Eeeeeeeee!

So we’ve now paid the stamp duty (all $16,435 of it, ouch) and pretty much everything is all set for the final settlement, which is on Monday the 13th of this month.

YOU GUYS, WE’RE GOING TO OWN OUR OWN HOUSE!

I can’t emphasise how much we’re looking forward to NOT LIVING IN THIS GODDAMN AREA ANYMORE, holy shit. We’re booked in with the removalists for the 28th of this month, which is a Tuesday. kungfupolarbear is taking the 27th, 28th, and 29th off work, and I’m taking the whole week off, mostly because I have a heap of annual leave and hey, why not!

The move from here is going to be horrible, given how incredibly idiotically it’s laid out, but it ought to be far faster at the other end. We’re planning on giving this current place only the most cursory of cleans because fuck the current real estate, and whatever we get back from our bond we’ll just take as a bonus.

To sum up: EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

DRAMA

Good bloody christ this week has been an emotional rollercoaster. Gah.

So the whole week we’d been chasing up the conveyancer and the mortgage broker because the cooling-off period ended at 5pm on Friday. On Thursday at about midday kungfupolarbear got a call from the mortgage broker saying that the bank hadn’t received her permanent residency paperwork, which we had definitely included. She told the broker as much, the broker called the bank back and whoever it was that she spoke to found the “missing” paperwork in no time at all. We were told that they’d have to start the whole process over again and someone else at the bank would pick our file up and run with it.

We were fairly despairing at this point, and we scrambled to call the conveyancer to get them to extend the cooling-off period to Monday. We didn’t hear back from that until later in the afternoon, though they said it was fine. The mortgage broker said she’d escalated our case and marked it as urgent, but we were seriously bummed out and expecting that we wouldn’t get the unconditional approval from the bank that we needed to actually proceed with the home loan.

Then late morning on Friday we got a call from the mortgage broker saying that we’d gotten the unconditional approval!! The sense of relief was seriously palpable, heh.

Today (the 20th) is my 30th birthday, and we started it off with dropping off the deposit off (all ~$45,000 of it!) at the real estate.

THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING OMG.

Speaking of birthday, kungfupolarbear bought me some wonderfully thoughtful presents, then we went out tonight for birthday Indian food at our favourite restaurant in Hornsby, then back to gypocalypse and his fiancée’s place for some games (our current place is completely useless for having anyone over, as the parking — and whole area in general — is retarded. Yet another reason we’re looking forward to moving: being able to invite people over).

Last night was Mongolian barbecue at Genghis Khan just near work which was a bunch of fun. And tomorrow we’re going over to mum and dad’s place for birthday lunch! It’s a weekend-long birthday food-fest. \o/

Also, holy shit, I’m now thirty years old! I always thought of that age as something that happened to other people. It’s weird being here myself!

Holy shit

I don’t want to say too much in case I jinx it, but HOLY SHIT WE SIGNED THE CONTRACT FOR A HOUSE TODAY! There’s still a bunch that could go wrong with the legal things or inspections or bank things, but we’ve put the deposit in and signed the contract which was the biggest hurdle!

We’d found a place last weekend that we wanted to put in an offer for, but within an hour the real estate agent had called us up and said that the owners had taken an offer already (one LOWER than the asking price no less) and wouldn’t accept any others. We were pretty bummed out as we seriously loved the place, and it was completely unexpected… we’d just gone to the inspection because it was there and at a good time.

Funnily enough the exact same thing happened this time. The photos of the place made it look tiny and fairly awful, but we got there and it was much larger than it looked and was really nice! It had actually been on the market for a few weeks, the real estate agent said that it’d been under contract the first week but that sale fell through as the people who were wanting to buy it weren’t able to sell their place due to termites.

So yes. Expect more updates during the week!

Also holy shit, it’s like we’re grown-ups or something!

Work

I had one of those days at work today that was just totally productive. The guy who is our senior support engineer is away pretty much this whole month and he’s the one who generally looks after the internal escalations (cases that the support engineer who is dealing with it has gotten stuck on and needs some help).

As the next-longest-serving hosted support engineer I’ve been looking after the escalations while he’s away. It was really satisfying today, some of the issues were pretty hairy but I sorted them out in the end.

Quite a good feeling!

On houses, and things

We went to see two houses yesterday. The first one was a three bedroom place in a quite nice area, and was surprisingly cheap (the ad listed “$389k-$419k”).

The price should have tipped us off. My god it was horrible! The amount of photoshopping the real estate had done was just mind-boggling. The floor was not “floating wood floorboards”, it was lino in the pattern of wood, which was peeling up in places. There were scuff marks everywhere, the sink was uselessly shallow, the kitchen drawers didn’t even open properly, and outside was just awful. There was black mould all the way along the eaves under the covered area outside, the wood up the side of the house was all damaged, there was a shed that the door had partially fallen off from, and the back yard was all lumpy and not even remotely flat. Oh, and there was a “built-in barbecue” that was totally rusted and broken and would have needed to be completely removed.

Better yet, the (very used-car-salesman) real estate agent was loudly telling everyone who walked in that “they’re only taking offers today”, there were two other real estate agents there, and there was even a mortgage broker set up in the kitchen! The whole thing was just unbelievable. There were hordes of people that came to see it, I’m suspecting because of the low price.

The second place was actually really nice, and was $450k. It was five minutes walk to the train station, and the house and yard was immaculate. Unfortunately there were several problems:

– The main bedroom faced the street, which ordinarily wouldn’t be an issue except that it appeared that the street was a relatively busy through-road;
– There was no air conditioning in the bedroom (granted we could have gotten in put in, but still);
– The houses on either side were awfully close, and the one on one side was a two-story place that positively loomed;
– And lastly, and probably the biggest issue, is that the land on the other side of the road was a huge paddock-looking block that had been sold off and already split into yards, and they were clearly going to put a mass of houses up there, or possibly even units, thus making the street even busier.

So back to the drawing board we go.

In other news, I’ve noticed a funny thing… I’ll go through periods where I’ll do a heap of photography, but do next to no coding, and then other times where it’ll be the other way around. I just don’t seem to be able to do both in the same general time… I guess it requires a mental shift or something.

And lastly, we went up to mum and dad’s last night for some peace and quiet since I was working today (starting at 6am no less D:), and of course for the first time in months there was a party down the street. Thankfully it wasn’t loud enough to be audible through earplugs, but it was the MOST OBNOXIOUS temperature (there’s no aircon there). Clearly having spent the last two years with air conditioning has made me a bit soft, but it was either too hot or too cold. I ended up getting barely four hours of sleep and so have been a zombie the whole day. Fortunately work was pretty quiet and nothing required much brain power, but ughhhhh. I’m working again Sunday after next, and we’re going to see if the weather has cooled down enough that it’d be worth going up to mum and dad’s again.

::faceplant::

And now, a work-related update

Hey, why not update three times in a night!

Come the 19th of April, I’ll have been at Atlassian for THREE YEARS. Insanity!

It’s been crazy busy the last month or two, as one of our hosted services is winding down and being phased out, and we need to get everyone migrated over to either OnDemand or their own self-hosted instances. Despite us announcing that we were phasing it out back in October of 2011, far too many people have left it to the LAST DAMN WEEK to get everything sorted out, meaning that in addition to our normal load of support issues coming in, we have a heap of these extra hosted ones to get done too.

It’s flat-out and I’m pretty drained by the end of the day, but thankfully it’s not actively stressful, and once I’ve finished for the day, that’s it… I don’t need to be continuing to work from home afterwards.

Having said that, christ I’ll be glad when we’ve finished with all this. ::faceplant::

Also, I should probably go to bed now.

Wow

I was reading through my old LiveJournal posts on a whim, the ones around where Lily was born. They certainly don’t make for happy reading — though I’m over that now — but it really drives home how lucky I am to have found kungfupolarbear. She is the warmest, most caring, and most supportive person I’ve ever met, and I’m a better person for having her in my life.

It’s funny reading her supportive comments even back then, before we were really talking much outside of LiveJournal and when she was still living in the US, and now look where we are! Our four-year anniversary is in just under three months, which blows my mind… in no way does it feel like four years.

It’s like we’re grown-ups or something!

On Monday this week we went to see a mortgage broker to see how much more money we’d need to save in order to buy a house, and to generally get some more info on the whole process.

As it turns out we have enough saved up already, and the minimum payments we’d be making on a $475,000 place (our maximum limit) is less than what we’re paying in rent right now! We ended up applying for pre-approval for a home loan, and today we found out that it’s been granted (despite us not expecting it until next week some time)!

Holy shit we’re actually going to buy our own house! Even better, the mortgage broker showed us that if we put $1500 a fortnight extra payments on the home loan, we’d have it paid off in under nine years. Woah.

We’re looking at places in Quakers Hill, Marayong, and Kings Park. We’ve already been out to check out the area, and it’s quite nice… suburban, quiet, and on the train line. It’s 47 minutes to Central for kungfupolarbear and would be about 55 minutes to Wynyard for me, which is quite acceptable. We’ve got an appointment scheduled this Saturday to go look at a place. We’re certainly not going to be rushing into anything given our current disaster of a place. We definitely wish we’d known that we could have afforded a place this soon… if we had, we’d have just stayed in Turramurra and wouldn’t have spent a bunch of money on moving, and then another bunch when we eventually break the lease here. :\ On the slightly bright side, the lease for this place has a “lease break fee”, which basically boils down to us giving them a bunch of money but being able to end the lease whenever the hell we want.

So yeah. An actual place that we own. Exciting! 😀

The current place is still loud and obnoxious and everyone here needs to die in a fire. Poor kungfupolarbear has been at her wit’s end pretty much the whole time. But with any luck it’ll soon be over.

The move

So we moved from our old place in Turramurra to a new unit in Waterloo on Saturday last week.

It was a pretty rubbish move.

Firstly, the lift in the old place broke on Friday night (after we’d brought a bunch of boxes down to the carpark so the movers would be able to pack them more quickly, at least). I called up the emergency number and they said they’d send someone out, the guy came at 7am on Saturday morning (which is exactly when the movers arrived) and got it going again, but after he left it decided to occasionally just stop working for several minutes at a time, leaving us waiting on our level of the building with giant things like the fridge. We didn’t end up having to bring much down the fire escape, but jesus fucking christ.

Then we got to the new place. The first place we were meant to unload everything was at one of the entrances to the carpark (the truck doesn’t actually fit into the carpark), and it was a ramp sloping downwards. The moving guys said they couldn’t unload anything like that because things could very well just fall right back out of the truck. There was also a good two minute walk from where the truck was to where the lift up to our level was.

We moved around to another carpark entrance which was flat, but still wasn’t anywhere near the lift. We eventually managed to get everything moved in, but it took seven and a half bloody hours all up.

We’ve also had the fun of dealing with the useless real estate for the old place. The guy wanted to schedule an open house on the Saturday that we were moving out, I told him it’d need to be in the afternoon (3pm or so) and that there’d be stuff there still because we were coming back on Sunday to do the cleaning. I went in on Monday to drop the keys off, and he asked if we’d cleaned the unit because when the inspection was on there was still stuff there. YES I KNOW YOU DIPSHIT, WE TOLD YOU THAT WOULD BE THE CASE. Then he didn’t have the original form showing which keys had been given to us, and when I looked at the one he did have I realised it was from the previous tenants back in 2011. After that he said that there should have been two garage door remotes instead of one, because there were two cars spots. I had to say that no, we only had a single car spot. And now I’m suspecting we’re going to need to harass them to get our bond back.

Arggghhhh.

We’re all moved in now though, and are slowly unpacking things, so it’s actually looking like our place rather than a temporary crapshack filled with boxes.

Merry Christmas!

For the first time in I’m not sure how many years, I actually have the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day off work! We don’t get very many issues logged at work so we only need one person on, and one of the guys on my team offered to work over that period, so huzzah!

I picked up Lily at midday for our regular Christmas lunch, and dropped her back at around 5pm. Christmas itself was very nice, I took a few photos and am seriously happy with them. kungfupolarbear bought me Halo 4, which is by all accounts a brilliant game, and my parents bought me a Paul C. Buff Extreme Silver PLM — basically a very fancy reflector umbrella that you shoot a flash into and it produces really amazing quality light. I’ve not given it a proper go yet, but I’m very much looking forward to it!

In other news, we got the unit in Waterloo that we were looking at on the 15th! We go in to sign the lease on the 2nd of January, and have removalists booked for the 12th. Walking to work is going to be SO GOOD. \o/

And with that, my photos!
Excitement

Kristina

Mum

Nanny opening a present

A beautiful smile

Full set is here.

Sniff

So I finally got the last of the old car stuff sorted out today. Went to the RTA and got the plates from the old car swapped over to the new one, and called up a scrap car place to come and pick up the old car.

It was sad seeing the old car taken away at last. It’d been sitting there smashed up in our parking spot since the accident (so over five months now), but it being up on the back of the truck and it finally going away…

I know it’s only a car, but still. It was the very first and only car I’d ever had, and never gave me any problems at all. I’d have had it ten years come March next year.

Farewell, old friend.

🙁

Moving

We went unit hunting in Waterloo today. We saw about seven places, one of them was particularly filthy, and a couple also had people in them still, but we found one that we’ve applied for. It’s a really nice layout, you come in the front door and the master bedroom is down a hall, and you go downstairs for the kitchen, lounge room, and second bedroom. It’s probably a little smaller than our current place, but it feels really cozy! It’s on the ninth floor too, which is nice. We’ve put our application and a “reservation fee” in, and as far as we can tell nobody else even saw it (we needed to specifically make an appointment, and the lady who was in the place already apparently wasn’t aware there’d been an inspection arranged, heh).

It’s available on the 4th of next month and we’ve gone month-to-month with our current place. It’d be about a 30-minute walk to work for kungfupolarbear and somewhere around 45-50 minutes for me (or I could catch a bus.

Crossing everything that it works out!

Also, construction of the NBN is scheduled to start in that area in the next year. 😀

How things change

So I took Lily to her swimming lessons this morning (long story, the short version being her mother is back to be being flaky and Lily’s grandmother asked if I could bring her to swimming as they were going to be away), and while I was there I saw one of the guys I went to high school with. He was one of the “cool” kids, always smoked, acted all tough, just generally a jock (obviously I had nothing to do with him even in high school).

Now he has two daughters that he brings to swimming and is driving a Kia mini-van. If he’s happy with his life, more power to him, but the contrast between him in school and now is just highly amusing to me.

Our saga with the car is finally over, thank christ. Though unfortunately we didn’t get up getting any money, the insurance dropped the claims due to the lack of evidence either way, which is pretty much what I was expecting when the useless fucking witness never actually showed up. We just need to get rid of the old car and get the old plates swapped over to the new one, and it’ll be bloody well done.

In other news, we had our Melbourne Cup shindig at work at the start of this month (the 6th, specifically), and I’ve been borrowing a colleague’s Canon EF 135mm f/2L lens (for the non-photographers: it’s a very well-regarded and high-quality lens, and is especially good for portraits). I brought that along to the do, and got some photos that I’m really happy with. I’ve had three or four people at work use my photos as their Twitter avatar or the avatar on our internal wiki! 😀 The photos are here.

I had a heap of people complimenting me on them after I blogged about it at work, then had someone ask me if I wanted to take photos for the last Atlassian User Group (I couldn’t, due to already being busy that night), and someone else ask if I could take photos for our next ShipIt, which is at the end of this coming week! (I’m going to do that one, since it’s during the day).

We’re going to buy one ourselves, though not until after we’ve moved. We’re looking at trying to find somewhere around Waterloo, and if we don’t have any luck there, the lower north shore (St Leonards or thereabouts, and further south). Turramurra (where we are now) is a pretty useless suburb, my commute to the city isn’t bad but kungfupolarbear has an extra five minutes on the train and then another fifteen minute walk to get to her work.

And lastly, I was mucking around with DSLR Remote today, and got two photos that I’m really pleased with!

Lily and me

Self portrait

\o/

Ow

So at work we have a thing called the Atlassian Foundation. Basically we get five days a year to take off work and do charitable things. We (by which I mean myself, kungfupolarbear, and a couple of co-workers) helped out at Monika’s Doggie Rescue last Friday.

Wow. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all.

The dogs they take in were all a day shy of being put down, so they tended to be smaller dogs and with much more problems than your average dog. We took a few of them out for walks, and helped with the laundry that needed doing. The first dog I was walking had a problem where if he’d see another dog that wasn’t from his “group”, he’d start borderline screaming and would turn around and try to bite whoever was walking him. The person from the rescue place obviously warned me about this and what to do, it wasn’t like it was unexpected, but christ. Not a good start. And sure enough, we ran into some random dog while we were out for walks and the dog did exactly as described. It happened again on the way back to the place, fortunately I managed to avoid getting bitten, but bloody hell.

We did hung out some laundry, then took a second batch of dogs out, which were thankfully much better behaved and the walk was quite uneventful. The third batch, the dog I was walking kept stopping to look back and bark at the other dogs and I kept having to literally drag him to get him walking again. I ended up talking a different route to the others so he’d actually focus and start walking.

The reason this post is titled “Ow” is because I was wearing my regular boots and made the mistake of running, borderline sprinting on one occasion, to give the dogs a bit of a workout. I was thumping along flat-footed and the boots have no padding in them. The end result is that I think I bruised my hips or something because I was sore as absolute buggery on Friday night. We had Lily over the weekend, and I was sore but not too bad, but when I woke up on Monday morning I must have slept funny or something because I basically couldn’t bend at ALL. It’s currently just past 10pm on Tuesday night and my lower back is still sore as hell. I’ve been working from home both days, and will be again tomorrow, because owww. It’s getting better, but unfortunately Dencorub seems to be the only thing that actually does anything, and even then it’s not totally improved.

kungfupolarbear didn’t escape unscathed either, the first dog she was walking was solid muscle and kept pulling on the lead very strongly throughout the whole walk. She was leaning back to keep the dog in check, and as a result has sprained her leg and hip muscles. 🙁

\m/

We went to see Apocalyptica last night. For those that don’t know, the band consists of a drummer and three dudes playing cellos. And holy fuck they rock the hell out! I was seriously blown away. They play the cellos like they’re guitars, and the speed at which they play is just astonishing. Check out this video for an example. They were on stage for a solid hour and a half and it was goddamn awesome.

It was definitely one of the most impressive shows I’ve been to. They really interacted with the crowd and you could tell the loved the hell out of being up there and playing. At the end of the show they were genuinely grateful to everyone for showing up. I find bands that don’t interact with the crowd to be boring as hell.

There were a couple of annoyances though. First was security at the place being utter dicks. Before getting in they pored through every nook and cranny of my bag and were asking about what was in my pockets too, then told kungfupolarbear that she couldn’t bring her water bottle in, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS EMPTY. Then when Apocalyptica were playing I was taking a photo with my iPhone and this dickhead security guard told me to put it away, and was standing right next to us for the next ten minutes standing over everyone and looking everyone up and down. Way to ruin the mood, fuckwit. I can understand not letting people in with DSLRs who aren’t part of the official press or whatever, but who the fuck stops people taking photos on their phones of the concert they’re at, especially in this day and age?! Ugh. Definitely not going to the Hi-Fi again if I can possibly avoid it.

Secondly, there were a bunch of drunk fuckwits in the audience who were talking loudly through the quiet parts of the performance in the middle of the show. I didn’t hear them until the quiet bit, but apparently they were talking through almost the whole first half, and kungfupolarbear was about to explode into a ball of rage. :\

But other than that, wow. That show would definitely rank up there with the best I’ve seen! We’re going to see Warbringer in October (they were the opening band for Finntroll when we saw them in Boston the first time I visited), and I just found out today that Nightwish is touring in January next year. Woot!

Boston!

kungfupolarbear and I spent the last two weeks in Boston, for her 30th birthday!

The flight there was horrific though… from Sydney to San Francisco there was a toddler who spent almost the whole flight screaming (and then proceeded to scream the whole way through customs too), so we got basically no sleep. United had kept bumping our connecting flight up, so we ended up with a two-hour layover, customs took bloody forever to get me through and then the TSA were a bunch of cunts and decided to take forever as well. We were literally running to the gate at the end and made it with about five minutes to spare. kungfupolarbear‘s friend Jen picked us up from the airport and we started our trip at midnight with a cheese steak from a greasy diner nearby (we stayed with Jen for the first two nights and for the last one) which may have been the greatest food ever. In fact, it’s making me hungry just typing this. 😛

The very first day we went shopping and bought a heap of stuff for extremely cheap (compared to what we could get them for in Australia). The next day Jen dropped us off at the place we were staying, which unfortunately turned out to be shit. We’d rented a room through AirBnB, and the woman who was living there was a weirdo. It had good reviews, but I have no idea how or why. The bed was broken in such a manner that unless both of us were lying in it, both sides were sitting at an angle and you’d almost roll out of it. Also kungfupolarbear had a weird reaction to the food or all the high fructose corn syrup in everything or something on the second day, and spent the night throwing up. 🙁 Fortunately there was a 24 hour pharmacy five minutes up the road, so I made a couple of trips there and she was pretty well recovered by the next night.

Despite the shitness of the place we stayed in, it was in a really good location. It was about half-way between Davis Square and Porter Square, both of which have a bunch of coffee shops and restaurants and such. They’re also on the train line, and it was all of about five stops from Porter to get into the actual city of Boston. I wish there was somewhere affordable in Sydney that was similar to that area. Newtown area is probably closest, but without the “affordable” part (also without the cleanliness, heh). There’s a coffee shop in Davis Square called Diesel Cafe, and we’d often go there at night just to sit around and be out of the house.

The weather was brilliant, it was humid as hell the first night we arrived, but after that it was a great temperature and not humid for the rest of the trip. We had a couple of occasions where there was about five minutes of light rain before it blew over, and that was it. We timed the visit really well, as everyone was saying that the weather had been utter crap for weeks beforehand, and the university students were only just starting to move in while we were there (the 1st of September is the big move-in date), so all the coffee shops and such generally had plenty of space available. It’s funny how compact Boston is compared to Sydney. We’d put together a list of things we wanted to see over the two weeks, and got it all done within the first week!

Second day we wandered around Harvard Square and the surrounds, and then the day after we went into some of the older parts of the city. The full photoset is here, there are some of my favourites.

Houghton Library

Harvard Square

Boston Public Garden

Trinity Church

On the first Friday we went into the North End, which is basically the Italian part of the city. It’s absolutely filled with Italian restaurants, and all the streets are narrow and windy. We picked a restaurant almost at random, and HOLY SHIT the food was mind-blowingly awesome! Got some good photos too.

Cobblestones

Near Paul Revere House

Prince St

For kungfupolarbear‘s birthday we had brunch with one group of friends, then dinner at Red Bones with another group followed by bowling. It was a pretty awesome day all up!

On Sunday we went to Rockport. We’ve been there each of the three times I visited Boston, and I love it! We had amazingly delicious crabcakes and stuffed clams from a shop that actually does the fishing of them out of the water too, and got a bunch of photos. It’s just such a photogenic place!

Patriotic

Motif Number 1

Untitled

Untitled

We also revisited the Boston Public Library on the last Tuesday we were there, and got some vastly-improved pictures compared to last time. After we were done with the library we walked down to the Charles River Esplanade and just sat in a shady spot enjoying the weather. A++, would relax there again.

Flags

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Looking up

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Squirrel!

River crossing

Rogue canoe

Wednesday we went to the MIT Museum, and man, it was so cool. There was an exhibit of Arthur Ganson’s “kinetic sculptures” that did all sorts of interesting things. They made for some good photos too! After that we wandered back up to Harvard via Massachusetts Ave before meeting up with tattooankh for dinner.

"Machine with Roller Chain"

"Beholding the Big Bang"

"Machine with 23 Scraps of Paper"

Circuitry

Hotel Veritas

Towards Harvard Square

Thursday was two of the Boston Harbour Islands, Georges Island and Spectacle Island. kungfupolarbear hadn’t ever been to them even while she was living in Boston, so it was new to both of us! Georges Island was definitely the more interesting of the two. There was a big military fort, Fort Warren, that had been built there in the mid-1800s for the defence of Boston Harbour, subsequently used as a prison during the Civil War, and finally sold by the military after World War II. You can walk through almost all of it, and there were a number of tunnels through it that were totally pitch black where I had to use the light on my phone to see where we were going.

Spectacle Island was less interesting, though there were some good views. It was basically a big park on an island. After that we had a wander through Downtown Crossing again, then met up with friends for drinks and pool.

Boston from the harbour

Kristina

Parade ground

Line of benches

Cannon emplacements

Bridge and Boston

The gazeebo

Shining on Boston

Down to the gazeebo

Evan, Madeline, Kristina, Dan, Pat

And then finally on Friday we wandered some more through Downtown Crossing and hit up Quincy Market!

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Old State House

Living statue

Quincy Market

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The Freedom Trail

We stayed back at Jen’s on Friday night so she could drop us off at the airport on Saturday. We had breakfast on Saturday at the same diner that we started with the night we arrived. Bookended by diner!

All in all it was a really great trip despite the initial sickness and the awfulness of the place we stayed. I love Boston, and we’re going to try to go back again sooner than three and a half years! We’re also going to try to go in October so we can get some autumn weather in, and also so we don’t have to worry about finding a place to stay that has air conditioning.

Ugh

We had a car accident on Wednesday night. Turning onto Pacific Highway to go to the gym, and a fuckwit teenager wasn’t paying attention, went through the red light, and smashed into us. Thankfully he hit the very front-right of the car, in front of even the driver’s side wheel. I was completely fine apart from a slight graze on my forehead, but we had to take kungfupolarbear to the hospital because her chest was excruciatingly sore where the seatbelt had grabbed her.

Thankfully it turned out to be only bruised ribs and not anything broken or fractured. My poor car is a write-off though, the entire front frame of it was bent to the left and the engine is completely mangled. I made my statement to the police last night (Thursday night) and the officer I was speaking to (who was at the accident on Wednesday night) said there was a witness that she needed to contact, but it was likely to be ruled in my favour. Which I would bloody well hope so, since it wasn’t my fault! The idiot teenager was claiming that he had a green light, despite the fact that there were two lanes of traffic next to him that had stopped.

We only had third-party insurance on our car, so the car itself wasn’t covered, but the other guy’s insurance will. However, his insurance company can’t do anything until the police make their final report and confirm that it was his fault, so we’re basically in a holding pattern at the moment. Fortunately mum and dad are able to give us lifts where necessary, and we don’t have to use the car for getting to work. We’re going to just get a new car of the same model and somewhere around the same vintage – the old one was a 1993 Corolla, and they can be had for between $2000 and $3000 now. If we used the car a lot more we’d probably get something newer and fancier, but with our usage there’s really no point.

So yeah. Pretty fucking shit week. 🙁 On the bright side we’re having bad movie tomorrow night, so that will be good.

A new design

One of the things I’ve done with my website is design and add an entirely new design, and the ability to switch between the current design and the new one. Check it out!

The “Dark” style is the current one, and the “Light” style is the new one. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, design-wise, even apart from managing to implement a style-switcher that stores the current selection in a session cookie so it’s remembered next time you visit. 😀

Oops

Yes, I’ve forgotten to update LiveJournal for another several months. 😛 I keeping remembering at random useless times to update my LJ (like when I’m nowhere near a computer or am about to go to bed). I’ve now added a category to Things on my computer and iPhone so I can hopefully at least quickly add a reminder to blog things and there’ll be more frequent updates. 😛 (Yes I’m a massive nerd).

Biggest thing is that today is our third wedding anniversary! \o/ (Squee wedding photos squee). This is actually a Lily weekend, which was slightly annoying, but we went out to dinner last night after work, and I got some beautiful roses sent to kungfupolarbear‘s work which she spent the whole day squeeing about. 😀 Next weekend we’re going to Melbourne on Sunday and Monday, so we’ll eat lots of delicious food and take lots of photos. I can’t wait! It’s crazy, things just keep getting better and more awesome! BEST WIFE EVER.

In other news, Lily turned five last month. O_O And she’s already half-way through her first year of school. WHAT THE HELL HOW WHY WHAT.

On the subject of nerdy things, someone posted an epic rant back in April on how shit PHP is. My website was written in PHP, so that rant gave me the impetus to find something else. I discovered a Perl web framework called Mojolicious and have totally rewritten my site with that. It has all sorts of useful functions for reading JSON and such, so I’ve hooked my website into my Flickr, Tumblr, and it has my Last.fm stats too. 😀 It’s really been a lot of fun!

I was looking at my slightly older LJ entries, and saw the one from Christmas about the guitar input… I’ve basically not touched it or the guitar for like four months now. 🙁 I think the DVD that I bought (learning the chords by themselves) just doesn’t work for me, I end up losing interest far too quickly. That’s probably the fifth or sixth time I’ve attempted to learn, and I just can’t do it. I suspect I need to learn actual full songs, but I also have far too many another things vying for my attention that I totally forgot about the guitar input until I was writing this entry, heh.

…and holy shit, I also just realised that today not only marks our third wedding anniversary, but ten years TO THE DAY since my first LJ post! 😮 God damn. I’ve also been registered and posting on Ars Technica for over eleven years, and have been going by “VirtualWolf” online for a good thirteen years now. All of those numbers are more than a third of my life, which blows my mind.

Wow

I went to the Factory Theatre in Marrickville last night to see Devin Townsend and Meshuggah, neither of which I’d seen live before.

Meshuggah was the headlining show, and they were excellent, but Devin Townsend stole the show IMO. He had so much interaction with the crowd and you could completely tell he utterly loved being up there. I was right at the very front on the right side of the stage, and he made a point to come over to both sides of the stage and amp up the crowd. At one point he was individually looking at and acknowledging people and saying “Thank you”.

The songs were absolutely epic, and I was headbanging as hard as I’ve ever done before. It was absolutely one of the best shows I’ve been to. It ran a bit later than I expected, and so I ended up running more than half-way from the venue to Sydenham train station to catch the last train of the night (11:52pm), and I didn’t get home until a bit after 1am. I was definitely stiff today and I suspect will be even more so tomorrow!

Also, kungfupolarbear is the best wife in the world. I came home to this on the kitchen counter. 😀

My semi-regular two-month update.

An update! Mostly brought to you by velvetrhapsody updating, then me realising it’s been ages since I updated mine. 😛

Work is mostly the same, but far busier. We updated about 8000 customers to JIRA 5 last week, and it’s not so much that there were massive bugs but the sheer number of people raising support cases about either minor bugs or just questions about functionality… argh. I’ve been absolutely non-stop flat out the entirety of last week, and this week doesn’t seem to be slowing down any.

I’ve had to get an ergonomic keyboard at work, because my left wrist has starting feeling… weird. It’s that feeling in the muscles on the underside of the arm towards the wrist that you get after an evening of ten-pin bowling, where you feel like you’ve been using muscles you don’t normally use. I don’t know why it’s suddenly come on, but the new keyboard seems to be helping. (It’s a Microsoft Natural 4000 if anyone is interested).

On Saturday I went for a flight in a 1950s de Havilland Chipmunk! I took some photos prior to the flight. It was actually rather nerve-wracking because I was flying it for most of the flight! I’m not sure I want to do it again, to be honest… I spent it mostly concentrating on keeping the plane level and so didn’t get a chance to do much sight-seeing.

Lily has started school this year, which is crazy. I have no idea where that time went! Apparently her teacher is nice.

New Year’s Eve was excellent, kungfupolarbear and I went to a co-worker’s place in Kirribilli, and the view was insane. Witness:

The full set is here.

Speaking of photos, I’ve been on quite the black and white kick lately.

Cottage

Glass

Light from above

Broken

We’re going back to Boston in August for kungfupolarbear‘s 30th birthday, which is very exciting! I loved Boston, and it’ll be great to go again now that we actually have a decent camera. \o/ OH THE PHOTOS WE WILL TAKE

…and I think that’s mostly about it!

Merry Christmas all!

Christmas was quite good. Lily didn’t wake me up at arse o’clock in the morning, which was lovely! We went over to mum and dad’s for Christmas lunch, as we do every year. It was delicious, all the presents were given, and it was generally very nice.

Mum and dad bought me (at my request) this guitar input so I can plug my guitar into my computer and iPhone, and hopefully it’ll encourage me to actually get around to learning how to play the damn thing. I also got some gift cards, and the Halo 1 anniversary edition.

\o/

Oops

Nearly two months without an update! D’oh. I’ve completely forgotten to even look at my friends page for the past few weeks. 🙁

Work has been going very well. At the end of October we launched a whole new platform for our hosted offerings, called OnDemand, and it’s been very well received by everyone. There’s been a massive uptake of it, but our support load hasn’t exploded.
The three of us in Hosted Support are currently sitting next to the other two hosted platform teams, which is really nice. We can just turn around and ask questions, or we know immediately if something’s going funny.

Speaking of work, we had an awesome Melbourne Cup Day lunch last month. Everyone dressed up and we left work at 11am and went to this really nice venue on the harbour. We had absolutely delicious food, plenty of beer and wine, and it was all paid for by work! I brought the camera and gave it a good workout, and got a bunch of great photos. In fact, this particular one was used as a presentation slide by one of the CEOs in the last all-hands meeting we had! 😀 (It was the “Questions?” screen, so nothing major, but I was pretty chuffed).

We’re currently twelve days away from moving house. We were wanting to stay in our current place until we saved up enough money to buy a unit, but it turns out the owners want to move back in. They had a baby and had just moved closer to the city while she was pregnant, but the douchebag real estate agent neglected to mention any of this when we signed the lease originally, and assured us that it’d be fine to renew the lease when the time came.
The new place is in Turramurra, about ten minutes closer to the city than where we are now. It’s a bit bigger than our current place, and it’s actually an investment property. The owners wanted to make sure we were going to be staying a goodly while before they agreed to get flyscreens installed (there aren’t any right now), so that’s a good sign.
We’ve done a reasonable amount of packing already, and not having to de-mould every goddamn thing in the place is making it so much faster.

I completely forgot to mention that we went down to Melbourne for the weekend on the 9th/10th/11th of September, and it was great! We stayed in a really nice hotel on St Kilda Rd so were able to just wander up to Flinders St and get to wherever. And oh, the food! Man, both kungfupolarbear and I would be SO FAT if we lived in Melbourne.
I’d been there once before to visit Xenex but that was many years ago now, and I don’t even recall what we did. 😛 It was so different to Sydney and I can’t wait to go back. Naturally, I took heap of photos. 😉

A friend of Kristina’s came over from the US and stayed with us for a week. The ENTIRE TIME, the weather was absolute rubbish. 🙁 We went up to the Blue Mountains and literally couldn’t see anything. I’ve never seen fog anything like it.
The shitty weather has pretty much continued since then, and it’s feeling more like we’re going from autumn into winter, rather than already being in summer. Supposedly it’s meant to be a cool wet summer, so I’m not holding out any hope of the weather improving. 🙁

Lily starts school in about two months! 😮 And she’s turning five in May. Holy shit. I have no idea where that time went, it’s crazy. She’s doing really well with her letters, she knows the whole alphabet, and I set her up with WriteRoom and my old iBook G4, so she can spell words from her books and see them right on the screen. She actually asks me if she can “do letters”, which is good! I just looked, and my Lily set on Flickr has 226 photos in it. 😀 It’s fun looking through all the old photos and seeing her getting steadily older.

/salute

I just shut my Power Mac G5 down for what will likely be the last time, after nearly six years of flawless operation.

I realise it’s just a computer, but I’m a bit wistful at the moment. I ordered it the day the quad-core machines were announced, and it arrived on the 17th of November in 2005. It’s been my computer through rather a lot of changes in my life… from the mundane like Apple moving from Frenchs Forest to the city, to Lily being born (and all the drama and psycho-ness from her mother, ugh), to the best thing that’s ever happened to me: falling madly in love with my beautiful kungfupolarbear, proposing, and getting married. 🙂

I used the hell out of the computer through that whole time, and never once did it skip a beat. Farewell, G5.

We lost a great man today

I was sitting at my desk at work, and saw a tweet that seriously caused my heart to skip a beat… “Apple says Steve Jobs has died”. And it was true. I know it sounds trite and ridiculous for someone who was the CEO of a multi-billion dollar international company, but I honestly teared up, and am still in disbelief.

It’s no exaggeration to say that my life would be totally different without Steve Jobs and Apple. We had a second-hand Apple ][e that my uncle gave us, and I spent many an hour playing Wavy Navy. My dad used to bring home his old SE/30 from work and I’d have great fun mucking around in MacPaint and just generally learning how to use it. We always bought Apple machines, even during the mid-90s when just about everyone else had abandoned them. I was the sole Mac user for pretty much the whole of my school career, and was frequently laughed at for it. Now I look around on the train on the way to work and just about everyone has an iPhone, and there’s plenty of Mac laptops as well. How things change.

I ended up getting a job at Apple in 2003, and worked there for six and a half years until our whole call centre was made redundant. I’m not at all bitter, because it worked out brilliantly, I love my current job and wouldn’t have gotten it without having had the job at Apple to begin with.

I can’t even imagine how life would have turned out if not for Steve and Apple.

RIP, Steve. We’ll miss you.

A slightly delayed post, but better late than never

Last weekend was (mostly) rather excellent!

Friday night we went to our regular favourite Chinese restaurant, New Shanghai, in Chatswood, with gypocalypse and his girlfriend, and another friend @wobster. The food was excellent as always, and afterwards we went up to San Churro. HOLY CRAP. I’ve never had hot chocolate quite like that. It was more like the consistency of pudding!

On Saturday night we went over to gypocalypse‘s for a bad movie night, which featured glorious 80s action cheese in the form of Commando and Escape from New York. Well, Commando was glorious, Escape from New York was just booooooring.

Sunday night, was mum and dad’s for dinner, and hanging out with them and my sister and her fiancé. That was lots of fun, as we get along really well, and my sister’s fiancé is a really nice, laid-back, funny guy. Her previous boyfriend was a pretty useless idiot, so we’re really happy she’s found someone nice.

And lastly, not that it’s part of the weekend, but last night we went to see Dylan Moran at the State Theatre. We’ve seen his standup before, and it’s brilliant, and the show last night absolutely did not disappoint in any way. My entire face hurt from laughing so much.

In less good news, right as we were sitting down to dinner on Friday I got a call from my dad saying that my grandma (the only grandparent I have left, and she’s turning 87 this year) had been admitted to hospital with blood pressure of 210/80. 🙁 Thankfully since then we’ve found out that she’s stabilised and is doing a lot better, and she might be getting fitted with a Pacemaker, depending on what the surgeons think.

And now, to bed! Phew.

The family. Also, photos.

We went over to my parents’ place last night for dinner, and my sister and her boyfriend and their adorable little girl were there. I certainly gave the new lens a good workout, and got some really good photos. It was really nice to hang out with the family (my sister lives down in Nowra, which is a good three hours drive away, so we don’t see her very often).

Me? I'm not doing anything. No sir.

Hmmmmmmm.

Smile!