Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Saw Narnia on Boxing Day, and agree it was fairly flat, but the most accurate book screen translation I have every seen! Loved the Ice Queen, music was a little overbearing, remaining acting was lackluster, effects were good, continuity had a few problems, overall I enjoyed it.
Now have the full set of Dune miniseries and some very useful stitching frames (my most oft-used one broke recently).
Updated to Suse 10 and KDE 3.5 and am appalled at how unstable the configuration of everything seems to be - desktop configuration and themes only half work, and break when something else is configured. Firefox upgrade has made most of the useful extensions uninstallable. On the up-side, the response times are much quicker and applications contain more features that I will probably use. For some unknown reason my system presents a Dutch login screen on startup.
Windows interface to iTunes sucks when importing playlists. You can't bulk import! At least it works over Samba - there is no way I'm moving my music collection onto my Windows machine.
Hope everyone reading this had a good Xmas and will have a fun New Years!
The stove, the dishwasher and the evaporative cooler have been fixed. I've yet to hear from the electrician for the phone wiring, aerial and oven, and another halogen transformer is now overheating (and turning off), randomly. The agent decided to go ahead with the repairs (after 2 months notice) without the landlord's permission, because the next step would have been to get a consumer affairs evaluator out.
The agent commented that we should 'take the flak' for this, but I categorically refused. I've been putting everything in writing, and a chat to a consumer affairs person showed just how ridiculous this situation is (and every repair we have asked for is quite reasonable, or a rental decrease should be given).
I've just found out that other friends have had experience with this real estate agent. One incident of note is where the tenant fell through the floor, and the agent tried to pin the cost of the repair on the tenant! It took a tribunal decision for them to back down.
In the two months I've been with this agent, he's dropped in conversation that he'd spent time at the tribunal at least three times. Please stay clear of this real estate agent! I guess we'll be moving in a year. :-\
Monday, November 28, 2005
We have moved. The house, while it looked gorgeous and well maintained had (and still has) a host of problems lurking under the surface, many of them potentially deadly wiring problems. (warning - long list follows)
An intermittent light, a dishwasher wired directly into the mains which blows the main fuse each time it enters the drying phase, all powerpoints wired as one circuit, an old gas stove connected to gas in the double garage (making it a single garage), rubbish filling the garage (old furniure), metal rubbish throughout the yard (including a rusty truck transmission and other parts), the only working phone point being in the hall cupboard, aerial not working, watering system half working, nasty weeds popping up everywhere (blackberries), badly ripped fly screens, doors that don't snip, a gate that doesn't close, windows that can't open, oven display and timer that is not wired correctly and doesn't work, evaporative cooler that only works (for a couple of hours) when it has rained, leaking taps, missing fly screens, missing keys, and an unmonitored security system that dials out. Not to mention the unclean carpets (certainly not steam cleaned), the dirty house and the unkempt yard which meant we had to get the relevant people in to clean the house before we moved in - delaying the move and causing large amounts of stress.
To top it off, the agent accused us of taking advantage of them and the landlord when we put in amaintenance request for the wiring, cooler and fixing of the screens after the previous request for rubbish removal, window repairs and security system deactivation. The left the fridge and the gas stove in the garage, it isn't even on our lease, and we were promised when we signed the lease that all rubbish (apart from one wardrobe) would be removed.
We are horribly frustrated with this particular agent, and the landlord - the house was not prepared adequately (or legally) for the rental market. Especially considering the house is in Wheelers Hill, typically a higher-than-usual quality rental area. We are paying a fortune for this house, and expect it to be in working order, and don't expect to be insulted for requesting this! We still haven't got the wiring fixed! We've wasted the monetary equivalent of three months of rent in missed work time. *grr* Can you tell I'm fuming.
Please email me for the agent details if you are interested in avoiding them.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
I'm very glad we started the packing, etc two weeks prior to getting the keys, and are having a two week overlap for moving/cleaning. We will be booking cleaners, carpet cleaners and gardeners to do the tidy and clean before handing our current house back to the agents as I don't have the energy or time spend.
Even though I'm taking it relatively slowly, pain is increasing with stress and activity levels.
Sunday, October 2, 2005
Sunday, September 11, 2005
I just stumbled upon an excellent way of describing how a person with chronic illness feels (the spoon theory). Adapting to full time work is much harder than I thought, especially with the extra 'out of hours' studying, seminars, volunteer work and classes just to further my skills in the area so I am seen to be 'adding value' to my position. It really shows when bad news gets to me - I have no energy to spare after work commitments - I don't even have the energy to eat, let alone cook.
Now I'm meant to be cleaning the house and creating (or rather fixing) a very badly designed website (that's the volunteer bit), when I'd really just like to curl up with my cats and sleep most of the days away. I'm overdrawing on my spoon supply, and wondering when I'm going to pay for it.
Thursday, September 1, 2005
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Sunday, August 14, 2005
My three month probationary period is over, and I've accepted the permanent position as a technical writer, although, at present I feel a lot more like a project manager. Two projects I've essentially finished, the more daunting one only just last week. It had started to really get to me, as I couldn't drag useful feedback from the people I needed to, no matter how hard I tried. I had received excellent feedback from a load of other people, which was wonderful. I guess that's what happens when you work for a multi-national company.
I actually got some things done during the weekend, despite having a concert on Saturday evening. A small amount of cleaning and washing, some gardening (planting of seedlings and Seasol'ing the entire garden), and I even cooked banana bread. Normally I have enough energy to sleep. Am horribly sore now (from the watering with a can), with the beginnings of a very bad fibro flare. I'll have to go for a walk tomorrow, or to gym, or something, otherwise I'll have a devil of a time sitting all day.
This week I get to come in to work at 3am on one day for a seminar (webinar), presented in the States, and of course, not repeated at any sensible time for anyone else. At least I'll go home early and sleep lots. In a couple of weeks I'll be taking over the webmaster job for the Victoria tech writer's association. Their website desperately needs updating, and apparently I was the only one who responded to their calls for volunteers. That's one of the areas I miss in my current job (dirtying my hands with HTML hacking).
Anyhow... sleep time....
Sunday, August 7, 2005
Sunday, July 17, 2005
"Bored with your drums? Use them as flip flops!" - Kevin Bishop, Eurovision 2005
The new(ish) job is going well. I've recruited at least one other person to join the company as a technical writer, and have almost finished the documentation project I was given when I started (which was a lot larger than anyone expected). Now I'm working on a huge open ended project, which I'm quite enthusiastic about, but also fairly apprehensive about how it will be received. My body hasn't gotten used to working full time yet. By the time the weekend rolls around, my pain levels have gone up quite a lot, and I end up sleeping 13-18 hours Friday and Saturday nights.
I don't even check email most weeknights now, getting home in the dark and cold, I immediately sit in front of the heater, have dinner, then go to bed. I had no idea working full time would put such a hold on everything else I want to do. So far a couple of bad health flares have stopped me getting seriously into gym, and I need to change the routine designed a couple of weeks ago to feel more comfortable.
I want to do about 30-40 mins of cardio, and do the ball (stabiliser) work at home. My old routine was very good (designed by a physio) but took 1.5-2 hours. As I only get 1 hour for lunchtime, I need to split it up. I haven't lost any weight yet, still have about 40kgs to lose :-\ I'm going to miss my weekly massage (therapist is away for a month), as it helps with the inflammation and fluid build up. Looking at getting a natural keyboard for work (and for home), and some more supportive chairs, as the shape of my back has changed quite a lot in the last year or so. Hives have settled again to requiring 1 anti-histamine every 2-3 days, much better than the twice a day dosage that I need when dealing with family.
Kitties are doing well, Gingy is still at about 7kg, and Smokey is as bright as ever. He'll come and attack the laser pointer 'pen', rather than the light on the floor when he's had enough. Thank goodness they can't get their own food!
Garden is growing, all the cuttings I took about this time last year have been planted out, and are thriving. Geraniums, daisies, lavender, chinese lanterns and a couple of low growing Australian natives now pepper the front garden. I'm hoping that come spring it won't look so desolate. Need to find energy to do the back garden, but am currently too sore.
Dinner time.... hopefully I'll be able to write more often in here, and update nifwlseirff.net in the near future...
Friday, June 24, 2005
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Last night on Insight (ABC television), there was an interview with Peter Costello where various disability groups were present in the audience. It was primarily regarding what the current government were doing to help the disabled (including physical and mentally handicapped, elderly, single mums, carers, etc). There is a new policy of 'encouraging' these groups to continue working, past the normal retirement age, and for single mums, once their children are attending school.
Most of the questions asked by the audience were nonsensical, an example was given of a single mum, with a toddler (not school age) who was also caring for her disabled mother and brother. As carers are actually provided an allowance, and her toddler was not attending school, she does not fit into the normal 'single mother' category that the government are encouraging to work. (Not to mention that the description of the toddler's behaviour indicated some serious problems which were not presented as such. Possibly ADHD, and certainly a lack of respect of the mother by the toddler, also in reverse from the mother to the toddler).
Only one audience member picked up that Costello didn't actually answer any of the questions - he skirted them very adroitly, which I was quite disappointed at. Apart from showing his skills at avoiding answering questions, and highlighting the general public's inability to ask intelligent and relevant questions, this show was a complete waste of time. A pity, really.
In one of the loos today I saw an old campaign sticker that commented about the government's lack of support for women returning to the workforce, and couldn't help thinking that this is just one of many 'about faces'.
Speaking of about faces.... I'm appalled at the curriculum cuts made in high school - if the two students have reported it correctly, matrices are no longer taught in Maths Methods or Specialist Maths, and in General Maths it's often left as a homework exercise for the students because "it's an easy subject"! Long division disappeared a couple of years ago (I don't know if it has returned), and I'm left wondering, what's next in Maths?
The lack of language skills shown by students who have gone right through the education system in Australia from start to finish, is completely appalling. Often the overseas students surpass their ability to summarise and use grammar correctly.
Having said that, there are some overseas students who have only scraped through the entry English exams, that really should not have been allowed to pass.
Anyhow... I'm now worried about how next week's CSE1301 prac will go, as it assumes knowledge of matrices in order to teach the concept of 2D arrays.... ug....
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
On the way to work today, I passed a bus stop advertisement that said:
- Do you like to text?
This was the first 'official' printed form of the verb 'text' that I had come across. This started me musing on how when this generation of primary school children get to University, they would not understand 'correctly' if we asked the to "write a piece of text". We would get submissions in that horrid language which evolved for only one purpose - to fit as much content into as few letters as possible. 'Text' these days seems to refer to both the language (often spelt as 'txt') and the act of writing in that language ('txting').
I must be getting old, as language evolution like this surely has been happening all through my life, but this time I've actually been rather shocked and horrified.
Friday, April 8, 2005
Gingy's also been terribly dependent recently as we are both away for most of the day, plus recently, weekends and some evenings, so they have been missing their regular playtime with their humans. It hasn't fazed Smokey at all, and the effects are somewhat lessened by providing them with Real-TV (my bedroom window with the net cutains drawn aside, the can watch birds insects flit around).
However, it's a little worrying that Gingy spends a lot of his time pining when he can't find his humans. I'd hate to think what he would be like without Smokey to keep him company!
Friday, April 1, 2005
*sigh* water retention gone... probably due to a combination of things including stopping the continous pill for a week, eating loads of asparagus, drinking plenty of water, resting, drinking various herbal concoctions.
However.. the ankle pain and swelling has remained, and although is currently manageable (on the days I'm not on my feet much), I know what is going to happen next week. At the end of each day I'll crawl home in agony and crash in bed cos my feet are killing me. I did buy new sneakers today, which may help with the arch pain, but not with the swelling. The doc said there is most definitely inflammation around the ankles (and quite bad at that), and is most likely rheumatoid arthritis. I was not prepared for her saying that, as I was hoping it was just my body stubbornly not letting go of the fluid. I don't need yet another auto-immune disease to add to my already high pain levels! She doubts that it could be caused by the hives, but doesn't want to refer me off to a rheumy specialist till the allergist has had a look at me and taken loads of tests.
It's kind of interesting (in a morbid, depressing way), endometriosis, adenomyosis, costochondritis, sciatica, fibromyalgia, hives and CFS are all disorders/diseases that focus on the body attacking itself. So it would make sense that RA would be the next thing to develop, as my body is currently a crazy war zone of all of the above. And I'm going out of my mind at the moment trying to deal with it. *sob*
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Doctors visit yesterday was not overly pleasant as the doc had to push around my tummy (at least she didn't poke the kidney area, cos it's horribly sore from the sciatic trying to play up). I was there to find out if there was something wrong that was (is) causing my legs, ankles and feet to swell up horribly. As I'm on my feet for most of the day and walking up to 2 hours each day, I end up not being able to walk at night :-\ Doc thinks it's due to the continuous pill, building up stockpiles of oestragen and progestogen, so I'm taking a week break to see if it helps the fluid go away again. She was also not happy with my blood pressure (140/100), and is the fourth doctor to threaten blood pressure medication. I'm seeing her in a week and will be doing everything in the meantime to get it down to something a little more normal.
So... looking for gentle natural diuretics. So far the suggestions have included: parsley, asparagus, celery (yuck), and caffeine (which I'm going to mostly avoid). I don't want to stress my kidneys much as they are probably playing a sluggish part in not getting rid of the water. I have a week of non-teaching over easter, so will be resting and hopefully recovering!
Monday, March 21, 2005
Saturday, March 12, 2005
Tue/Wed/Thu I ended up in bed as soon as I got home (or after a bath), as I could not walk, the pain in my legs was excruciating. It didn't help that my insteps have truly ruined my feet (they are very badly fitted - a wasted $450!). My right foot has a solid bump (created by pressure) right down the outside now, so I'm in my old sneakers for a couple of weeks to a month till I get enough money to buy a decent new pair. The bump is similar to what I get on my wrists using a mouse without a gel pad for support. The doc's once described it as kind of a benign cyst, caused by pressure. I don't know what they are, but they hurt :-\
On Friday I was feeling a lot better, till I walked home, then I crashed again for a couple of hours. However I was up and cooking dinner in the evening (something not even considered on the other days!). By the end of the night I was dead again due to too much being on my feet for cleaning up the kitchen, putting washing away, etc.
The kitties are a little off-kilter with me not being there during the day, and then crashing as soon as I return (they happily crash with me though, they'll keep me company till my bedtime, then they'll be up and playing).
Gingy has managed to lose his collar again, this time it's probably in the spot Smokey has hidden his - I still haven't found them. But... we bought some elasticised collars a couple of shops ago, so we could deal with this problem - Gingy seems _much_ happier with it, possibly as it doesn't have a tag. Smokey's elastic collar is being frayed by lots of claw work, and actually looks really cute (royal purple threads fringing his neck).
The classes... CSE1301 (intro C programming) and 2395 (Perl) tutes don't start till next week, as does consultation, so my hours will go up again by about 10 hours, but only 4 of that will require me to be standing. The rest of the classes (apart from one) were a lot of fun, and being all 'intro to windows/linux' pracs, they mostly finished early. My CSE1304 classes have a lot of students who aren't first years, which makes them noisy and much more fun! Looks like I also get to keep my 3 student prac - yay! Small classes mean a lot more interaction, which with prof. comms. is a lot more fun.
The only class that didn't work that well was the CSE1301 prac, although there are a couple of very good students in there, there are a lot who don't listen to instructions, and need very detailed guidelines. I tend to run my classes loosely, in that I wander around helping and marking over people's shoulders when I notice they have completed a section. I keep track of whether they understand what they are doing by the questions that they ask, and how they go about debugging problems while I'm wandering.
I had a couple of students in this prac who were completely put out by me saying, yup - you have a floppy, therefore I trust that you have done the 'How to use a floppy' part, they seemed to want to show me every tiny step they made (and they did it slowly). This will make it hard for the other students to get help. I hope those students settle into a less demanding role.
Oh yeah... and the first class of the week contained that student who emailed me (claiming I was discriminating against working students). They didn't say a word, which means I have no idea if they understood anything I said during the tute.
I forgot my keys on Wednesday, so had to wait a long time before I could get in (over an hour). I was in loads of pain, and close to tears, but I managed my old way of coping - doing gardening. I tilled the potato patch, turning under all the borage seedlings == from one plant it's now a weed in this garden!!!). The soil has become beautiful with all the straw that composted into it, so hopefully this weekend I'll put some seeds out (and hopefully will get more than a few measly carrots for my efforts! The last seed planting just did not work). I also raked out the weeds from the other half where I could reach without over-exerting myself. I am looking forward to getting out there today/tomorrow to plant and re-arrange pots, and take cuttings.
I've started a new x-stitch, one that Debbie brought back from Canada (Celtic Seasons). It had a bad start to life as I had to unpick wrongly counted sections twice. But it's coming along. It's a lot larger than I originally thought, so it may be a while till I finish it. I should start the second hedgehog for Helga's birthday in June (I finished her Xmas present in Feb, but it hasn't been washed yet. Another task for this weekend).
I need to get some work done though, specifically a Perl script to parse and rip out info from assignment submissions. I guess this is practise for my Perl tute next week, as the tutorial hasn't been written yet (probably get that on Monday). I'm actually looking forward to the pracs next week - it's not the stupid intro stuff. I'm enjoying being back tutoring (as opposed to lecturing), even though it's killing me physically.
Oh, and I finally got an appointment with the Alfred allergy clinic, so my hives will finally be looked into (after 6 months!!). I talked to the pharmacist and he said it was fine to double my medication (Telfast, top dosage, once a day == to one every 12 hours), when the flare is bad.
I must have done something good this week (possibly the three baths and lots of rest when home!), as they aren't too bad. There are random spots all over, and my head is horridly itchy (and bumpy), but not the 'sheets' of swellings that was common for a couple of months.
I don't know whether to put it down to the doubled meds, or me just being more settled, or the many salty baths. It doesn't seem to react to any foods (I thought a little while back there that it may react to dairy, which I shouldn't have anyway), soaps/moisturisers/scrubs don't seem to make it any worse or better. So it will be interesting to see what the Alfred doc comes up with.
Weight-loss isn't happening, but with all the walking, I have certainly noticed a fit difference in my clothes. So maybe I'm creating muscle as I'm losing fat? Give it a little longer.
I've recently calculated at a couple of websites that I should be having 1800-2000 calories per day to lose weight (and 2500 to maintain). This was different to the PalmPDA program suggested (1300!!). I finding it relatively easy to stick to 1500, but had a couple of days there where I binged (and didn't beat myself up about it - I deserved it with all the walking, teaching and stress!)
Anyhow... off to do stuff not on the computer....
Friday, March 4, 2005
I've been told several times this week (with variations of wording but the exact same meaning): "You walk to uni, and you are back tutoring, therefore you must be better." How come the vast majority of people do not realise that chronic typically means "will not recover or get better". I mean, yes, I'm dealing with the pain a lot better than I used to, with more natural means and with less medication, but has the amount of pain changed? No. I have a adenomyoma that is continually growing, and it is pressing into my bowel. I do not get a break from pain. Nor do I get a break from the fatigue and other secondary symptoms that the pain causes. To get rid of the adenomyoma I need a full hysterectomy, and I'm not ready to do that and enter menopause (again).
I was insulted recently by email, by a first year student who stated that I was discriminating against them because they were working (they wanted a completely new tutorial opened on a Friday, just for them, which was impossible because the tute material needed to be covered before the pracs). This student said that it was discriminatory because I was getting special treatment (having not completed honours due to medical reasons), but because I was tutoring, it was obvious that I was not completing honours due to work reasons (not medical). He got this information by visiting my non-work home-page, and despite the medical information on that page, surmised that I was only having difficult with my course because I was working.
Note that my first reply to his request was to simply say that "Policy says that if you are enrolled in a course, you should be able to attend scheduled classes. Work commitments must be scheduled around study commitments. I can arrange an early or late tutorial time on a Monday if that makes it easier to arrange with your employer." - this was what prompted the rude email to me saying I was discriminating against him.
I politely passed the complaint on to my superior (who deals with timetabling classes, and not simply timetable reorganising in the event of clashes), who repeated what I said, and commented that the student's complaint about me was "inappropriate and unprofessional", and that the university has a separate policy for dealing with medical problems, and that my medical problems were none of their business. The student apologised for 'having escalated the complaint' and blamed my use of 'scary legal terms like rules and law' (although, I only used the word 'policy').
I'm still waiting for a personal apology (which I think is not forthcoming), and am desperately hoping this student is not in one of the classes I am teaching.
I am completely sick and tired of the sentiment that if you can work (teach), then you should be able to study. They require a completely different set of skills. Studying at an honours level requires a huge amount of concentration - much of the coursework and thesis work is completely new, not just to the student, but in the field. You need to be able to concentrate for long stretches and think clearly enough to reason your way through obstacles or arguments against your approach. Actually doing programming also requires clear thinking and extended periods of concentration.
Teaching subjects that I have taught upwards of 5 times before, requires empathy (to see when the students understand or need explanations in a different way), but not as much in the way of extended concentration or reasoning skills. I could probably teach the entire content of CSE1303 Part A blindfolded, without any lecture notes, and probably with my hands tied behind my back. I can certainly teach while dealing with chronic pain and fatigue. But I cannot study through the pain and the associated mental fog.
Chronic pain... it's invisible. Because it is not in society's face means that it is never considered, never allowed for. Sufferers are often told that they imagine it. For years my family accused me of being a hypochondriac, even when every visit to the doc showed I was acutely sick each time (13 UTIs each year should have made someone worry about the cause, let alone the many bouts of bronchitis each year, migraines, sciatic pain, period pain, and dysmennoreah). So right from the start of childhood I have been ill, but did not even receive help from my family, let alone much consideration at school of all levels, or later at work (until I raised an OHS case for stupidly designed doors - which were impossible to use if you were disabled).
I read recently that a respected doctor in the field of migraines/headaches and head trauma had commented publicly (in a newspaper), that the majority of the 'migraine' sufferers that turned up to the emergency room, were only there to get their next hit. In other words, he did not consider that they were there because of the pain, but because they were 'junkies'. Even specialists do not take chronic pain seriously, let alone treat the sufferers with respect!
It's all very distressing, and there is nothing one 'lowly' sufferer can do about it. The most hurtful insult I have ever received regarding the diseases that I suffer from, was from a Christian minister who vehemently stated that because I don't have faith in Jesus (and God), and didn't follow their religion, that my health conditions were my punishment. Oh yes, and he also said that anyone who did not believe, was automatically condemned to hell and in league with the devil. If anything, that family pushed me further away from their faith than anything else I had come across, and they truly believed that by saying those things, they would get me to 'convert'.
Please don't take insult if you are religious in any way. I quite accept and encourage beliefs where they are not used to persecute others, which is how the majority of Christians act. I take offense to those who actively try to convert people to their faith, and condemn anyone not of their faith, either through actions, verbally or even just in their thoughts. Most religions value tolerance above most other virtues, and yet most of the problems in this world are caused by intolerance (especially of other religions)! I wonder if the world would be better without religion at all. I have this nagging feeling that the human race would just find something else to fight as bitterly about. Religion is useful for many people - it helps them get through the day, provides a valuable sense of community, and many wondrous things are done in the name of religion. But so many horrors are perpetrated for the same cause.
And now I think I'm ranted out for the day...
Thursday, March 3, 2005
I had been waiting for this movie for a while because of the absolute gorgeousness of the trailer. And it certainly lived up to that, in the aspects of costumes, effects, landscapes and creatures. Storyline, character depth, acting quality, dialogue quality? Nonexistant! Still, I enjoyed it immensely! I spent much of the film agonising over two of the characters that I had recognised, but could not remember from where. About halfway through, I realised the main female character was 'Electrogirl' from Angel. It took me until the credits to realise that Karl Urban (Eomer in LOTR) was one of the male leads, he just looks so wrong with dark hair! ;> I did, however, recognise Judi Dench's voice-over immediately, without even realising she was a cast member.
If you are looking for a good story, I'd recommend not watching it. However, if you want funky effects that are actually very well done, a gorgeous environment, and great costumes, then a definite recommendation! For some reason the music hasn't stuck with me... strange that.
This is another movie I had been wanting to see once it hit DVD (I avoid 'flashing' style movies in the cinemas as that is a sure fire way of giving myself a migraine). I wasn't expecting much, and it didn't deliver much by way of characters or storyline. The history aspect was interesting, as was the combination of three cultures (in heiroglyphs, etc). The effects were good, although the aliens were not as believable as they were in #4 (which is my favourite of the series). The science used was quite unbelievable (Babylonian dates using a metric system? I don't think so....).
Still, it was fun, it was action packed, it had decent special effects, the music and sound was done well, and it set the scene for a much wider scope of storylines for future Alien and Predator movies, whether the two races are combined or not. I could think up a whole hoard of what-if's and storylines. The special features on the DVD weren't overly inspiring, but it was interesting to see just how much expansion AvP had in the comic industry. I had no idea! Probably only collectible to complete the Alien set we have (and it's a whole load better than Alien 3, but that's not saying much).
Wednesday, March 2, 2005
Luckily (or stupidly), he came up to me when I went outside calling to him, so he was locked inside very quickly. Much upset, crying ensued at all windows and doors when he realised that he had been outside, and missed his chance to explore. Food managed to quieten him a bit, but not for long.
As a result of this escape, the collars of doom (with bells on) were put on both kitties. They hate the bells, Gingy (aka MegaCat, because he is over 5kg and still a kitten!), kept backing away from the collar. But for some reason, he never got further away from the bell! (His expression was hilarious).
Smokey was simply stressed, and unhappy. So, the bells came off, and we decided to refit their collars on Friday night, when we'd be home for more than 24 hours straight.
This fuss did make Smokey forget that there was a world outside. The refit went smoothly with me around to keep an eye on them. I ended up playing with them constantly for several hours (they completely wore me out), to distract them from their collars.
A couple of days later, Gingy's collar was discovered in the hall, and was put back on immediately.
Smokey sees this and thinks...
- "If I lose my collar in plain view, it is refitted as soon as it is seen. Hmmmm....."
Three days later, and turning the washing baskets, couch cushions, curtains and everything in the house upside down looking for it, I still can't find it. He is not-a-cat, too smart....
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
| You scored as Gandalf. You are Gandalf! This wise, old mage is loyal and brave. He is known for his counsel and advice to his friends and allies during tough times. "All you have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to you."|
Which LOTR character are you?
created with QuizFarm.com
Monday, February 21, 2005
I am now finally weaned from Efexor, as of a few days ago. The skips have been extremely bad during the last couple of days, although they are seeming to occur less often today. Perhaps they are slowly disappearing. My mood swings have been terrible, with all the stress of not getting enough tutoring work to cover rent/bills/medical/food, and my computer continually playing up, I broke for the first time yesterday. It had been building up over the past couple of years, with my health continually deteriorating, cutting ties with family, work screwing me around, the unpaid overtime I had to work, and being very angry at myself for not being able to do any honours study in the past few years.
I found out last week that an ex-AL has been offered (and accepted) the position of lecturing CSE1303 part A, the exact subject I lectured 5 times. No-one mentioned to me that they needed someone to do it, and I'm very upset that they didn't ask. Everyone who was organising lecturers/subjects knew I was desperately looking for tutoring work, and not getting enough hours, yet they pick someone who has had no experience lecturing, let alone lecturing the hardest first year CSE subject. *bah* I'm still very angry. Still, I do have the 'head tutor' position for that subject (the faculty decided they did need people to do the AL's tasks, thus they invented head tutor positions, which include all the old AL tasks, except for paying the tutors).
The huge coughing fit also showed exactly how much gunk is on my lungs (fluid), so I need to be much more strenuous in coughing and more consistent in taking my vitamins. I now understand why I've been so exhausted recently - fluid of any kind in the lungs, with or without infection, is horribly tiring. I had noticed it was painful to breathe at times, and simply put it down to costochondritis, and didn't push myself to cough/breathe deeply.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
Discovered yesterday when I turned it on for the first time that the BIOS had forgotten everything and refused to boot before we went through and checked all the settings. However, an extra $18 got me a lovely strong silent power supply.
So here I am, with music playing, and not being able to hear the computer without really listening for it. Ahhhhh, bliss! I'll never want to use my noisy Windows machine again.
Study is fairly cat proofed - the windowsill is now clear, and the old Valhalla cinema posters have been thrown (they were decorating the desk under the glass surface, and really bugging me). Shelves got re-organised so I can easily get to my herb collection, and no longer need the third desk in the study.
That will give me a bit more room to set up a good area for meditation, as well as give me room for dressmaking, because the second desk is also completely clear.
Am much happier in this space now!
The shelves in my bedroom also got a small re-organisation, books got compressed into taking up two fewer shelves so I can put my vitamins/oils/etc in an easy to reach spot that will also remind me to take them when I get up in the morning, and use the oils to help sleep at night.
I'm busy washing/drying curtains so I can pack them away (cats love climbing curtains - I've had to pull back my bedroom net curtains to save them). This will make the house seem lighter and less dingy (think 60's/70's greens, browns, creams, mmm).
Grr.... looks like the power management is screwing up again... time to scour the linux config...
Wednesday, February 9, 2005
I have just been catching up on a few of the email support groups for various types of chronic pain that I have subscribed to, and have been shocked at the number of 'abusive' stories there are in the members' backgrounds. It seems that nearly every member of the various groups has had abusive childhoods or relationships. This seems to suggest a very strong link between chronic stress and chronic pain conditions. I'd like to know if there have been any studies of this, especially at what average age the conditions develop (due to early childhood trauma).
My chronic pain started before I was a teen (sciatica), and then endo pain kicked in shortly after that, and progressively got worse over the years. Costochondritis flared about the same time as sciatica, as did the migraines. CFS, adeno, sinusitis and recurrent bronchitis happened later, shingles and various other problems occured sporadically throughout my school years. When I actually stop to really think about it, due to the 13+ UTIs and kidney infections I had each year for as long as I can remember (I've since been told it was directly due to the abuse), I have had to deal with a lot of pain at a much younger age. Hmmm...
The various groups support endometriosis, adenomyosis, fibromyalgia, CFS, back and joint problems, multiple sclerosis, fibroids, PCOS, costochondritis, you name it, someone in at least one of the group has it, and nearly everyone suffers with depression and many (most?) are overweight (exercise is difficult, it hurts like crazy and in many cases, is impossible).
Tuesday, February 8, 2005
Obviously this is a very subjective measure, but for me, it's the same reason that I get lost in some books - depth. Depth of story, depth of characters, depth of acting, and the amount of effort put into wardrobe, effects, makeup and music.
Although the series that I've got into recently don't have as much in the realm of effects/plot arcs/etc, they definitely have their moments.
Criminal Intent has some really twisted story lines, and the lead actor projects depth of character really well. It helps that one of the DA's (I think that's what his character is) looks like my ex-boss.
One series that I have really started to like is NCIS, mainly due to the characters and their interactions. There's the stereo-typical punk-goth Abby, who is quite geeky and has some fantastic quips (paraphrased): "I've some good news and some bad news. Bad news, the victim had a burger and fries for his last meal, probably everyone else on the base had the same. The good news - I know what's in the 'Special Sauce'! *bounce*"
It's so rare to see such a 'realistic' portrayal of a goth on TV. (I'm sure I will be flamed for this one!)
The characters are quite stereo-typical, but played so well that it just works. The geek, who makes a great hacking team with Abby, the scientist/mortician/forensics expert who has an incredible memory for details and strange anecdotes, and likes to talk the ears off anyone who'll listen. The all-American-Jock, who I although haven't figured out why he is on the team, is rather useful for getting things done, and for having his mind broken by the rest of the team. Leaving the profiler, who hasn't shown much depth yet, and the team leader, who delights in tormenting his team (and shows his delight when they do well - a good boss).
Another series that I've gradually warmed to is the Gilmore Girls. Yes, yes... very unlike me to like such a show. I wish I had Lorelai for a mum! It's unbelievable that there exist people such as these - everything is too fast paced. Then there is the town and the townsfolk - a very odd bunch. Maybe similar people do exist, but I've just never met them. Neat show all the same.
Of course there are my favourites, which most people can guess - Babylon 5, Crusade, Star Trek:DS9, Dark Angel, Xena, SG1, Buffy, Angel and Farscape. All of these have decent depth of story, engaging characters, neat special effects and makeup, and typically great costumes (and some appalling ones too!)
Monday, February 7, 2005
Speaking of diets.. I need to lose 35kg. So... one of my resolutions this year, is to lose it all.
Unfortunately, at the moment I'm in a down cycle - looks like student numbers have at least halved again, which means hardly any classes that need tutors. This is Not Good (tm), as I need at least 22 contact hours to pay rent/bills/food/medical/etc, and was hoping for at least 30 (pay off visa). So far I've only got 6 contact hours, and I'm panicking. And craving pizza (doubly bad with all that cheese - I'd end up in lots of pain, or rather, lots more pain).
I will be applying at various libraries for part and full time positions. I'd prefer to work close to home, as I'd like to continue walking (hmm... must do more of that). Pain levels are very bad at the moment, and I'm having a lot of trouble opening jars/bottles and reaching/stretching for anything (doesn't help that my back has been continually cramped for a couple of days).
Another resolution.. stretching - every day, and yoga at least twice a week. Obviously weight can't be lost easily without some form of exercise, but unfortunately I'm not really able to at the moment. Still, stretching is good, as is rolling around on my back with legs tucked in (helps with sciatic pain).
I should focus also on stress-reducing activities, the hives have come back with a vengeance because I am stressing over the lack of tutoring (I should look at other universities, it's not like I owe my workplace any loyalty after the way they have treated me in the last year).
So, that brings me to yet another resolution - regular meditation/relaxation sessions. It will be easier when I am home, as it works best with candle flames (and my huge collection is obviously not with me while I'm house-sitting). Smokey has taken a liking to attacking candles - especially stealing tea-lights out of their holders. Silly cat! I've been missing my boys heaps. The two cats I'm cat-sitting are definitely not kittens, very placid and boring. However, they do have blunt claws, so there is an upside.
I've been able to get some cross-stitching done, but not as much as I would have liked. I need to focus more on my hobbies - I'm sure that would reduce stress.
So... regular writing, drawing, stitching, gardening, cooking, belly-dancing, knitting, patch-working and reading, here I come. I certainly have been reading loads and loads of fiction, magazines and non-fiction.
I am toying with the idea of starting a monthly or semi-regular stitch'n'bitch/pamper/cook-in/garden/music/wine'n'dine/something 'thing'. Don't know who would be interested though, or who I'd feel comfy with. Pain/depression is a difficult thing for others to deal with, and is also uncomfortable for me to see others struggling to deal with seeing my pain. Of course, if I get a high-contact time job, it's likely I'll be too dead and/or bedridden, at least for a few months. It's easiest for me if people just treat me as normal when it's obvious....
There is the established Tuesday Settlers night - nearly 8 years now of weekly Settlers! Of course, these regulars use the German version - 6 player with Seafarers and Cities & Knights, and is very competitive. This bunch have proven beyond a doubt that their dice are biased, although the exact form of the bias changed when they started using an actual wooden table instead of a tablecloth covered, rickety plastic one.
And there is the brilliant regular video night, which over the past 4 years, has plowed through all of Bab5, Buffy, all but the last season of Angel, loads of movies, and nearly a season of Dark Angel. We should be getting the final season of Angel within the month - yay! As I don't get out much, this is really the extent of my contact with humanity (the comfort of home, where I have heat packs, pain-killers and various other remedies on hand is mostly why I don't get out much), unless you count online stuff.
Having detached from my family, especially while house-sitting by myself, I'm feeling very remote and lost. Am feeling quite desperate to get home, to try to resurrect my garden from the deadness that has occurred due to the horrid weather, and to be around my stuff. All my herbs and oils are at home, and I'm itching to toy with some new herbal teas.
Ahh, well, less than a week to go now. I'm going to stop rambling now, and get something healthy to eat (mmm... salad :-\), play with Tiger (he's bored and chasing his tail on the chair next to me as if it isn't part of him, and yes - he's a cat, albeit nothing like my crazy kitties), then get some more xstitch done and watch Totoro again...
Sunday, February 6, 2005
Why am I not suprised? (equal Buffy/Tara similarity)
| You scored as Buffy Summers. You are a very strong individual. You do, however, have some trouble admitting how you truely feel. You've experienced a lot during your life, but you more than manage. Always willing to help, you're a great friend. |
Which Buffy The Vampire Slayer Character Are You Most Like!?
created with QuizFarm.com
PS - Flash treatment of Sinister Ducks - *giggle*
Wednesday, February 2, 2005
Friday, January 28, 2005
This is an absolutely fantastic book, packed full of natural remedies and recipes for all kinds of things! Topics covered include cleaning, body care, natural toiletries, natural health care, first aid, fragrance products, gifts, natural home products (including discussions about choice of of furniture, wall coverings, textiles, floors, appliances, shoes and more), pest control and so much more. The section on gardening is very easy to follow and covers the usual topics, such as composting, worms, pest control, fertilisers as well as keeping chooks and choosing the right plants for your garden.
Alan writes in an easy to read conversational manner, all the ideas are sensible and no-nonsense. The Australian author provides a list of further reading and resources (including many Australian references), which although somewhat out of date, most entries are still relevant. This is a book that I definitely intend to purchase when I get the chance.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
This is a book full of beautiful ideas to enhance, declutter and decorate a living room. Jane looks at what the living room is used for and discusses various decoration themes based on the main use of the room. Feng shui techniques are used, energy flow is explored, colour and fabric use is discussed and aromatherapy basics are introduced. Energy cleansing techniques and simple blessings are also touched on briefly, and ways of using sound and textures are also considered. Creative storage ideas and finishing touches lend a practical aspect.
Beautiful illustrations enhance this simple book, written in an easy to follow, conversational tone, making this a useful resource for designing, creating and decorating a relaxing, practical and gorgeous family living space.
Denise Linn has written a down to earth book, packed with ideas for creating peaceful, energetic, and happy atmospheres both at the office and home. Decoration ideas, the use of colour, light, sound, smell and textures are all discussed in depth, focusing on how each affects the perceptions and feelings of the occupants of the space. Feng Shui ideas are touched on, but a more relaxed approach is encouraged. Denise refers to this as 'intuitive Feng Shui', and is in my opinion, a more sensible way to analyse and decorate any living or working space, as opposed to following rigid 'rules'. Energy cleansing, clearing and enhancing techniqes using music, bells, incense, chanting, and many other tools are discussed.
Often the history of these techniqes is also included, with Denise noting where and how they are used in different cultures. Many anecdotes and practical examples are noted, which increases enthusiasm and understanding for working with your spaces. Although I think some of the decoration and placement sections would benefit from illustrations, there are excellent textual descriptions. There are sections covering gardens and office spaces, often not covered by other books on the same topic. A good reference for creating a 'home with a heart', ideas that are easy to use, and explanations that are easy to read.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
This caused a minor panic this morning, and again I am so glad I have another computer to work from, even if it is only a Win98 system.
If you do the online update, you should check that in /boot, initrd is linked to the correct file (with the same ending as the vmlinuz symlink target). ie. initrd -> initrd.<stuff here>.um vmlinuz -> vmlinuz.<stuff here>.smb is wrong (and is what my system looked like).
It needs to be: initrd -> initrd.<stuff here>.smb
If you have the kernal panic, put in the boot CD, select installation, select language then select "Boot existing system" - this will create a horrible set of errors on booting, but will give you access to your system.
I'd imagine booting directly to rescue would work too, just mount the system, fix the symlink in /boot and away you go... Source of fix-it information - found with google...
*woot* I recovered my system all by myself!
Friday, January 21, 2005
Luckily, I was one of those few who did that, and my out of hours concentration went into music (jack-of-all-instruments and bands), loads of reading, working at the library and tennis.
Unfortunately after high school, the music aspect disappeared, tennis disappeared earlier (age 16) about the same time as my contract at the library expired (I got too old - 16), and reading amounts have been declining over the years.
I miss my music... Not piano or the clarinet, but definitely percussion, bass clarinet, and would still love to learn the cello and flute
I think this article should be mandatory reading on every high school and university year level's book list.
And now... I think I really shall go to sleep...
Health == crap... depression has completely bombed me out. Brother has phoned a couple of times noting that "Nanna would absolutely love to hear from me" as she is in hospital recovering. I haven't given in and phoned anyone to find out what happened or if she is ok. I'm being strong on that front. Not being strong on the food or the 'go outside' fronts. I'm at the stage where I get panicked when I'm about to go outside. Not good... Possibly made worse by weaning off Effexor (down to 2/3 of a dose per night (150mg normal dosage)). I have to go out tomorrow as I only have one tablet left. *sigh*
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Monday, January 10, 2005
Something took out everything except the processor, memory and the floppy drive.
- First the power supply was replaced, as we thought that it was just that part, but no...
- Memory was replaced... no good, so we stick with the old memory for the time being.
- Motherboard was next, swapping over the cpu/fan from the dead one.
- That did something, but the fan on the CPU was dead, and needed replacing.
- When the hard drives were plugged in, one little bit glowed, smoked and burst into flames. So I lost my Windows drive and data completely and irretrievably! :-\
- The other drive was recoverable (linux) with a replacement controller board, but there was nothing I needed on there.
- Video board was dead.
- The CDRom had enough self-control to pull the drawer in and out, but not to turn.
I think I slept through most of the ordeal, or watched various things on TV, trying to deal with a blinding headache (still have it).
Installing windows was a pain as the DOS fdisk really can't handle large disks. So Knoppix came in handy ;> Finding drivers for Windows was also not too easy, most of the hardware is years younger than Win98. But, it's all up and running now, with enough space to pack various games in. Yay!
I can see a linux upgrade to Suse 9.2 around the corner too.. but that means backing up current install to the Windows machine, something I'm not looking forward to. But... if it stops the linux box from requiring a file-system check on each start-up, I will be much happier.
Sunday, January 9, 2005
I got a KVM switchy-thingy so I could just the same keyboard/monitor/mouse with both my main linux box and the Windows box I occasionally use for games (or stuff that just must be done in something MS).
Unfortunately the cables or the switch itself isn't that good quality as the video signal was being reflected (everything had these lovely ghost echoes that hurt my head).
So.... decided to return that, and just test the screen with my windows box, which had been recently moved to the main desk, but hadn't been used for a couple of months. It decided not to turn on. Not even just to twitch the fan. Grrrr. Probably a power supply...
I am taking this to be a hint that I really should not be playing games while I house-sit.