because the name Situational Leadership was already a registered trademark. The difference between the two is that Situational Leadership teaches that managers should inflict punishment on employees. Situational Leadership II does not.

Unfortunately, we learned the non-punishment model. Whether this is a good thing depends on whether you are a manager or a subordinate, and where you are on the sadism/masochism axis.

Of course, the best part or the course was the free food...

Morning Tea

Lunch

As I prepared to take this picture, one diner threatened me with physical violence (involving the knife he was holding) if I took his photo. Being one who respects physical violence, I decided to frame this picture to exclude that diner.

The hotel has several conference rooms which are all named after Australian trees.

Our room

The Training Room

At the end, we divided into groups and used flip-charts to summarise what we had learned...

Summary of the day's activities by my group

Summary of the day's activities by another group

Hen Desu!

This sequence of images from Japanese TV supports the assertion that the Japanese are strange.

I rest my case.

From Message
Laughing Mole
10/03/2005
5465 Days Ago
Delegating

You weren't at work yesterday. The price of my Cochlear share went down yesterday.

This is not good.

From Message
Webslave
10/03/2005
5465 Days Ago
I will go to work today and try to rectify the situation.

From Message
Webslave
10/03/2005
5464 Days Ago
Whoops! Down another 46 cents. Maybe I should take some leave.

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Tuesday, March 8th 2005

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Serious Coffee Drinking

Roof

Maria's roof is being fixed. Maria is our other neighbour (not the flouter). We will also have to get our roof fixed like this in about 50 years.

Delegation of Power

As our boss is away, and all three of us will be out of the office tomorrow, authority for everything has been delegated to the student.

Student power!

I just told him not to sign any purchase orders over $100000 while we're away (unless he cuts us in).

Where will we be tomorrow???

All will be revealed in the next exciting episode...

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Monday, March 7th 2005

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Bizarro Day at Cochlear

On arrival at work I found that the building had been taken over by monster slugs which had left silvery trails all over the carpet...

Trails

Monster Slug

Then, in the afternoon, the evacuation alarm sounded. The fire wardens remained calm and took control of the situation...

Fire warden

However, everyone else panicked. In the following video, the deafening sound of the alarm can be heard as the panic-stricken workers stampede the exit, trampling anyone who stands in their way...


Video (1.1MB)

The employees spilled out onto the street...

Evacuated employees

But the business of Cochlear doesn't stop for anything. Meetings in progress were simply relocated to the outdoor facilities...

It turned out that there was no fire and the debacle was attributed to an unexplained movement in the ceiling space - probably those damned slugs.

And then share price went up another three percent!

FA

In the evening I got a phone call from my favourite septuagenarian aunt (FA). After asking me something about next Saturday's party, she told me this story...

At the top of a hill, there stood a brothel*.
The man climbing the hill was Russian.
The man descending the hill was Finnish.
The man inside was Himalayan.
And the Irish man hovered overhead in a helicopter waiting for the light to turn green.

* Aunty explained that this is a place where broth is made.

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Sunday, March 6th 2005

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Movie

We went to Cremorne to see The Aviator with Mother.

Movie Theatre

It's the story of a guy who has a lot of money, likes aeroplanes and washes his hands a lot.

None of us like the movie much, although there were some good bits. We thought DiCaprio was mis-cast, and Yuko thought Cate Blanchett was too ugly. Mother hated the first hour because it was too noisy, and Yuko left after about two hours and waited for us outside.

The aviator aviating

Yuko took these pictures during the movie. One one occasion, she forgot to disable the flash on her camera and everyone turned around and looked in our direction. I pretended not to know where the flash came from.

The aviator crashing

Then Mother took us to dinner at Ponto-Cho.

Yuko had Fish-head of the day...

Fish head

Mother and I ate normal food.

Mother

Skyline

On the way home, we noticed that the North Sydney skyline is still looking dim, and lacking in redness.

Dimness

Jackson

We watched the weekly summary of the Michael Jackson trial on Sky News. It was a British program using actors to reconstruct the courtroom scenes.

The woman hosting it described the allegations of child abuse, molestation and conspiracy. The bizarre thing was that she displayed a big smile the whole time, as if it was a weather report. Mother said she was just like something you'd expect to see on Dead Ringers.

Bad?

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Saturday, March 5th 2005

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Bassist

Music in the plaza this morning was provided by this singer who accompanied herself with just a bass. She was surprisingly good singing jazzy stuff.

Housewarming

Yuko went to a housewarming party at Kimika's place at Ultimo. I gave her a lift to the place. When we got there I scored a Punch Buggy (with no returns)...

Kimika's building (with red buggy)

Etsuko, Kimika, Yuko

The party

Making Gyoza

While Yuko was at the party I walked to Darling Harbour and looked at stuff, including this impressive ship which was moored in Cockle Bay.

The James Craig

The Bard at Balmoral

The Bard

After picking Yuko up from the party, we went directly to Shakespeare by the Sea at Balmoral Beach.

We picked up some Thai and Japanese food on the way and spread our rug on the ground for a picnic with the Bard.

Thai Food (Number 39)

The audience gathers. Note the child performing a lewd act with Billy at far left.

Yuko waits for the show to begin

The play was The Taming of the Shrew.

It's the story of a shrew who gets tamed.

Note Billy at far left, watching the play

The play was performed in modern dress and incorporated musical segments by Cat Stevens, Queen and Burt Bacharach.

I don't think that beard was real!

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Friday, March 4th 2005

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Cochlear

Shares

One reader has accused me of being remiss in my duty to give advance warning of Cochlear share price changes. In my defence, I refer readers to the entry of February 28th.

Today, Cochlear shares increased significantly after the announcement that Cochlear is buying a Swedish company called Entific for A$195Million,

They make a thingy called Baha that vibrates your skull like your own personal Jack-Hammer...

The deal

POETS

Our boss will be on leave for the next two weeks. He has delegated his authority to [Name Omitted]. After our boss left early to start his holiday, I asked [Name Omitted] if, in his new position of authority, he supported the observance of POETS Day.

He said that he was in favour of the writing of poetry and that those who engaged in it should be honoured and encouraged to pursue their noble art.

So then we all went home.

Carpark Rage

An explosive situation is brewing in Woodcock Place, right beside Cochlear. "Please move your car" announcements are coming over the PA; threatening notes are being affixed to parked cars. It's only a matter of time before the suicide bombings start...

Note the sign on the windscreen of this errant vehicle

Death threat? Or just a friendly greeting?

Demon Dog

Yuko photographed a dog which is obviously possessed by an evil entity...

From Message
Laughing Mole
6/03/2005
5469 Days Ago
Share

Strange - I remember reading the bit about cutting up paper in your Feb 28th entry, but not the bit about the shares being due for a rise.

Stranger still - I don't remember buying a Cochlear share at that time, but I checked and it turns out I did[1]. Woohoo!

So, no more Poets Day for you - get back to work!

[1] See what happens when you mess with the past. Next thing you know you'll create a paradox in the spacetime continuum and become your own grandmother.

From Message
Webslave
6/03/2005
5468 Days Ago
I can't become my own grandmother. I killed her when she was a child.

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Thursday, March 3rd 2005

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The coffee truck guy had no Brownies, but a muffin substituted.

Naked Computing

At breakfast, Yuko appeared without clothes, but she remained inseparable from her computer...

Cochlear

We had the monthly piss-up, or Communication Meeting as it is officially known. Interestingly, an ex-CISRA dude (not me) gave a presentation. He did a few jokes too.

Former CISRAn holds the audience spellbound

The Communication Meeting is not a gathering of the whole company, but only the Design and Development group. Of course, Cochlear is too big to get everyone in one room at the same time. Well... maybe a very big room.

I secretly photographed the person next to me

Earlier, while picking up a printout, I noticed an employee who looked a little overworked...

I could look like this soon!

Storm at Bardeli's

There were thunderstorms about in the evening, so we thought Bardeli's at Woolwich would be a good place to watch the lightning show. It was!

Photographing lightning is not easy with a camera with no "bulb" setting. However, I managed to capture three bursts during dinner. This was the best...

The Woolwich Pier Pub is at bottom left. The photograph was taken through a plastic sheet which was protecting patrons from the weather.

The menu has changed, so Yuko was unable to order her usual Quail Salad. Instead, she had oysters and I had chicken.

From Message
Laughing Mole
4/03/2005
5470 Days Ago
You've been remiss in your duty to provide advance warning of Cochlear share price movements. I was planning on buying a couple but now I can afford only one.

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Wednesday, March 2nd 2005

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Flouters

Driving to work this morning I found myself behind the car of our flouting neighbours (the ones who want to build a pool). As regular readers would be aware, our neighbours are flagrant flouters. They flouted the water restrictions, they flouted the Epiphany, and today, I witnessed them flouting the Give Way sign at a chicane. Rather than giving way to the oncoming traffic, they barged right through like the flouters they are!

Neighbours' Car. This is not the chicane in question but the next one along where the Give Way sign faces the other way.

Irking me further was the fact that the traffic was gridlocked, it looked like it was about to hail, I was almost out of petrol and the engine was about to overheat.

As it turned out, it didn't hail, I didn't run out of petrol and the engine didn't overheat.

Black Bitch

One of the black bitches from the house in front of ours encroached onto our property today. Yuko recorded this image as evidence of the incident...

Bitch

Kim-chi

Yuko made a huge amount of Korean Kim-chi, which I find disgusting...

Kim-Chi

She also made Sukiyaki, which I find the opposite of disgusting...

Sukiyaki

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Tuesday, March 1st 2005

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Pool

We got a Notification of Lodgement of Development Application from the council. Our neighbours want to build a pool. The noise from the trampoline was bad enough. Now it will be splashing and water frivolity to contend with.

The pool is the shaded area at top-centre. The Noswonky "Cottage" is immediately to the right of the pool.

Dog

Recently, Yuko took this picture of a dog's arse.

Image digitally processed to protect the identity of the animal

I mention this only because today Yuko's blog is dogcentric.

Cochlear

My colleague [Name Omitted] has gone to New Zealand this week. I asked him to bring me back a sheep, hopefully one like this...

Meanwhile, our boss allocated his work for the week to me and [Name Omitted], making us both extremely busy.

And no free cake!

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