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megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Default)
megpie71

June 2017

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megpie71: Kerr Avon quote: Don't philosophise at me you electronic moron; answer the question (don't philosophise)
Saturday, June 24th, 2017 09:07 am
I made a bit of a change to my routine this week - instead of staying in bed until I was ready to wake up on my own (which was about 8am, if not later) I set an alarm to get me out of bed at 6am. Why? Mainly because I was finding the 8am wake-up time meant I felt as though I was getting nothing accomplished in the day - I was having trouble getting dressed before 10am, having trouble getting the housework completed before my spoons ran out at about 2pm, and overall just feeling as though I wasn't getting anywhere. Since the switch to a 6am wake-up, I've been feeling much more positive about the amount of stuff I'm getting accomplished in the day (same amount as previously, it has to be said - I just feel more positive about it), particularly since I'm managing to get a certain amount of it done before 10am, and most of the housework completed prior to noon. My spoons still largely run out around 2pm, but I feel better able to manage things before then.

In the wake of the (much-delayed) delivery of an actual Perth Winter this week (cold, wet, grey, windy) I got all enthused and bought a new tarpaulin to cover our clothesline. The previous one had deteriorated to a set of holes, loosely held together by blue raffia, over the course of the past twelve months (well, a bit less than that, actually - maybe about ten months all up?), and it wasn't doing the necessary job of keeping the clothesline dry during rainy days. Given we don't have decent facilities for drying clothes inside the house on rainy days (we don't own a clothes dryer, and we can't afford to have a heater running all day in order to dry things off) we need the cover provided by a tarp over the clothesline. There are other reasons for the tarp as well - our clothesline is situated under the overhang of a neighbour's jacaranda tree, and jacarandas, while being lovely trees for the most part, drop leaves in late winter, purple blossoms in late spring, and are favourites of the local bird life all year round (who drop things I don't want on my nice clean laundry at all). So we pulled off the old one yesterday and lashed down the new one, and since I bought a good quality one which is UV-stable and has a 4-year warranty, it should hopefully work to keep things dry and clean for at least the next year or two.

What else happened this week? Oh, we got the renewal on the lease, which I have to print out so we can sign it and initial all the pages, before returning it to the real-estate people. So I'll probably do the printing out today, and we can get all the signing and initialling done over the course of the next couple of days and hand the wretched thing in on Monday.
megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Default)
Saturday, June 17th, 2017 11:03 am
This week the weather has been playing merry hob with my temperature sense at night. Early in the week I was throwing off the quilt in the middle of the night because I was overheating, and I wound up pulling the crocheted rug off the bed because it was just making the overheating worse. Then from Thursday onwards, I've been cold enough at night that I suspect I'm sleeping in the one position all night rather than lose heat (and consequently winding up with a strained shoulder and neck) - the crocheted rug is back on the bed, and I'm starting to consider whether bringing out the summer-weight quilt as well would be a useful move. Or I can give this a week and see whether our weather decides to flip back to comparatively warm nights.

A quick look at the weather forecast says it's possible we might get double-digit night time temperatures around Wednesday and Thursday next week, but single digits for the rest of the week (7 - 10C range for minima). Which, I think, means pretty much more of the same.

The house is cleaner than it was, and probably cleaner than it has been since about mid-March, really. I have free time, and lots of it, and I can now schedule things like cleaning the house as part of my daily routine without running out of spoons for other things. The dust doesn't know what hit it!

Aside from that, most of what I've been doing this week is noodling around on the internet reading things. I haven't even been playing games all that much, which is generally an indicator for me that I'm going through a bit of a depressive slump (which, yes, I am - reaction to not having the week full of uni stuff to deal with). I'm starting to get a bit better at dealing with things. I'm pulling out some old self-care habits, like alternating internet activity for thirty minutes with getting up and doing chores; something which made me more productive yesterday than I had been for most of the week. But it's all a work in progress.
megpie71: Simplified bishie Edward Elric is Scarred For Life (scarred for life)
Friday, June 16th, 2017 11:43 am
I've been having this run through my head lately as a bit of an earworm - I blame an article from the Guardian which linked me to a video clip for it (a very early seventies video clip, it must be said - be warned). But in a way, this song has been haunting me on and off since I first heard it when I was about five or six, on the radio. It's such a frightening song.

Why is it frightening? Well, go have a look at the lyrics. Think about the sort of life they're describing - when a person's daily options are limited to "cleaning the house for hours, or rearrange the flowers, or run naked through the shady streets screaming all the way" there's not much in there. It almost makes remaining in bed dreaming about fantasy lovers and singing nursery-rhymes sound like a reasonable alternative. And then of course, there's the final verse and chorus.

You know, I'm not quite sure what becomes of Lucy Jordan, but I don't really feel the options are particularly positive either way. I mean, as far as I can tell, the options are she either walks off the roof and dies; or she escapes completely into psychosis and hallucination, and gets carted off by the nice men with the hug-me jackets.

(I love that the lyrics were written by Shel Silverstein - the man behind things like "Cover of the Rolling Stone" and "A Boy Named Sue". A prolific lyricist and a man with a very sharp and satirical pen).

I suspect part of the reason it's been haunting me lately is because I'm feeling in a sort of "Lucy Jordan" situation at present - it's the inter-semester break for me, so there's no real reason to visit campus. Instead, I'm sort of trapped in the pseudo-agoraphobia I wind up in sometimes, where I want to leave the house and Do Things, but I can't think of an adequate justification for doing so. This is part of why I'm always an on-campus student at universities - having the routine of lectures and tutorials means I have a reason to get out of the house, and something to kick me out the door on a regular basis. But without a Good Reason, I tend to remain in the house, in front of the computer, noodling around the internet. So, if there's anyone in my reading list living in Perth, Western Australia, who would like to meet up for coffee/tea or similar, just let me know and we'll set a date. (Semester 2 starts on 31 July. Any time before then is my own - and I'd really appreciate any help people can give in filling it up with at least a few reasons to leave the house around once a week!)

(For those who have already been in touch, don't worry, I'm keeping you in mind!)
megpie71: Simplified Bishie Sephiroth says "Neat!" (Enthuse)
Thursday, June 15th, 2017 10:23 pm
I've just put up a consolidated post of various bits of Final Fantasy VII meta-fic and so on.

Available here: Various FFVII Meta Pieces
megpie71: Simplified Bishie Sephiroth says "OMG I Luv You" (I love you)
Saturday, June 10th, 2017 10:37 am
Well, I finished editing the short story I needed to submit for my Introduction to Writing unit, and I submitted that on Tuesday (due day was Thursday, so I'm getting in ahead of deadlines, which is a nice habit to be building). Which means my study requirements for the first semester of 2017 are now officially complete, and I'm done.

The owner of our place came out on Wednesday to measure up the kitchen for new cabinets (from Ikea), and he also cleaned out the gutters while he was here. This involved a lot of rather wobbly work on top of a ladder, but at least we now have nice clean gutters which will hopefully not overflow onto the front verandah (front of house) or the bathroom window (rear of house) in the next heavy rainfall. Now all we need is the heavy rainfall to test things. Unfortunately, it doesn't look as though we're going to get one of those any time soon. Best bet this week is possibly Wednesday, which is offering a 40% chance of about 0.4mm of rain. It's looking to be a dry winter this year.

In the wake of having finished all my study, I'm currently in a bit of a quandary about what to be doing with myself. I've wound up re-starting Villagers and Heroes (a free MMORPG) in the hopes of being able to use up a bit of the Copious Free Time I currently find myself endowed with (the problem with being on the dole is you wind up with lots of time, but not really enough money to actually do anything with it), although I'm running into my typical problem with these things - I've done the initial stages enough times to find them boring, but I can't be arsed to continue past the boredom to the point where I get to the interesting stuff. I may well start allocating myself a set number of hours of work in V&H per day, just to keep myself going through the dull bits.

Now, before anyone starts suggesting things I could be doing with myself during my downtime, can I just point out I'm a grown woman, and I'm posting these things more as an observation of how things are than a request for help. My inter-semester downtime will be lasting until the end of July, which means I have about a month and a half before I'm going to be back at uni again (classes start again on July 31). Don't panic, I think I can figure out how to entertain myself. If nothing else, there's two shelves of books waiting on their farewell re-read, and another few boxes of books in the storeroom which need to be opened and culled. I have plenty of stuff I can do. What I don't have (due to brainweasels and similar) is the impetus to do any of it. My brain is currently in mopey teenager mode at me, saying I'm boooored, there's nothing to dooooo, and when I suggest anything, it makes it very clear to me I've done the equivalent of suggesting cleaning my bedroom. Given I'm fast reaching saturation point with the inner teenager, I suspect things are going to be picking up soon-ish.
megpie71: Simplified Bishie Sephiroth says "Neat!" (Enthuse)
Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 09:18 am
Well, I've finished classes for the first semester, I just have to finish editing the short story (which is due on Thursday coming up), which mostly comprises minor tweaks to try and make it a little less "stations of the canon" and "cast of thousands", and then I'm done. I have completed a semester at university (again). I've come out of this one feeling a lot more positive about things than I have in a while - I genuinely feel I could keep up study with this level of support and assistance, and I do think it's helpful having the Access Plan in the background, so I know if everything comes collapsing down at once, I just have to wave that and I can get the help I need. Having my specialist support group mentor to talk with as well was a great help - just knowing I have someone else I can vent to about things if necessary was a great relief. Means if I get to the point where my brain is tying itself into knots and trying to do Weird Shit with my executive function, I at least have someone I can reach out to and say "okay, help!" and I know they'll do that, to the best of their ability. It's such a reassurance.

The rental inspection passed without a hitch - our property manager is familiar with the place and with us, and knows we're not likely to try and knock the place down without provocation. She was okay with the idea of us requesting another twelve months in the property (she asked us to send her an email about it, so she had a record - so I did that), and hopefully some time in the next few weeks, we'll start dealing with all the paperwork needed to ensure the renewal goes forward. If we're really lucky, we won't see an increase in the rent, either - we're in a declining rental market, so I doubt the rent will increase by much (if at all). Also we have the owner coming around on Wednesday morning to measure up the kitchen for Ikea cabinets (the ones from the carpenter apparently cost too much or something). So, we may be getting a better kitchen out of all of this ... or not.

Eating and food related stuff below the fold )

What else has been happening? Oh yeah, I've been writing up a chapter by chapter summary of a particularly long story for another author - something to use as a writer's reference for what happened when, who appeared at what time, etc. Oh, and the weather continues wintery - cold and clear, rather than wet and miserable. Although we are in with about a 40% chance of wet and miserable today. But other than that? We're all fine here. How are you?
megpie71: Avon looking unimpressed, caption "Bite Me" (Avon2)
Saturday, May 27th, 2017 12:05 pm
This week everything happened at once.

I've known for a while that I had an essay due, a rationale and reflection document due, a short story to write (1500 - 2000 words) and a rent inspection due at some point this month. This week, the uncertainty bubble surrounding the date of the inspection collapsed, and we discovered when it was going to happen: this coming Wednesday (it's due in May, Wednesday is the 31st of May, it apparently counts).

For those of you not ensnared in the morass of the Australian rental market, let me describe the joys of a rental inspection to you. Firstly, you get told the inspection is happening at some time on a given day - usually with about a week's notice. The current real estate agency are nice enough people - they narrow it down to "some time between 12pm and 5.30pm", which is positively generous. Before this happens, you need to have the property in a condition which would satisfy either your mother, or your mother-in-law (depending on who has the more rigid housekeeping standards - if neither of these qualify, pick your unfriendly local germophobe). You also need the gardens (if there are any) looking good as well - the local mowing places do a lot of good business out of people who have inspections due! So, once you have the property in pristine condition (including things like cleaning off light switches, wiping down walls and cleaning the oven) you wait for the property manager (if you're renting from a real-estate agency) or the owner (if you're renting directly) to come in and have a look over the place. Now, technically, they're not supposed to be judging you on your housekeeping standards - but we all know this is so much horse elbows, so yeah, they are. If it's a property manager, they come in and often (these days) take photos of the interior of the place, in order to prove you've left the walls where they were when you came in, and to prove the roof hasn't spontaneously fallen in or similar. This, of course, means they're usually taking photos of your goods and chattels as well. Anyway, they come in, do their walk through, make sure you haven't knocked the place down since they were last there, then breeze back out again after making a report for the owner. The whole business takes about fifteen minutes to half an hour tops, but it requires about a week's solid effort in preparation because the place needs to be pristine for them.

This happens every three months, by the way (four a year).

We had the tradesman come around to have a look at the kitchen cupboards on Friday at about 7.30 in the morning. He brought the owner with him, which I would have appreciated knowing about beforehand (while the house wasn't in "complete dog's breakfast" condition, it wasn't quite at "suitable for unknown strangers visiting" levels of cleanliness). Basically, the owner and the tradesman consulted with each other, and I suspect the outcome is going to be a replacement of at least some (if not all) of the kitchen benches. Now, when this will happen (and whether we'll be in the property when it does) is currently all up in the air - our lease expires on the 21st of July, and while I'm going to be talking to the property manager about getting another twelve months in the place nailed down, what may wind up happening is the owner might decide (in the interests of "not disrupting our lives", gods help us[1]) to give us our notice to quit at the end of this current lease, so he can get the tradies in to do things uninterrupted. Now, I don't know whether this is certain, probable or merely in the range of possibilities out there, but it's something I've added to the list of potential worries coming up.

I've mostly finished all the uni assessments - I finished off the editing of my major essay for one of my units this morning (it's been sitting there waiting to be done like an albatross around my neck for the last three or four days, but when I try to do it in the afternoon, my brain basically throws up an "Out of Spoons" error and refuses to parse the wretched thing). I just have the short story to write a first draft of (for workshopping purposes) by Tuesday. Which should be fun, right? But once I've submitted that short story (due the 1st of June) I've finished for the semester, and all I have to do after that is wait for my results.

Of course, this also means I have to go and speak to AtWork regarding Work for the Dole, since at present my university study qualifies as my Work for the Dole activity - and technically they have me on the books as needing to do Work for the Dole until about August or thereabouts. So I need to find out whether I'm going to be breaching my mutual obligation requirements if I don't immediately start doing something else (like picking up litter, sorting rags, washing bottles, or picking oakum) immediately the moment I've handed in this last assignment.

Still going on MFF, have deleted Avengers Academy from the tablet (since it wasn't going anywhere, and was crashing on a regular basis every time I tried to open it) and I'm getting very fond of Final Fantasy Record Keeper, which I've been playing for over a year now, and which hasn't crashed, glitched, or demanded money from me in all that time. Why can't there be more games like that?

[1] The logic here being that having renovations done around us would be disruptive. Which, yes, it would. But having to move out on short notice, and find another place to live in for the amount we can afford (preferably close to uni - that's the main qualifying feature of this place, by the way - it's close enough to the university that we can basically be there within 15 minutes of leaving the house) would be even more disruptive.
megpie71: Photo of sign reading "Those who throw objects at the crocodiles will be asked to retrieve them." (Crocodiles)
Saturday, May 20th, 2017 10:30 am
This week's fun thing was starting to play Möbius Final Fantasy on my tablet. I'd originally got interested reading about it on Steam, and tried downloading it for the PC, but got a message saying "this isn't available for your platform" (presumably the PC version doesn't work on Windows 10?). So I decided, sod this, I'll get it on the tablet instead.

Ramble/review of FFM beneath )

Other than that: winter continues apace - it started raining yesterday, and is forecast to keep raining for most of the next week or so. I've regained a lot of my spoons from the past few weeks - I'm back to cooking again, and I'm starting to get back into the routine of housework. Given we're forecast to have a rental inspection at some point this month, that's just as well, really. Oh, and one of the cabinet doors for the cupboard beneath the sink fell off - the weight of the door pulled the screws holding the upper hinge out of the wood they were anchored in. Given the doors have been falling out of alignment for a while now, to the point where closing them meant lifting them up and into position, I wasn't particularly surprised when it happened. Again, this place doesn't appear to have had any serious maintenance or non-urgent repair work done since my age was in single digits, so it's not surprising that when you put a couple of hefty doors onto a door-frame which is designed for something much lighter, the blasted things work themselves off in less than a year.

(For my non-Australian readers: welcome to the joys of renting in Australia, where asking the landlord for maintenance on the property can be essentially asking to find a new landlord - landlords evicting tenants for requesting maintenance is a known Thing here. Judging from the string of names - never the same name twice - we've noticed on the mail coming into the mailbox, it seems rather unlikely most tenants in this place stayed longer than about the standard six to twelve months of a fixed-term tenancy. Oh yes, that's another thing about renting in Australia - maximum fixed-term tenancy is twelve months at a stretch).

We're still continuing with the Caterpillar Cull, although the numbers are dropping somewhat. Their latest point of entry into the house is the bathroom, apparently through a finger-width gap in the skirting board down near the bathroom cabinet. Himself sprayed the area with surface spray yesterday, so we're going to see whether that works as a deterrent (it seems to, up to a point, in my room) and just keep picking them up and drowning 'em. These past couple of days, it's mostly been in the twenties per cull, so there's that. I've wound up buying a separate dustpan and brush set for the front verandah, so I can scrub the caterpillar guts off the existing one for inside the house.

We've also had the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos coming by for their final shot at the under-ripe berries from the Cape Lilacs - which means the trees, which are starting to drop their leaves for winter, are starting to look just a tad bedraggled as a result. I hauled up a sucker from one of the front Cape Lilac trees earlier in the week, and I'm going to have to go and have a look around for any others.

Uni continues apace. I have one essay to finish, one five hundred word rationale and reflection to write, and a 1500 - 2000 word short story, personal essay, or feature article to write. The essay and the rationale/reflection are both due Monday week (29th of May), the short story is due the following week (8th of June). All of which is within my ability to do in the allotted time, so I'm not particularly worried about it. The more irritating item is being expected to find a feature article from a newspaper for my "Introduction to Writing" tutorial on Tuesday - mostly because I tend not to buy the newspaper on the grounds of it not being worth the money one spends on the wretched thing. Given the standard of Australian print journalism these days, I rather doubt there's going to be a feature article in the wretched thing anyway. Wonder whether my tutor would accept something from the online Grauniad - I know they do feature articles - quite a few of them, in fact.
megpie71: Unearthed skeleton, overlaid with phrase "What made you think I was nice?" (Bitch)
Saturday, May 13th, 2017 10:33 am
Yeah, I'm trying to do these weekly. We'll see how it lasts.

Winter is icumen in here in Western Australia - I woke up today to see fog in the valley heading down toward Berwick St, and the neighbours with the wood fire are starting to get some use out of it now the nights and mornings are getting chilly. My current level of rugging up: leggings under my jeans, jumper[1] over my long-sleeved t-shirt, and shoes and socks (I may dig out my ugg boots today, just for the fun of it; Saturday is "stay at home and play games" day, so I can dress the full slob if I want to).

I have a whole heap of stuff for uni I'm supposed to be working on at present (and this week's schedule was complicated by me needing to get to and start writing something I'd previously thought was due about two weeks later - discovered this on the Monday, had to have it in by Thursday). Fortunately for me, it was three five hundred word pieces, and I can do five hundred words in my sleep. So that's been submitted. The harder job for me was actually something where I have to do three hundred words plus/minus ten percent (so between 270 and 330 words) - in one case I was editing down something like 1000 words to 330, in another trying to knock things down from around the 500 word mark to the 300 word mark. What's worse, the brief for this second assignment only mentions a three hundred word minimum - it doesn't mention a maximum at all. So I wound up having to actually ask my tutor: okay, we have a minimum and no maximum stated; what is the unspoken maximum here? (And why they couldn't be bothered to just say: three hundred words, plus or minus ten percent?).

Things I learned this week: editing is hard mental work. I edited down three pieces to fit the word count, and I was exhausted by the end of it.

I'm still in recovery from the flu, but I managed to reclaim enough spoons yesterday to make cooking seem like a good idea. I have some Pumpkin Mulligatawny (basically, curried pumpkin soup, to which I plan to add rice and coconut milk) going in the slow cooker. I did a bit of preliminary work with the potato masher to get the veges broken up a bit, and I'm going to be running the stick blender through it in batches a bit later on.

The Great Caterpillar Cull continues, although it's dropped down to a mornings-only proceeding. Unfortunately, the wards appear to be breaking down, because I've started to find caterpillars coming back into my room again in the mornings (only one or two per day, but still... caterpillars). We're still getting over 30 caterpillars a day in the cull, and I suspect we're going to continue seeing those sorts of numbers for a long while yet.


[1] This is the Australian/British meaning of "jumper" - a knitted garment which covers the upper body; as distinct from a sweatshirt.
megpie71: a phone, ringing. (hardly working)
Saturday, May 6th, 2017 12:53 pm
Since I last wrote:

* I've spent about two weeks dealing with the flu and the after-effects of same.

* I've been going through a depressive patch (complete with mini-breakdown on Thursday).

* I haven't been eating well, due to said depressive patch (too tired to cook, which means a lot of meals for the past couple of weeks have been things like two minute noodles with chilli sauce, or tinned spaghetti with a bit of sriracha sauce, or similar.)

* I discovered going shopping while my depression!brain is in the middle of a "we don't deserve anything nice" kick is something of a vicious trip. It's surprisingly hard to buy convenience food (so I can have something vaguely nutritious I can just re-heat and eat when I'm feeling too damn tired and spoon-poor to cook) when my brain is basically looking at everything and going "you *know* how to make that, how dare you buy it ready-made? You should just buy the raw ingredients and cook it yourself!" (plus an additional metric half-ton of abuse, but I'll leave that out of things). Wound up getting four of whatever McCain's latest happy meal is and trying them.

* The new McCains steam meal Lean Cuisine things are okay, but the cooking instructions are a bit wonky for our microwave. The sauce container needs a minute less, the pasta/rice/vege container needs a minute more, and this seems to be pretty consistent across recipes.

* I have a heap of stuff for uni I'm supposed to have done already, and which I haven't done, and which I will be writing up pretty rapidly over the course of the next week or so (in order to have it done in time for the deadlines which are arriving in predictable fashion this month).

* The house looks like a hovel (okay, most of that is because it's a 1920s worker's cottage, and it hasn't had much serious maintenance since about the 1970s) mostly because I've been low on spoons and depressed.

* We've been dealing with a serious invasion of white cedar moth caterpillars (the side effects of having four Cape Lilac trees on the property), particularly in the room I'm using as my bedroom. One of the Cape Lilacs is about a metre away from the wall of my room, which means the underside of the house is the preferred daytime rest space for the caterpillars, and since this place is approximately as weather-tight as a sieve, they keep crawling into the house through gaps between the skirting board and the floorboards and similar. Plus there's the ones which crawl in from the front veranda under the front door (the door is poorly hung - it sticks at the top, while there's a gap below it the bugs can walk under on tiptoe), and the few which come in from the back garden and hit the rear hall and bathroom. So we've been spraying the house inside and out with surface spray (up under the weather-boards on the front of the house, down around the skirting boards in my room, across the threshold of the front door and so on) as well as doing a three-times daily "emu stalk" to collect up the caterpillars we find and dump them in a bucket, where I give 'em a dose of the poor man's pesticide (boiling water). One stalk in the morning, two at night (one just after dusk, one around 9.30pm, when I'm getting ready to go to bed). The numbers seem to be dropping - I didn't have any caterpillars in my room last night or this morning, so that's a good start. But it's another little aggravation in a series of them at a period where I could really do with a few less of same.

* I am learning some of the more irritating quirks of Windows 10 as an OS. Such as the apparent tendency for marketing to get in everywhere (why are there ads in the Windows Solitaire games, for gods sakes? Are they losing so much money on the OS that they can't afford to put them in there without ads any more?) and badger me about "whether I'd recommend this device to others?" and such.

* I've been binge-reading fanfic, to the point where I really need to start working on re-setting my sleep cycle so I'm not going to bed at ten and then reading until two in the morning.
megpie71: Cloud Strife says "Meep" (Excuse me sir)
Friday, April 21st, 2017 02:47 pm
Well, I have Orac back, with an OS reinstalled on him and all.

Problem is, while I asked for Windows 7 Home, what I got instead was Windows 10. Hoo-fscking-ray. So now I'm in the middle of reinstalling everything (at least I managed to get my Firefox bookmarks salvaged) and getting all my programs re-sorted and such. Have to re-download an email client (no, I don't want to be trying to use Outlook, thanks very much) as well as setting that up again.

All of this is complicated by the fact I've been suffering from the latest upper respiratory bastardry to be going through - it kicked in with a sore throat on Tuesday; I spent Wednesday being the snotmonster from forty thousand fathoms (or something close to it - going through an entire box of tissues in a single day is something of a nuisance); yesterday was spent in bed being feverish alternated with periods of attempting to cough up a lung; and today I've got the best bits of all three, plus sneezing. If you get a chance to pass on this thing, I'd strongly suggest doing so!

But at least I have Orac back, and I can download stuff and get things working and all the rest. It's better than nothing, even if I am going to probably spend the next few weeks re-installing things and doing the "download, install, restart, lather, rinse, repeat" polka. I'm looking forward to the fun of trying to get Steam to behave, since the re-install didn't wipe the existing partition with some of my Steam games in it, but did wipe out a lot of the others. So that's going to be more fun and games... quite literally. Plus, of course, I have my stuff that I'm supposed to be doing for uni (but which I've been disregarding due to lack of mental resource spoons - for some reason my brain does not wish to brain today).
megpie71: Slave computer, captioned "My most humble apologies, master" (computer troubles)
Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 11:06 am
(aka I love it when my life goes right... which may be why this happens so very rarely).

My main laptop, fondly nicknamed Orac, has decided today it has aspirations toward being a boat anchor. It starts booting Windows 7, gets as far as loading avgidsha.sys, and then just stops dead. I am currently writing this on my backup machine, Elfadunk, which is the little laptop which I bought for uni purposes - it's barely got the grunt to handle Chrome as a browser, and definitely isn't up to the sort of load I usually put on a main machine.

A bit of googling determines this is a known error (damnit) and the wretched thing is a problem with the intersection between AVG antivirus and Windows 7 (and higher, it appears). Given I've been using AVG for years without issue, I'm just a tad irritated. Steve's busy attempting to fix Orac now using a couple of fixes found via the interwebs, and we'll see whether we can get Orac to actually boot and work properly. If this doesn't work, I'm going to have to head out and clean out my bank account attempting to find myself another PC which will be a reasonable substitute.

Needless to say I'm just a little irritable about the whole mess. If nothing else, I'm going to have to try to re-create my entire bookmarks folder from Firefox via memory and guesswork (as well as trying to remember things like my actual ID for my.gov.au so I can report my employment income tomorrow... why do these things always happen at the most inconvenient time?). I swear, I get Orac booting again, and the first thing I'm going to be doing is transferring my bookmarks to a separate spreadsheet of their own, taking an HTML copy of the Firefox bookmarks file and stowing it on the terabyte drive, and keeping regular backups of same!

Grump!

(Updates as they occur. At present, we've managed to get Orac to "startup repair" mode, and we'll see whether this allows him to actually boot).

Update 11.54am: Steve's going to try making up a repair/reinstall disk to see whether we can get Orac to behave. Whatever happens, I'm going to be trying to find a different antivirus program. Any suggestions for free/cheap reputable antivirus gratefully accepted.

Update 1.22pm: Repair or reinstall disc failed. Called out Geek Mobile to get a backup, nuke and repave done on the OS. It's apparently going to cost me about $200, which seems a bit steep, but is about half the price of even the most basic new computer (well, aside from another Elfadunk equivalent). I have never been so glad I got into the awkward habit of keeping my files and documents stored on the terabyte backup drive, because at least I'm not going to lose any documents from this. Plus, of course, I keep the original download & install files for most of the software stored on the backup drive as well, so I can get the majority of my software reinstalled fairly easily. Still. Curse, swear, mumble.
megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Default)
Monday, April 17th, 2017 10:58 am
Well, this is the final "what went right". It's been a fun four months, and I'll be sorry to see the series go in some ways, but unfortunately, go it must. So let's make this last one a good one.

Secret tomb containing bodies of former archbishops of Canterbury found under London museum by AP/ABC (uncredited)

The Garden Museum, located in the former St-Mary-at-Lambeth church, next to Lambeth Palace, has been closed for renovations since 2015. During the renovations, one of the things they discovered was a hidden crypt, containing the bodies of five former archbishops of Canterbury (Lambeth Palace is the Archbishop of Canterbury's London residence), among others. Given the former church's proximity to the Thames, the discovery of the crypt was a complete surprise.

Tasmanian mural competition challenges artists to look 'through the eyes of a child' by Sallese Gibson (ABC Tasmania)

Tasmania's MuralFest, hosted in the north-western Tasmanian town of Sheffield, kicked off on Sunday morning, with the theme of "Through the Eyes of a Child".

Giant pumpkins on show as locals compete at the Cadell Harvest Festival by Brittany Evins (ABC South Australia)

The annual Murray River Giant Pumpkin competition at the Cadell Harvest Festival has been held for the seventh time. It includes prizes for the ugliest pumpkin, the best dressed pumpkin, and the heaviest pumpkin.

So there's the final three for this series. It's been fun doing these, and I'm going to miss it, but unfortunately, I need the spoons it uses for other stuff. Thanks to everyone who's been reading along, and a big thanks to everyone who shared anything in the comments over the last four months. The good stuff is out there alongside the bad stuff - it's all a matter of where you direct your attention.
megpie71: Simplified Bishie Sephiroth says "Neat!" (Enthuse)
Sunday, April 16th, 2017 09:31 am
Second last one of these, so let's see it's a good one. Here's three articles about "what went right" from my mainstream news feeds.

Developmental Coordination Disorder: Exercise help gets WA teenagers up and about by Tom Wildie (ABC Western Australia)

This article is a profile of the AMPitup program, run by the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle, for teenagers with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD).

Texting bays offered to WA drivers tempted by mobile phones in bid to limit road toll by Sarah Whyte and AM Staff (AM, ABC Australia)

A trial of special texting bays, where drivers can pull over and check their mobile phones and respond to messages and such, is being undertaken on the Forrest and South-West Highways this year, to see whether this has any effect on the road toll during the school holidays. The trial runs until April 28 this year, and results will be reviewed by the WA Road Safety Commission.

Tasmanian recipes video offers new dietary ideas for chemotherapy patients by Harriet Aird (ABC Tasmania)

Lily Trewartha has survived Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and is putting her experiences with chemotherapy and her skills as a chef together in a video presentation for the Cancer Council. The presentation is aimed at helping chemotherapy patients maintain good nutrition, a healthy weight, and sufficient muscle mass to be able to handle higher doses of chemotherapy, and thus a shorter overall treatment time.

So there's my three for the day. If you've spotted any stories about "what went right" out there, why not share a link in the comments, and boost the signal.
megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Default)
Saturday, April 15th, 2017 10:54 am
Third-last day of these. So here's three stories about "what went right" from my news feeds.

Cape York town of Coen finally gets its own ambulance station amid rising visitor numbers by Kirsty Nancarrow (ABC Queensland)

Coen, 200km north of Cooktown on the Cape York peninsula, is a town of about 400 people, which sees about 1500 visitors during the dry season. Prior to now, it's been reliant on a bare-bones service consisting of a shed storing emergency equipment and a paramedic field officer; the nearest ambulance service would need to make a 10 hour round trip to get to Coen. The Queensland state government has committed funding for an ambulance station and extra staff during the busy dry season.

Placenta research could help doctors treat premature babies with chronic lung conditions by Katherine Gregory (ABC Victoria)

A study from Monash University and Monash Children's hospital offers the hope of better diagnosis, monitoring and treatment for the conditions bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and pulmonary hypertension (PH) - conditions which can seriously affect babies born prematurely.

Shooters offer assistance to deal with growing feral deer problem around Canberra by Nick Haggarty (ABC Australian Capital Territory)

Feral deer are starting to become a problem for farmers and pastoralists around the Australian Capital Territory. However, the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia have offered to extend their Farmer Assist program to farmers in the region. The Farmer Assist program consists of farmers inviting qualified shooters onto their properties to deal with feral animals.

So there's my three for the day. If you've found a story about what went right, why not share it in the comments and boost the signal?
megpie71: Storyboard Zack Fair is happy - smiling, moving up and to the right. (Boing)
Friday, April 14th, 2017 08:35 am
Happy Good Friday to any Christians reading. Today, for them, is the commemoration of the creation of the new covenant between God and humans, born out of tragedy as the first one had been. For the rest of us, it's a public holiday and an excuse for a long weekend. Either way, have three items from my news feeds about what went right.

Perth Zoo Easter egg hunt: Crickets, meerkat bedding among the mouth-watering treats by Briana Shepherd (ABC Western Australia)

Animals at Perth Zoo continue to have seasonal enrichment activities - for easter, various animals will be getting treats inside paper mache eggs, to encourage them to forage for their food. A trial run was taken out among the zoo's meerkats, hyenas and sun bears earlier this week.

Embattled West Australian dairy farmers could make extra cash by breeding Wagyu beef by Tyne Logan

The head of the Australian Wagyu Association suggests that dairy farmers in WA who are having trouble getting milk supply contracts might want to consider breeding Wagyu/Freesian F1 cross cattle instead. These cattle fetch a high price at market.

Adelaide United players helping new arrivals from war-torn countries feel welcome by Sowaibah Hanifie (ABC South Australia)

A program run by the Uniting Church Wesley at Port Adelaide and Life Without Barriers is helping boys with their social, physical and mental wellbeing through playing soccer. Many of the boys are new arrivals to Australia from places like Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and various African nations.

So there's my three for the day. Enjoy your Easter weekend (where applicable), and if you find any links to stories about things going right, why not share them in the comments, and boost the signal?
megpie71: Simplified Bishie Sephiroth says "Neat!" (Enthuse)
Thursday, April 13th, 2017 09:07 am
Well, we're well into the final week of this project - as previously mentioned, it winds up on 17 April - so let's get on with the three stories about what went right" from my newsfeed for today.

Indigenous influence on AFL creation confirmed by historical transcripts, historian says by Malcolm Sutton (ABC Victoria)

Professor Jenny Hocking, a historian with Monash University, has found transcripts which point to an indigenous origin for the Australian Rules football code - most specifically, a game now referred to as Marngrook.

Researcher hopes to use brain's natural response to music to aid stroke recovery by Emma Wynne (ABC Radio Perth, Western Australia)

A researcher at Murdoch University is looking to recruit "stroke patients to participate in a study of a music-based, individualised therapy program using smartphone app GotRhythm, which was developed by exercise scientists at the University of Western Australia."

Open-air dinosaur museum opens in outback Queensland, 100 million years in the making by Nicole Bond (ABC Western Queensland)

A new permanent open-air exhibition has been added to the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum at Winton, Queensland.

So there's my three for the day. If you've found any stories about what went right, why not share them in the comments and boost the signal?
megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Default)
Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 10:38 am
So, back on track again, pretty much recovered from whatever the lurgi was, and caught up on my sleep. Here's three things about "what went right" from my mainstream media feeds.

The Warriors: Kimberley teen Gordon Churchill scores leading role in upcoming TV series by Kelly Williams (Back Roads, ABC Australia)

A profile of Gordon Churchill, one of the lead actors in upcoming TV series "The Warriors".

Seven small West Australian citrus farms join together to gain entry to export markets by Bridget Fitzgerald (WA Country Hour, ABC Western Australia)

A group of seven citrus farms based around Gingin in Western Australia have joined together as a co-operative (Western Citrus Alliance) in order to be able to more readily access export markets.

Artificial insemination program successfully produces Black Angus calves by Lucinda Jose (WA Country Hour, ABC Western Australia)

Tony Sudlow's Angus stud has produced seventy-five new Black Angus calves so far this year, with the males being destined to be sold as stud bulls, while half the females will also be sold to breeders.

So there's my three for the day. If you've seen any stories about "what went right" in your news feeds, why not share a link in the comments, and boost the signal.
megpie71: Storyboard Zack Fair is happy - smiling, moving up and to the right. (Boing)
Tuesday, April 11th, 2017 10:35 am
Today's excuse for why this is late is a simple one: it's a non-teaching week at uni, and I decided to sleep in. I'm running late overall. Apologies for the delay. Here's three items about "what went right" from my news feeds anyway.

Perth Swans netball team shoots for gold at Australian Sikh Games by Emma Wynne (ABC Radio Perth, Western Australia)

The Australian Sikh games are happening in Adelaide this year, and the Perth Sikh Swans are hoping to bring back gold in the Junior Girls Netball competition.

Western Australian farming community comes together for annual shear for breast cancer by Tyne Logan (WA Country Hour, ABC Western Australia)

The annual Yorkraine "Shear for Liz" event went off without a hitch this year, despite a freak storm ripping the roof off the shearing shed where it's usually held. The event is held in memoriam for Liz Roberts, who died of breast cancer in 2014, and consists of shearers donating a day's wages from shearing toward breast cancer research. This year, they raised over $20,000.

Rare tropical ribboned seadragon bred in Geraldton gives students unique access by Christopher Lewis (ABC Mid West and Wheatbelt, Western Australia)

A chance event has resulted in the Batavia Coast Maritime Institute becoming the host to a large colony of ribboned sea dragons (about 170 babies, and two adults). The Institute's staff and students are looking on it as a phenomenal learning opportunity.

So there's my three for the day. If you've found any stories about what went right in your news feeds, why not share a link in the comments, and boost the signal?
megpie71: Simplified Bishie Sephiroth says "Neat!" (Enthuse)
Monday, April 10th, 2017 10:06 am
Sorry this is late again today - I'm still down with whichever lurgi was making my life a misery yesterday, so I've been spending a lot of time sleeping. Hopefully I'll be back to what passes for normal by tomorrow. In the meantime, have three articles about what went right from my news feeds.

Shalom House says hardline approach at Australia's 'strictest' drug rehab centre delivers results by Caitlin Shea (Australian Story, ABC Australia)

A profile of the Shalom House rehabilitation centre, near Perth. The centre runs a very tough program, which isn't government-sponsored, and which centres on getting the residents detoxed, working in the community and then working in paid employment. Residents are expected to pay for their own rehabilitation.

Art on Prescription helps Iraqi refugees begin recovery from trauma, anxiety and depression by Amanda Hoh (ABC Radio Sydney, New South Wales)

A profile of the Arts on Prescription program being run by the Hammond Care aged care facility at the Liverpool Migrant Resource Centre in Sydney.

Melbourne's Burke and Wills statue removed from display to make way for Metro Rail by James Hancock (ABC Victoria)

The statue of Burke and Wills which was at the corner of Collins and Swanston streets in Melbourne has been moved to make way for construction work on the Metro Rail project. This is the fifth time the monument has been relocated since it was presented to the City by sculptor Charles Summers in 1865.

So there's my three stories about "what went right". If you've found a story about what went right in your news feeds, why not share a link in the comments, and boost the signal?