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Saturday, December 31 2005

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Cooking

This morning Kazuki cooked pancakes for breakfast. He did a pretty good job.

Cooking

Aquarium

Yuko and Kazuki did not go fishing today! But rather than abandoning the fish theme completely, we decided to go to the Sydney Aquarium.

Yuko and Kazuki not fishing.

However, last night I was not feeling well, and this morning, although I felt better, I was still not fully back to normal. So I decided to stay home. But Yuko and Kazuki went.

Kazuki was attacked by a shark...

Shark attack

He also bought an Atomic Man. I'm skeptical about the Atomic part - it appears to be powered instead by a mechanical spring!

Atomic Man

This is what it said on the box...

Fireworks

Usually on New Year's Eve we go to nearby Riverview College to watch the midnight fireworks. But as we now have a child, we decided to watch the 9pm fireworks instead. So at 8.48pm we left the house and walked up to the high field of the college. We arrived at the moment the display started. There was a moderate sized crowd of drunken hooligans and elderly Lane Cove residents in attendance.

Two spectators

As I didn't take a tripod, it was almost impossible to take good pictures of the fireworks like this...

So instead of trying to keep the camera still, I tried moving it deliberately for an arty effect...

Arty fireworks picture

End of Year

And thus ends another exciting year in the lives of the Noswonkies. We wish a happy 2006 to all blog readers!

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Friday, December 30 2005

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More fishing...

Yuko and Kazuki went fishing again. This time they stayed there all morning, only returning around lunch time.

Fishing

Today's catch included the best fish so far. However, it was Yuko who caught it.

Best fish

When they returned, Yuko asked me to make pancakes for lunch! So I did...

Then, Kazuki wanted to make a gyotaku. This means a printed impression of the fish. This is the procedure...

The fish is painted with black water-colour paint.

A piece of white cloth is placed over the fish and pressed down.

Many prints can be made. We made two.

The better one was then labeled to record the event for eternity.

And then the fish became sashimi!

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Thursday, December 29 2005

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More Fishing

Yet again, Yuko and Kazuki went fishing. They left home at 6.30am. Again, they caught enough for Kazuki's dinner, but this time it was served raw...

Raw fish

Jumping

Last time Kazuki visited us, he developed a tendency for jumping on me - in the way a koala jumps onto a tree...

Jumping - Last time

His parents have told him not to do it any more, as he is bigger now and I might be injured. He seemed to be adhering to this rule - until today. He jumped on me once, while I was preparing to go out for a walk.

In fact his mischievous tendencies are increasing as the days go by. He also tried to remove the table cloth from the table while my computer was still on it!

Removing the table cloth

Walking and Swinging

After being jumped on, I went for a bush walk.

Bush

As I returned through the park, I spotted two figures in the distance, so I approached them...

Yuko and Kazuki (circled)

Kazuki was swinging

Yuko was trying to photograph Kazuki in motion, She's trying to get the blurred background effect that you get with a slow shutter and with the camera panning with the subject. But somehow the camera had been set to a high exposure compensation, over-exposing all the images. I couldn't figure out how to re-set it without going home to read the manual. So Yuko didn't get any good pictures!

Then we walked home together

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Wednesday, December 28 2005

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Fishing (III)

Yuko and Kazuki went fishing in the morning again! I stayed home and did some clerical work.

Yuko took this picture as Kazuki landed a monster fish!

The total catch

City

Around mid-day I went to the city because X XXXXXX XX XXXX XX XX XXXX XX XXX XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX X XXX XXXXXXXX XX XXXXXXXXX XXXXX XXX XXXX XXX XXXXX XXXXXXX X XXXX XXXX X XXX XX XXXX XXXXX XXXXXX X XXX XXX XXXXX XXX XXX XX XXX XXX XXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XX X XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXX XXX XXX XXXXXXXXXXX XXX X XXXX XXX XXXXXXXX XXXXXXX XXXXX XXXX XXXXX XX XXXX XXXXXXXXX Then I had coffee and a cookie at "Bay Swiss" (see coffee picture above) before returning home.

City

Throat Frog

For the last couple of days, a frog has been growing in my throat. Yuko has given me a mysterious Japanese drug to ease my suffering. I think it works.

Japanese drug

Watering

It was another hot day and it was Wednesday - watering day - so again we put Kazuki to work...

In fact we all did our share of watering...

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Tuesday, December 27 2005

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More Fishing

Yuko and Kazuki went fishing again in the morning, so I went to Epitome for breakfast (see coffee picture above).

When they returned, they told a tale of woe involving a big fish that was hooked by Kazuki, but which got away. Here is an artist's impression of the beast in question, including a measuring scale...

Fish that got away

Games

Kazuki started playing with my mobile phone, so I showed him the built-in games. He then played snake for an extended period.

Playing Snake

Maroo

In the evening, we went to the Korean BBQ (Maroo) at Eastwood. Kazuki was paying, so we ate a lot!

Maroo

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Monday, December 26 2005

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Fishing

In the morning, Yuko and Kazuki went fishing at Greenwich. Kazuki caught three fish, and Yuko caught two.

Fish caught

Later, Yuko cooked them and they became Kazuki's dinner...

Fish cooked

Games (mental)

I am not a fisherman, so I stayed home and had a relaxing morning. After several days break, I had time to resume work on my software project.

Later, while I was coding part of the user interface, Kazuki appeared from the other room lugging my big heavy marble chess set! He could barely carry it, and I was in fear for its safety as he struggled to lift it onto the table.

I assumed this meant he wanted me to play chess with him. So we played. The only problem was that he didn't know the rules. He kept trying to move his pawns sideways and his knights diagonally. Of course, as he doesn't speak English I could only demonstrate the correct moves by showing him on the board - correcting him each time he made an illegal move. He seemed to gradually pick it up, although I thought it best not to try teaching him castling, en passant or pawn promotion.

In the first game I slaughtered him mercilessly. Then Yuko suggested that I be handicapped. So in the second game I played without my queen and king's rook - and Kazuki won!

Playing Chess

Games (physical)

Then we went to the park to throw some more ring and ball - and so that Yuko could practice her motion photography.

I am the blur at right

After that, it was time for some serious drinking...

Serious drinking

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Sunday, December 25 2005

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Watering

Although it was Christmas day, it was also watering day, and this took first priority. So when Kazuki banged on our door at 6am, Yuko put him to work...

Watering
Then, Kazuki did his homework!

Christmassy Stuff

Mother came over for a Christmas lunch and a frenzy of gift-giving.

Mother
Yuko gets her present from me

Although Kazuki's parents had informed us that he expected Santa Claus to visit, Kazuki forgot to hang a gift receptacle (eg: sock) last night. But despite this, in the morning a pillow-case filled with gifts had appeared beside the Christmas tree! Still, he didn't notice it until several hours later when we began the gift distribution with Mother!

My present to Kazuki
Kazuki allocates a ration of junk-food for each day until he returns home

Kazuki and Yuko
Christmas Cake

Fighting Fish

Mother's neighbours have gone away on holiday and their son (who is 24) asked her to look after his fighting fish whose name is Margaret...

Margaret the Fighting fish

Playtime

In the afternoon Kazuki and I walked down to the park to play with the present I gave him - a flying ring. This ring has good aero-dynamic properties. It flies very straight and is easy to catch.

Catching the ring

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Saturday, December 24 2005

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The Guest II

See also: The Guest (I)

In the morning we drove to the airport to meet the unaccompanied minor who was flying in from Japan on JL777. At the airport, we met some tall people...

Tall people

We had intended to have breakfast at the airport so we arrived 30 minutes before the scheduled arrival time of the flight. But when we checked the arrivals board, it said the plane had already arrived. Therefore, we decided we'd better wait at the gate despite our hunger.

Then, the minor arrived with a JAL staff member...

Yuko meets Kazuki - A.K.A. The Guest

Kazuki brought me a present from Japan. It's an inflatable paper ball.

Paper ball

I'm fascinated by the physics involved in this ball. It's made of paper and the hole where you inflate it is not sealed. It's just a 5mm open hole. You keep the ball aloft by hitting it from below with one hand (a bit like volleyball). I expected that hitting the ball would cause the air to be expelled through the open hole and the ball to be squashed. But amazingly, it remains spherical and fully inflated!

Why is it so???

Hole in the ball

Then we played a fun balancing game called something something tower. I won both games.

The balancing tower (and a big nasty insect).

And frolicking occurred...

Kazuki slips over the edge

Today was the hottest day so far this summer. The forecast was 38 degrees and I think that was correct. But by 5pm, it had cooled down a lot and we decided to have dinner outside on the patio.

Then Kazuki crashed on his mattress in the Japanese room.

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Friday, December 23 2005

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Wellness

Yuko is now well again!

Yuko - well

She found some money on the floor. After I examined it, she demanded "Finders keepers" or some such antiquated philosophy. So I gave it to her...

Money changes hands (picture includes feet)

Vito

Our gardener Vito came today, waking us at 7.30am with his whipper snipper!

Vito, seen through our bedroom window

Christmas

It's almost Christmas!

I did my final bit of Christmas shopping today. I actually went to Chatswood, which is a brave thing to do at this time of year. I didn't even bother trying to park in one of the big multi-level carparks, as I assumed they would be overflowing. Instead, I just parked in a residential street nearby...

Mitsy comfortably parked at Chatswood

Then... wrapping...

Wrapping

Tree surrounded by gifts

Domestic Work

The rest of the day was spent doing domestic work - tidying and vacuuming etc. in preparation for our visitor, who arrives tomorrow.

After I had done all the vacuuming, Yuko cut open the dust bag to examine the contents...

Dust examination

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Thursday, December 22 2005

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Day Activities

Today we went to the Bait and Tackle shop for a reason I can't disclose at this time...

Bait and Tackle Shop - Willoughby

I also finally got my bike tyre fixed (for a reason I can't disclose) at the cycling shop...

Then, we drank beer as usual. A strange looking tiny insect was crawling across the table. It seemed to have long hair in a kind of punk style...

Punk insect

While I was photographing it, Yuko ate my nuts!

Place where nuts once were

Night Activities

In the evening, we went to Lugarno to see Lugarno Lights. One house in Maple Street is adorned with 80,000 lights! This is the last year that this house will be lit up like this. The guy who does it has decided he needs to get a life, and is selling it all on his website.

The animation

The real thing

It was chaos in Maple Street Lugarno. Just to cope with the traffic generated by the display, they make the street one-way and close off other streets in the area.

While Yuko and I took pictures, Mother relaxed...

Mother relaxes in Maple Street

Some pictures...

But then... Disaster Strikes

As we began heading home, Yuko suddenly became violently ill. She was spewing into a bag in the car and was soaked in perspiration. She seemed to be in a lot of discomfort and Mother and I became very concerned. We stopped at a petrol station for about 20 minutes to give her a chance to recover a bit.

However, as we resumed out trip home, she seemed a little better. After we got home, Yuko asked me to cook rice for her while she crashed on the reclining leather chair. The rice turned out a tad soggy, but edible. As I write this, at 1.15am, Yuko is sleeping peacefully, so I think she's going to be ok.

I suspect the cause of this debacle was some prawns that Yuko ate in the afternoon. They had been frozen for a while and I can't help wondering if they are the same prawns which were recently banned from sale.

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Wednesday, December 21 2005

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Hotness

It was hot, so we took maximum advantage of the fact that today is watering day...

Note soccer ball on the grass which came over the fence from our neighbours' property. Yuko said she will keep it.

Yuko watered from a sitting position

It was also good beer-drinking weather...

Mother

Mother invited us to dinner. We had intended to go on a Christmas light tour tonight, but decided to postpone it due to the hot weather.

Dinner at Mother's house

Mother's Christmas Tree - Donated by [Name Omitted] and [Name Omitted] who visited her yesterday.

Dessert

Software Project

Well... yesterday I added a very important feature - and it worked! But there was a tiny bug. So today I tried to fixed the bug. But in the process of fixing it, I inadvertently disabled the feature I added yesterday! Damn!

This could cause a slip in the beta release date.

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Tuesday, December 20 2005

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Birds

During breakfast, we fed the birds so that Yuko could take pictures of them. However, they kept fighting with each other and wouldn't stay still to be photographed. I managed to snap a couple of shots with my toy camera (which is how Yuko refers to my IXUS 40).

Bird eats bread (photographed with toy camera)

Breakfast with the birds

Walk

I went for another walk in the afternoon. It was quite a warm day, but I walked to Longueville and back. Before leaving the house I covered my body with white stuff.

Applying white stuff

There was an interesting property for sale at Longueville - two houses together with a tennis court in between...

For Sale

Domestic Work

I also did domestic work. We have to get the house into a fit state as we have a visitor arriving soon!

Project

I didn't get to my software project until 9pm. However, after a shot of stimulants I spent several hours on it and made significant progress (it's now 2am). It looks like a beta release is possible within a few days. If I don't get it to beta by Christmas, it might be delayed another couple of weeks, as I don't know if I'll have time work on it while the visitor is here.

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Monday, December 19 2005

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Today's coffee picture was provided by Yuko

No Pancakes

Today I did not make pancakes...

Not pancakes

Beer and Programming

I spent most of today programming and drinking. There is a school of thought that alcohol impairs logical thinking and may induce programming bugs. However, I can say from experience that this is true.

Girls' Lunch

Meanwhile, Yuko and Keiko went to the city for a girls' lunch at Yama in the QVB.

Keiko

While Yuko was out, there was a phone-call. The caller was a Japanese woman who didn't speak English. This made the conversation difficult, but I was able to communicate the fact that Yuko was not home. I assumed it was someone calling from Japan as the caller id said "Unavailable".

But later I learned that it was actually Keiko's mother (one of my biggest fans).

Keiko's parents

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Sunday, December 18 2005

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Pancakes

This morning, I made pancakes...

Add Milk (better than water)
Shake it up baby!
Prepare maple syrup
Heat the syrup and the milk (for coffee)
Pour the mixture onto the pan
Turn them when bubbles appear
They should be golden brown
Find an umbrella in the open air
Serve pancakes under the umbrella with bananas, strawberries and coffee
Add the hot syrup... and eat!

Carols

Tonight there was carol singing in Lane Cove Plaza. We decided to go to Epitome and have dinner on the balcony while listening to the carols.

The view from Epitome's balcony

It was a tad cold, but we kept warm

We took the wine that Yukiko (from Taiki) gave us a couple of weeks ago. It was a very nice Merlot!

Merlot
Food

After dinner we wandered into the plaza to soak up the Christmassy atmosphere.

Carols in Lane Cove Plaza. Note the celestial object visible in the sky. Could this be the THE Star? ... Or just a case study in global warming?

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Saturday, December 17 2005

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Another House

Mother called to say there was a house open for inspection in her street. We agreed to meet her there at 1.30pm.

The house was fairly basic, and they were asking $815K.

The house had a long driveway - it was the third house back from the road!

Two-levels, three bedrooms, one bathroom.

On the way there, Mother found a dinosaur on the road! She gave it to me.

Dinosaur found on the road

This adds to my collection...

Dinosaurs found on roads in the Lane Cove area

The Other House

The house which was passed in at the auction on Thursday for $1.3M has been sold. We don't know the price yet.

House sold

Beer

It was a hot day, and so in the afternoon, Yuko suggested that we drink cold beer. As we didn't have any, I had to go and buy some. Then we sat outside relaxing with beer and nuts. I photographed it...

Yuko also photographed it...

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Friday, December 16 2005

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Blackout

Late last night there was a blackout. At the moment the lights went out, we heard a loud sound - something between a buzz and an explosion - from up the road. It was probably a possum getting cooked as it provided a low resistance path between two high voltage cables.

Blogger in a blackout

Another blogger in a blackout

During the blackout, we ate carrots...

Carrots by torchlight.

Christmas Shopping

Yuko has a TV in her office, and we have an RF cable routed through the ceiling from the VCR in the living room so that she can see images from the satellite receiver. But she recently expressed the wish to be able to also watch DVDs in her office. I considered using a switch-box to switch the signal between the satellite box and the DVD player. But the switch-box situation is already reaching the limit of complexity that can be kept in my brain. So to keep it simple, I suggested that she just buy another DVD player - they're so cheap!

So today Yuko sent be out to buy a DVD player. I came home with this...

$99.00

We decided that this will be her Christmas present. Despite this, she wanted to start using it immediately. She also wanted to swap her little TV for the bigger one in the bedroom.

Removing Yuko's little TV

Installing the bigger TV

TV and DVD installed

When I bought the DVD player, I asked the sales dude whether it was multi-region. He said it wasn't, but that I could easily find a 'hack' for it on the web to unlock it. When I got home, I did a search and found the hack very easily. However, when I pressed the required key-sequence, I was surprised by the instructions that appeared on the screen. I pressed 'pause', but I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't!

I thought it wise to press pause

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hi wanky, your blog looks much better in the dark

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We will try to have more blackouts.

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Thursday, December 15 2005

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Moon

Moon

House Auction

A house in our street was up for auction this evening. It's just a few doors down the road, right next to Tambourine Bay Reserve.

We decided to take Mother for a a picnic in the park and then go to the auction. To keep it simple, I bought a BBQ chicken and bread rolls and prepared everything in advance. Yuko made a rice ball for herself.

Chicken
Bread

The weather was perfect for a picnic.

Simple Picnic

Arriving at the auction

Back of the house - very glassy

The house was very nice indeed, with lots of glass and openness. Yuko is generally very good at estimating house prices. She estimated this house at $1.7Million.

So the auction started, and there were about 30 people in attendance. When the auctioneer asked for bids, he got nothing. He spent about 15 minutes begging for people to bid, but nobody did. It appeared that there were three pre-registered bidders, and the agent's staff walked around to speak to each of them, but still no bid. Then there was a vendor bid at $1.3 Million. But still nobody wanted to bid.

So it was passed in.

Despite this, I think Yuko's estimate was pretty close to the correct price. I will check the paper on Sunday to see it was sold later.

Interior

After the auction, we had dessert at our house.

Dessert

Mother then wanted to buy a tape recorder from me. Being a shrewd negotiator, she asked how much I wanted for it. I said $10. She scoffed at this and offered me $20, which I accepted.

Transaction. I provided a one-day warranty with the machine.

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Wednesday, December 14 2005

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Feet

Here's another picture of some feet...

Feet

Fence Construction

Our sleep was disturbed early in the morning by loud hammering next door. It's not unusual for our neighbours to be making lots of noise early in the morning. But when we discovered what they were doing, we were quite happy. They were making the fence between our properties even higher!

Higher Fence

Cochlear

I heard on the news that the Cochlear share price has rocketed. The TV reporter said that this was due to their new product which provides:

"More clearer clarity"

Frolicking Dogs

I went for a walk in the late afternoon. The weather was perfect and the dogs were out frolicking.

The poodle below had walked out across the wet sand - leaving a trail of prints - and was splashing about in the shallow water of the bay.

Frolicker's print

Later in my walk, I found a plastic dinosaur on the ground! It was very exciting.

Dinosaur (found on the ground)

Then I saw a rein-dog...

Rein-dog

Domestic Duties

Today was watering day, so at the appropriate time Yuko put the hose in my hand and sent me towards the garden...

Watering

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Tuesday, December 13 2005

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The Lights are on! The snake-lights have drooped a bit since last year.

Denial of Service Attack

This morning when I woke up, my web host was experiencing a denial of service attack and noswonky.com was down!

Fortunately, the the hosting company has an info page which is separate from their network where they keep customers up-to-date with what's going on...

Lights

It was time to switch on the Christmas lights. First I inspected them to check their condition after a year out in the elements. They were a bit webby...

Webby Lanterns

And some wasps had built a nest on one of the cables...

Wasps' Nest

Of course, Yuko had to photograph the wasps...

Photographing the wasps

Although the lights were already up, there was still a significant amount of work to be done messing about with wires and stuff. And of course, the Christmas tree was in storage.

Protection
Tree in Box
Light Control Centre
Ball Placement

Tree

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Monday, December 12 2005

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Breakfast

The problem with going to a cafe for breakfast is that it takes a big chunk out of the day which could otherwise be used for productive work. So today we stayed home and I made breakfast just like a normal work day.

Breakfast

Programming

Then, it was a few solid hours of programming. The project I'm working on is well advanced already as I did a lot of work on it in my spare time earlier in the year (when I was at Cochlear). But recently I've had no spare time so it's been dormant. Now, it's full speed ahead...

Programming

Christmas Lights

I had planned to put up the Christmas lights today. But then I realised that I haven't yet taken them down - so I guess I just have to plug them in and they will look like they did last year...

Last Year

Exercise

Then, some exercise. I went for a 1.5 hour walk around the streets of Riverview. When I got home, Yuko went for a similar walk.

Walking garb

Monkey

In the evening I got an email from a new reader who offered his services as my monkey. That's a very tempting offer, as I've never had my own monkey before. I'll have to consider it.

Message for Mole

Mr. Mole... have you checked your email recently?

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Sunday, December 11 2005

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Cuneo

Today we decided to try a new cafe - Cuneo at Hunters Hill.

Cuneo

It's located in a little complex of shops in an old building. The atmosphere is quite nice. The table was a tad small for convenient newspaper reading, and the service was a bit slow. However the coffee and food were pretty good. Yuko says the place will improve after we 'educate them'.

The food...

And of course, Yuko used her big camera...

Mother

In the evening, Mother came over for dinner. We ate dead cow.

Mother Unfocussed

Mother bangs her fist on the table - demanding satisfaction!

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Saturday, December 10 2005

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Lane Cove

The Christmas Tree in the plaza is up...

Tree

And there was a familiar looking dude having coffee at Epitome...

Red suited dude

I was intrigued by these buskers - or perhaps it's one busker, one roadie and a groupie! Anyway, he was pretty good, although obviously assisted by auto-rhythms of some kind. But the song he was playing when I took this picture was 'Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll' - not the typical Christmas soundtrack heard in Lane Cove Plaza!

Rebel buskers

Furuhonya

Yuko asked me to take her to the furuhonya at Artarmon.

Furu = Old
Hon = Book
Ya = House (or shop)

Thus... the secondhand bookshop.

Yuko took some of her old old books to sell, and also bought some new old books.

The Furuhonya

For driving Yuko there and back I was paid the sum of one Australian dollar!

Keiko's Parents

In the afternoon, we went over to Keiko's place to say hello to Keiko's parents who are returning to Japan tomorrow. Keiko's father is regular reader of Yuko's blog, and her mother is a big fan of this humble writer. Not that she understands English!

Keiko greets us

Keiko's parents with the Noswonkies

Yuko gave each of them a present. Mother got a stylish bag and Father got the Christmas hamper that I bought at work.

Gift giving

As we were leaving, they also gave me a present - black Jellea Beans and Liquorice...

Keiko displays my present

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Friday, December 9 2005

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Washing the Cloth

It was time to was our table cloth. So I moved the computer aside...

Cloth

Actually, it's not a table cloth but a throwover and it's thick and heavy. It's also too delicate for the washing machine, so we put it in the bath...

Epitome

It's a long time since we've been to Epitome on a weekday, but that's what we did today. Unfortunately, the upstairs section was not open, so we had to stay downstairs with the ordinary diners.

While I had a second coffee, Yuko went and bought some huge boxes which made us a spectacle for the other customers to gawk at. It also made our walk back to the car difficult...

Boxes

Shoe Painting

I need a new pair of black shoes. But as I have a couple of good pairs of brown shoes, Yuko suggested I just paint them.

So I went to purchase some shoe paint at a shop at Artarmon. While there, I witnessed some men performing unknown acts at the top of a pole...

Men up pole

I painted two pairs of my shoes and, because I'm nice, I also painted one pair of Yuko's shoes...

Painted shoes (Yuko's shoes are in the middle)

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Thursday, December 8 2005

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Today's coffee picture is sponsored by [Name Omitted] (See The Shake II)

Hamper

A while back a work colleague was selling Christmas hampers to help the deaf. I put in an order and today it was delivered to my desk.

When I took it home, Yuko said that she wanted it as a source of small gifts for minor relatives. So I won't get to eat anything from it!

Yuko considers the Hamper's fate

The goodies - not to be eaten!

The Shake II

As I had some free time, I decided to keep a long-standing promise to go and say hello to my former colleagues at Cochlear (a listed company of some renown).

In the reception area at Cochlear, I ran into one of my former colleagues...

Reception at Cochlear. (To comply with a longstanding death threat against me, the person in question is not shown)

Due to an unfortunate set of circumstances, my Cochlear colleague [Name Omitted] was away on leave when I left the company. The last time I saw him was when I shook his hand on August 12th as he left the building to go overseas. Today we repeated the shake...

The 12/8 Shake
The 8/12 Shake

The two of us went to Lane Cove for lunch and had a long and wide-ranging discussion about good and evil - mainly the latter.

After dropping [Name Omitted] back at work, I walked down to Cochlear's underground carpark. When I left the company, I forgot to take my bike lock from the rack. It was still there today, so I took it.

Bike lock - three months on the rack!

Fauna and Flora

Meanwhile, Yuko was at home taking pictures of the Riverview wildlife.

These pictures were shot through a glass sliding door.

Big Lizard - Sunning himself on our patio.

And a dead fern...

Dead fern - killed by yesterday's firey weather.

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Wednesday, December 7 2005

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Hot

Today, it was hot...

We had dinner outside as it was a little cooler than inside...

But it was still hot...

It's too hot to blog anymore...

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Tuesday, December 6 2005

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Taiki and Yellow

The hardware shop at Lane Cove closed a long time ago and the place was sub-divided into four shops. But they've been vacant ever since with big FOR LEASE signs on display.

But tonight when we went to Taiki (which is right next door) we discovered that a new restaurant has opened in one of the vacant shops. It is called Yellow...

Yellow

The menu was on display outside and it looked interesting. Our loyalty to Epitome and Taiki will be tested!

Yuko took a plant along as a gift for one of the Taiki staff.

Plant gift

Yuko gives the gift to Yukiko while Nikki looks suspiciously at my camera

A little later, Yukiko also gave Yuko a gift of a bottle of Merlot...

The gift of Merlot

Congratulations

SmartyBlog Awards

The results of the SmartyBlog Awards have been announced, and today I received an email from them...

From: SmartyHost 	
To: toto@noswonky.com
Date: Dec 6, 2005 4:15 PM
Subject: Winner announced in 2005 SmartyBlog Awards

Dear blogger,
Thanks for entering the SmartyBlog Awards. Earlier this morning, a winner was announced by the official judging panel.
Unfortunately, the judging panel thought you blog was crap and so naturally, you did not win.
The panel choose Bridge girl traveling diary (www.singingbridges.net/diary) as the winner of the $10,000 first prize.
For more information on the results: http://www.smartyhost.com.au/bloggerwinner.html
SmartyHost is currently reviewing how to run the SmartyBlog Awards in 2006. We're planning to make it an ongoing event throughout 2006, with more categories and more interactive components. You'll be the first to know when it kicks off!
As an offer of thanks we would like to offer you a $25 discount voucher on any of our web hosting or broadband services. You can also give this offer to your friends. To download the voucher simply go to: http://www.smartyhost.com.au/smartyblogcomp.pdf
Regards,
Anoosh Manzoori (Managing Director)

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Anonymous
6/12/2005
5193 Days Ago
haha, not surprised. They are not wrong anyway, are they?

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7/12/2005
5193 Days Ago
Thank you for your support.

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Monday, December 5 2005

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Sunday, December 4 2005

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Bardeli's

Because of the nice weather, today we eschewed Epitome and went to Bardeli's instead.

Bardeli's

Yuko asked the waitress if she was the daughter of the chef. She said she was not, but that she used to be intimate with the chef's son, known to readers as...

The Pepper Boy

She now hates his guts, and yet retains her job working for his father! This may explain why we haven't seen the Pepper Boy on our last few visits to Bardeli's.

The chef gave us Christmas presents as we left, but declined to show his face.

Father of the Pepper Boy

Macbeth Conspiracy

A couple of days ago, Lady Macbeth called me and instigated a conspiracy which came to fruition today.

She noted that Mother's audio equipment had stopped functioning and that Mother faced a difficult week ahead, being unable to tape the broadcasts of parliament!

Macbeth proposed that we conspire to give Mother an early Christmas present to address her audio problem. She had spotted a particular piece of audio equipment in a shop and enlisted my help in making the purchase and in arranging to bring Mother to Macbeth's house to receive it.

I made the purchase yesterday and today we went to Lady Macbeth's house. The purpose of the visit was for me to assist Macbeth in resolving some issues with her computer. But Mother tagged along, enabling us to spring the surprise on her...

Lady Macbeth assists in the unwrapping

Mother gets present

Mother was very happy with the gift.

Bollard Construction

When I dropped Mother home, I took the opportunity to look around her property for something from which I might construct a bollard to protect our water meter.

Mother's garage is a wonderland of magical items, and it was here that I struck gold.

Mother points out the mass of spider webs around the lights in her garage

Mother's garage. It was here that I found the raw materials for the construction of a bollard.

I found a paving stone with a metal bar protruding from it, and a short section of railway line! Mother said I could have them.

I took them home and I positioned the two items to block the tyre of any errant vehicle which might venture too close to our water meter...

Bollard - Will this stop the errant car? Time will tell!

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Saturday, December 3 2005

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Vito

Normally our gardener Vito comes on a weekday. But recently his availability has been drastically reduced, and we could only book him for Saturday! Mother thinks he might be moonlighting during the week.

Vito's van blocks the garage, forcing us to leave Belinda at home. We took Mitsy out instead.

Vito terminating errant plant-life.

Epitome

Epitome has a Santa with reindeer up on the balcony. This is a new foray for Epitome into the crass commercialisation of Christmas. We liked it.

Epitome's Sleigh

Re-Stringing

Time to re-string my guitar...

I chose to re-string because I had another purpose for the bottom "E" string - a nice thick piece of wire.

I normally change the strings one at a time because I've heard that it's bad to take all the strings off at the same time. This is because the sudden change in tension causes bad stresses on the neck.

But the instrument was in need of cleaning, and it's difficult to clean parts of it without taking all the strings off. So I did...

The twisted ends of the old strings
It's tricky getting the twisted ends through the bridge holes
New 6th string (54 gauge)
I put the strings on from the outside in, to avoid asymmetric tension on the neck. I cut the ends lest they put someone's eye out!
The winder gadget allows rapid rotation of the machine head.
The ends are sharp enough to draw blood, so being safety conscious, I always bend the ends over thus.

Mouses

Yuko's little wireless mouse has turned out to be a lemon. She's going to take it back to the shop in disgust. In the mean time, she asked me to buy her another wireless mouse as I was going to Chatswood anyway. I suggested she go for a more expensive one this time, so she authorised me to spend $100.

Despite my feelings about Microsoft it was one of their products which most closely matched the spec - so I bought it.

Yuko's new mouse

The device worked first time and Yuko was happy. She gave me her old mouse on the condition that she wants it back if (or when?) the new one croaks.

Swapping mouses

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Friday, December 2 2005

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From Message
Laughing Mole
4/12/2005
5195 Days Ago
I came here looking for nipples, but I was disappointed.

Everyone needs to see new nipples now and then.

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Webslave
4/12/2005
5195 Days Ago
If you came here looking for nipples, click here, but expect to be disappointed.

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Thursday, December 1 2005

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Feet

Actually more than feet...

Feet

Cyclist

I saw that strange cyclist again...

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