This accidentally fell out of her pocket when I bumped into her. Took me four goes.

Monday, August 11


Age Is Catching Up With Me

But hasn't caught me yet.  Not quite.

Went house-hunting in the Southern Highlands today.  Because maps can be misleading, and real-estate agents just plain lie, I decided to find out where the nice-looking properties were located and actually walk to them from the nearest station.*  And also walk around the shopping centres to find out what was there and what was where, that sort of thing.

The difference is, I'm only going to live in one of these places, so I'd only be making one trip each way to the station or shops on any given day.  So I probably wouldn't be walking something like 20km in a normal day...  Which is what I just did.

So, things I learned today:

1. If it's nice, and affordable, and it's in Bowral, it's further out of town than you'd expect.  For reasons partly topographical and partly inexplicable, Bowral radiates out south-eastward from the railway station.  And pretty much only south-eastward, which means that for a given distance from the station, there's only a quarter the houses available that you'd find in a more sensibly planned location.

It's partly the topography that makes Bowral such a nice place to live, so part of that I can accept.  But why the town stops at a knife edge on the railway line, and there's nothing but empty fields west of that, remains to be explained.  It looks like a property boom just waiting to happen.

2. The nice part of Mittagong is to the east of the railway line.  All the shops are on the west.  (Except for, as far as I can tell, a pottery shop.  An immense pottery shop.)  The useful shops that sell stuff like, oh, food, are way-to-hell-and-gone over the west side of town.  So a very nice house that's half a mile from the station is appealing until you factor in the extra mile every time you need to buy some groceries.

3. Moss Vale gets cold in winter.  It's fine if you're dry and in the sun and out of the wind, but if you do something silly like wash your hands, brrrr.

4. There's really great bakery on the route from most of the places I was looking at in Moss Vale and the station.  Except that their apple turnovers are far too large and filled, apparently, with lead.

5. I can happily walk a couple of kilometres lugging a notebook bag.  It's no problem at all, as long as the terrain is not outright vertical and there's some sort of footpath.

6.  I can happily walk a couple of kilometres lugging a notebook bag twice in a day.  Three, four, five times even.  Around trip number 8 or 9, it becomes apparent that this is no longer the case.  And if trip number 8, say, leaves me two kilometres from the station so that trip number 9 is unavoidable despite the growing unpleasantness in my right knee, then I find that after dragging myself back into town and waiting at the lights to cross over to the station, said knee will start showing clear intentions to cease functioning.

7. Elevators at railway stations are a blessing.

8. After resting up during the long trip home, I find that while sore, I am not actually crippled (though stairs still hold little appeal).  So as I said in the beginning, it hasn't caught me yet.

* I also took a pointless two-mile detour around Mittagong for reasons that are too complicated to fit in this footnote.  That didn't help.

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Sunday, August 10


Episode 3

Of There She Is!!: Doki&Nabi.

Flash was invented for this reason alone.

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Saturday, August 09


Damn Lemur-Feeders!

Still trying to wipe out my species.  The Standing Ovation* infected 97% of the world's population in three weeks, then with a little bit of genetic tweakery, killed 75% of them in three days.

It's a good thing that (a) genetics doesn't work like that (in the game, when your disease mutates, the new strain shows up in all infected areas at once), and (b) organisations like the CDC and the WHO don't wait until a billion people are ill before taking action.

Because a death rate of a million a minute is pretty scary.

* Like the clap, only better.

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Friday, August 08


A Different Life

Doing some research.  Moss Vale in the Southern Highlands is very nice, and has a number of houses available.  But while I've only been there twice, I do know that it doesn't have a major shopping centre; you have to go into Bowral for that.  And since I don't drive (hi TallDave!), that's a little inconvenient.  It's only 10 minutes by train, but the trains are 90 minutes to 2 hours apart.  There are buses, too but...

Anyway, I was doing a little research, finding out what I could online before I head down there in the morning.  (Going to try to hit Mittagong, Bowral and Moss Vale in the same day.)  And I find that there are reviews of grocery stores.

Moss Vale Tuckerbag:
i quite like the moss vale tuckerbag store, its pleasant to be in, more so than the competitor down the road. overall staff are quite plesant and fast but one problem i do have is how SLOW the docket machines are! its time to upgrade them!
This supermarket is good, the prices are good and the service is okay, however the docket printer is so slow!!! You have to wait for the docket to print which seems like a lifetime.
Those were posted in 2007.  But now:
There are new checkouts at SUPA IGA Tuckerbag Moss Vale! Much faster.

One of the places - actually, about seven of the places; it's a brand new complex of townhouses - I want to look at in Moss Vale backs right onto the railway line.

The Unanderra - Moss Vale railway line.

I don't think I need to worry much.

I've been on that line; in fact, that's how I visited Moss Vale on one of those trips.  After surveying the timetables carefully, I bought a return ticket to Moss Vale, went the other way, down to Wollongong, and then hopped aboard the train via Mount Murray and Robertson to Moss Vale, wandered around a bit, had lunch, and then hopped aboard a train back to Sydney.*

I don't think I was supposed to do any of that. The line has been closed to regular trains for years, and that was probably a special tourist service I was on.  But I didn't know that at the time, and fortunately no-one was checking tickets.

That's not the only partly disused tourist railway in the area either.  There's also the Picton Loop line, now home of the New South Wales Rail Tansport Museum.

* Which reminds me - do they still run those funny old trains down to Bomaderry, or have they been replaced by now?  I went down there on a day trip once, and on the way back I was the only passenger, and they didn't notice me and turned off all the lights.

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Thursday, August 07


Poetry, That'll Work







Or, to explain in a little more detail, Pandemic 2.

Your goal is to engineer the perfect disease and wipe out the human race.  This is made incredibly difficult by stubborn isolated island nations, like New Zealand and Greenland and, most of all, those damn lemur-feeders.

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Or Maybe North

I've pretty much been priced out of the rental market in Sydney, it seems.  It's not that I don't earn a decent hourly rate, but I'm only working three or four days a week (I spend the other days on and I also have a lot of expenses.

So, since my boss has agreed to me only going into the office two days a week, the plan is to move outwards.  I'm already near the northern edge of Sydney; where I live now, Hornsby, is the last major shopping centre as you head north.  Used to be quite inexpensive, but that has changed in a major way lately.

I have a few choices:

Move out to the western edge of Sydney, where there's lots of flat, cheap land.  Since I don't drive, that means Richmond or Penrith.  Richmond is quieter and cheaper, Penrith has a much larger shopping centre, a better selection of rental properties, and better transport, but isn't really laid out for pedestrians.

Move south-west, to the Campbelltown area.  I don't really know what it's like out there these days, but it's a long way away, and very spread out.

Move further south-west, right out of Sydney and into the Southern Highlands.  This is a beautiful area, though it gets cold in winter.  Mittagong and Bowral are the two major towns; Moss Vale is also very nice, but small.  The problem here is transport; trains run every two hours, and most of them stop at Campbelltown, and you have to change trains.  There's a convenient train in the morning that takes me straight to Sydney, though.

Move west, past Penrith, out to the Blue Mountains.  Doesn't seem to be much in the way of rentals out there, though I did find a gorgeous stone cottage in Leura.

Move south, towards (or to) Wollongong. Which, frankly, looks pretty blah.  Though there are some nice beaches.

Or finally, move north, past the Hawkesbury River, up towards Gosford or Wyong - the Central Coast.  I found some nice, cheap and extremely well-located properties in Tuggerah.  Still no ADSL2 there, though.

I'm planning to scout out the Southern Highlands this Saturday, then zip up north on Sunday.  And then sleep all day Monday.  Or at least find out how well I sleep on those train trips, which will be useful knowledge.

Update: Or maybe Woy Woy.  Not as cheap as Tuggerah, but closer to the city, and they have ADSL2.  A choice of 12 providers, including Exetel and Internode.  Hmm, decisions.

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Sunday, August 03


Bowral Bound!

Whee!  It's the Southern Highlands for mee!

Spoke to my boss; he's happy for me to work from home some days to keep my commute reasonable.  So apart from being limited to ADSL1, Bowral is perfect.

I'll head down there next weekend to look at the properties I found online, and then things get underway.

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Friday, August 01


Reverse The Polarity Of The Neutron Flow

Now this is just cool.

Chronotron is a Flash puzzle game where you retrieve lost objects by pushing switches to open doors and operate elevators and so on.

With one small difference.

You'll find you need to push a switch way over there to operate the elevator over here.  How you accomplish this is related to what the lost objects are, and is very very clever.

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