Five Things Make A Post
1) I've moved house, which is why I've not been visible for the past couple of weeks. The new place is a bit more expensive than the previous one, but it comes with a lot more basic amenities, including things like a roof that doesn't leak, doors which fit their frames, decent insulation, air-conditioning and heating (both of which are relatively essential in an Australian context these days), and a dishwasher in the kitchen. We're currently in the unpackening stage, and probably will be for a few more weeks at least, if not months.
2) Subsequent to 1) above, may I actively dis-recommend iinet as an internet service provider to anyone living in Australia? They have been less than helpful and less than useful in the process of the move, and I suspect I'm going to have to argue things back and forth with them to get some billing issues sorted out (such as them charging me for another month of service at our previous address, even when I gave them two weeks notice of the move occurring during the previous billing period). They have not been helpful, they have not been friendly, they have not been particularly cooperative, and I'm just about done with them. 0 out of 10, would not recommend to anyone, not even my worst enemy.
3) Due to issues related with 2) above, we haven't had working internet for about a week and a half. I'm currently in catch-up mode, and I'll find out what's happened in the rest of the world as I go along. I'm reasonably certain the world hasn't ended (I'm sure I would have noticed if that had happened) but if people want to pass on bits of news to me, I'm not going to turn them down.
4) One of the things I'm attempting to do now we've moved to the new place is build a gardening habit. At the moment, it consists of five minutes work in the garden each day (timed on my phone), which at present is mostly about removing weeds from the front garden area. Which at least means the amount of weeds in the garden is going down slowly. I have Plans for one particular corner of the (minuscule) back garden area, but I'm going to wait until we have the house in vague order first, then hire it done, because these Plans involve a lot of set-up, and I know from extensive past experience I am not good at setting things up, although I am fairly good at maintaining them once I get the required habits built.
(I should note: the gardens, both front and back, are largely sand. Either black sand, because this is Perth and black sand is pretty much the default for most of the city, or yellow brickie's sand, because reasonably recent building site, and therefore covered in the stuff. Easy to dig, desperately hungry and thirsty).
5) As a result of extensive hand-washing and use of hand sanitiser, I'm now discovering I need to use hand cream more often. I would welcome recommendations from readers for a brand of hand cream which is a) not too expensive (I'm not paying more than about $10 at most for a 100mL tube, and probably lower than that would be preferable); b) not too heavy - I want something comparatively light and easily absorbed (for comparison - we have some sorbolene cream in the house which I don't use on my hands because it is too heavy, and leaves them feeling greasy; this is a sensory thing for me, so I'm likely to bounce off things good and hard if they're too heavy); and c) reasonably readily available in Australia?
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Clearing Out Books
This week has been a slightly better week than last week. Not heaps better, mostly because the two topics being covered in my two university units are an unfortunate conjunction which means I'm wading into uncomfortable psychological waters. On the one hand, my communications unit, Culture to Cultures, is currently covering the Indigenous History of the region, which means I'm dealing with a lot of racism which appears to me to be based largely on envy, viciousness, and free-floating stupidity (and the really depressing part is it's still going even today... *sigh*). The paladin part of my brain, the part which gets annoyed at unfairness and stupidity, and wants to ride out on a crusade to Fix The World (or at least stop me being so irritated by it), is getting twitchy. On the other hand, my writing unit, Introduction to Creative Writing, is dealing with poetry - which means I'm dipping into my subconscious and discovering things even I wasn't aware of - and not all of this is pleasant.
So there's that side of things. Thanks be to the gods our tutor for Creative Writing is placing a stipulation that we have to supply three poems, and two of them have to be from highly structured formats (which changes the whole game from "the psychological exploration inherent in finding your voice" to "the intellectual puzzle of fitting your idea into the right combination of lines, stanzas, words and metre". Gods know I'm far more comfortable with the latter than the former. I mean, yeah, sure being a writer means being vulnerable, and putting your Self on display. But I'd rather at least be picking and choosing the bits of Self I'm putting on display such that "underbelly" and "key shatter points" are not among them. Call it a reaction against too many years of bullying.
But studying poetry has made me want to read my old favourites, so I'm going searching for my Norton Anthology of Poetry again. Problem is, I don't know which of the various boxes of books in the storeroom it's packed in. So I'm having to unpack boxes of books again. Got one down off the shelf last night, and discovered it wasn't the one (I wasn't expecting it to be - this was a box sealed back in 2011, two moves ago). What I did discover were the last two volumes of the Belgariad (so I'll probably be re-reading that some time soon) as well as the whole Malloreon, Belgarath the Sorceror, and Polgara the Sorceress. Fortunately for me, I've cleared off my "farewell re-read" shelves recently (got rid of everything which has been sitting there for a year waiting for me to give it the farewell re-read, on the grounds of if I haven't done it by now, I ain't a-gonna do it), so there's space for the few books from this box that I might be interested in re-reading to be unpacked onto it, and I'll see about going through them over the next twelve months or so. The rest can go to one of the various op-shops around the area, once the donation bag (which is currently full of the last lot to be donated) is emptied out again.
As a bonus, the space in the storeroom the box used to be occupying is now available for something else to move into, which means there's the option of shuffling things around in the store-room so I can find the box wherein my Norton Anthology of Poetry resides, and retrieve it!
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Update on The Washing Machine
We were in luck on Thursday, and managed to get hold of a repairman who came out and fixed all the various problems with our machine. Now, said machine is about 15 years old (I know we got it while we were living in Canbrrra, and brought it back with us when we moved back here) so I wasn't surprised that some of the problems turned out to be purely about age and wear.
So, the reason the machine was spraying water all over the floor was the water valve for the drum had a perished diaphragm. One replacement later, and I have a laundry floor which stays dry (although it still needs cleaning). The reason the drum wasn't turning was that the brushes on the motor which turned it had worn down to about 1/3 their original length. Replaced them, and the motor works fine. The other thing he fixed was the dodgy powder dispenser drawer, which had stopped working months ago. Turns out that one was because we'd inadvertently left one of the transit spacers for the machine (which are supposed to stop the drum from moving about too much while it's in transit for moves) in place after the last move, and that had been banging up against the edge of the tray, and snapped off a crucial little plastic dooverlacky that triggered the machine to recognise the powder drawer was shut or some such. So he replaced that with a bit of putty, and after we waited about 24 hours for it to cure properly (or in other words, no washing on Friday, what a pity, oh my) the whole thing appears to be working just fine.
So we're in a position to get another few years of use out of our fifteen year old machine, and we'll use that to save up a bit more money toward the cost of a new one.
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Crash Boom Fizzle
There was a thunderstorm yesterday morning. Which I don't mind - I'm not one of those people who gets freaked by thunderstorms (the ones which are more likely to worry me at the moment are hailstorms accompanied by heavy wind - our place has no eaves, so the windows are vulnerable). I lit some incense for the thunder gods, and got on with the day.
Unfortunately, however, the router for our home interwebs decided to die, which may or may not have been connected to the thunderstorm (we're dealing with a lot of second-hand tech here - it may have decided to die for Reasons of its own). However the nyetwork card for our gateway box died at the same time, so it's more than likely to have been a consequence of the thunder gods having their fun and games.
At present, I am on the internet via a rather ancient router (found in Steve's Collection Of Assorted Tech Bits And Pieces He's Never Thrown Out Because We Might Need Them Some Day) and my errand for the day is to find a computer shop and see whether I can get hold of a PCI network card (preferably the oldest and cheapest of their stock, since that means it has more of a chance of fitting into our rather ancient gateway box).
So there's another thing to add to my long-term goals and plans... get enough money together that we can afford to replace all the various discards and spares we're calling our network infrastructure.
Updated later: Apparently PCI network cards are a thing of the past. I managed to get one by heading all the way out to Cannington (from Yangebup) after calling around all over the place to try and find a supplier. Eventually I wound up giving up, phoning the local Dick Smith and asking if they had the part, and when they said "nope", asking if they knew anyone who did. So they referred me to one firm, who referred me on to another group, who referred me on to a third, who wound up having the part. Austin Computers, in Cannington, if anyone's interested.
Doesn't help that putting "computer parts" into the Yellow Pages brings up a thousand and one entries for "Geeks 2 U". Geeks 2 U are a mobile computer service franchise, and the bane of my job-seeking life. When I go searching for part-time work in IT on Seek, about once a month their ad trying to recruit more consultants shows up (they aren't looking for staff, they're looking for sub-contractors with an existing IT repair business to glomp under the umbrella of their franchise). So I start off averse to them to begin with - and I wasn't particularly happy to have them showing up as the major listing for the whole damn category.
It annoys me, because if we want computer parts, we want the actual *parts*. Himself is perfectly capable of wielding his own screwdriver, thanks very much. We don't need to pay someone else a ghastly hourly rate just to drive out here and wave a rubber chicken over the carcass of the gateway box while they plug in a new card. But I couldn't find the place that sold the parts, because it was buried under all these listings (suburb by suburb) for people who'll come and install the wretched things.
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Falling off the Internet (again)
Just a quick update: I'm moving house tomorrow, and we may not have internet at the new place for another 2 - 3 weeks after that (why it might take 2 - 3 weeks to update some switches and hubs is beyond me; presumably the network admin at the ISP is a busy bunny and can't spare the Copious Free Time to add new users). So, if you don't hear from me, that's why.
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A Minor Accomplishment
I got around to clearing through the pile of discarded clothing which has been accumulating for the past six or so years today. Basically, it was a process of going through, and sorting into two possible piles. One was the "Salvos/Sammies" pile - the stuff which was basically in good nick, but had wound up on the discard pile because it either didn't fit, didn't suit, or wasn't quite 100%. For example, one shirt on there used to have a pattern of studs stuck onto the collar area, but most of them have come off in the wash. The garment is still structurally intact, and someone who's willing to replace the beading or whatever could probably salvage it and get a number of years of use out of it. I haven't the skills or the interest, so out it went.
The other pile was the stuff which I'd been reluctant to throw out because even though there were things like gaping holes in the front, the rest of the cloth was still sound, and I might be able to make something useful out of it. Problem is, my interest in crafting in the past few years has petered out to around zero (and it was never that high in the first place) so the likelihood of me actually doing so is minimal. I'm not going to be making a rag rug out of old pairs of jeans, so today I decided "stop kidding yourself" and chucked the whole damn lot of them into the bin. Two laundry-basket loads of stuff which should have been chucked out bit by bit years ago.
(For those who read the last entry, it's the "malign Buddha" pile of clothes I've just tackled. So that's that anxiety dealt with, anyway).
Also on the "chuck out" pile were two freebie backpacks which I'd used to bits (one lasted about a year before the bottom wore through; the second had the top rip off after about the first six to eight weeks).
Incidentally - I found a bag of clothes which must have moved over with us from Canbrrra, and hadn't been unpacked since. So that's been unpacked, and most of the contents are in the washbasket, waiting for next week's washing round. I gain two vests, a couple of nice shirts, and a couple of flannies I hadn't seen in years.
The stuff for the second-hand shops all fits into one green reusable shopping bag. The original pile of stuff occupied a sixty litre plastic box, and couple of piles in other locations as well. I'm sure there's a lesson in that, but I'm not interested in learning it right now.
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Sometimes, I'm a Bit Too Much Of A Packrat
I can see I'm going to need to clear things out a bit more often.
I've just done a bit of a sort through of my various "PC media" storage boxes. What I discovered would probably be invaluable to any electronic archivist, or archaeologist of late 1990s PC miscellanea. The total included:
* Two plastic bags worth of PC magazine discs, dating back at least 10 years or so.
* Various install CDs for outdated versions of Linux
* Two Australian phonediscs (phonebook on disc), probably from the late 1990s.
* Various MS software designed for Windows 3.11 (Encarta 95, MS Ancient Lands, and the tragically misnamed MS Works).
* Game CDs for games which came with my first personal PC (bought back in 1995 - these are games which were designed to run on Windows 3.11) as well as games purchased subsequently. Some of them are compilation CDs of multiple games from back in the bad old days of 5.25" floppy disks - thousands of games on the one CD because they were designed to fit into Kb of memory, not Mb.
* Manuals for most of these game CDs.
* Driver CDs for hardware which is now obsolete (or at least no longer in my posession).
* Demos of games which never made it to mass market (or if they did, bombed badly).
As I say, a digital archaeologist, electronic archivist, or computing historian may be able to make some use of these. I'm going to see which of the games I can get to run on the current PC, which ones the antivirus rejects as malware (for some reason, AVG doesn't like certain bits of the Sims 2, and it also pings up Settlers IV as malware as well), which ones aren't worth the disk space (probably most of them) and which ones still interest me after all these years.
The rest... well, the rest I'll probably bin. If there are any archaeologists, archivists, or historians who are interested in this stuff, do let me know.
( Footnotes below fold )
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