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Monday, December 31 2007

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Year Ends

The Noswonkys
And thus ends another exciting year in the lives of the Noswonkys. It also marks the end of the first five (5) years of BlogWonky! (although 2003 seems to be mysteriously offline at the moment)

2008 is set to be yet another momentous year - particularly the first week. A happy new year to all readers!


In the morning I went walking as usual, but I took the opportunity to scout for a good vantage point from which to watch tonight's fireworks display.

In past years we have gone to the top field of St. Ignatius' College. In fact I have watched fireworks displays from there for more than twenty years. But over the years, the trees have grown higher, increasingly obscuring the view. The crowds there have also grown making it hard to secure a good spot.

This year, I decided to try another vantage point in the college - lower than before, but with a good view of the horizon and the top of the bridge just visible. Here's what it looked like in daylight...

The grassy slope
The view from the grassy slope

New Year Fireworks

We packed our chairs and other stuff and headed over to the College at about 11.15pm. There was minimal traffic and we made good time - arriving after about twenty seconds (not including reversing out of the driveway). As I'd hoped, there was nobody else there, although a couple of families arrived just before midnight.

Yuko put her camera on a sturdy tripod to photograph the fireworks.

Yuko with her camera

Yuko had made Tofu Sushi and we had a mini-picnic before the fireworks...

Tofu Sushi

We also took sparkling wine to celebrate the new year...


At midnight we said "congratulations!"


Yuko got a few good shots of the display...

Fireworks (photo by Yuko)

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Sunday, December 30 2007

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The Deck

Today we skipped breakfast and went straight to lunch on The Deck at Collaroy.

The Deck

CDs on a Stick

Earlier, I was walking in the College and came upon a stack of illegal CDs on top of a stick beside the tennis courts. Surely the students of St. Ignatius' College would not be involved in illegal copying of music!

CDs perched atop a stick

Doesn't look like an authorised release to me.

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Saturday, December 29 2007

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Mother got two free movie tickets as a bribe for buying electricity. So she took us to see No Country for Old Men which she chose because it contains extreme violence.

It's the story of a bad guy who likes to kill people, a good guy who likes to go to cafes, a half good/half bad guy who steals guns from dead bodies, and some other guys, most of whom get shot. Yuko liked the parts where there was blood and killing, but slept through the other parts.

After the movie we went to The Red Chopstick for dinner where we analysed the movie and tried to figure out what it was about.

Red Chopstick

From Message
Dog Woman
5134 Days Ago
I have just chanced upon your blog while looking up the number to dial The Red Chopstick for takeaway. Very much looking forward to the New Year's Eve entry, as clearly you all leading a very exciting life. Mine is much less interesting, although inspired by your photo, I did order the Satay Chicken.

From Message
5133 Days Ago
Indeed there is great excitement in store in the next few days. At the Red Chopstick I highly recommend the Stuffed Chicken Wings.

From Message
Dog Woman
5132 Days Ago
Thanks for the tip. I regret to inform that, with takeaway Satay Chicken, you get far less satay sauce than if you eat there. However, when I arrived for the pick up, I was entertained by a man cleaning out the draws. A rare sight indeed: he must have been fulfilling a new years resolution. Your New Year's Eve post did not disappoint.

From Message
5132 Days Ago
I'm sorry we missed the entertainment. However our night was not without incident. When we got the bill, they had charged us $2.00 for a main course (the prawns). So I complained and they gladly changed it to $20.00.

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Friday, December 28 2007

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Pink iPod

I am now $150 richer and the owner of a pink iPod Mini. It should be OK as long as I don't listen to any woosy music on it.

qb quay

Since I stopped working in the city we haven't had an opportunity to go to our favourite bar - the qb quay bar at Circular Quay. Tonight we went...

Beer at the qb
Yuko at the qb

Then we walked along the water-front and looked at garbage.

Yuko with waterfront garbage

Finally we walked to Martin Place to see the Christmas tree...


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Thursday, December 27 2007

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iPod Dealings

Yuko had heard about an iPod accessory which allows you to transfer digital photos directly from a camera to an iPod. She wants to be able to copy photos to a hard disk "in the field" so that she can empty her memory cards and re-use them during an intensive shoot. Today we went to Chatswood to try to find the device. We found it at Harvey Norman for $48 and Yuko bought it.

The problem is that it doesn't work with Yuko's iPod (Touch). Therefore Yuko wants to buy my 80GB iPod classic from me. She's offering $150 plus her ancient 4GB iPod Mini (which is pink).

I am still considering this offer...


I have an injury of unknown origin...


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Wednesday, December 26 2007

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I went out walking today and I met two dogs who followed me home. They then attempted to enter the house, and they succeeded.

Dogs at our front door

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Tuesday, December 25 2007

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A Wonky Christmas

Painting chicken

Pouring wine


Giving gifts

Booty of gifts

Christmas jokes

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Monday, December 24 2007

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Old Breakfast

Today we stayed home for breakfast. However, as we don't do that very often, our breakfast food stocks were slim. I managed to find some one-year-old croissants in the freezer.

Note 'Best Before' date of 22/10/06

Surprisingly they were not bad once toasted...

Breakfast at home

Christmas Eve Activities

Then, we did the usual things people do on Christmas eve...

Gift wrapping
Wine drinking

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Sunday, December 23 2007

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At Epitome, Yuko gave Harley Davidson some photos of the Epitome staff mounted in Christmas cards.

Yuko gives Harley some cards

Feline Intruder

I don't like cats! Therefore, this is a shocking sight...

Intruder in our merry home

Carols on the Beach

Last year we went to Carols on the Beach at Collaroy and it was a debacle. Tonight, we tried again with more success...

Last Year
This Year

The thing I learned from Carols on the Beach is that you shouldn't walk on the beach wearing socks...

Sandy sock


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Saturday, December 22 2007

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Green Debacle

A few days ago our gardener Vito came and cut a lot of plants, creating a mass of green waste. Yuko got him to put it out on the nature strip for collection by the council. But she mis-read the calendar and it is now clear that there will be no green waste collection before Christmas. So we had to bring it all back in...

Bringing the green waste back in

Nautical Playground

On a For Sale sign on a nearby house, I learned that we live near a "Nautical Playground"...

Here's a picture of the pool in the Nautical Playground...


Meanwhile... Santa's mode of transport is in a constant state of flux...

Money (II) - Credit Card Fraud

A few days ago Yuko noticed three transactions on her credit card which appeared to be fraudulent. They were three withdrawals from ATMs on consecutive days totalling $3800.00. The locations of the ATMs were varied - one was at Lane Cove, but the others were in distant suburbs we've never visited. She filled in a fraud report at the bank and waited.

I assured her that the money would be refunded because it should be a simple matter for the bank to check the camera images from those ATMs at the times of the withdrawals and confirm that it was a bastard and not Yuko.

Tonight Yuko checked her account on-line and saw that three deposits have been made which are the same amounts as the three withdrawals, so she is now very happy!

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Friday, December 21 2007

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Money (I) - Living in Poverty

I've now been in my new job for five weeks and I'm taking a Christmas break. I was a tad unlucky with the timing of my start in relation to the monthly pay cycle. It has worked out that after 5 weeks in the job, I've so far only received one week's pay - and it will be another week until I get my first full pay. This, coupled with the fact that I took a week off (unpaid) between jobs, means that I'm currently a pauper.

So I was very happy when Yuko found an old card from Mother to me (apparently from last year) with some unused money taped inside!

Unused cash - still legal tender after one year gathering dust

So of course I went out immediately and squandered it.

Carol Singers

Yesterday there were carol singers at work spreading Christmas cheer...

Carol singers (company logo obscured)


On Thursday night we went to Maroo with Mother. We've noticed recently that the chicken pieces at Maroo look like things. For example, this piece of chicken looks like a chicken...

Chicken chicken

Later, Mother gave us a piece of Christmas cake which was made by her friend Jan.

Handing over the cake

We also marvelled at Mother's popularity, as indicated by the number of Christmas cards she has received.

Mother's cards

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Wednesday, December 19 2007

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I haven't been doing much work on ChesSOS recently and there are a couple of long-standing bugs that I've been too lazy to fix.

So I thought the way to get motivated is to start using bug tracking software. I discovered FogBugz recently and it seems very sleek and user-friendly, so I signed up for a free trial.

I now have a bug assigned to me that I will look at every day until it's fixed...

From Message
A Poster
3549 Days Ago
Due to excessive comment spam, messages must await approval by the Webslave (Noswonky) before being displayed.

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Tuesday, December 18 2007

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The gridlock on Epping Road in the morning seems to be getting better...


Today's top news story does not bode well for domestic harmony in the Noswonky household...


The parking situation at work so far has been onerous. Being a contractor, I can't use the employee carpark. There are some free spaces on the street, but you have to get there at 4am to secure a spot. There's the visitor's carpark, but that costs $50 if you're not a real visitor (which I'm not, although I got away with it on my first day). There are many metered spaces on the street, but most have a 2 hour limit. There are some metered areas which allow all-day parking (12P) so that's where I've been parking. It costs $13.40 for the day, but I have to get there moderately early (7.45am) to ensure that I get a space, and if I go out at lunchtime I risk losing my space.

But the Holy Grail of parking is... the contractors' carpark...

Being a contractor myself, and a committed fossil fuel user, I naturally aspire to park there. However, despite the carpark being only 10 percent full, and my willingness to part with the $2600/year that it costs, and spending a month in negotiations with all the parties involved, I have been unable to secure access.

But a couple of days ago I discovered that I actually can use the employee carpark. Being a contractor I have to pay $10/day, but it beats the $30/day I was paying when I worked in the city!

From Message
Laughing Mole
5143 Days Ago
I recognise the car park in your picture as I go past it most mornings (but not most evenings). I've never noticed your car there though.

From Message
5141 Days Ago
That's because it's not there.

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Sunday, December 16 2007

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Epitome (I)

In the morning we went to Epitome and Yuko got up-close with Santa...

Epitome (I)

In the evening we went to Epitome. We had booked a table on the balcony to look down upon the masses as they sang Carols in the Plaza.

But Lo! It rained, and the Carols were cancelled!

We went anyway, but didn't sit out on the balcony. Despite this debacle, we had a nice dinner, which included free port from Harley Davidson...

Expensive Chip
Free Port

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Saturday, December 15 2007

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Today it was time for a longstanding Christmas tradition... spraying the tree with deadly poison...

And then...

I had not yet taken down the Christmas lights from last year, so I decided to skip it and just turn them on again. Some don't work anymore, but most are adequate...

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Friday, December 14 2007

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Mother came to dinner at our filthy disgusting house tonight. She looked at our collection of Christmas cards, which is an indication of how popular we are...

After dinner we went on a light tour of Lane Cove. There is really only one house worth mentioning... in Barina Road...


Meanwhile, in the spirit of the season, Yuko bought a Christmas song from iTunes, and then illegally removed the DRM to allow it to be posted on the web...

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Thursday, December 13 2007

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This is Epping Road at about 6pm. I wonder what it will be like when they reduce it to one lane? I would take the Lane Cove Tunnel myself if it actually went to Lane Cove - but it doesn't.

Why don't some of these bastards take the tunnel?


On Monday, my former guitar teacher Pam went to Mother's house for lunch. She made an impromptu drawing of Mother...

Mother by Pam


Here, Yuko is seen with part of her collection of electronic devices.

Carbon emitter

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Sunday, December 9 2007

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Today as I sipped coffee at Epitome, Yuko went shopping and returned with an interesting book which I began to read. The story was a tad thin, but it was otherwise engrossing...


I particularly enjoyed the third chapter...

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Friday, December 7 2007

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Red Chopstick

Since we discovered Red Chopstick we have become lazy - not motivated to leave the neighbourhood to eat. Why go all the way to Mosman, Collaroy or Neutral Bay when we can just go up the road? So that's what we did tonight...

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Thursday, December 6 2007

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It rained today... and the local stream, which flows through the enchanted forest, is a raging torrent...


Christmas Decorations

A house in Barina Road is again displaying excessive Christmas and Simpsons decorations...

But this is not the only display of Christmas spirit in Riverview...

A less spectacular effort

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Wednesday, December 5 2007

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Last night, we went to Maroo, deep in the heart of the Labor controlled electorate of Bennelong. The former member was nowhere to be seen, but Yuko wore a funny hat again...

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Sunday, December 2 2007

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If The Shoe Fits

Today, we went to the ballet again. It was a show staged by another ballet school, but it was at the same venue as last time.

This time Yuko was not the official photographer, but she still took a lot of pictures and annoyed the people sitting near us with the constant clicking.

We had be told (by the woman who got us the tickets) that it was Cinderella, but it wasn't. Instead it was...

... which is a variation on (or corruption of) Cinderella.

Mother at the ballet

Rather than the music of Prokofiev as we expected, it was a mish-mash of various composers' music and alternated between modern dance and traditional ballet.

We really could not follow the story - probably because it was interspersed with many unrelated segments which were just opportunities for each different ballet class to perform their stuff.

So overall it was much less good than the previous ballet.


Fitting of the shoe while the three (not two) mean (not ugly) sisters look on.

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Saturday, December 1 2007

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At Epitome, the reindeer are out...


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