Christmas 2017

Christmas and Boxing Day this year were pretty great. My sister and her husband and kids were able to make it up from Nowra again, so we had the family Christmas at my parents’ place with everyone. My niece Arya, now three and a half, is GODDAMN ADORABLE. She’s totally happy to just go off and play by herself, and there wasn’t a single tantrum the whole time we were there either. Lily and Scarlett were happy to hang out with each too and got along very well.

It was interesting to see that Scarlett’s reading is definitely not at the same level as Lily’s was at the same age… Lily was eight when I posted this but she was absolutely tearing through pretty much everything, whereas Scarlett was struggling a little to read the jokes inside the Christmas crackers.

Beanie was terrific, he mostly just wandered around keeping an eye on what everyone was doing and didn’t bark once. Arya was a afraid of him to begin with, because he was so excited to see someone vaguely at his height that he kept jumping up on her and trying to lick her face! My sister’s dog at home isn’t one for jumping, so Arya wasn’t used to that. She got over it eventually, though, and was able to sit down and give him scritches.

Showing Scarlett how to Minecraft

Pennie, Mark, and Arya

AHHH A DINOSAUR BOOK!

Beanie amongst the Christmas paper

Snuggles with Aunty Kristina

Sitting on dad

I’ve been a bit stuck for what to get for Christmas and birthdays of late, so I’ve asked for mostly just books. This year’s haul:

So that should certainly keep me occupied for a while!

We went back over on Boxing Day for mum’s birthday, and went down to Collaroy Beach in the afternoon. It was completely overcast but the weather was otherwise glorious… temperature in the mid-20s and a lovely breeze. There were more photos, of course, and I gave the 135mm lens a good workout for once!

Waving from the kiddy pool

Posing

Strutting

Playing in the sand

Getting splashed #1

Even cheesier grin

Getting splashed #5

Lily’s visit

Lily normally lives with her mother up near Nimbin (which is an almost-nine-hour drive north from our house), but they came down for Christmas this year. We saw Lily last in October of 2014, and she didn’t really like Beanie at that point because he kept trying to lick her, and Beanie himself wasn’t quite sure what to make of her as she was running all around and generally being fairly hyper. This time was a night-and-day difference, Lily was really good with him and knew how to pet him properly, and was significantly calmer than last time. When I would read to Lily before bed, Beanie would come in and curl up on the floor while we’re doing so. The only slight issue was that Beanie kept trying to hump Lily! We’re not entirely sure why (we get the occasional hump attempt, but nothing like this), the only conclusion we came to was that it was because she’s so much smaller than us.

My sister and her husband and two girls (Scarlett, 5, and Arya, 1-and-a-bit) live three hours away in the opposite direction from Nimbin, but they were up for Christmas this year too, which we had at my parents’ place.

New bears

"THAT WAY!"

Reading with Nanna Ruth

We had Lily for a week all up, from Christmas Day to New Year’s Day. Kristina pointed out that it’s so much easier to have a proper conversation with Lily now, she actually listens to what you’re saying rather than just talking at everyone all the time and not really caring if anyone else is listening. There were a few pretty hilarious exchanges, too. My favourites were these two:

Lily: Why are we doing this?
Me: Better safe than sorry.
Lily: I don’t understand.
Me: It means it’s better to do something and perhaps not have needed to, than to not do it and then have regrets later.
Lily (in a very matter-of-fact tone): You are speaking absolute nonsense. I don’t understand a word you’ve just said.

It was a serious struggle not to burst out laughing. The other one was when we were reading before bed, Lily still has some of her older learn-to-read books around, and one of them had a thing on the front:

Lily (reading the cover of the book): “Synthetic phonics.”
Me: Synthetic! That’s a big word!
Lily (again very matter-of-fact): That’s not a big word. “Intergalactic” is a big word.

Lily’s reading level is pretty impressive. Mum bought her The Animal Book, which is a big book about all sorts of different animals and plants, and Lily was just zooming through it, even reading the proper scientific names of things with barely a pause. She’d also had the rite of passage that I’m pretty sure all children go through (me included), which is where a relative buys you a big book of REALLY CORNY jokes. We were inundated with jokes the whole time, but I think the most impressive thing was how well she was remembering all the different jokes.

I’d forgotten that I had Minecraft on the Xbox One, so we had a pretty good chunk of time playing that as well, either Lily by herself or the both of us with splitscreen. She’d only played on her grandma’s iPad previously but she picked up how to control everything with a twin-stick controller really quickly! She was fairly obsessed with it and would tell me even when she wasn’t playing about what she wanted to build next or how she wanted to modify her various houses she’d created.

Scarlett, my niece, was staying with my parents for five days while everyone else went back down to Nowra, so we were able to go over and catch up a couple more times. We went to Featherdale Wildlife Park on Sunday, which mum and dad hadn’t ever been to before (naturally, photos were taken), and on Tuesday we went down to Collaroy Beach to generally chill out (where I put suncream on but managed to burn both kneecaps and the shin on one leg. >_<).

We also realised that we didn’t have any recent photos of all of us, so I set up all my crazy lighting equipment yesterday and took some really quite nice photos of us.

Family photo!

All in all, it was just a really nice time. She’s such a good kid, her manners (both regular and table) are great, and she’s extremely bright. It sucks that we don’t see her more often, but c’est la vie.

Woah

Today is Lily’s sixth birthday! That’s crazy!

This weekend isn’t our weekend with her, so we’re going to do a birthday thing next Saturday and will then go over to mum and dad’s for a birthday dinner on Sunday. Should be good!

I took this photo of Lily last weekend.

Smile!

Speaking of photos, Lily’s been running around with our old point-and-shoot camera, I’d gone through all the photos and picked out the good ones, and we sat down last weekend and actually edited them together, and here they are! Quite funny. 🙂

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/

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!

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.

That was new

Lily just announced that she was tired and asked to take a nap. Of her own volition! She’s not been having a nap during the day for the past few weeks, and going to bed at 7:30-8:00 at night. Previously if she was looking exhausted and I put her down for a nap, there’d be a lot of crying about it.

Hopefully this is a long-term change. 😛

Updates!

Work’s been going great, we ordered a shiny new Core i7 MacBook Pro which shipped today, and Lily turned 3 on Tuesday! I can’t get over how quickly that’s gone by.

This weekend has been atrocious though, because Lily has this horrendous chesty cough. It sounds loose and she seems to be coughing stuff up at least. She’s not all grumpy during the day thankfully, but at night she just can’t get a proper sleep as she keeps waking herself up with her coughing. She sometimes coughs so hard she almost gags. 🙁 I got probably four hours sleep at the most on Friday and Saturday nights. I’m dropping her off at her mother’s place at about 4pm today for Mother’s Day, so I’ll at least get a single good night before going back to work tomorrow.

kungfupolarbear will have been married for an entire year in exactly one month! Craziness. No idea where that time went either. The weekend after our anniversary is a long weekend, and one where we don’t have Lily, so we’ve used the Wotif.com voucher I got when I started at Atlassian and have booked two nights at the River Oak Lodge in Kangaroo Valley. The voucher was for $500, and even after the two nights we’re left with just under $200 on it. Woo!

And of course, I’ve been continuing to take lots of photos of everything, heheh.

Oh hey. LiveJournal. Right. Bullet-point updates ftw!

  • kungfupolarbear and I have been married (squee! That’s so not getting old) for over a month and it still feels like a big extended sleepover. It’s fantastic.
  • In less awesomeness, both kungfupolarbear and Lily have been sick of late, with Lily being really sick… she was up pretty much every hour last night coughing, which mean she was pretty much non-stop grumpy today. I’m quite amazed that I’m as awake as I am at the moment.
  • We bought a shiny new TV Sunday last week! It’s so very very awesome. Next purchase is a laptop!
  • kungfupolarbear starts work on Monday! It’s down at Central, which is dead easy to get to by public transport from here.
  • A friend lent me his Canon 400D DSLR camera this weekend, we wandered down to Dee Why Headland and took a few photos. There were more than these ones of Lily, but none of them were particularly interesting.
  • "You're joking, right?"

    Now, time for a shower and then bed very shortly afterwards, I think. Ugh. ::faceplant::

    iPhone camera vs proper camera with actual flash

    iPhone camera:

    versus

    Proper camera with external flash:

    Jumping!

    😀

    I tweaked both of the photos a bit. The iPhone camera one was just the auto-levels button in Aperture, to bring the brightness up — it was really dim — and the real one was brightened just a bit, and the temperature changed to be a bit less yellow.

    I think I just confirmed my lack-of-taking-photos-at-home theory from my previous post… we were up at Mum and Dad’s for dinner, and I ended up taking a bunch of shots!

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    Climbing 1

    Binhead!

    Watching volcanoes on TV

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    And now to hopefully take advantage of the extra hour sleep tonight because of daylight savings ending! ::faceplant::

    Also, I should mention that I am now SANS ROOMMATES! They moved out on the weekend. 😀 I’m paying a shitload of rent for the moment, until kungfupolarbear gets here, but it’s so worth it. The lounge room is extremely empty right now, since all the furniture except the lights and the coffee table were my roommates’. And Lily has her own room now! And she’s got a proper little bed too. 😀

    And Mum bought her this for the door:

    I was up at mum and dad’s this evening, playing around with my camera and flash. I did the initial exposure on the sky, then hit the Exposure Lock button and recomposed it against the trees, with the flash on. I think they came out very interestingly!

    And of course, a couple of Lily!

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    I’ve also added some more pics to the Lily album! These were all taken during kungfupolarbear‘s visit. Some of them are already in the various sets I put up on Flickr so I won’t include them there.

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    Stylin'

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    The last four are me getting arty with the “Night Snaphot” mode on my camera… it gives a long exposure time but also fires the flash. I really like how they came out!