/* Blog goes here */

Changing the Weather
Sydney Harbour 18ft Skiffs
New Binoculars!
Clock Skew
Published Picture!
Mac/Linux Fun
The Big Wet
Tue Feb 26 20:52:37 2008

Changing the Weather

Interviews and Rainbows

Forgive me, dear readers. I have been burbling insufficiently. My prattling has been intermittent. I would claim some excuse, but I have none. A lesser blogger would claim pressure of work, stress, other commitments and so forth. In my case, it is pure idleness. That, and a single-minded devotion to maximizing enjoyment from the extended holiday before the "work" thing happens again.

On which note, I will say as little as possible, and keep to the basic facts. I have spoken to many recruiters, and interviewed with a small number of companies. Outcomes vary from the 'Thanks for coming, now go away', through the 'Interesting. unfortunately, you scare me. If I keep smiling, will you go away?' to my current situation: two job offers in hand, one more expected this week, and a spiffing ome for which I have a third interview tomorrow. Soon, you see, I shall have an excuse.

Anyway. All this activity, such as the six separate meetings last week, for example, require one to wear a suit. Not a happy-making experience. However, needs must when the mythical entity drives, so self-strangulation with silk ribbons it is. For some reason, this seems to have a meteorological effect. During the time I was slapping out the job apps and no-one wanted to see me, it was cool. Wet, I grant you, but cool. Long trousers and sweaters. A collar and tie would have been pleasantly toasty.

Recently, the weather has become entirely predictable. Whenever circumstances (and potential employers) require, on goes the suit and out comes the sun. I have traipsed one end of the CBD to the other and back, shirt on, tie fastened, and skin peeling as the sun beats down. Whenever the job is done, back into T-shirt shorts and sandals. In come the clouds, and the temperature plummets as fast as the raindrops.

Today was a perfect example. Briefing at 1200, so into suit around tennish, and off on sweltering buses (no aircon on this route, natch) in 30 degree bright sunshine with no breeze. Briefing done, back home, into shorts and sunnies for a happy summer afternoon. Heh.

Double Rainbow in Thunderstorm, Sydney Harbour Yes, it looks nice. If you weren't in the two inches of rain it dumped.

The rain hit us as we walked to the ferry. At least we have a new umbrella now.

Sun Feb 17 18:22:57 2008

Sydney Harbour 18ft Skiffs

More fun with Binoculars

Sitting idly on the balcony this afternoon, I was treated to a spectacular view of the 18 foot skiffs doing their thing. The leeward mark was placed just off Shell Cove, so I could watch the entire approach, gybe, drop, and capsize manoeuvre. The key to winning races seems to be a high guts/brain ratio, and a flawless capsize recovery technique.

These pictures were taken with my cheap little digital camera through the honking great 15x70s. The action was taking place about 2kms away.

18ft Skiff going downwind Still upright.
18ft Skiffs going downwind Seconds from a swim.

Next weekend, we may potter over to Rose Bay and watch them from a slightly closer range.

Mon Feb 11 07:14:45 2008

New Binoculars!

A Christmas Present

Today, I got my Christmas present. You, see, in December, we knew we were going to be moving halfway around the planet for the third time. We really didn't want to accumulate any more stuff than absolutely necessary. Christmas, therefore, was deferred. Other People stood by the bargain. I gave them a tiny, almost non-existant object whose value/mass ratio probably stretched the understanding a little far. Anyway, here we were at Warringah Mall. No. Wait. Let me backtrack a little.

After camping out in a serviced apartment in Bristol, then camping out in our flat, we came here and camped out in another serviced apartment until we found this place. Now, we're camping out here until our sea freight arrives. We've been camping out for longer than it took Burke and Wills to walk across the continent. Eventually, it palls somewhat.

Anyway, since we have no bed, we bought an air mattress. They didn't have the pump we wanted, so we bought a cheap bicycle footpump. You, know, nothing nice. we're only camping out. Still. After nearly two years. (Do you get the feeling we're bored with the camping out thing?). Anyway. Bicycle pump. About 200ccs a pump. Air mattress. About 600L. You do the sums. An hour later, it's almost full. Over the next few days, it becomes clear that a $30 air mattress is not entirely leak-free. Each night, I spend longer and longer wheezing air into it, and each morning it is less and less full. Sisyphus, I feel your pain. So. Today, we decide enough is enough, and return to Warringah Mall for a new air mattress. Only $30. Joy of joys, this time they have the right tool, too. Pump and cheapo just-make-do air mattress in hand, as we stroll through the mall, The Expert Shopper jolts to a halt. Bargain spotted. Just what a Burblechaz needs as a not-Christmas prezzie. Reader, she gave me a pair of 15x70 binoculars. Eventually, after camping out for ever, you get the good stuff. Happy.

Barska 15x70 binoculars I can see your house from here!
Sydney Harbour from Neutral Bay The harbour, without zoom
Sydney Harbour from Neutral Bay, zoomed The harbour, with 2.4x optical zoom
ALT TEXT Open the big can of zooooooooom!

The last shot was taken by holding a digital camera up to the eyepiece of the binoculars. I'm delighted with the result.

Wed Feb 06 16:09:55 2008

Clock Skew

make: Warning: File `index.html' has modification time 8.6e+04 s in the future

The Astute One noticed that the clock on my Linux machine was still in the European timezone. Hey, ho, easy to fix. A few mouse clicks and we're done. We like Ubuntu. Off to the blog directory, type 'make' to build it from the XML source. Crunch. Clock skew detected. Files are from the future. Whoops. Set date to tomorrow, thereby screwing up the archive dates, make again and publish. Thus another yak is shaved...

Tue Feb 05 15:36:37 2008

Published Picture!

In Denmark

A couple of weeks ago, I received a very polite email from a Danish Graphic Designer. He wanted to use one of my pictures in an ad. Once I had recovered from the shock that someone with actual ability and talent would want one of my pictures, I happily sent him the relevant permission. Thanks, Creative Commons!

After a week or so, he kindly sent me a copy of the ad. The 1MB pdf is here.

My delight at getting published is only slightly tempered by the picture he chose. A shot of me screaming past a roadie? No. One of my many, many sunset pics? Nope. It's a picture of my bike in bits, with a puncture. The ad is for these people. They sell puncture-proof tyres. Looking back at the number of puncture-related entries in the archives, perhaps I should buy some.

Mon Feb 04 04:41:43 2008

Mac/Linux Fun

rm *what*?

For reasons far too tedious to describe, this blog has been camping out on a Certain Person's very shiny Macbook Pro. Since we now have huge, vast, gushing quantities of bandwidth, I've moved it back onto a proper, grown-up Ubuntu environment. (it may be running on a VM hosted on an Operating System that Dare Not Speak It's Name, but that's just because of my Warcraft addiction and We're Not Discussing That.)

One friendly little thing that OS X does is to make secret hidden backups of your files. It calls them "._<name>. The blogging engine can see throught the whole 'starts with a dot' subterfuge. On reflection, this is probabaly a bad idea. Anyway, these files don't contain the XML that the blog engine expects, so it fell over noisily and obviously, pointing at the file causing the problem. Good Software. Have a cookie.

So, it's easy, right? Just delete the "._*" files.

It turns out that if you get the quoting or escaping wrong there, fun things can happen.

That's what backups are for. *smug*.

Mon Feb 04 04:07:51 2008

The Big Wet

it's chucking it down

We've been in Sydney for exactly a month. From arriving jobless and homeless, carrying all our worldly possesions on our backs (well, my back mostly), we've made good progress. We're no longer homeless. The flat (descibed here) is fantastic. We've had huge amounts of fun in and around Sydney. Mostly 'in', due to lack of a car. On the whole 'jobless' thing, I've had three interviews, two of which are fairly positive, and the other was caused by a keyword mismatch. Honestly, I could replace 95% of employment agents with a three-line shell-script. Including error-checking. Our biggest success, though, is ending the drought. For the last eight years, Queensland and New South Wales have been suffering a long, brutal dry spell. Since we arrived, it's rained. Continuously, enthusiastically and without intermission. The current shower has been going on for three days. It's quite warm, so it's not too depressing. Today, we had to do a bit of shopping, and Other People really, really needed coffee. We took the bus up the hill to the town centre. Due to poor planning on my part, we missed the bus down again. Rather than wait 29 minutes for the next bus, we decided to brave the 5-minute walk home. It wasn't really rain. More like an ocean with air slots in it.

Rain on Sydney street Gubble

Hope it stops before opening time.

email BurbleChaz

Last modified: Thu Aug 31 22:46:12 AUSEST 2006