The Noswonky Web Log:
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Thursday, June 30 2005[ Link to this entry ]
Yuko took these rain pictures...
|Rain on the fern|
|Rain on the Fence|
|Rain on the Trees|
|Rain on the Rocks|
At Cochlear, the roof failed and a bucket was required...
Despite the failings of the roof, Cochlear has been in the news again. This item was on Sky News a couple of nights ago...
Wednesday, June 29 2005[ Link to this entry ]
Vito the gardener came over today. He cut the grass and did something with a ladder. As I was leaving for work, Yuko demanded money from me to pay Vito. I handed over a wad of cash. I haven't seen any change yet... it could be a scam.
|Vito does something with a ladder|
It rained again...
Today I had my P.D.R. which, in other places, is usually called a Performance Review.
In the Cochlear PDR, your manager gives you a score for your performance. However, the score is kept secret until later, when it is calibrated against all the other scores in the company.
However, I was asked to give myself a score. My manager told me what he thought, and I told him what I thought, and a robust exchange of views occurred.
I'm glad it's just once a year.
Yuko went to the city to have lunch with Keiko.
Tuesday, June 28 2005[ Link to this entry ]
|Bardelis Arty Coffee|
As I was leaving for work, Yuko said the same thing she said last Tuesday: "Today is Tuesday". Here is a video of Yuko saying "Today is Tuesday"...
I left work at about 5.20pm. When I reached the end of the bush track where Mitsy was parked, I was confronted by a spectacular scene. There was a fog in the valley and the floodlights were lighting up the soccer fields.
I always like to see someone in distress who is not me. On the way home I saw a sucker whose car had broken down in the rain...
As predicted in the video, we went to Bardelis because it was raining.
The chef came over and talked us through the menu. He's the father of the Pepper Boy (who was not there tonight). Soon after we ordered, the waitress brought us this pair of huge prawns - on the house! I think the chef likes Yuko!
5388 Days Ago
5388 Days Ago
Monday, June 27 2005[ Link to this entry ]
The drought may have broken. There was a cake munching session today and, although I wasn't invited, I was able to scavenge a piece.
Today, as I was (ironically) making images using an ancient technique involving photographic film and liquid chemicals, I was approached by a work colleague whom I have known for twenty years. I'll call him John (because that is his name).
|John (photo taken last November)|
Today he told me that after using the camera for a while, he has concluded that its features and capabilities exceed his pre-purchase expectations by a factor of three.
John has explored the features of the camera more fully than I have, and he showed me a couple of features of my camera (which is very similar to his) which I didn't know about.
He did complain about the maximum 15 second shutter time. He is working on a modification to fix the problem. It involves inserting a nail into the electronics to disable certain timing functions. Knowing his legendary engineering prowess, I have no doubt he will succeed.
I mentioned that I know some of the people who produced the ZoomBrowser software and he began hurling abuse at me. Apparently he is unable to use the software to download images from the camera, and has resorted to buying a card reader instead.
Yuko's beans have become hairy...
Sunday, June 26 2005[ Link to this entry ]
Yuko bought some beans...
She put them under the Kotatsu...
And ate them...
And a fish died...
|This fish might look fine, but it's dead!|
Saturday, June 25 2005[ Link to this entry ]
The outside tables at Epitome were rained out - a rare sight indeed. We sat upstairs with the fire.
Mother's fluorescent kitchen light has been flickering, so she asked me to drive her up to Bunnings at Artarmon to purchase a replacement tube.
With some assistance from a staff member, we found the replacement tube on a rack about 2km from the checkouts.
|Mother with an abundance of fluorescent tubes|
Yuko wanted to go to the Korean meat shop and supermarket at Eastwood, so we decided to take Mother with us and have lunch at Maroo, the Korean BBQ restaurant.
We had never been there in the day-time before so it was an adventure. We parked at the back in the customer parking area.
|The back of Maroo|
The restaurant was quieter than it is at night. At one point we were the only customers, but some more people soon arrived. The other unusual thing was that the waiter could speak English! This made ordering considerably easier.
The lunch menu was exactly the same as the dinner menu, so we ordered the same as usual - ribs, chicken and dumplings...
On our return home, we noticed something dangling from a power line not far from the Noswonky residence. It looked like a bat...
I thought this was a bit odd, as bats are nocturnal. I went over to take a closer look. It was a big one!
It was a bit hard to see against the bright background of the sky, but it seemed to have its eyes open. I surmised that it was a dead bat.
There was also a table tennis table discarded on the grass by the roadside. I assume it was placed there by our water-restriction-flouting neighbours without regard for the beauty of the Riverview landscape.
Friday, June 24 2005[ Link to this entry ]
There has been a cake drought at Cochlear. It's at least a week since I saw a cake munching session. Today the drought ended when one person left and one person had a birthday.
|Colourful Cake||I got the task of slicing this one|
|My Favourite Cake||I stole this piece and took it home for Yuko|
|Cochlean Cake Eaters|
Meanwhile, Yuko decided to make cookies.
When I got home, I tested them for quality and found them to be acceptable.
In Japan you can buy a Whale Burger. Here is a burger being prepared, as seen on the TV (channel 9) news. Yuko said it looks delicious!
Thursday, June 23 2005[ Link to this entry ]
I am proposing a new rule for the game of Punch Buggy. The rule is:
If you happen to see Herbie, the Love Bug you can say "Punch Love Buggy no returns" and you can then punch the person next to you 53 times.
Unfortunately, when I spotted Herbie today, I was alone and there was nobody to punch.
Mother is very happy because she has a broken bone!
She has been on a medication which costs $58 for four tablets. Now, an X-ray has revealed a tiny fracture in a bone which means that she can now get the same medication for less than $5.
She told us her bone cracking story this evening when we went to her house for dinner. Yuko provided the dessert - baked apples, which Mother ate joyfully.
1. What is a word for..
2. Which of these expressions would be most useful to an Indian call centre operator answering a call from Australia?
|An Indian Call Centre operator tells a customer how thirsty he's feeling|
Wednesday, June 22 2005[ Link to this entry ]
More training in the afternoon.
The training is for some new in-house software. During the training I humiliated the trainer (who is one of the developers) by finding two bugs.
After leaving work, I took a picture while walking through the seedy, rat-infested, back-alley which leads to the bush track. I had the camera set to ISO 400 and amazingly, it picked up a couple of celestial objects in the twilight.
Tuesday, June 21 2005[ Link to this entry ]
Note: Due to technical difficulties, this posting was delayed a bit.
I missed out on coffee this morning because of an extended training session. It was one of those sessions where everyone gets a laptop.
It was just the same four players as last week. This time, we changed the teams and the games were more evenly matched. Both teams won a couple of games.
|Noswonky smashes a winner|
At 4:46pm Sydney time, the Earth's axis reached its maximum and minimum inclination from the line from the Earth to the Sun. This also means that today had the shortest length of daylight in a while. This is illustrated poorly in the diagram below.
It also meant that the bush track was pretty dark again.
|Dark Bush (flash makes it look brighter)|
Not only is the descent perilous, but there are poisonous substances to contend with along the route.
|Notice of poisonous substances|
Fortunately, I managed to avoid eating any poisons on the way down.
This morning, as I was leaving for work, Yuko said "Today is Tuesday". And we all know what that means - Epitome...
|Yuko with open fire|
The waiter took a picture of both of us with the fire in the background, but he botched it and I decline to publish it.
Monday, June 20 2005[ Link to this entry ]
|Offsite Coffee (see below)|
Another trip out to UNSW to use the SEM...
The Mall seemed very quiet today. I think it's exam time.
This time I knew where to go to find Jenny, the keeper of the SEM, and the SEM itself...
For today's task, Jenny said that it would be necessary to use the Cone or Mexican Hat attachment...
It's just like pouring milk into a bottle. You need a funnel to prevent the milk spilling all over the floor. Similarly, the Cone is literally an electron funnel. You don't want electrons spilling all over the floor!
|The Cone installed in the SEM|
When you use a Cone, it is often necessary to consult this chart (unless you're a chemist), which we did frequently.
I got back to work at about 1.45pm. Fortunately i hadn't missed any cake or lizard catching.
This morning I parked Mitsy in the park, which is fine in the morning. But leaving work at 5:40pm, I had to negotiate the bush track down to the park in the dark. It looked like this...
|Bush track at night|
It was very slow progress feeling my way with each step, and thinking "if I fall here, my corpse won't be found until tomorrow!" and "if I survive this perilous descent, I'll bring a torch next time."
I decided to take the picture above, and when I turned the camera on, I realised that the LCD screen was so bright that I could use it as a very effective light to show me where I was placing my feet. After that, the rest of the descent was easy and I reached Mitsy in one piece.
|Mitsy in the park in the dark|
Sunday, June 19 2005[ Link to this entry ]
Mother had a letter published in the Telegraph yesterday. She said they had changed it significantly from her original version. I guess they had to dumb it down a bit so that Telegraph readers could understand it.
We went to Bardeli's today because we had forewarning of a large group of noisy diners at Epitome. On the way, I stopped at a service station to buy a newspaper. Unfortunately, while I was buying the paper, Yuko had time to scan the wares of Gumtrees, the second-hand shop across the road.
Then, on the way back from Bardeli's she insisted on stopping at Gumtrees. She spotted a tiny chair... and bought it!
|Note the other two almost identical chairs - one red and one pink|
When we got home, Yuko tried it out...
|Changing a light-bulb in bizarre garb|
Yes, it was an exciting day!
5397 Days Ago
Saturday, June 18 2005[ Link to this entry ]
Today was Tartan Day at Lane Cove. There was Tartan everywhere.
There were stalls with Scottish people touting membership of their respective clans.
Being descended from the McKenzie and McLean clans myself, I felt an affinity with these strange but proud people.
Scottish speeches were made...
|That's not a kilt!|
There was Scottish dancing...
Yuko also did some fraternising with the Scots...
|Fraternising with Scots|
In the afternoon we set out westward to check on the water level in Warragamba Dam.
On arrival, we saw a bulbous thingy...
At the visitor's centre, we learned some stuff about the Dam's history.
Unfortunately, the area around the dam wall is a construction site and it is currently closed to the public. This is because they are building a new auxiliary spillway beside the existing wall. The dam will then be able to handle a flood with a probability of 1 in 750 per year.
Instead of viewing the dam up close, we had to settle for the viewing platform on the downstream side of the wall. The view was not very good, with only the top of the main wall visible.
|The dam wall|
We got a better view of the new spillway.
|The new auxiliary spillway|
We could only glimpse the water...
|Glimpse of Water|
Here is an excellent page for keeping abreast of Sydney's Dam Statistics.
This is what we had hoped to see but didn't...
At least we got to see the scale model...
Then we had a mini-picnic - coffee and a cookie - before returning home...
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Friday, June 17 2005[ Link to this entry ]
Table tennis has been very quiet this week. There have been just four players - the same four players all week.
On Tuesday, [Name Omitted] and [Name Omitted] lost a game against [Name Omitted] and me. They demanded a chance at revenge, and so began an intense rivalry which has lasted all week. We haven't altered the teams since then.
After being convincingly defeated about seven times, they finally won a close game yesterday - I think it was 22-20 (we use the old scoring system). But today the battle continued - [Name Omitted] and I humiliated them several more times.
There haven't been many cake munching session at Cochlear recently. I saw some left-over slices on the upper level of our building a couple of days ago, but that's the only one this week!
The only relief from the sugar drought was when The Lizard Hunter walked around handing out these nut-shaped wafer treats...
|Nut-Shaped Wafer Treats|
Thursday, June 16 2005[ Link to this entry ]
I had to get to work early this morning for a training session at the ungodly hour of 9am!
On arriving at work in my cycling garb, a co-worker commented on my woosy-white legs. He offered to brown them up with a lethal radiation gun that happened to be lying on his desk.
Apparently, there was a football game on TV last night which resulted in Taiki being almost empty as potential diners flocked to the nearby pub instead. So we should have gone to Taiki last night, but we didn't - we went tonight.
Next time we'll know.
Taiki is hiring. If you wish to apply, the Noswonkys will gladly act as referees.
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Wednesday, June 15 2005[ Link to this entry ]
The question that has been keeping me awake at night...
How many table tennis tables can I fit in this space?
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... and here's a picture of a bird, taken by Yuko...
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Tuesday, June 14 2005[ Link to this entry ]
I set off for work on my bicycle a little late, so I wanted to be on my way as quickly as possible. However, it was not to be.
Only a minute or two after leaving home, a woman in a 4WD stopped beside me and told me that she'd just seen a blue budgerigar on the road up ahead being attacked by mynar birds. She said she was in a hurry to drop her kid at his swimming lesson and didn't have time to rescue the bird. She said that someone should save the poor budgie from the evil mynars, so I was shamed into taking action.
I continued a short distance up the road, and came upon the scene of carnage. A tiny blue bird was under siege from a flock sadistic Indian mynars. The budgie was in someone's front garden so I thought it unwise to take pictures lest the house owner emerge and shoot me as a peeping tom.
Before I could mount a rescue effort, the budgie flew over to the side of the garden and took refuge in some bushes. This seemed to be effective as the mynars ceased their attack.
I thought that the resident of the house might be the bird's owner, so I rang their doorbell to inform them of their bird's escape. Nobody answered.
Then, the woman in the 4WD re-appeared with a cat-cage with which to capture the bird. But before the operation could commence, the bird's owner appeared. It was not the resident of the house, but a guy from a house across the road.
The three of us then proceeded into the garden. Being with a group of bird-hunters, I decided to take pictures.
|The hunt begins. Note the cat cage.|
I pointed out the bush where I had seen the bird, and the owner reached in...
|Reaching into the bush|
... and pulled out a budgie...
|The bird that made me late for work|
So I went on my way. But my problems were not over...
It is common practice among cyclists to leave their bike locks on the bike-rack to avoid carrying them. I had left my lock attached to the Cochlear bike-rack last week. But today, when I arrived at work, my lock was gone! Actually, the rack was gone too!
There used to be a row of racks along the wall, but today those on the right were gone, leaving only four on the left. The bolts were still in the ground and the nuts were still lying where the racks had been removed...
|Nut and bolt|
I went looking for the building manager but was unable to find him. Later in the day, I discovered what had happened. The racks had been moved to the carpark in the other building, and lo... there was my lock...
Today I had to wear personal protection...
Otherwise known as the Bunny Suit.
|DuPont Personal Protection - Prevents adverse outcomes (including death) from exposure to blood-bourne pathogens.|
Monday, June 13 2005[ Link to this entry ]
|Coffee at home|
Today is not the Queen's Birthday, but it's close enough, so we invited our local Queen to lunch.
I vacuumed the floor - rare sight indeed...
The Queen arrived in a cute yellow car...
A magnificent feast was had...
Later, Yuko gave The Queen a rice-ball to take home...
Sunday, June 12 2005[ Link to this entry ]
We went to the two-dollar shop at Lane Cove.
We were shocked to see a collection of pornographic pig statues. Yuko forced me to take pictures of them. Depraved readers can click on the images below to see the explicit uncensored filth...
They were $5.99 each! This is a shocking price in a two-dollar shop.
A fish died in the big tank and the other fish started to eat its decaying corpse...
Yuko removed it from the tank.
Saturday, June 11 2005[ Link to this entry ]
I went to Chatswood in the afternoon to get my hair cut. After seeing the result, Yuko said that I shouldn't show my head in public. She gave me a scarf to hide my shame...
Yuko made curry...
She also cooked rice with her new stone and steel pot. Note the chopstick...
Friday, June 10 2005[ Link to this entry ]
|The coffee guy was off again. This froth sucks.|
Our neighbour's two black labrador bitches have been very quiet recently. Yuko looked over the fence this morning to see if they were still alive. The result was inconclusive.
I think the SWAT meeting had an off-site lunch today, so I was unable to scavenge any food. However, we held our own meeting which, of course included cake prepared by the Lizard Hunter.
|The Lizard Hunter prepares cake|
I took a piece home for Yuko...
|Yuko opens her present|
When I arrived home from work, the Moon was looking thin and was nicely framed against the landscape. I took some pictures...
|The Moon is over-exposed in this shot and its crescent shape is not discernible|
I also tried a close-up with 11x zoom.
In the evening we went to Pontocho for dinner. Yuko photographed her sushi while I photographed her...
The rice was of a high standard. See how shiny it is...
There was also a pig...
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Thursday, June 9 2005[ Link to this entry ]
|The coffee guy returned today after his surgery. He looked the same as before.|
Today we were issued with Telephone Hygiene Kits to help us to avoid making filthy phone-calls. I guess the company can't afford to hire full-time telephone sanitisers.
Mother invited us to Maroo at Eastwood.
When we ordered, we asked for a fork (for Mother). However, the racist bastards gave us two forks...
The lid on the BBQ fire is used to increase the strength of the fire by (paradoxically) covering the fire. But the staff don't normally allow customers to use this technique so they take the lid away when the fire comes. For this reason, Yuko hides the lid under the table as soon as we sit down so that she can have full control over the fire.
|Hiding the lid|
|The fire arrives|
After dinner, we stopped at the Korean supermarket and Yuko bought a lot of stuff.
Among the stuff Yuko bought, was this stone and metal pot which will be used for cooking rice...
Wednesday, June 8 2005[ Link to this entry ]
I cycled again today. It gets easier each day.
The problem with cycling is that it takes longer to get ready, and there's the hassle of showering and changing clothes after arriving at work. Fortunately, the shower facilities at Cochlear are quite good...
Some maniacs barged in this morning and trashed the cubicles on the far side of my floor...
They made a lot of noise, making it hard to concentrate on the highly critical work we do with medical devices. I'm not sure if any employees worked over there, but they don't anymore!
I was lurking outside, waiting for the coffee truck to appear. It was late...
...and I noticed a shiny object glinting from the flower bed...
It was the severed portion of a diamond laden piece of jewelery - perhaps from an earring. It's probably only worth a few hundred dollars. I placed it in my pocket and decamped.
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Tuesday, June 7 2005[ Link to this entry ]
I cycled to work again. Will I continue, or pike?
It turns out that the SWAT meeting is running for the whole week, so there will be free food every day. However, today it was a bit disappointing. I was only able to scavenge this strange looking item...
After work I went to Mother's house to fix a problem with her answering machine. I had to re-record the outgoing message as follows...
"You've reached the Nosworthy household. We can't answer the phone right now, but please leave a message after the tone."
Of course, I spoke in a pretentious tone, or as Mother says, putting on the dog.
She gave me a piece of wood to take home. She said it was a souvenir from my childhood which she found lying around the house.
Monday, June 6 2005[ Link to this entry ]
The weather is cool now, so I decided to cycle to work...
It took 20 minutes. The only problem is that it gets dark at around 5pm and the bike has no lights, so I had to leave work at about 5.45pm to minimise my chances of being splattered on the road by passing vehicles.
On the way home, as I neared Riverview I saw a walker who looked familiar. It was Yuko on her daily walk, so I stopped and said hello. Fortunately, she recognised me!
The was an all-day meeting of the SWAT team in a nearby meeting room and they had free food provided...
There was enough left over for several hungry Cochleans (including Noswonky) to score a free lunch.
The floor I work on is almost empty, so people from all over the company come and use the space for their bizarre experiments.
Every time I walk past, there is something weird going on. It usually involves attaching electrodes to various objects and human body parts and passing electrical current through them.
But today, I found this...
Obviously some kind of navigation system for alien spacecraft. Note the navigation control centre in the background at the top-right of the picture.
Sunday, June 5 2005[ Link to this entry ]
There was a job advertised at Epitome, so Yuko put herself forward.
Andy, the manager seemed enthusiastic, but Yuko was only jesting!
In the morning Yuko took pictures of some of her favourite things for inclusion in her blog. Here's one...
She was wondering what music to use with it, so I suggested 'My Favourite Things' from The Sound of Music - a no-brainer I thought. However, it was a mistake because I was then given the task of obtaining the song.
I attempted to download the file illegally with Kazaa. But although the search yielded lots of down-loadable copies of the song, none of them worked...
Meanwhile, some other bastard was downloading numerous song files from me...
Eventually, I informed Yuko that my attempts to obtain illegal music were futile.
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|Betty and Bruce earlier this year|
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Saturday, June 4 2005[ Link to this entry ]
I saw six birds in the tree outside our house. They might be Kookaburras or they might be Tawny Frogmouths which have had false beaks stuck on them...
At Epitome, we decided to sit outside on the far side of the plaza. Yuko was concerned that the staff would not notice us, so she decided to phone in our order. But while she was placing the order, Klaudia appeared and grabbed the phone from her. Then she spoke into the phone "She's crazy. Just ignore her!"
|Klaudia about to grab the phone|
Yuko wanted to go to Northbridge to take some pictures for her blog, as it's a Japanese enclave. When we got there, Yuko tried on a funny shoe.
|Yuko tries on a funny shoe|
She then decided to buy a five-year supply of tofu at Tokyo Mart.
|Buying Tofu and other items|
|Tofu and other items|
|Five years' supply of tofu|
The last time I heard Bob Geldof sing was twenty years ago, and that was enough. But tonight I saw him on Parkinson and he sang again!
There's something really strange about this guy (other than the hair and his concern for starving children).
It's the way he plays guitar. Guitar players will immediately notice something odd in this picture...
Yes, he's got the guitar upside down!
I'm not just talking about the fact that he's left-handed and the guitar is pointing the other way. You can see it even more clearly in the picture below. The thick (bass) strings should be at the top, and the thin (treble) strings should be at the bottom.
So actually he's playing a right-handed guitar left-handed. This is quite bizarre as it means that all the chord shapes will be different from the standard ones. It also means his whole playing technique would have to be... upside down!
But of course, this is based on the assumption that he really plays it.
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Friday, June 3 2005[ Link to this entry ]
|Just before the coffee truck was due, our boss called a sudden informal meeting. So no coffee today!|
I spotted a new computer in the office today...
This is a computer, so small and compact, that you can actually carry it around. Note the build-in handle for this purpose.
I hope Cochlear will provide all employees with computers like this.
I called Mother in the afternoon to invite her out in the evening. She was at first reluctant to be seen in public because she claimed to be temporarily disfigured. However, she agreed to risk it.
Here's the bill...
Note the racist manner in which they denote the number of persons...
|J1A2 - One Japanese, Two Australians|
Later we had dessert at the Noswonky residence and Mother agreed to be photographed only if her disfigurement was obscured...
Thursday, June 2 2005[ Link to this entry ]
As an anonymous reader has kindly pointed out, the Australian news media have responded to my posting of three days ago by publicising the Melbourne Five drug smuggling case...
- News Ltd. : Tourist Case 'Similar to Corby's
- Sydney Morning Herald: Australia the villain in Japan's Corby case: expert
- The Age: When justice gets lost in translation
Note: The links above are saved copies of the original pages
Yuko claims to know why whales beach themselves...
It's because the ocean is so crowded with whales that there just isn't room for them all! So some get pushed out of the water. That's why Japan should be allowed to help reduce whale numbers.
She was appalled when the do-gooders in Perth pushed more than 100 whales back into the water and allowed them to swim away. Just think of all that wasted meat!!
5413 Days Ago
Wednesday, June 1 2005[ Link to this entry ]
|Yuko's home-made pudding replaces the coffee picture today|
Today I stayed home due to extreme physical and mental illness. My mental state at least can be judged by the attire I chose to don...
Meanwhile, Yuko frolicked in the garden and made odd gestures...
My credit card just expired, so my old web-hosting account at Pixiehost will probably cease functioning when they try to bill me. I don't want to tell those bastards that I want to cancel my account. I'll just wait and see if they contact me when they realise my credit card no longer works.
I thought I'd better do one last backup before then, so I tarred everything up and downloaded it as one big file...
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