Back from the dead

So…. yeah, it’s been a while. :) I just haven’t felt like writing here, basically, but I don’t want to leave it to die. So, let’s recap the last few weeks quickly.

I still haven’t gotten myself a bike. Mainly I just haven’t had time. I think I’ll need to get something for this weekend… I need to get down into the city Saturday night, and riding is the best way. I did look at the bikes in Toys ‘r’ Us while I was there the other day, but they’re too small, really, and pretty cheap and nasty. I’d much rather get something half decent that’ll last for, well, forever, more or less.

Uni’s been fine, I guess. Not a whole lot of work to do at the moment, aside from boring business plans and crap. Not really my thing, writing long-winded documents that no-one but the authors could love… but apparently this is how the real world works… oddly enough in my years of working in the real world, I’ve never had to do this stuff.

The new place has been good. It’s a lot more peaceful than where I was last year – I actually get a decent night’s sleep, every night. That has huge benefits all round. We also have decent facilities here – a washing machine that actually works, a dish washer – although we still hand wash the dishes most of the time – and central heating that doesn’t get turned off by Whora constantly.

I can’t recall if I mentioned it previously, but Rob & I have been playing tennis together once a week. That’s been going pretty good… it didn’t take me too long to pick it back up, although even now, after a few weeks, I’m still terribly rusty. We didn’t play this week due to a certain rude thunderstorm, but last week was interesting… for whatever reason a dozen girls descended on two of the three courts, so Rob & I doubled up against Curt (Kurt?), another guy from the tennis club. It still wasn’t too good a match up… we really needed a third, and maybe fourth, player on our side. :)

But one bit of exercise I did get this week was some introductory kayaking, just in the pool at the sports centre on campus. That was pretty cool – I did pretty well, I felt, although it really is quite a bit harder than it looks. The most frustrating thing is that kayaks aren’t designed to go in straight lines. Trying to do so requires constant frenzied turning and over-steering. You get the hang of it, more or less, after a while… but I found it was much easier just to go backwards – they go where they’re told that way.

So, I’ll be continuing with that in the coming weeks. If nothing else it’s a great excuse to get into the pool. I’ve been contemplating joining the gym & pool there, but it’s pretty steep… $45 a month – maybe more. And I wouldn’t be able to use it 7 days a week like I did over summer, in the U.S., since I’m often down in Mt. Eliza on weekends. Still, the gym there is pretty well fitted, and the pool’s cool. So, maybe.

I’m still trying to get Rob and/or Jess to organise a Darkzone night, but they’re being slack. ;) We went there for Rob’s birthday, courtesy of Jess, last year, and it was awesome. It’s probably the most intense exercise I’ve ever done, and hugely entertaining. The trick is getting enough people together, of course… I’m horrible at organising any sort of event, let alone big ones, thus why I keep prodding Rob to do it. :D

There’s also paintballing… or a near-equivalent, and outdoor, daylight Darkzone-style place not that far from here. Both are quite expensive, but could be pretty cool. I know quite a few people who’ve been paintballing and all had good things to say about it, but I’m not sure… in Darkzone, being shot puts you out of the game for a whole ten seconds, during which time you’re normally quite busy escaping anyway. In paintball, it puts you out ’till the end of the round. Which could be half an hour. I’m just apprehensive about the idea of crawling through grass and dirt for twenty minutes, only to get shot without ever seeing any action.

So otherwise, what else is making news… I now have car insurance, finally. As it turns out, pretty much the only people who would actually insure me were the RACV and QBE Western, both more expensive than anyone else of course. I ended up with the RACV, since they were slightly cheaper (by all of about $40). So, some $630 later, I can now afford to crash into those Porshes. ;)

I also had an interesting problem with the car… two weeks ago, the battery went flat. The car had just been sitting there overnight. The headlights weren’t on, nor the stereo or anything like that, but I suspect the boot light was. I couldn’t get it to turn off – only be actually removing the bulb. So, I called out the RACV, who happily ripped me of with a ridiculous $127 for a $90 battery, and it seemed I was set… until less than a week later, I went out to start my car one morning, and oh-oh, nothing doing. Grrr. So, I ended up taking it down to an auto-electrical place down the Heidelberg end of Bell street. The guy there was fantastic – he immediately had a look at it, and in less than ten minutes had determined that it was merely the negative cable’s contact; it was old and rusted, and not making good contact anymore. $10 later he had a replacement fitted, and so far – touch wood – everything’s been fine. A very painless experience, all things considered – I was dreading having it looked at, figuring it must be the alternator, or the regulator, or something like that. Funny, really… 99% of all electrical problems I deal with are bad connections, so I guess this should have been the most obvious possibility… I guess I just didn’t think a twenty year old car too analogous to a breadboard burglar alarm. :)

I also bought & read “A Hat Full of Sky” the other weekend. It’s good. I only wish Terry would write longer books… I finished it in less than a day, and was back to having nothing to read. :(

That same day, also, I wandered down to the creek near here. It was such a nice sunny day, I couldn’t just hang around at home. Given the lack of car insurance at that point, I didn’t want to drive all the way down to the beach or anywhere similar, just in case… so, I picked the nearest bit of green I could find. I did take a few photos, but the area’s not especially photogenic… lovely to walk or ride through, but nothing that seems unusual. ‘course, thinking about it, for someone who’s lived in San Francisco or Silicon Valley their whole lives, this stuff would be gorgeous… I guess I’m just unappreciative… desensitised. :)

I guess that covers the bulk of it to date. I’ll mention as I depart Rob’s little blog, “Cool Engineering“. It’s purpose is to cover his engineering work, much of which I’m involved in. So it might prove to be of some interest if you’re curious about some of the work I’m doing this year at uni. There’s some pretty nifty photos and movies from Rob’s plane thus far, which we’re working on for the project… I guess I should detail that sometime. But not today. Time to get ready for uni… I only have a handful of hours a week, so I really should attend all of them. :)

Oooh, I just remembered, Gus’ birthday party last Friday. That was cool; just drinks down at Ha’Penny Bridge or whatever it’s called, to celebrate the old fart getting older. :P It was good to see everyone again, as always, and I met a few new people. Notably, Michelle, a friend of Laz’s over here for three weeks, from Seattle. I finally got clarification on the difference between squirrels and chipmunks, and we both agreed that Americans like cheese far too much. :D

It was something of an odd evening, though… I seemed to be getting on swell with one new girl, Kate (Cate?), until somehow we got into a debate over the street price of speed, of all things. I quoted some figure I’d heard off hand, which she insisted I must have misheard. I probably did; not really my area of expertise. She reiterated that I was wrong a few times, then walked off. It was quite bizarre. I’ve never understood how that works… how people get offended whenever they disagree with someone.

At about midnight everyone started leaving, of those who hadn’t already… a few – Gus and some of his friends I don’t really know – were heading off to the Pelly to see some friends of theirs play… although they (the friends, not Gus) stopped in the carpark on the way to snort something – coke, or perhaps speed given the earlier conversation. Okay, so it is Frankston, but come on… who really does that sort of thing? It was somewhat surreal, but then again, it’s Frankston, so I’ve no right to be surprised. I guess I just keep underestimating the prevalence of hard drug use, among the people I know. Someone should probably tip them off that teenage rebellion’s supposed to end before your late twenties.

Anyway, now I’m running late… damn druggies… so I’m off. I’ll try to be more frequent in my entries again, promise. :)

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