Saturday, March 19, 2005



I cycled over to Mum & Dad's to see him but there was some confusion. When I got there I was greeted by a "Who's that" call from Mum. Apparently Diana was having trouble finding him at the airport and Mum was afraid that he had had the same trouble and ended up coming over under his own steam. I phoned Diana & she had found him and was in the process of bringing him over.

Back together again

Was good to catch up with Mike. Milo was pretty good for the first hour or so but then got bored & Diana took him off somewhere. Mike & I had a look around the bottom of the section where the new neighbours had chopped down the huge trees that dominated that corner and cut off so much light. Mum had said the neighbours could use the bottom of the section to get access for the felling & they obviously had. It was the first time in years I've been down there and not had to constantly watch for twigs trying to poke my eyes out. Then mike helped me get my dressing table back here -- finally. Haven't got the mirror yet, but that's a much simpler, one-person, job.


Diana & Cliff arrived back with Chinese take-aways. Nice meal, but I was starting to get pretty tired. Afterwards I realised that I really-really-really did not want to cycle home. Luckily D&C have a people mover, so I was able to sit in a spare seat & they dropped me off.

Friday, March 18, 2005

The end of an era?


Took me all of it, but I finally managed to get everything switched across to my new machine. Test databases loaded, a couple of the versions of the product compiled up, necessary software loaded up, I know I haven't got Cygwin fully loaded, but I can live without that for a day or two.


Mid afternoon I noticed that the power cord was missing from the new intranet server I'm getting ready to replace the old one. It's been semi-live for a while and I've been waiting for a chance to upgrade the operating system on it to SuSE 9.2 Even with my amazing ability to miss the obvious, I could see that with no power cord nobody could be using it. So I grabbed my chance.

Final Farewell

Four thirty came around and we stopped for presentations and farewells. First Donald's 10 years with the company was noted then David's stepping down. Everyone that could be there was, including Aruna who managed to get in to the office ... when I went out for a smoke at one point I found out how, her husband had left work early to drive her in and look after their daughter. Aruna doesn't drive, and naturally you can't leave a 2 year old unattended. We all faithfully promised that is we ever got to the UK we'd call in and say "Hello" to David. By the time I left the office I was starting to feel really tired. I wish I could shake this. When I got home I just didn't feel like dinner, so I had a couple of bananas and left it at that.

And so to sleep

No need to point out that I'm having an early night tonight.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Back in the Office


A fairly quiet day in the office. Steven had set up my new PC, but I had a few day's worth of email to take care of first. Then it was copying files off the old computer and onto the new. At lunch I popped down to Queen street and changed my Aussie dollars back to Kiwi. As always I lost on the exchange rate, but c'est la vie. I worked late, and at the end of the day I really felt like I hadn't done anything useful. Perhaps I did, it just doesn't feel like it.

Farewell Dinner

The penultimate act of David's stand-down was played out over a restaurant meal. Me, David, Steve, Grant and Donald sharing a rather nice Italian meal at Una Lira. We talked a lot about how good it had been to work together these last five years. Being me I had too much to eat. But I do so love fegatelli, then you have to have the main. Then who can resist an Italian dessert, this time cassata. Finally the espresso, and final thanks and we went our separate ways. Of course, Italian food is deceptive. You think you've had a meal, you feel full. Later that evening you feel really bloated, but you manage to find the one position that doesn't cramp your belly and you get to sleep. Then during the night the stuff keeps expanding, you wake up and hear your ribs creaking as they attempt to contain forces normally only found in the hearts of stars. A week or two later and you can walk without waddling.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Flying High


Got up. Showered, eventually. I couldn't find any soap. After looking around a bit I discovered that there were sachets marked "Cleansing bar" I think this must be PC for "Soap". Really!! Anyway, the stuff worked like soap, looked like soap, smelled like soap, and I passed on the taste test. 7:30 and we were all waiting outside for a quick ride to (I think) the James Street deli where I had ... yeah, ok, don't laugh ... the full cooked breakfast including bacon & scrambled eggs. The place is a delicatessen and cafe. While I was eating I spied some squid ink on sale. I've been wanting some of that since a couple of years back when I saw I saw an Irish cooking program on TV where they used squid ink in a pasta dish. Actually I think it was cuttlefish ink, like it's going to make a difference. I've tried making it with soy sauce, it would be good to try the real thing. I decided to risk MAF confiscating the stuff and bought some. While I was at the counter I saw a little tub of 'Zohra's Tamarind Chilli Jam' -- You know me, how could I resist. Smiles.


Went to the office for about an uneventful hour & then off to the airport for the flight home.

In flight entertainment

There was a chick-flick showing on the plane's movie screen, so I turned to the entertainment I'd brought. In other words, I finally finished Frederik Pohl's O Pioneer!. The basic story has a futuristic computer hacker join a sponsored immigration to a "peace planet" shared by humans and five other species of sentient aliens. I was disappointed. Firstly the plot was very predictable, like watching an American TV program, you knew almost immediately who the bad people were, and the ending when it came may have been pulled out of a hat, but you knew it was coming. Secondly it seemed as if he had hastily cobbled together two drafts of the book. For example fairly early in the story the protagonist decoded the alien TV coding so he could watch their programs for a mixture of amusement and to learn more about how his neighbours thought. Later under plot pressure he hastily learned how to decode the aliens news broadcasts. Huh? Finally the story stopped. Yes all the loose ends were wrapped up, yes the bad guys got arrested, but it was as if Pohl decided he'd written 250 pages and it was time to finish. In my opinion this is definitely not one of his best works.


I may buy some odd stuff overseas, but I always declare it & let the Agriculture & Fisheries (MAF) people sort out if I can bring it into the country. This time was no different. The man from MAF was bemused by my squid ink and quizzed me about why I wanted it. Eventually he conceded that he'd heard of Greek cooking using it too & let me through. He wasn't worried about the jam at all. A taxi home, phoned Mum, and I decided I was too knackered to do anything except get fish & chips and hit the sack. Still it was nice to be home.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Conference Day 2

Polar Bear's Picnic

The day started with another cooked breakfast. I have to admit that I went for the same as I had the previous day. Sorry, but I do love my bacon. Lucky I don't keep it at home or I'd be even heavier than I am now. After breakfast we assembled by the monorail station again & walked through to the polar bear enclosure. This time I had my camera. There are two young male bears at Seaworld, but they had a little accident and one of them was sporting a broken leg, so only the other one was out. He was a complete clown. He also liked performing around the window to the underwater viewing room, eventually he found a chewed rib cage on the bottom, so I suspect that the keepers encourage the bears to play there by lacing it with treats. Who cares, it was a great show, and I got quite a bit of video footage.


Much the same as yesterday. I got into far too much detail in my v.19 presentation and lost my audience. Luckily we were on a light timetable & had to cut it short before my audience resorted to gnawing their own arms off to escape.

Good news, we picked up a couple of potential beta sites for v.19. Finally!


After the conference and the clean-up we all got ready to drive back. Unfortunately Chris left earlier & had to be phoned to return. He was needed to co-sign the cheque for the conference. We had to wait about 20 minutes for him to return ... Just lucky he hadn't left earlier or he would have been even further north. The drive back to Brisbane was fairly uneventful. We checked into the motel we were staying in and went off for dinner at Breakfast Creek Hotel. We were all still wearing the conference polo shirts & got asked by someone leaving if we were a cricket team. I assured him that, no, we were netball fans. I added parenthetically for my companions that I am a great fan of netball -- for all the wrong reasons. I forgot about the Australian tendency to overcook meat and asked for medium rare. When my rib fillet arrived it was on the well done side of medium. Next time I'll ask for rare, of course with my luck I'll end up with a blue steak. And so to bed.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Conference - Day 1

An early bird? Moi?

Woke up at 4:30 AM, or 7:30AM New Zealand time, and managed to doze a little until 5:30 when I finally gave up and dragged myself out of bed. Mucked around showering and getting dressed as long as I could but still found myself at the restaurant just after 6:30 AM. Cooked breakfast with Jo, David, and a couple of others from the con.

Formal sessions

Leonie & I had two sessions, back-to-back; GL integration and then Sales Order Processing (SOP) changes. Quite a baptism by fire. As it turned out, I was the one doing most of the talking with Leonie just there in a supporting role ... Definitely not how I wanted it to play out but such is life. One embarrassing moment in the first presentation came when one of the slides went up on the screen & I looked at it and got something like stage fright. Three bullet points, the night before I knew what they all meant but at that moment my mind went blank & I had no idea what the middle one meant. Luckily Leonie was able to come to my rescue. The SOP session wasn't too great. The presentation went well, barring one question from the floor for which I was unprepared. Luckily the customer that had originally requested that feature was in the audience & when I looked pleadingly in his direction he answered the question. During the break I made sure I went and thanked him. Another question was why we changed the system to give another option on saving virtual locations. My response wasn't considered, just a simple "A customer asked us for it (pause) I looked at the request & said 'That's a reasonable request' so we did it (pause) We do listen to our customers sometimes." Laughter from the audience. Unfortunately technology let me down. I was planning to end with a quick demo and the technology let me down. The database server decided to go down. At least it wasn't our product.

Evening - Formal dinner

This started when we were walked through Seaworld to their penguin enclosure for drinks and canapes. I hadn't taken my camera with me which was a shame. The dinner was a fairly good buffet. Lots of seafood, which I really tanked up on. They had crab-legs but nothing to crack them with, I must confess to making a bit of a mess using a table knife for that. By about 10:50 I was feeling that early start & a bit jet lagged, so I excused myself and went back to my room. Again I slept like a log.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Who Links To Me - Test

Just testing this out. Who Links Here

To Brisbane

Awake early

I was off-line for a few days, I'm backdating this and the next couple. Needed to be at the airport by 8AM this morning, so I decided I should arrive by 7:30; working back from that I booked a taxi for 6:45 and set the alarm for 6AM. Packed the night before, realised that I only filled a small portion of my back-pack, so I decided I could squeeze everything I needed into my day pack ... Great, nothing to check in. In the morning I was ready to go at 6:30, so I turned the computers, microwave, and video stack off, attempted to drown the pot-plants and stepped outside at 6:35. I just lit a cigarette and my taxi arrived 10 minutes early. While I was finishing the smoke a second taxi arrived. I can only assume that they had a hiccup & despatched two cabs. Had a dream run through and was in the check-in line by just after 7AM. Grrrrrrrr, I would have liked a bit more sleep, but never mind.

Killing time

What's to do at airports? One of the great dilemmas of the modern age. I ended up having breakfast at Macdonalds and wandering around aimlessly. Then I went through customs. I'm always cautious about what I take so, as usual, my pack went through the X-Ray without a hitch. One small amusement of the morning was watching the man at the next inspection station trying to explain the large pair of sissors he was carrying. Turkey. The flight was uneventful as was the drive down to Seaworld.


We arrived at Seaworld early and our rooms weren't yet ready. We had already planned to go off and get lunch. Unfortunately Kathy and her passengers didn't arrive, and didn't arrive, and didn't arrive. It seems she took the scenic route. Smile. Eventually we were all there and took off to Southport for Fisherman's Wharf Bar/Restaurant. Foolishly I ordered the tempura whiting - definitely not tempura as I know it. It would be good old kiwi fish & chips, except the wedges were obviously cooked in oil that was too cold. Other wedges we had on the trip were much the same, I wonder if that's the ocker way of doing chips?


The conference started with a brief greeting to the customers and then it was onto the tall ship for a cruise. Despite having to play at hosting the customers, it was a nice little cruise & I quite enjoyed myself, but by the time it finished I was getting pretty tired. It may have only been 7:30PM local time, but it was 10:30 by my biological clock and I needed food & sleep ... Preferably in that order. It was a free evening, so my colleges & I could dine together without having to circulate among the customers, one of the did join us, but he's a former employee anyway so while we talked shop we could relax. Our dinner was at the Hatsu Hana Japanese restaurant in the resort. I had the sashimi which was tasty, balanced, and very nicely presented. Included with it was a fair sized serving of tuna, the obvious salmon, a white fish I'd not met before that reminded me of ruby fish more than anything, and a rolled up fish that seemed cooked, but was still flexible ... no idea what this was ... it was topped with some roe that made it almost into a cup. I enjoyed the dinner. The restaurant also has a tepanyaki table that was in use. It would have been nice to have tried that, but I suspect that my companions would have been a little non-plussed by that. As it was I got a few strange looks from Donald over my choice of raw fish. He's a strange one, very inhibited and conservative which wouldn't be so bad if he didn't try pushing his world view on others. When I got to my bed I had no trouble dropping off.