My grandma (my mum’s mum, who’s my sole remaining grandparent, known as “Nanny”) has been in and out of hospital a fair bit in recent years. She’s turning 90 at the end of this year and has been having heart troubles for a while, though her mind is still sharp as a tack.

I got a call from mum on Monday night saying that Nanny had decided that she was sick of hospital, wanted to be discharged, wasn’t going to be taking any medicine anymore, and was just going to let nature take its course. She was going to have to take thirteen tablets in one hit, which is astonishing (and horrible, and I can see why she decided to do what she did). I said we could come to visit on Saturday, and mum said that she wasn’t sure Nanny would still be around by then. Naturally there was a whole lot of sadness and tears. Nanny had a doctor’s appointment yesterday, so I took the day off work today and kungfupolarbear and I went over to visit today.

It was actually quite a happy visit, Nanny was in really good spirits, much better than I’ve seen her for a while. Mum was there, my sister had driven up from Nowra, and my uncle was up too. We had a good chat for a couple of hours, filled Nanny in on all Beanie’s latest happenings (she’d been absolutely delighted by him when she came over a month or so ago), and griped about the state of politics, hehe.

Both kungfupolarbear and I feel a lot better about things now, and who knows, now that Nanny’s not on a heap of medicines she may last another number of months. Either way, she was really happy to see the both of us, which was nice.

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Nanna Win

Nanny

Five years!

Not quite five years marriage yet (that’s next month), but kungfupolarbear and I arrived back in the country five years ago to the day today! So many changes since then (we have our own house and little doggie!), but everything is still so effortless. <3

We’re heading up to Newcastle tomorrow for gypocalypse‘s wedding! Should be nice, we have enough spare time that we’ll do some wandering around and photo-taking too (the rehearsal is tomorrow, but the actual wedding isn’t until Sunday).

In the fitness news, I just tonight did a full five kilometres! That was including the warm-up and cool-down, so it wasn’t actually 5km of running, but still. Definitely glad we bought the treadmill.

Holy crap!

I just jogged for 20 minutes straight! \o/

I’ve been doing the Couch to 5K (the goal at the end is to be able to jog for 5km) on our treadmill, and the day I just completed was just purely “jog for 20 minutes”. And I did it! It got slightly rough towards the end, but nothing terrible.

Pretty happy right now. 🙂

DOGGIE!

So we finally got a dog on Sunday! His name is Beanie and he’s a one year-old dachshund/maltese cross. kungfupolarbear took some photos yesterday.

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Tired of Photos

He’s house-trained already, though he’s a bit clingy at the moment and we can’t leave the house for very long without him getting all anxious, but overall he’s such an adorable little thing!

Productivity!

Oh man. What a productive weekend!

We did some shopping yesterday prior to going over to gypocalypse‘s place and then the Bavarian for dinner. Sadly we had to leave at about 9:30 since I was starting work at 5am today (yes, it’s bullshit. Fortunately they’re going to be changing it, but apparently it’s taking a while for some reason). At least I was working from home anyway.

Also, I didn’t actually do too much working as such. 😛 It was pretty quiet so I spent the time tweaking my Magic decks and ordered some new cards (I’m currently completely obsessed with the Innistrad block of cards — think really grim dark gothic horror. So awesome).

At the start of the shift I was definitely thinking I’d need to take a nap after I’d finished, but apparently I got a second wind (and possibly third and fourth). We went to Bunnings, bought a nice powerful drill (we’d tried with our little one and it just didn’t have enough grunt to drill the screws into the wood) and some other bits and pieces, then wall-mounted the dryer and then proceeded to re-mount the cupboard that we’d taken off the wall in order to put the dryer on it. I actually ended up using several pieces of wood left over from when we turned the garage back from an office into a garage (they’re still sitting in what is going to become the games room, since the council won’t take building waste as part of the regular clean-ups).

kungfupolarbear was busy as well, she helped with the manoeuvring of the dryer up onto the mount, made an EPIC amount of gumbo, a slow-cooked beef stew, and also tidied up the hedge out the front.

It’s now 10:19pm and I have absolutely no idea how I’m still awake. I have tomorrow off due to working today, so I plan on playing video games mostly. 😛

Also, I decided to buy the books that Game of Thrones is based off (A Song of Fire and Ice), mostly because I can’t be bothered watching it and I prefer reading. HOLY SHIT IT’S SO GOOD! Wow. I’ve been reading it on the train to and from work, which is a good two hours solid of reading per day, so I’m ploughing through the first book. Man. I’m vaguely annoyed that I’d never read them up until now!

…I should probably stop typing and go to bed now.

PS: Have I mentioned how much I love our new house? Because it’s really really a lot. Just being able to do all these things to it as we want. So good!

Housewarming.

We had our housewarming last Sunday, and it was fantastic. It wasn’t huge, there were nine of us all together, but it was just so nice being able to actually have people over again. We had a barbecue for lunch then played about three hours of Cards Against Humanity, everyone was impressed with the house, and we got $150 worth of Bunnings gift cards as housewarming gifts!

YOU GUYS, WE CAN ACTUALLY INVITE PEOPLE OVER TO OUR HOUSE. It’s so good! 😀

Squee!

kungfupolarbear and I have been married four years today! And this is the first of many anniversaries from our new house. 😀 Like last year, it fell on a Lily weekend, but I mum and dad looked after Lily tonight so we could go have a nice anniversary dinner.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but srsly, our marriage has just been effortless… I can’t imagine anyone else being even a tenth as perfect for me as kungfupolarbear is. We’re completely on the same wavelength for basically everything, it’s amazing.

PS SQUEE

Oh man

We went out to get some stuff at the shops, came back to the house and as I was opening up the garage I realised the air had that wonderful earthy smell you only get out in the country. It’s absolutely glorious here, still totally quiet at night, and the air is crisp and clean.

We’re making pretty good progress towards getting everything unpacked, and it actually looks like a house that we live in, as opposed to a house filled with boxes and crap.

Eeeee!

The move

We’re all moved in! \o/

We moved on Tuesday last week (the 28th), and it was surprisingly pain-free. The removalists we used were a pair of exceedingly Kiwi guys, who were “choice”, “broo”, and “cuz”-ing all over the place, it was hilarious. They’d done moves from our building before and knew how utterly retarded the layout was, and the removalist company suggested we get a guy in a ute as well so we could just load up the ute and ferry it out to the truck.

All three guys were really nice, and we got the moving-out part done in only three and a half hours. The moving in at the other end was obvious even faster, because they pulled right up into the driveway and just went straight in.

We’ve not unpacked everything yet, but we’re getting there. The house is great, and the whole area is dead quiet at night, and even during the day there’s not much noise. It hasn’t sunken in yet that this is our house, and that we don’t have to move again in a year or whatever. Not sure when exactly that’s going to hit, heh.

Unfortunately we’re still having to deal with the old real estate, bunch of arseholes that they are, as we’re waiting for them to pull their damn finger out and do the final inspection so we can get our bond back.

We’ve already done some stuff to the house… the garage had been converted into an office, so with the help of my parents and some power tools, we demolished the false wall (after having had to get a friend who is an electrician in to disconnect all the power from it) and pulled up the carpet and converted it back into a garage. The wall had been massively over-engineered, there were far too many screws and bits in for what it was.

The previous owners don’t seem to have taken too much care with some of the plumbing, and there were some leaks under the sink in both the kitchen and the bathroom which I’ve managed to fix with some teflon tape. There’s a structure out the back that we’re going to use as a games room, where I’ll be able to actually have space to lay out my miniatures to paint them, but currently it’s filled with the detritus from the false wall in the garage.

We’ve also spent a horrifying amount of money at both Bunnings and Ikea, but at least it’s a once-off thing and the stuff we bought will last us for years.

So in short, YAY HOUSE!

Settlement!

The settlement is booked for this Wednesday at 3pm! \o/

The bank continued their streak of being bloody useless, this time they managed to misread the title transfer document that had been sent. One of the seller’s names is “Louise”, and the bank came back saying that they’d need a new document because they thought it’d be written “Louisc”. It looks like what had happened was that they didn’t actually bother to view the PDF at full-size, because both kungfupolarbear and our mortgage broker zoomed it into 100% and it clearly said “Louise”. Unbelievable.

ANYWAY. That’s all past us now! We’re going to pick up the keys on Saturday and go over there and generally inspect things. The previous owner had converted the garage into an office and had put carpet and false walls up and such. That would have been fine and we’d have been able to pull it all down ourselves except that it turns out the false wall that was put up in behind of the garage door actually has a bunch of power points on the other side of it, so we’re going to need to get an electrician in to disconnect all that first.

In the grand scheme of things it’s really not a major bother though.

\o/

Tea!

If you’d told me a few years ago that I’d be regularly drinking tea, I’d have laughed!

I still don’t care about it during the day, but I’m really liking my nighttime cuppa, there’s something wonderfully soothing about it. I’ve been having Celestial Seasonings “Sleepytime” herbal tea. It’ll be even better once we’re in our new place and it’s quiet and crisp and cold outside.

Only twenty-two more sleeps. This is going to be the longest twenty two days ever.

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!

Ahaha

So __stripped asked me today if I still had this specific photo around of her, xenex, and myself that was taken at the Townie yonks ago. I dug around in Aperture when I got home, and lo and behold!

That was taken in December of 2004, so I was all of 21. WE ALL LOOK SO YOUNG, hahah.

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!

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::

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/

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

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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.

Melbourne!

kungfupolarbear and I went down to Melbourne last Sunday and Monday for our belated anniversary weekend (the actual date of our anniversary was a Lily weekend). It’s only an hour flight away, but is totally different to Sydney. So good to just get away for a while.

Naturally we look lots of photos. 😀 These are some of my favourites, the full set is here.

Abandon hope all who enter here

Flat white

Looking down Centre Place

Crossing

Moon sea jelly

Gentoo penguin

Looking out from Southern Cross Station

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.

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.