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Boring bits

Feb. 12th, 2010 | 01:49 am

My sleeping patterns have been seriously out of whack for the last week or so. Spent all day on Thursday in bed with a migraine, and haven't quite recovered yet. It's led to a very dazed and cranky and depressed stibbons.

I've managed to keep to regular running though, which helps a little. A bit of a break last month set me back somewhat, but I'm starting to build up my fitness again. Being able to run harder and further is awesome. I've actually stopped once or twice and come home early out of sheer ennui - that's less awesome.

I don't know how to deal with my mood at the moment. Hoping to get some solid rest this weekend, and very much looking forward to seeing Nation on Saturday. I might look in to trying valerian again, that seemed to help a little bit the last time I tried it. Sadly, next weekend is hectic. Another huge weekend deployment happening, this time spread over both Friday and Saturday nights. After that I might have to get out of town for a few days.

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in which the hero sees his favourite band, and barely lives to tell the tale

Nov. 24th, 2009 | 12:51 am

Pearl Jam played in Sydney last night. The temperature topped at over 41, and the promised afternoon cool change / thunderstorm completely failed to happen. I got there very early and secured a good spot about 15m back from the stage, and not too far to one side. Made it through the support acts, but the heat started really getting to me and I was fading fast towards the end of Pearl Jam's first set. Just before they took a break I tapped out and headed towards the back of the field.

Not quite sure where I went wrong - was drinking plenty of water. Maybe I hadn't eaten enough. Or maybe I'm just getting old. But a little while later one of the guards found me crashed out against a barrier trying to stay awake, or at least not be sick, and walked me over to the first aid tent. They told me I was suffering from heat exhaustion, gave me a fresh water bottle and some cool grass to lie on. I picked up snatches of the two encores, but most of it was a bit of a blur.

What I do remember of the show was fantastic. Liam Finn played a set that was much better than I was expecting. He's a very enthusiastic lad, with the world's most phallic theremin. I'm probably going to pick up his album this week.

I haven't listened to much Ben Harper before, but I was looking forward to seeing him, and wasn't disappointed. Very cruisy and enjoyable music, and he thoughtfully included both of his songs I know. As in the other shows they've played in Australia, Eddie Vedder came out to sing a cover of Under Pressure. I think I agree with sun_dress - that song doesn't really suit Vedder. But Ben Harper should sing it more often, and it was still very entertaining.

Pearl Jam, as always, were fantastic. Not quite as energetic and enthusiastic as the last time I saw them (at the Acer Arena in 2006 - the most amazing concert ever), but I can forgive that seeing as Vedder apparently picked up flu in Melbourne, and as previously mentioned it was still really fucking hot. The set list was an interesting mix of old and new, the big hits and a lot of the less common. I was very happy to hear a lot of my personal favourites - Unthought Known, MFC, Elderly Woman, as well as live favourites like Cordoruy and Even Flow. I'm sad that State of Love and Trust took place while I was too out of it to stand. Apparently I also missed Eddie Vedder doing one of his favourite covers, Throw Your Arms Around Me, with Liam Finn. That would have been pretty awesome.

And that was it, really. After the show I had a minor ordeal trying to find my friends - I was slightly lost and walking too fast made me throw up. sun_dress performed minor miracles ensuring that I would be able to stock up on isotonic drinks, and I managed to bump in to an old friend from Yass while doing so. Next time I see her I hope to have something more insightful to say than "urr".

Pictures!Collapse )

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in which the hero loses something, and eventually finds it

Nov. 19th, 2009 | 12:15 am

I bought my Pearl Jam tickets very, very early. Probably because the last time I saw them I was practically in the parking lot. So as soon as I discovered pre-orders were open at the start of August, I scored a couple of tickets for the front standing section. Yes. August. for a gig in late November. This is unheard-of levels of organisation for me.

Tickets ordered, I promptly forgot about them until mid-October, when they arrived. I don't know if the fact that they're labeled Gate A means I'm awesome, or if it means everybody in that section will be using Gate A. Just in case, I'm choosing to believe the former. I marveled at these amazing tickets, tweeted about them, sent taunting MMSes to my brothers, and then forgot about them.

A couple of weeks ago I found myself at a dinner party with sun_dress and a few of her friends. Somehow the band came up and I mentioned I was going to the show. sun_dress responded with "really?", so I said that I found myself with a spare ticket, to which sun_dress responded with "reeeeallly...". I blinked, gave her the date and a price, we nodded, and somebody looked around and said "what just happened?" Apart from being momentarily happy when her bank transfer landed in my account, I forgot about it.

On Sunday night, a week away from the show, I had another startling burst of organisation, and was about to drop a note to sun_dress to sort out times and things, when I first realised that I didn't know what time it started, and shortly afterwards realised that my tickets were no longer sitting innocently on the corner of the coffee table. Since then my evenings have become increasingly frantic. First the loungeroom got cleaned, top to bottom. I even vacuumed, but I'm not sure how that was going to help find them (and no, the tickets did not turn up in my vacuum cleaner filter). Then I upended my bedroom floordrobe, and started excavating the old boxes and shoes and cat hair from under my bed.

The searching also included an 11pm trip to the office (why I would have had them there is anybody's guess, but ruling it out would have been silly), but the best part was definitely when I was sure I'd put them in the car. This would have been annoying, because my youngest brother has borrowed my car to help him move. In Canberra. There's been a lot of phone calls and shouting and stress expended over that, but he eventually did everything short of ripping the seats out without locating tickets.

Tonight I was stuck in the office until 7 with a very curly cygwin bug. Came home very nearly at wit's end and very close to tears, and half-heartedly got stuck back in to turning my bedroom upside down. Took another two hours, but tonight I finally struck gold. After picking up my photos from Adam's wedding I had dropped the huge sheaf of cut and bagged film on my table, apparently on top of the tickets. Then shortly afterwards picked up the entire pile and placed them in my highly professional and organised film filing system (three shoeboxes and counting).

I don't know what's more impressive; that I managed to get them in there without realising, or that I actually looked in there and found them in time. Because holy shit.

Anyway, after a crappy start, my week is now looking very up. I am officially recording here that my tickets are firmly attached to the front of my fridge. The deliverables that I thought were due on Monday have been pushed back to a sensible date, so I'm not longer working my arse off trying to get them done. I won't be spending my Sunday night at home feeling like a moron, and I won't have to give sun_dress her money back. I like money.

Of course, now I have to worry about the big questions. Should I take a camera? And which hat should I wear?

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Music for Friday the 23rd

Oct. 23rd, 2009 | 11:35 am

Getting far too tangled up in shitty politics today. Anybody up for a pub dinner tonight?

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The wedding of the year

Oct. 22nd, 2009 | 12:16 am

The wedding shoot that I've been freaking out about for months went down on Saturday. It was at Port Rickaby, on the west coast of the Yorke Peninsula, about three hours drive from Adelaide. These days the town consists of a jetty and community hall, a caravan park, and a dozen houses. I'm not sure if it has more than five or six permanent residents. But my new sister-in-law's family lives in nearby Minlaton, and both she and my brother absolutely love the area, so that's where they tied the knot.

I arrived at Rickaby on Friday evening during a fairly severe storm. Both Adelaide and the peninsula had had incredibly shitty weather pretty much all week, and it was forecast to stay miserable until Monday or so. We were very worried the beach would be rained out. Which would suck, because the backup plan was to do it all in an unlined weatherboard shed, which makes for horrible, horrible pictures.

Saturday morning the storm had passed and the weather cleared up beautifully. My work started a couple of hours before it was due to start, heading over to the bride's mother's house and drinking iced tea in the centre of a large tornado of women getting ready. Shot some film of their prep, and once they were actually ready we spent some time in the garden and with the car they'd be turning up in.

I dashed back to Rickaby to make sure I'd have twenty minutes or so there before it actually kicked off, and dragged the groom and his party (my two other brothers) off for a few more shots before the start of the ceremony.

And then the girls arrived and people got married. I didn't pay any attention to the ceremony, except for what it looked like, and spent the entire time dashing around shooting different things from different angles. That was what I was kind of afraid of, really; being far too absorbed making sure I was doing a good enough job recording it to really appreciate it. Ah well.

Afterwards they didn't seem too demanding. I was tooling up for hundreds of group shots followed by dragging the bridal party around for a whole mess of other pictures. But they asked me to get a large group shot of everybody who had arrived, followed by three or four family pictures, before heading off to the reception.

I did drag a few people back out closer to dark, because the sunset over the ocean was absolutely amazing. And then my work was done, and I realised how exhausted and drained I was, packed up my gear and drove to Adelaide so I could have some alone time to regroup. My day ended in a hotel in North Adelaide sleeping the sleep of the really, really sleepy.

The entire shoot was done on film. I filled eight rolls, half Fujitsu Velvia 100 slide film, and half Kodak Portra 400NC print film. Experienced an epic fail losing most of a roll of black and white shots - I had three partly-exposed rolls that I was swapping between, writing the current exposure count on each one with a Sharpie when I pulled it out of the body. Put the black and white roll back in and forgot to wind it one to where it was up to, resulting in ten double exposures and a seriously pissed Peter. Apart from that, I think I did OK.

The exposed film didn't leave my sight until I got home and sequestered it in the freezer. It's staying there until payday this Friday, because some moron completely blew his budget on new hardware this month and can't actually afford to get it processed yet. I quietly told mum that a 10% hit rate will be an excellent result. She thinks that's far too low. I still think it's optimistic. Sure, a lot of it will be passable. But if I get five stunning photographs from the day I'll be very happy.

Do I want to do a wedding again? Not really. Definitely not anybody I know well.

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Spontaneous travel

Oct. 19th, 2009 | 02:52 am

Originally published at hardy.dropblog. You can comment here or there.

I’ve been on hol­i­day for most of the last week. One of my broth­ers in Adelaide was get­ting mar­ried in a beach-front cere­mony in the small town of Port Rickaby, a few hours drive west of Adelaide. I took some extra time off work, because I wanted a hol­i­day, and wound up spend­ing a couple of days in Coober Pedy. Coober Pedy is a very very strange place, and well worth a visit. The opal industry is fas­cin­at­ing. I might write some more about Coober Pedy, not just because I like say­ing Coober Pedy. But the point of this post is a very brief rant about spon­tan­eous traveling.

I flew out of Sydney on Tues­day even­ing. On Tues­day morn­ing I real­ised I should prob­ably think of some­thing to do with my hire car and my three bliss­ful days of noth­ing before I had to be at Rickaby, so spent some time with google maps. Even­tu­ally picked Coober Pedy because:

  • I’d never really been to cent­ral Aus­tralia before. Seen some bits of desert while tool­ing around in WA, but not true outback.
  • My vague recol­lec­tion was that it was a pretty inter­est­ing place.
  • I like say­ing Coober Pedy.
  • It was about as far away from any­where I’ve been before, that I could reas­on­ably get to in the time I had.

I tried explain­ing this to a bloke I met in the pub in Coober Pedy. He was abso­lutely amazed, and couldn’t quite com­pre­hend that some­body would just, on the spur of the moment, get in a car and spend ten hours driv­ing to Coober Pedy, just because.

Last year I went to Cowra because on a Fri­day morn­ing I thought “hrmn, I want to go some­where this week­end, where should I go?”, and pick­ing Cowra because I hadn’t traveled West of Sydney much, and Cowra seemed about as far as I could reas­on­ably drive on a Fri­day night. I got there and had a con­ver­sa­tion with a bloke in a pub that went some­thing like:
“So if you’re from Sydney, what are you doing out here? Work?”
“*shrug* Just hav­ing a look around. Wanted to get out of town for a week­end, and wound up here.”
Incid­ent­ally, the Japan­ese garden at Cowra is the largest in the south­ern hemi­sphere, and abso­lutely amazing.

By the time I’d got­ten to Taralga six months ago, I’d given up and just told people that I was on my way to Yass but had to go via Bathurst because *mumble*mumble*. That seemed like a much more real­istic explan­a­tion than want­ing to see more of inland NSW (and telling them I’d taken a two-door hatch along Wombeyan Caves Road would have prob­ably been pretty damn embarrassing).

What’s the big deal? Do people not just travel for the hell of it any more? Maybe they think it only counts if you’re going over­seas? Have we for­got­ten how much of the new and excit­ing is sit­ting right at our door­step (and if not there, def­in­itely a two hour flight and ten hour drive from it)? Maybe small town inhab­it­ants just don’t believe their par­tic­u­lar small town is worth vis­it­ing (I know I still think this about Yass).

When was the last time you threw the fig­ur­at­ive dart at a map?

Can I fit the words “Coober Pedy” in to this post one more time?


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looooong weekend

Sep. 7th, 2009 | 02:37 pm

It's done. The long-awaited project that's been stalled at least a dozen times over the last six months went live on the weekend. I arrived in the office at 4pm on Saturday. We shut the service down and started the upgrade at 7pm. We turned it back on at 9am. I went to bed at 11am.

The migration itself went well. Under a production load this morning the database promptly fell over - a couple of stored procedures that could best be described as "...what the shit?". They're fixed, and while there's still a lot of performance to be wrung by unfucking procedures and getting some indexes right, I'm currently very very very happy with the setup.

On Sunday morning I opened the bottle of Lark whisky that's been sitting on my desk since March waiting for this phase to go live. I'd forgotten just how damn good that stuff was. My work stuff is now wholly focussed on the next phase, which has been backed up horribly because of the delays in this one. Wheee.

I don't really do many arbitrary holidays, and have always actively rejected things like mother's day and father's day. So the fact that Sunday was the first father's day since dad died didn't really have much of an impact on me. And it's mostly a moot point because I slept the day away instead of frumping about it. But mum seemed somewhat morose when I called her. Unfortunately I called while driving, and she used that as an excuse to not talk for very long.

This coming weekend may be different, though. It's the anniversary of his death. I think I might just stay in bed all of next week.

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Music for a bleary Friday

Aug. 28th, 2009 | 11:17 am

I was up until 4:30 working. Feeling kinda ugh.

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Music for a Friday that didn't come soon enough.

Jul. 9th, 2009 | 10:36 pm

This week was an emotional.... ride of some sort. I might get around to talking about it some more soon. Friday may require some Buzzcocks to ensure it's navigated successfully.

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Music for a feel-good Friday

Jun. 26th, 2009 | 11:24 am

Because I've been thinking a lot about video game music lately (which may or may not be a healthy thing). Now I have the Ghostbusters theme song stuck in my head, because the 8-bit version that played throughout the 1984 Commodore 64 Ghostbusters game was arguably the best part of it. The intro screen even had lyrics! And a bouncing ball! It was incredible.

Anyway, if there's anything better than a good 8-bit version of a song, it's hearing that song played with a Tesla coil. And so the youtubes provide.

Why yes, busting does make me feel good!

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