Monday, September 22, 2008

slow week at the office..

I just looked at my blog and noticed I haven't written anything for a while. Well, that's because not much has been going on for the last week. Work has been continually painful (as seems to be the norm now) and I've just had the first weekend without basketball for a while. Accordingly, I tried to sleep in but it just wasn't working...I woke at the same time as I usually do. Try as I might to stay asleep I just couldn't. So .. seeing as i was awake anyway I decided to watch TV for a while. I had about 4 weeks of "The Bill" to watch on the HTPC but when I turned on the TV it was "Hannah Montana" that greeted me, after weeks and weeks of saturday basketball I am semi-addicted to Hannah...but in a totally MANLY way. Honest to god....I didn't plan it :)

My basketball (where I actually play) started it's new season on Wednesday at the god-awful time of 10:10pm. I'd like to say our team was straight back into the swing of things but...oh dear...we sucked REALLY bad. We were so bad that we only managed to score 3 points in the first half!! We ended up losing by 2 points and the less said about it the better.

Went for a monster ride on Sunday when the weather here in Melbourne was nice and sunny (in contrast to today where it pissed down ALL DAY and was friggen freezing!!). That event has pics and a write up on my facebook page so go there if you wanna know about that.

This weekend I am back in South Australia for a much needed break from all things "Melbourne" and I am looking forward to it immensely. Going to have a "Flight Of The Conchords" watching marathon and make Pizza and possibly treat the hostess (+offspring) to Pancakes. Will be awesome.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's all over...Even the shouting!

Last night was the break-up party for my u10 Basketball team. The club (Eastern Bulls) hired out an indoor sports center in Knox so the multitude of kids (I reckon there was about 80 there) could run around, throw balls at each others heads, climb on stuff and eat food that was 90% grease and 10% fat :)

It was a very laid back and relaxed 2 hrs (for me to say it was laid back means it was REALLY laid back) and I had a good time talking with all the "mums" there as I was the only male over the age of 12 and they all seemed to want to talk to me. I found this a bit strange that no fathers were present but in this day and age it's increasingly becoming a social Faux pas to ask about "Where's your dad?". The mothers all seemed to be a bit "over" spending hours at play-parties with their children and maybe that's why no fathers were there?? I've only ever heard stories about these "Play Parties" from friends with kids and the mothers there last night conveyed a similar sentiment. That apparently I am lucky that I don't have to suffer through these "events" due to me having no children of my own. Are kids really such a chore??? I suppose I have the "luxury" of being able to walk away from all the kids in my life and leave them as "someone elses problem", but still some of the best fun i've ever had involved kids....I like em.
Back to the coaching/basketball, The general concnsus was that I did a good job throughout the season and reaching the Grand-Final was a very good achievement considering I had a "Team of 4 players" as I kept getting told. The kids all got fed and I had to chuckle at the absolute chaos this encompassed. One of the people working at this arena walked out to the dining area with a huge "44 Gallon" drum of hot chips and asked "Ok, who wants chip?"

80 children sprang bolt upright hands in the air going "Me, Me, Me!!" knocking over tables, chairs, cars, fridges and the elderly in their attempts to answer (what I thought) was the worlds most rhetorical question. I can think of no children in the history of the world that didn't like hot chips. Actually I can think of maybe one as this child also doesn't like cake or chocolate ;)

After feeding the masses all the coaches were presented with gifts and thanks for their efforts during the last season. Was a nice gesture and although I thought the thanks were presented to me every weekend by seeing smiling and happy kids after we won games it was good to recieve acknoledgement. The funniest thing was that I asked what they enjoyed the most and I got told I was a "Fun Coach" and that I didn't "Do too much boring stuff" but everyone agreed my best quality was that I "Cracked it at Tyler....because he's so annoying"..ROFL.

So here's some pics.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My job ....

I went into today hoping the crap that occurred in the last 2 weeks at work would be behind me. I was wrong. I don't want to complain on here about it because people from work will see it.

It was quite surreal .... when did I move to Bizzaro world??

I can't believe the things people will hold against you. I really cant.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Yay for Mums!!

I'm a big fan of Mums let me say that from the start. Above all other mums I am a big fan of MY mum and this weekend I got to spend a whole day with her in Melbourne.

Finally, after nearly 5 years living in Melbourne a member of my immediate family has visited me!! My Aunty Ros visited me last year in November and while that counts as a "visit" I am talking about people I share a Parent or two with here, or in this case, actually ARE said Parent. It was really good to see Mum again even though it’s only been a few weeks since we last saw each other. Because how often can you see your Mum when you are 10000000 miles away in another state? Mum had come over with a tour group to see the musical "Wicked" and see some of Melbourne. The tour had incorporated into it’s itinerary a very early departure from Adelaide (6am on Saturday) and then a full days "Sight Seeing" in metro Melbourne (seriously??) then onto the musical for an 8pm start. When I asked Mum how it was she replied "I don’t know…I slept through most of it". Ha, pretty funny, but yeah by the time she got to the Theater it was 8pm and she’d already been up 14 hours AND walked around all day. When you add dimmed lights and a comfy chair…the result is invariably "Sleep". I have the exact same problem with "Seminars" and "Presentations" at work….I find it incredibly difficult to stay awake in them even if I walked into one after having slept for 24 hrs straight…I guarantee you I’ll fall asleep.

So in order to make her trip to Melbourne a better experience I went into the City on Sunday and picked her up and we went on to Smith Street in Carlton. I wanted to look for some Basketball shoes at the clearance houses after not being able to find any on Saturday at "normal" stores. True to form the Converse store DELIVERED!!! That place is just fantastic. There are a few stores in this world where you can walk in with no intention of buying anything and invariably leave with purchases. Gazman and Colorado jump instantly to mind their stuff is just so nice. Well the Converse store is the ULTIMATE example of this. Everything in there is about 80% off retail price and it’s all well made (in Australia) and looks good. I made my way to the shoe section and found exactly what I wanted "Converse Wade v3.0" basketball shoes. Usually $200, on sale here for $65 !!!! HOW GOOD IS THAT!!!

I was feeling a bit hungry so I convinced Mum that we should have brunch (as it was nearly 11am) so I took her to this little café I know about on Smith St. The name escapes me at the moment (Zoo Doo’s??) who do the BEST continental breakfast. I ordered the CB and 2 coffees and we both sat, both ate (we’re a sharing family…apparently :P) and chatted. Keeping with tradition I snapped a pic of the food and sent it to Rachel who sent back what could have been the funniest reply to an SMS I have ever received. Let me set up the context..I took a pic of the CB (eggs, bacon, tomato, toast etc) with a caption "MmmM Yummy!!" what I received in return was:

"but is it on a pancake?!"

I went 2 notches past "Chuckling Audibly" onto "Unrestrained guffawing Laughter" right there in the café. Rachel comes out with some really witty and funny stuff sometimes and this was definitely one of her best efforts. Still not quite the caliber of "Cyan sequined jump suits" or "Smurf Porn" … but it did have me giggling pretty much all day.

After brunch we also ducked into the Adidas clearance store and got the bargain of the century. They had a massive clearance on CROWS football stuff. Mum picked up "Official" Guernseys for all the "Field" Crow heads. Imagine this, these things retail for about $120 normally and mum got 4 or 5 of them for the price of 1!! We both thought it was quite serendipitous (and a little ironic) that the best deal on Crows stuff was in Melbourne. I also got some socks (100% cotton and 4 pairs for $15) and a pair of shorts ($25). These shops are just too cheap!!

Basking in our post-purchase after glow we returned to the car and high tailed it back home to my place. Mum had the tour and was quite impressed with my house and "stuff". She was pleased that I wasn’t living in abject poverty I think. She even braved the "Mould Room Of DEATH!!" and survived. We then both made the fatal mistake of sitting on my couch. Both of us nodded off simultaneously for about an hours worth of napping. When we woke up it was nearly 2pm and Mum was now a bit hungry and due to the mention earlier in the day of Pancakes she was now hankering for some pancake action. How do you say no to pancakes?? It’s just not possible.

We jumped back in the car and headed up Mt. Dandenong to "Flippin Pancakes" where 2 weeks ago (is it really that long ago already??) Rachel and I partook in their offerings. This time I managed to actually park my car completely straight in "Worlds Steepest Car Park" and we went inside.

Straight as a Dye!!

Strangely, when we went in we got directed to the exact same table as when Rach and I were there?!?!! Even had the same waitress. This time however, I was determined to not make the same "Savoury Pancake" mistake and I focused solely on the "Sweet" part of the Menu. The déjà vu didn’t end there, my mother scanned the menu and saw the pancake with curry dish and goes "Wow, that would be awesome Pancakes AND curry together!". She ordered that. I decided to be difficult and asked for a banana and maple syrup crepe dish but with pancakes instead of crepes. They accommodated my request and after a short wait we got our treats. They were fantastic, we sampled each others food (I think I already mentioned..we’re a sharing family :P) and yes Rach, the Curry pancake is to die for!! Next time get it!!

Banana's in front...Curry & Rice in Back.

After pancakes we went back home via the scenic Mt Dandenong road which is very beautiful and surrounded by tall trees and huge natural ferns. Very serene and cathartic. We arrived home and got all mums stuff together and headed off to the airport. I dropped her off and started the long trek back home once more alone in the wild metropolis of Melbourne.

Again, and I know this is probably getting really boring to hear, as soon as mum left I instantly felt alone and isolated in this city again. I really am having a very hard time justifying to myself just why I stay here. This year i've been back to Adeladie almost monthly and being able to spend time with my friends and family just highlight how miserable I am living here when I really want to be in Adelaide. It’s time to stop kidding myself … something has to be done and the time to do it is now.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

What a HUGE day!!!

I'm currently having one of those days where you do so many different things that you actually stop and go "It's still Saturday...right?". I have achieved so much today that it's amazing.

Firstly, Today was "GRAND FINAL DAY" for my under 10 basketball team. We did amazingly well to get to the grand final and we were all pumped. The game started at 9:40am this morning and it was a really good match. My team played very, very well and really deserved to win....unfortunately we don't always get what we deserve and we were beaten 13-26. It's cliche I know, but that score really doesn't do the teams performance justice. We out-played the other team consistently through-out the whole game and in the end only lost due to them having more players and therefor fresher legs. By the end of the game I had 6 completely stuffed little kids who had given there all and were only beaten because they were tired. The games are 50 mins long and that is a long time for such young children to run, jump, concentrate and deal with the disappointment of knowing they aren't going to win and still keep trying. They truly are a bunch of champions. They never gave up and fought right to the end and unfortunately the other team had 10 players in total and all of them were of similar ability and their coach made sure that none of them ever got tired. I didn't have that luxury and in the last 3 mins they went from leading by 5 to leading by 13.

After the game there was a small presentation ceremony and I was asked to present the team with their runners-up trophies. Now, it's been a while since I won an actual "Trophy" by playing sport. In my 20's and 30's whenever any team I was playing in won a final, be it Basketball, netball, Volleyball we usually got something akin to a etched pewter beer mug or sport socks. So I was absolutely gob-smacked today by the advances in "trophy technology" that I witnessed.
All my team (including me) got this little beauty.

Let me just preempt this by saying the kids in my team, while disappointed that they lost the game, were so amazed by these trophies that they almost didn't care that they lost. The team that did win were also a bit miffed because they had different trophies which had your standard golden man on top layout. Why? you may ask. Check this out:

How cool is that!!!! Isn't that just like the best trophy you've ever seen ?? It was either a really well thought out plan by the Basketball stadium management to make the losing teams players feel a bit better about it or Trophies in general are just 1000% more kick-ass from when I was a kid :)

After the game a lot of the parents came over and expressed their thanks to me for coaching this season. That was nice as a lot of the time I get the impression that they don't approve of much that I do (especially at training) but today they knew that the kids have really improved during the season and making the grand final was no accident really.

After basketball I headed off to "achieve" the first 2 goals I had set for myself this weekend...both involved spending a lot of money...but necessity is a cruel mistress. My first task was to buy a whipper-snipper. I did the appropriate research and learned that the petrol powered models are more powerful, more economical and actually use very little petrol compared to the absolute mega-watts the electric variants suck down. I also thought (or maybe someone told me?) that it's best to go and spend the money on a decent "NAME BRAND(tm)" model as if the engine does pack-it-in later you're likely to be able to get it fixed.

So I went down to Bunnings-mega-super-consumer-a-polooza-warehouse in Croydon and navigated to the "Whipper Snipper" section. "HOLY SHIT" was my initial impression of this place. There must have been about 200 different whipper-snippers there on the hell was I supposed to pick one!! It's like the whipper-snipper equivalent of the Greco cake fridge. Since I am new to most things that (a) require manual labor outdoors and (b) involve a garden, I did the only thing that I could think of to help with the choice. I started pulling them down off the wall and playing with them....pretty soon more and more people in the aisle where pulling down the Whipper-Snippers and waving them around getting a feel for their weight, arc of use etc. I always knew I was a trend setter. During my soujourn up and down the aisle looking at the various WS's (<-- that will mean Whipper-Snipper from now on...cos it's just stupid typing such a long word all the time) I had a "bonding" moment with another guy who was also trying to buy a WS. He, like me, had virtually no idea what constituted a "good" WS. He started the bonding session by casually looking at me and with a look of utmost confusion on his face, saying "There's just so many of them?? How do we know what to get? Which one do you like?". Not wanting to sound like a complete moron who knew nothing about WS's, I said "Well, im looking for a 4-stroke because that will use the same fuel as my mower." The question I immediately asked myself then was "Do these even come in 4-stroke??". Luckily, they did...mystery Man had seen them in another part of the aisle and met my answer with a whistle. "They are the really expensive ones" he stated. So we both headed to the 2-stroke WS's. 2-stroke turned out to be 1/2 the price of the 4-stroke models so we were at least making head-way. We both took a few WS's down and had a look at them. Mystery man was keen on a "straight" arm WS because he thought the extra reach would come in handy. "Handy for what?" is what I thought, where does this guy stand when WSing? Is he scared of grass and weeds?? Want's to be as far from them as possible? So many questions would be unanswered today. We looked at a few more models and quickly came to the conclusion that there was really only a few choices we had to make: 1) Chose a brand that we knew: (HA! I knew this already!!) because there were about 50 different brands here ranging from the well known (Ryobi, McCulloch, Makita) to some generic Chinese yum-cha brands that no-one whould admit to knowing even if they did (Mr. Tool (wtf?), "The Best One" (oooooh marketing genius there!) and "Grass Annihilator" to name a few).
2) Choose a price we were comfortable with: There was a WS for every $ price you could think of from $99 right up to $299.

I made my choice and this was cause for great concern to my new friend. He was under pressure now to choose as well. AaAannD you guessed it...he grabbed the exact same one I did. We bid each other farewell with the customary "nod'n'grunt" and I made my way to the register. So now I am the owner of a new 2-stroke McCullock T250 CLS...yay.

After successfully completing task No.1 it was on to task No.2. This was to buy a new pair of basketball shoes for the new season that starts this week. All I can say is that this was an abject failure. I visited every sports store in my local area that I could think of and noticed something very strange. You can't actually buy "good" basketball shoes from sport-stores anymore. Oh, they have basketball shoes in stock...but they are so "Bling" and totally unsuited to using on a basketball court now-a-days that you look akin to a circus clown if you wear them. That and they are so ridiculously priced that even if you do find a pair that you can stomache, you feel completely horrified because you know these shoes where probably made by child labourers in Malaysia who probably got paid 20c a week and here is the fruit of their labour being sold for $270?? I can't in good conscience support that sort of inhumanity. So I will go to the Converse clearance store tomorrow and pick up an "australian made" pair for about 1/4 the price.

With task 2 resigned to failure I headed back home to begin on task no.3 - Gardening. More precisely, WEEDING (ugh!). Now it may not be common knowledge to anyone but my closest of close friends that I have a hatred for all things "Garden". I'll come right out here and say it "I just don't get gardening"..I don't. I know that millions of people love to get out in the dirt and pull out one type of plant and stick another in it's place and say it's the best "hobby" on earth. I am not one of these people. I think this behavior stems (hehe geddit?) from me always having lived in rental properties....where you just don't give a shit about anything 1cm past the front door jamb. The house could have a garden but you never tend to it because..well...who cares what happens to someone else's Garden. I've always thought that it was the height of imposition for land lords to include a garden in their rental properties. It's just another whole level of responsibility that most renters don't want. Having said garden has become so horrifically unkempt that even *I* got sick of looking at it. Something had to be done.

So, I got my gardening gloves on (yes, I have gardening gloves ... I think they were $1) got my organic waste bin and got my camera. The camera was so I could see if my efforts actually had any effect on the garden.

Here's some before shots:

and here's what it looks like now after about 2 hrs of weeding.

I didn't actually get to finish all the weeding I had to do because I actually filled up my whole waste bin. The bin is HUGE too look...

It was also such a nice sunny and warm day that I didn't want to spend it pulling vegetation from the Earth. I wanted to go for a ride!!! I promptly stopped "Gardening" and took the Avanti out for a spin on the Eastlink bike track and headed south. Got a really nice 90min ride in too, there were quite a few people out riding and running (Far too many running if you ask me...they are a nuisance to people on bikes doing upwards of 40km/hr!!). My "bike Ride" playlist on the iPod still kicks ass for riding fast too not hard to keep up the pace when listening to hard rock and metal. I'm glad I went out actually as Melbourne's weather is so random that you don't ever know just how long nice weather like this will last.

After the ride I remembered that I actually had to go grocery shopping too. because Mum would be here tomorrow and I can't go I did that. Then when I got home 2 loads of clothes washing, washed my dirty dishes, washed my floors (again..stupid plumbers and their dirty boots) and AND washed my car!! This is all in one day too. Scroll back up and have a look at all the stuff I have done....who said men couldn't multitask.

and the best thing is...there's still a whole other day tomorrow!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Herculean Effort and Mr. Chainsaw (good name for a band that!)

So today is my ninth (9th) straight day at work and apart from me wondering where the hell the time went (??) it has pretty much been a blur. I've put in some ridiculous hours over these 9 days to catch up all the work that didn't get done (by other people) when I took time off to spend with Rachel. I've pretty much caught up to where we need to be and all it took was 14 hr days, commandeering both Mass Spectrometers and both Gas Chromatographs and snarling like a pit-bull at anyone who even tried to talk to me or "help". We sent 5 GC columns last Friday to our USA office and today we're poised to send 6 more so that should keep the people on the other side of the blue door happy. This was no easy feat seeing as Mass Spec No.1 spent much of the last 9 days broken and is still the Mass Spectrometer equivalent of "Nerd Glasses" which are broken and being held together at the bridge by sticky tape. It now "works" and performs it's function (sort of..) but anyone who looks at it instantly knows that it's not healthy and on life support. This is why I had to also get Mass Spec No.2 in on the fun, the results it gives us are useful (it has no where near the sensitivity of MS No.1 though....and in mass speccing it's all about the sensitivity..oh and the vacuum..sensitivity and sucking...hehehe...also reminds me of another past time...anyway getting side tracked) but because the "client" for this project is the company that actually makes Mass Spec No.1 THEY of course want all the results produced on "their" machines. What they don't know won't hurt them though ...
So here we are at Friday again and (as of yet) there has been no mentions of anyone having to come in again on the weekend to work..let's hope it stays that way.
This morning, as it's WBBC day, I usually allow myself the luxury of 1/2hr extra sleep due to not having to make lunch for myself. So there I am, it's 6:45am and I'm merrily sleeping away dreaming of whatever it was I was dreaming of and suddenly there in my dream is a guy with a chainsaw?? Now, granted over the last 9 days I have thought many thoughts about many different things that could be solved (in my opinion) with the use of a chainsaw, so it's not all together unprecedented that my subconscious had stored this fact and thought that now was a good time to play that back. The subconscious after all is like the normal "Conscious" after several large Beers and 2 bottles of Tequila (i.e. EVERYTHING seems like a good idea regardless). I can't remember the context that Mr. Chainsaw played in my dream as I can't remember what I was actually dreaming about. For the sake of argument, i'll just go with what with I usually dream about which was probably something like being locked in a room covered in honey, surrounded by several diabetic Swedish lingerie models who all had low blood sugar levels and needed to get a sugar fix ASAP. As you can gather, a large, burly man holding a chainsaw and revving the crap out of it is somewhat the "Odd Man Out" in the above scenario. So my conscious brain sort of spoke up, as usually happens in such situations during sleep, and goes "WHAT THE HELL???".
I sort of slipped out out sleep into semi-awakedness and then realised that the chainsaw was infact real. It was being wielded by the people renovating the house next door who thought that 6:47am was the best time for them to start cutting up wood. Now, call me crazy, but there are several dozen other things I can think of that I would consider a good idea to be doing at 6:45am on a Friday morning and most of them involve a lot less chainsawing. So today, my sleep-in-day, actually started earlier than a normal non-sleep-in day. It's like I have some sort of phantom insomniac 3 year old waking me before I am due :( So I got up and did what any normal person rudely awakened in the early hours of the morning would do ..... played a bit of Scrabby (also because the chainsawing was accompanied by the arrival of the rubbish/recycling trucks to form an impenetrable sleep deprivation crescendo of "awake"). In my semi-awake state I didn't remember that I had played all my scrabby last night and would therefor be out of luck. However, upon opening scrabby...there were games to play??? Must have been a long night for my opposition as I went to bed rather late last night and they weren't played then? I quickly played my turns (noting that I am well positioned to win a few games to boot) and then went for a shower ... it was now 7am.
Tomorrow can't come quick enough now. Time off from work and a few exciting things to pass the time.
1) My u10 Basketball team is in the Grand Final :) we're going to get belted...but the fact that we are there is a major achievement in my first season as a coach.
2) My mother is in Melbourne and will actually visit my HOUSE!!! This will be the FIRST member of my family that has ever been to any of the houses I've lived in in Melbourne (I've nearly been here 5 years too!!)
3) My Basketball starts up again on wednesday and I think it's actually time for some new basketball shoes. The one's I've got I bought in Adelaide in 2004 ... so I thnk they have done a good job and besides, I think they are what's responsible for my foot aching for about a week after each game. So a trip into the Converse clearence store when I go get my mother is also on the cards for sunday.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Me 1: Mass Spectrometer 0

As most people would know...I am almost always right and when I am not "right" it is usually just an anomaly and the universe soon corrects itself :P. Today was no exception. After spending my whole weekend at work trying to get the Mass Spectrometer working I proudly got to pronounce it DEAD to the managers out in the front office passed the "Blue Door" this morning.

The Blue Door: where time bends and reality takes a walk into the ridiculous once you pass through.

This door is amazing...once you pass through it from the "Workers" side to the "Managers" side it's like a whole new universe where scientific fact has no value and your IQ apparently drops from .. say..A Ph.D. Qualified Scientist to that of a small unimportant minion who couldn't possibly know what they are on about or can be believed on any topic (I am calling this "Thermo Engineer Syndrome"). So anyway, I went through the aforementioned door today to pronounce the Mass Spec dead and was greeted with such re-assuring logic as "It can't be dead, it's too important that we use it this week!" and "Are you sure? Is it turned on? Does it have petrol in it?" etc. After giving up my entire weekend to battle the illnesses of this machine I was so over trying to justify anything that I just said some thing along the lines of "Yes, it's dead, it doesn't work, here is the output, see that big squiggly line that looks like a guy having a heart attack was holding the pen? That's the background noise from the detector. See that nice sharp peak at 3.8 mins corresponding to the injected standard? NO YOU DONT..BECAUSE IT'S NOT THERE DUE TO THE BROKENNESS!!!" , but was probably less funny and along more apathetic lines.

So, true to form, no one believes that 3 days of me troubleshooting and improvised repairing only to have the repairs break rendering the machine useless for the purpose of measuring mass spectra (which for a machine called a "Mass Spectrometer" should seem like a major flaw) even with print-out showing what was wrong and why I can't fix it were presented. The higher ups decide that it couldn't possibly be broken and not fixable and they'll come out and tinker. Fast Forward 4 hours and we arrive at "I think it's actually broken and there is nothing we can do to fix it. Why didn't you bring this to our attention sooner Michael?" IDIOTS. Nowhere on my job description does it say I have to telepathically predict future events and have ESP abilities??

So I now, in my professional opinion, pronounce that the Thermo DSQ-II mass Spectrometer is Dead :)

The Worlds Most Expensive Door Stop. The Thermo DSQ-II Mass Spectrometer.

Now, I wonder what answer I get when I ask for the 29th September off as time in Lieu for working all weekend flogging a dead horse will be?

Late Afternoon Update (5:30pm): Found the culprit of the leak (just so you all can sleep tonight knowing the drama has ended). Turns out it was the Vent Valve solenoid, I should have been able to spot this earlier as it's photo was quite a pointer that something was wrong...but sometimes you just can't see the Forrest for the other bits of Forrest.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sweet and Sour.

I was not looking forward to today very much after yesterday. Having to go into work and WORK on the weekend is just wrong on so many levels but since I had no choice in the matter what could I do? The day started off with me not being able to sleep very well, I kept waking up all through the night and finally decided to get up at 8am and get ready for both Basketball and the working day. I copied a whole heap of TV shows onto my memory stick so I would have something to occupy the hours while waiting around for the work I had to do to "run" on the Mass Spectrometer and headed off to Basketball. Last weekend we managed a win and booked a place in the finals...fourth place :) So this week we get to play again and go for a place in the grand final ... but against the team that is first and 14 points clear on top of the table and beaten us on all but one occasion in about 6 meetings. However, rather than type out a blow by blow of each half lets just cut to the chase. Today we WON!!

The kids played the best game of the season and truly were awesome. We were down by 8 points at half time even after a blitzing start where we were winning 7-0 in a matter of minutes. The half ended with us trailing 11-19. The second half was absolutely amazing to watch, my kids just didn't give up and had a really solid defense causing the other team to turn the ball over time and time again. With about 5 minutes to go in the final half the score was 23 -24 with the other team in foul trouble with 8 fouls already. Then we hit the "free" zone, whenever the 9th or greater foul in a half happens the fouled team gets 2 free shots at the basket. The last 3 minutes of the game must've lasted about 10 min ... it was hard to not be excited as we drew further and further in front.... with a minute to go we were 11 points clear due to so many fouls by the other team. The game ended with a score of 35-28 WE ARE IN THE GRAND FINAL BABY!!!!

After that tremendous victory and a super start to the day it all was about to head downhill as I had to high tail it over to work and spend the rest of the day there :(
I was the only person there in Chromatech (The department I work in) and it was quite disheartening as the area is about the size of an Olympic swimming pool + a bit more and very boring by myself. The reason that I was there was because I had taken off Monday-Wednesday this week to spend with Rachel while she was in Melbourne and had delegated the stuff I would have been doing to my underling Yi. He was very excited to be doing something new and eager as a beaver but, true to form, the Mass Spec broke on Monday just when we needed it the most. With me not there to fix stayed broken until Thursday when i arrived back at work. I spent all day Thursday getting it working in a "Semi-repaired" state. We used it Friday morning but just before lunch it broke again and I spent the remainder of the day trying to "triage" it into a working state. I left work at about 7pm after running out of "Fix" options and just hoping that by letting it run overnight (It needs a very high vacuum to operate which takes about 6 hours to pump-down) it would be usable on Saturday morning.

Luckily it seemed alright except for a small air leak that was identified on Thursday but we couldn't find to fix. I ran some tests and it game results that were "usable" but not optimal. Nothing I could do about that though. So I put in a solid 7 hours there today. Luckily for me at one point the company owner dropped in and saw me working...more Brownie points for me :). I had to do my grocery shopping on the way home and rushed to the only supermarket I knew would be open and bought some things for lunches for the coming week. I also seem to have aquired a new taste for all things "honey" (Cheers Rach) and bought another tub of "Honey Buzz" yoghurt. I just thought i'd mention that because I have had a psychological barrier to honey flavored yoghurt for EVER and always assumed it would taste crap...How wrong I was...especially when poured over fresh chopped fruit (cheers again Rach ;) )

Now I am home and after not having eaten all day I think I deserve Indian for dinner. Worlds best Garlic Naan and possibly a nice spicey vindaloo I am thinking. That should end the day on a good note.

Tomorrow I am back at work all day again and I am seriously already looking forward to the 29th of September when I get another day off from this crap. I can't wait until this project is's sucking my will to live !!!

Friday, September 05, 2008


I find it hard to believe sometimes just how crap my job can be and how this can affect a person. This week started off as brilliant as brilliant could be, mainly because I took three days off from this place and had Rachel visiting to boot. Now here I am on Friday just 5 days later and I am at the absolute opposite end of the happiness scale. I've returned to work yesterday to find NOTHING I had delegated to get done on my days off had been done due to the Mass Spectrometer breaking. As a consequence of that, the project is now behind by those 3 days. We had a meeting at 3pm yesterday to see where things stood with a delivery we have to fill by the end of next week and I left that meeting knowing (or so I thought) what was going on. This morning I find myself as a passenger on an email train from our R&D director about what HE thinks is happening that bears no resemblance at all to what the Product manager's and I decided was possible. To make matters even more confusing I seem to have got onto this email train 7 stops into the journey and see that this conversation has been going for almost 2 weeks already before I am included in it and then it's only to say how badly F@#ked up everything seems to be because the work we actually ARE doing on this project doesn't conform to the absolutely impossible promises the people in management have made to the customers . In this same email I am now informed that I don't have a weekend to look forward to either and I will be in here all day on Saturday and Sunday working to meet the unmeetable time-lines using a machine that is functioning at about 50% because I can't afford the time to take it off-line to fix it so it works at 100% .... ludicrous. Add on top of that the psychological torture of knowing that Rachel is in the same city and i'm not able to see her again before she leaves to go back home and you might understand what sort of state I am in at the moment. Not happy Jan!
Why can't every Friday be like last Friday?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Booooooooo Hiss Boo!!

Well here we are on Wednesday night after 5 days with Rachel in Melbourne. I've been in Melbourne now for about 4.5 years and have NEVER had such an awesome weekend as I just had with Rach. Let's just leave it at that because there are just far too many highlights and good times to recount here and I'm sure there will be a flood of photos to see when Rachel gets home and uploads them. We went exploring nature, running from storms, shopping, out dinners, in dinners, out breakfast, in breakfasts, Pancake hunting, Basketballing and acting like a couple of teenagers. We laughed a lot, talked a lot and slouched around in unison.We both also will now always have an appreciation for "Lounge Music" thanks to Mr. Richard Cheese (I'm listening to him now while typing this. Google him!!).

Unfortunately (for me) my allocated "Rachel in Melbourne" time expired today after a nice day in the city eating cake on Southbank and wandering the riverfront in the sunshine. I'm back home now at a bit of a loss as to what to do with myself. I got so used to having you around Rach that it just feels wrong now that you're not here anymore. Melbourne sucks just that little bit more for me. The bright side is that i'll be back in Adelaide in 3 weeks so the fun can continue then.

So thanks again Rachel. You absolutely rock ... Two thumbs up, but you knew that already.