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

May 2017

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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: Simplified bishie Rufus Shinra glares and says "The Look says it all" (glare)
Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 06:53 am
Had a very poor night's sleep last night (had trouble going to sleep due to the heat; woke up during the night overheated and dehydrated, and couldn't get back to sleep for over an hour; got jolted awake again by leg cramps about a half an hour before my alarm was due to go off). I'm currently sitting here experiencing one of my warning signs for gastro-intestinal distress (burping up gas which sort of tastes like bacon as it passes over my tongue). I have an appointment with my Job Active provider at 9am (which I am NOT looking forward to, because they're about as useless as tits on a bull, and they're intended to be this useless as a point of government policy). Oh, and I got another letter in my email from the nice people at Moton Group "offering" me a "job", as well as two email letters from the latest iteration of the "LKT Company" scam (the company has changed its name and now calls itself "Nocturne", and refers to itself as "fast-growing", but the other particulars are pretty much the same).

The signs are not positive. Unfortunately my preferred remedy (going back to bed, pulling the sheet over my head and pretending today doesn't exist) is not available (see: appointment at 9am). So I'll need to head to plan B - bull through things.
megpie71: 9th Doctor resting head against TARDIS with repeated *thunk* text (thunk)
Thursday, December 31st, 2015 08:31 am
My partner wound up with an unexpected windfall. He spoke about it too often where our appliances could hear him. The washing machine has now sprung a leak somewhere in its innards.

Which I wouldn't mind so much, except there's two and a half loads of washing left to go, and neither of them are large enough that I'd be willing to trust them to a laundromat machine. I can't call my mother and ask to use her machine, because hers just sprang a leak earlier this week, while I suspect my partner would have Views about me asking his mother whether it would be okay for us to run them through her machine (of the "oh gods, anything but that" variety).

Either way, the earliest we're going to be able to get the wretched thing repaired is some time next year...

(I told him he was talking about that windfall too loudly and too often!).
megpie71: Text: "My grip on reality's not too good at the best of times." (reality)
Friday, January 16th, 2015 09:57 am
Just to bring people up to speed on what's happening in my life and what I've been up to.

The good news:

1) I have a new smartphone! I've been saving up for this for most of the last couple of years, and the Telstra shop had a fortuitous sale. My old mobile phone was a little Nokia handset which had been a bit dodgy from the word go - one of its little quirks was that whenever I used it for phone calls, the "6" key somehow kept being pressed. No, I don't know how. Either way, calls were constantly interrupted by beeping and at the end of the call I'd have a page of 6's to delete. Plus it only had text entry from the keypad, which meant it was slow and fiddly to use, and meant I didn't really get much use out of the non-phone functions.

My new phone is a Samsung Galaxy Trend, and it seems to be a lot closer to what I was actually wanting (which was a replacement for my old Palm m515 which could also make phone calls). Certainly it's far easier to use the calendar, note-taking and contacts features than it was on the Nokia. I don't think I'm likely to be using the web-based features of it all that much, though - while I'm at home, I'll use my computer for web browsing, and while I'm out, I'll either be driving, or if I'm on public transport, I'll be working on crochet.

2) I've started to work seriously on improving my performance as a housekeeper. I'm using a combination of Chorewars (to track what I've done, and how much I've "earned" for it - at a rate of 10c per chore) and Habit RPG (to keep up with the weekly and monthly chores and try to keep me up to a couple of daily targets). I'm trying to do 20 "chores" per day on weekdays, and 15 per day on weekends (which, at 10c per chore, means I'd be earning about $13 per week for the housework. Given that by setting my own pace previously I was averaging about $10 per 8 days, this means I'll be saving up for things off my wishlist a bit faster than I was before).

The not-so-good news:

1) Himself was home earlier in the week with a nasty cold/cough combination which I appear to have caught off him. Woke up this morning with a scratchy sore throat, and I'm feeling a bit flattened and dull. Hopefully it will burn through in the next couple of days. In the meantime, lots of peppermint tea, and maybe some lemon and honey later on. Oh, and lots of feeling very sorry for myself, always an essential part of being unwell.
megpie71: AC Tifa Lockheart looking at camera, very determined (Give me the chocolate & nobody dies)
Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 09:37 am
Since the beginning of November (or thereabouts) I've been undergoing one of my periodic mood downswings. Which is why things have dropped off somewhat. Essentially, I've been spending just about every day for the past forty days waking up, realising I'm not dead (and cursing when I realise this, because it's been a massive disappointment at times) and working my way through life as though I'm walking through chest-high treacle in a cold climate. On top of this, I've had an impromptu rent inspection (sprung on us with about 7 days verbal notice - the real-estate agent decided to take advantage of an opportunity and get a look at the place to make sure we're not destroying the joint) which has necessitated cleaning the place to inspection-ready standards, and also a minor meltdown over my partner hiring someone to get the windows done. Currently I have a knee-rug to assemble before Saturday (7x9, I have 4 of the 7 strips already joined up; I'm finishing assembling the final one of the remaining 3 this morning. Then it's just tidying up ends, which is long and fiddly and takes forever; joining them to the main rug; and making a border for the whole thing) as a Christmas present for my father-in-law, as well as a batch or two of biscuits for my mother-in-law.

Fortunately, I managed to beg off going to my parents' place for the evening meal on Christmas day (I've been doing a lot of therapy lately, which has stirred up one heck of a lot of unresolved anger at the 'rents) and will instead be just knocking it down to a quick trip to drop off their presents and pick up ours. But that means at least another two or three batches of biscuits to bake next week (in time for Christmas) to cover my parents, my brother, and my two nieces; not to mention a quick plunge into the joys of the local shopping mall at Christmas time in order to purchase something fancy to pack them all into.

All of this while, as mentioned previously, feeling as though I'm doing everything through chest-high treacle in the middle of winter.

To add to all of this, the depression makes me as irritable as all get-out, so I currently have a temper shorter than a wet cowpat, and a fuse which is best measured in micrometres. I've been taking care of myself by avoiding the political news and the political blogs as much as possible, as well as walking away from a lot of stuff that I'd otherwise be wading into.

So, that's why I've been fairly quiet (for me) this past month or so.
megpie71: Slave computer, captioned "My most humble apologies, master" (computer troubles)
Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 09:02 am
How's my week been? Ooh, let's see.

1) Physically, I'm breaking in a new mattress (as in new-new, never been used before). We swapped out my previous queen bed for a single bed (so we can manage to fit more than just the beds into the bedrooms of whichever place we move into next) and as part of this I'd purchased myself a new mattress to go with it. New mattress is very firm (designed for kids to be jumping on it, I suspect) and thus I tend to be not getting quite the same quality of sleep I'm used to. Plus the single bed with my queen-bed continental quilt on it is a lot warmer than the queen bed used to be, so I spend a lot of the night overheating. Not helped by item 2) on the agenda, below.

2) This year, Perth looks to be having a lovely wet winter, which we desperately need in order to get even a little more water in the dams (this graph gives a picture of where our water storage levels are at present). However, while I love to see the rainfall, I'm not so keen on the small problem where we have absolutely zero undercover drying space for our laundry. It means I spend a lot of time frantically monitoring the weather radar (to tell whether the rain is likely to be falling/clearing up soon); the washing gets hung out in frantic bursts of hope, then hauled back in and spun dry again (well, drier than dripping wet, anyway); and smaller items get hung up on the clothes airer which is now occupying one of the few patches of clear space in our main room.

3) Just started with a new psychologist yesterday. She's based out at the old Fremantle Prison (built back in the convict days of the early 1800s - our colony was founded in 1829 - and still being used as a prison within my lifetime) which now has at least some of the cells being used as office space by a small business development group. Let's just say I can now understand why the prisoners used to riot. That office/cell was crowded with two women in it. I'd hate to think how cramped it would have been with three big boofy blokes in it. Standard first appointment - "tell me about yourself" - which has stirred up the mud at the bottom of the psyche. Consequently feeling a little flattened at present.

4) Second installment of a short course on MYOB happening tonight (six week course, 3.5 hours per week). I'm having my usual problem with all of these sorts of things, namely that I could probably have blitzed through about two weeks worth of content inside the allowed time for one week, and thus spend a lot of the time reading ahead in the book and getting everything done quick smart. Last week I spent a lot of the unused time writing up an explanation of the difference between closing down a program using its own exit routine (File -> Exit on most Windows programs) and letting the operating system take care of things (click on the X in the upper right corner, for Windows), and why it's wiser to let the program handle the closing routine if you're working on a slow system, or a system using networked file storage, or if you're using large data files. Formatted it a bit when I got home last week, and I'll print it out today and take it in for the fun of it. Wonder what I'll wind up with this week? Maybe I should take along a few bits of fanfic to work on.

5) Picked up some more acrylic yarn from the Red Dot store in Fremantle (they had 100g balls of 8-ply acrylic going for $2 a ball; I grabbed some in black, which I plan to use as joining/edging yarn for rugs, and some in dark purple and white, which I plan to use to create a "Fremantle Dockers" knee rug for my father-in-law). This has now brought my yarn stash to two 50L roller bins bulging at the seams. I am now no longer allowed to buy any more yarn until I've used up some of the stuff I already have. Which may well necessitate me making an effort to turn some of the half-bin (another 50L roller bin) of granny squares sitting in waiting into rugs.

6) Replaced the pair of jeans which blew out an inner thigh a couple of weeks ago. $30 at Best and Less, and unfortunately it appears it is no longer possible to find larger sizes jeans which don't have some form of "tummy trimming" panel in them. Which is annoying - if I wanted to wear a girdle, I'd fecking well buy one. I don't need the designers of my clothing making the decision for me. They're currently in the wash basket, waiting for Himself to get home tonight, so I can put his current hi-vis shirt through the wash with the rest of them (and any other blue or green articles of clothing which are waiting on washing).
megpie71: Simplified bishie Rufus Shinra glares and says "The Look says it all" (glare)
Sunday, January 27th, 2013 11:18 am
So yesterday was Australia Day, or as I am now nicknaming it in my head, the Bogan Festival of Flags. Some bright spark in our area decided they were going to have a home fireworks display. Which they started doing at about 1pm, and carried on irregularly throughout the afternoon until about 7pm. Some other little darlings decided that our cul-de-sac street was a good one to hoon up and down on their dirt bikes at irregular loud intervals.

I react badly to unexpected loud noises. They rattle inside my head, and I wind up getting very stressed by them. If it's been a stressful week for me already (which it had been - re-enrolling for this year at uni had required three separate visits and a very angry performance in the student centre to get things sorted out, which I was not impressed by; then I went shopping on Friday which was more stress again) that kind of thing catapults me into full-on overload mode, and I go straight to depressed and stay there. It was one of the things I disliked about living in Canbrrra (where private fireworks are permitted on certain public holidays), and one of the things I was quite happy to leave behind when I left the place.

Never mind that private usage of fireworks in Western Australia is something which is illegal since 1967 (and was made so due to bushfire risk - a fireworks event permit refers to the Bush Fires Act of 1954, which probably has something to say about it all). Never mind that this street we're living on is close to a couple of small "nature strips" which are currently tinder-dry, due to the prolonged drought.

I called in the performance to the police last night, and wrote an email to the council reporting the whole business. I suspect the idiots who were doing it didn't have a permit from the council, and quite frankly I hope they enjoy the fines and the charges.

So, I'm still cranky, I'm still bitchy, and I'm still annoyed despite having got an extra few hours sleep (slept in until 10am today, which is unusual for me in summer). I still have the beginnings of a headache, and I'm still not in a fit mood to deal with anything else sentient. Sounds like the perfect time to go thump kobolds in D&D Online.
megpie71: Slave computer, captioned "My most humble apologies, master" (tech support 4)
Friday, December 14th, 2012 08:59 pm
Soooo...

Tuesday night, we had a bit of a storm around our place. Or, to put it more bluntly, our area received a lake via air drop (always fun).

Long Story Below )

However, as a result of all the futzing around, and the lightning flying everywhere and all the rest, our old gateway server had decided it was all too much, and died on us. So yesterday, I had the fun chore of testing the two older PCs my partner had sitting around waiting to be turned into something, and finding out whether they'd boot at all (the original plan was to switch out the power supply from one of them into the existing gateway box).

EDITED TO ADD: Mumblefrotz, gotta remember not to hit enter on the autocomplete for the tags - Dreamwidth isn't LibreOffice.

Anyway, we wound up finding one of the boxen worked just fine (it used to be my PC, but the USB ports started playing up on it, and when I got my former laptop, it sort of went by the board) and with the addition of an extra network card (one to connect to the network, one to connect to the router) it should work just fine as a gateway box itself. All we had to do was install a copy of the gateway software on it (which was an adventure in itself - would you believe the boot loader for the gateway software didn't recognised USB keyboards as existing, even though the BIOS for the machine did, and the eventual software itself does? Fortunately Himself has an old keyboard with the PS2 connectors - the round ones which only work one way up - rattling around in his pile of miscellaneous PC junk) and get it up and running.

Installation last night, final configuration touches today, and now we're back onto the internet.

In between times, I've written approximately 10,000 words of a D&D campaign novelisation. How did people procrastinate successfully before there was an internet? I've forgotten...
megpie71: Simplified bishie Rufus Shinra says "Heee!" (Ha ha only serious)
Saturday, April 14th, 2012 11:04 am
I'm still alive and well and living in suburbia. Himself is employed again (starts the new job on Monday), so we have income (or at least, income greater than the dole) to look forward to. Mostly I've been wandering around making comments on other blogs.

I've taken to playing Echo Bazaar again - they're letting people create accounts even without Facebook or Twitter accounts to link to them. If you're on there, have a look for Hepzibah Murgatroyd - that's me. At present, I'm busy dealing with an invasion of rats in my lodgings, which is leaving me quite nicely set up for a few other storylines (for a start, I'm looking at having accumulated at least half the purchase price for a route to another part of Fallen London).

I've stopped reading certain online periodicals - mainly the ones from the "Gawker" stable (so Jezebel, Kotaku etc), and any others which insist I have to have Javascript turned on in order to be able to view content on their website. Yes, I'm a web purist - I have this insane notion that I should be able to see web content using an HTML viewer (such as a web browser) without needing to enable fifty gazillion different add-ons (or run through a list of approximately twenty different JS hosts in NoScript in order to figure out which ones are going to need to be enabled so I can see what's on the page). It's quite easy: they aren't going to show me something worthwhile in plain HTML, I'm going to take it as a declaration that they don't have any worthwhile content.

So far that seems to work just fine as a sorting algorithm.

Hmmm... other things, other things. I've been reading through this post by Nick Mamatas about Geek Pride and Geek Culture, wherein he points out that, among other things:

"Yes, a fascination with the strategies of Pokémon or Magic: the Gathering is just like someone else's fascination with RBI averages. That doesn't raise your interests up; that helps let us know how silly too minute an interest in professional sport is.

Which makes me think about my latest bit of statistics neepery. I've long realised I like playing with numbers and statistics. I enjoy compiling huge reference sheets of this, that and the other thing, and usually I'll do that with things from role-playing games (you should see the spreadsheet I have for the monsters in Eyangband!). It's something which keeps me happy, and gives the more neepish side of my personality something to do. This year, I've decided to go back to a tried-and-true old favourite source of statistics, namely the AFL football. It's fun, really. I "watch" the game via the ABC's Grandstand AFL Scores app, refreshing every so often and updating the spreadsheet and the text file I have with summary stuff as required. It's interesting coming up with a "story" for what I'm seeing (for example, my ongoing explanation for long periods where there's not been a scoring kick made by either side is that the umpires have confiscated the ball; if one side hasn't scored for a long period in the first quarter, maybe they're not sure where the ground is) and it's a lot more fun for me than watching a bunch of blokes run around a muddy paddock to the sound of other blokes telling me what's happening right in front of my eyes, with regular interruptions for commercials for beer.

(This round's match to watch is going to be the West Coast Eagles vs the GWS Giants. Top of the ladder vs bottom of the ladder, and the previous two matches the Giants have been in they've pretty much been walked over. However, they do have a few chances of winning. Possible strategies include: telling the Eagles that the game's been moved to a different ground, whoops, sorry, didn't you know?; locking the Eagles players out of their changing rooms; or locking the Eagles players into their changing rooms and "losing" the keys until about three-quarter time. I should explain for non-AFL fans that GWS are the newest kids on the block, they're from a non-traditional AFL state, and they're not really expected to do more this season than try their hardest and walk away with the wooden spoon anyway.)

Oh, and it all gives me numbers to play with. Which is also fun.

We have a rent inspection coming up (sigh) which means this weekend we're cleaning the place up so it looks nice and shiny for the nice person from the real estate company when they visit on Tuesday. At present, I'm tackling the kitchen and the main family areas, and my system is fairly simple - thirty minutes straight of work, followed by one hour of futzing around doing whatever else I fancy.

I find this works better for me than just ploughing in with a sustained cleaning frenzy does. For a start, it means I'm allowed to stop and rest for a time, and it's not "giving up" - and "giving up" is something which inevitably kills off my cleaning frenzies. Also, thirty minutes is a nice, comfortable time interval. It's long enough to get several tasks done (for example, I can dry up one load of dishes, wash a new load, and move on to clean up bench space or wipe down the stove or whatever) and see some progress. It's long enough that I can feel like I can take my time on things and do it Right (whereas fifteen minute bursts make me feel rushed - gotta do it all NOW!), and I can also feel like I've achieved something at the end of the thirty minutes. The one hour gaps in between the thirty minute bursts mean I don't feel put upon or martyred by having to do the jobs, and it also means I'm not storming into Himself's den to demand he does something too (so he can be as miserable about the whole mess as I am). Contrariwise, having the bursts of activity between the breaks for other stuff mean I'm not feeling guilty about not helping out with the cleaning. Plus, it means I have enough energy left at the end of the day to do things like cook dinner (an important consideration).

The fanfic is still going up at AO3, although I'm starting to run out of stuff to post to plump things out to the 10 items per week thing. Oh dear, I may have to either slow down posting, or start writing again. Oh noes.
megpie71: Text: "My grip on reality's not too good at the best of times." (reality)
Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 10:15 am
These past few days I've been feeling like crap. Hence no post yesterday. I'll try to get one out for tomorrow.
megpie71: Impossibility established early takes the sting out of the rest of the obstacles (Impossibility)
Saturday, July 30th, 2011 06:14 am
It sucks. I hurt. Could it please go away right now, kthanxbye?

[A slightly longer comment: I've been coughing now for about three days, my chest aches, and I really didn't need to wind up with a trapped nerve in my right arm overnight just to add to the fun. Feeling very sore and very sorry for myself, but not emphasising this because Himself has been barking away for about two weeks straight with this while attempting to carry out his job and find us new rental accommodation. I may not be dead, but boy, it's starting to sound like a fun alternative at this point.]
megpie71: Impossibility established early takes the sting out of the rest of the obstacles (Impossibility)
Sunday, May 22nd, 2011 09:32 am
It's May 22. I'm still here. So are my neighbours. So is New Zealand.

But then, I had a problem with Mr Camping's figures from the start - they were based around the whole business of "years from Christ's birth", and the assumption this occurred at some fictitious Year Zero. Now, there's a few small problems with this: firstly, and most importantly, there wasn't a Year Zero at all - in fact, at the time Christ was supposed to have been born, there were two calendars his birth might have been reported on, and one of those was the Hebrew calendar which (at that time[1]) counted years since Seleucus I Nicator returned to Babylon after his Egyptian exile (because Galilee, Judah and surrounding territories fell firmly into the Seleucid empire). The other was the Roman imperial calendar, which counted years since the city of Rome had been founded by Remus in memory of his brother.

The second big problem is that the timing of the birth of Christ wasn't noted in any contemporaneous historical documents (there are three gospel references, all of which post-date the death of Christ by at least 100 years[2]) and therefore it can't be fixed. The best most biblical and historical scholars can do is guess - to a greater or lesser degree of accuracy, depending on the premises they use.

The Anno Domini (or "Year of Our Lord") dating system wasn't actually devised as a way of counting years until approximately 525CE. It was originally created as a way of dating Easter each year, as a replacement for the Diocletian epoch (Diocletian being the the last Roman emperor to go in for serious persecution of Christians, and mass production of Christian martyrs). The only thing which has come down to the present day is the actual conversion table from Diocletian years to AD, and there's no notes available to provide any cross references to other dating systems, or any indication of the calculations used.

Historical research has since been conducted to try and figure out when the actual birth of Christ occurred[3], and the results of this are rather interesting. In effect, the dates for various biblical cross-references can put the date of Christ's birth anywhere in the period between 18BC and 7AD (depending on which of the gospels you believe to be accurate). The most widely accepted figures tend to be between 9 and 6 BCE.

Now, given this, even if we accept every other part of Mr Camping's mathematics to be exact, divinely inspired and absolutely correct, the best guess is that the end of the world would have begun sometime between 2002 and 2005. If this were the case, then clearly we were just all too busy to notice - or there were a lot of people who were expecting to be Raptured who were clearly not as good at this whole Christianity thing as they thought they were.

But hey, dating Christ's birth is an imprecise science. If we take the latest figure possible for Christ's birth (putting his birth at the time of the census of Syria and Iudaea in 6 - 7CE[4]) then we should be looking out for the end of the world in 2017 or 2018. If it hasn't already ended in 2012, as per the Mayan calendar.

[1] The current Hebrew calendar counts the years since the founding of the world as per biblical record, but it's only been doing so since about the 3rd century CE.
[2] Thus they post-date his birth by at least 133 years.
[3] I haven't yet heard of any research into whether it occurred at all - but then, I'm not a theological or archaeological scholar.
[4] Although this is slightly inconsistent with the same gospel writer's record of Christ's conception occurring during the reign of Herod the Great, which ended in 4BCE. Of course, if this is at all accurate, I can understand why the (previously) Virgin Mary is regarded as a saint - an eleven year pregnancy would be trying for anyone, let alone a first-time mother!
megpie71: Simplified bishie Rufus Shinra says "Heee!" (Ha ha only serious)
Saturday, March 26th, 2011 06:40 pm
And the kitchen table. And the receipt for the new printer and the expansion drive which didn't work. And a whole heap of paperwork from the past three years.

The thing which triggered all of this was installing a new printer (well, all-in-one device really - it scans and it prints and it photocopies and although it doesn't fax things, it's connected to a computer with an internet connection, so it can perform the equivalent of faxing too) and discovering that the only place I had where the printer would actually fit on my desk was (at that point) covered with an ever-increasing stack of paperwork. So, I got the printer installed (and working very nicely, thank you) and then realised I really had to do something about the piles and piles and piles of stuff which had been occupying the space on my desk where the printer had been. Mostly because it was now occupying the space on the kitchen table where the eating spaces had been, and I really did want to sit down and enjoy a proper dinner at some point in the next couple of days.

So, I decided to get started by clearing a bit of space to put down my little hand-crank shredder (handles 2 pages at a time, and is also capable of chewing through credit cards and CDs) and started shredding all the obvious crap as it all came to hand. End result (before I got bored) was two plastic bags of hamster bedding. Then I pulled out the ring binder/portfolio I'd been using to store all my corro and stuff from a couple of years ago - it was a system which had worked for me right up to the point where I stopped being dilligent about it, at which point the backlog took over and it disappeared under the mess. So, pull out everything for the past couple of years from that, and grab three envelope-style folders from the storage cupboard - one for 2009, one for 2010, and one for 2011. The 2009 and 2010 stuff just got dumped into the folders, and the folders go into the filing cabinet for further action later. The 2011 stuff got put into the appropriate categories in the portfolio binder (and I wrote up a new index for this binder, so I can find what I'm looking for).

Meanwhile, I looked at a couple of file trays I had on top of the filing cabinet, and decided they could be re-used in a more constructive manner. One now has a pile of stuff in it which needs to be shredded - and a label saying "to shred". The other is currently empty, but there's a (smaller) pile of stuff to sort on top of the filing cabinet, and I figure I may as well use the capabilities of my nice new scanner to scan those things which I want to keep, but which I can't figure out a decent "away" for. So it has a label saying "to scan". My eventual aim is to get to and scan all the hundreds of recipe leaflets I've collected over the years, so I'll have a permanent record of them, and then I don't have to bloody well keep the silly things! Yay! More storage space!
megpie71: a phone, ringing. (hard at work)
Monday, March 14th, 2011 07:07 am
I'm in my second-last week of the contract down in Bunbury, and I'm starting to really get fed up with travelling to and fro for five days out of every seven. I'm also tired as, and I've been missing my meds because it just slips my mind. Aside from all of that, I'm fine.

I'm trying to think of something witty (or at least interesting) to say here, but my brain isn't working at this hour of the morning, so all I can say is that I'm fine, and our little corner of the world hasn't experienced anything catastrophic lately. Gods willing, I'll be able to keep saying that for a while longer.