Friday, November 24, 2006

I won some books

At yesterday's book frenzy I put my invite into a draw for a door prize and won six books. One I've read and the others I wouldn't have picked for myself. Maybe it'll broaden my horizons or something... or maybe they're just getting old stock off their hands. Can't really complain about free books though can I?!

Thanksgiving? Kinda

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. I don't celebrate it. Being an Australian, why would I? Well, Shawn is American so I like to observe it in some way. So he doesn't miss all his treats from home we'll have a Christmas dinner seperate from my family and I'll add a pumpkin pie to the equation. I made it for him last year as well. It tasted alright, but it took an ungodly amount of time to actually cook, so if anyone has a simple, failsafe recipe they have tested for this then please post it in the comments or email it to me.

Aside from that I also had a members invite to a book store so we had hors d'oeuvres and wine while we shopped for books we were going to get 20% off (go ahead and picture me sighing happily). We followed this up with Japanese for dinner. It's not exactly Thanksgiving with all the extras, but it wasn't a bad substitute.

Old Friend and her Idyll

Catching up with an old, dear friend feels really good. I was very happy to see her life going well. It was really nice to spend time with her and interesting to see how she's changed and how she's stayed the same. To see where she lives, her very cute little daughter, her little idyll with a real backyard, complete with a rainwater tank, a vegetable patch and chickens was actually quite eye opening for me. For so many years I've lived in Sydney and for so many of those years it's been impossible to have a backyard that I can stretch out in due to the price of rent. At the moment I have a courtyard with room for outdoor dining, herbs and one tomato plant. I'm very nesty by nature and have often pined for the things I had growing up (such as the aforementioned chickens and veggie patch). Life is not all bliss I'm sure, but I am sure that she possesses the calm, good grace and the reserves to lead a happy life.

I go to Newcastle often to visit family, but it was strange to be reminded of all the others I knew in Newcastle. It was a little like hearing about a past life because it has been a very long time since I have lived there. It made me wonder how they are all doing, what their life is like now and what stories have they picked up over the years. Maybe I'll get to hear some of those stories at some point.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Birthday 2006

Yesterday was my birthday. I had a really good day.

Work organised a cake which was very tasty and very filling.

Shawn organised a picnic at home by buying all my favourite stuff from Relish. Relish is my favourite healthy takeaway place... although I suspect the potato salad is laced with some sort of class A drug, because it tastes so good! He also ordered this amazing and gorgeous little triple chocolate torte from Mezzapica. So good. The choux pastry, of the profiteroles that were on top of the cake, was ultra fresh. So impressed.

This was all very well, but the weirdest thing about my day is that I got a phone call from the person who became my best friend at my second high school. Unfortunately, I hadn't seen her for ten years though, so this was a complete shock, but a most welcome surprise. When someone who you haven't seen for ten years says "So, what've you been up to?", it's just plain funny. Neither of us had any problems deciding where to start though. It was great to talk to her and I'm looking forward to catching up with her in person next week.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Year Ago Yesterday

Shawn arrived in Sydney to live (not just visit).

Melbourne Cup

To my knowledge, Australia is the only country that stops everything to watch a horse race. The Melbourne Cup is otherwise know as The Race That Stops a Nation. It's a little silly really given that for the rest of the year most people don't go near a form guide, but in early November, most people are either a) all of sudden terribly knowledgable or b) very excited about horses. Having said that, I do enjoy office traditions that involve free champagne.

We used to do it quite well, usually starting with a late lunch of prawns and other tasty morsels and a few glasses of the aforementioned champagne. Sometimes we would go back to work after that, but not always. This year the sweep is only two dollars so winning wouldn't be very exciting. I think this year we go upstairs for half an hour and 'nibbleys' will be provided. This is what happens when a company gets larger. We have less party budget to go round. I still feel fortunate to have had the work experiences that I have, besides, surely there's at least bottle or two of champagne upstairs right?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Early Birthday

Due to my birthday falling during the middle of next week, today we're driving up to Newcastle to celebrate my birthday with family a little early.

Yay presents! Booo getting older!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Apple Macintosh owners: Listen up

Don't go and get parts from an Apple reseller, Apple Store etc. It's a complete waste of money. In the past you had to use Apple parts, but now, you can replace almost everything with PC parts. This is preferable because Apple charge a premium for buying it from them. Let me give you an example. I needed a new cd/dvd drive. It cost me $115 from Next Byte (an Apple store). I bought the same drive, from the same manufacturer, from a PC store and it cost me $47. Ridiculous. Buying your dvd drives and memory from an Apple store? Pearls after swine I tell you! Just buy it from a PC place.

Now you're wondering "Why did you buy two drives?" I'm glad you asked. The first drive purchased from Next Byte, died within 5 minutes of installation. When I put the first disk in it told me to "insert acceptable media", but this was acceptable media. I thought perhaps that the disk might be damaged and tried another disk. The drive then started to make ticking and whirring sounds. I ejected this disk and tried another. The third disk was then simply ejected by the drive. Apparently looking at disks was too hard. I took the drive back to Next Byte.

NB: "You were told to bring in your computer"

Me: "Actually I described the problem with the drive and was told to 'Bring it in'. I assumed the 'it' was the drive we were talking about."

NB: "Well you'll have to bring your whole computer in."

Me: "Would it be possible to just plug this into another machine so we can eliminate the possibility that the problem is with the drive itself?"

NB: "No. We don't have any machines to test it on."

How does a service centre not have any machines to test something on. Oh wait, they do. They're just evil!

I blink slowly at the service centre guy realising that it doesn't matter what I say, he will not test the drive and I will have to bring in my whole computer.

Me: "How long does this normally take?"

NB: "Four to six days for a diagnosis."

Good Lord.

They didn't get back to me. I had to call them. They then offered the pearl of wisdom that my drive wasn't working. Well, no, it wasn't. This is why I brought it in. I told them that they should check the cables and the motherboard just in case. Why do i have to make these suggestions? They then tested that it had nothing to do with the computer and that it was the drive and with that, they said they'd send it back to their supplier and get a new one for me. The problem here is that the supplier says that it looked like it had been dropped and that there was something rattling around inside. They will not wear the cost of that so they can't get a new drive for me. I assured them that the drive was not dropped by me, so they've now sent a report from the supplier, along with an email from Next Byte to the manufacturer. None of this has anything to do with me, I have been a customer of theirs for years and I am not a serial item returner, so I don't expect to be called a liar and I expect them to give me a new drive.

So, since it wasn't my machine at fault I got that back, went to a PC parts place, paid $47 for the same drive (same manufacturer, same model!), installed it and got back to work. I have a new drive, but I still expect Next Byte to make amends. I don't mind having a spare drive.

I assume that Next Byte hope I'll just give up. Oh contrare! I will keep calling them, at least until they hear back from the manufacturer. If they still won't reimburse me, I'll write them a letter stating that myself and the company I work for will not be purchasing any products from them again, we expect for our details to be erased from their customer database, never to darken our door... etc.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Working from work

I'm no longer working from home. How sad. Oh well. It was nice to have nearly two weeks working from home. I found that when I ran out of work to do I got cabin fever and when I had something to do I was fine. It's the same when I'm at work really. With work to do, working from home is much nicer than being at work. It's very relaxed, I don't get interrupted as often, there is real air as opposed to air conditioned air, there is no constant hum from all the other computers and there is natural light. I'd love to work from home and just drop in to work for meetings so I don't miss out on some sort of exchange with other human beings during the day.

More work

Shawn has been offered an extension on his contract. Yay for second incomes. Having work over Christmas, when this is the time of year that work often dies down and there are more expenses, is nice.