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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Well, I'm off to get a camera stuck down my throat again. Wish me luck.

Back later: Well, that was a bit anticlimactic. The biggest annoyance was that I had to wait a full 2.5 HOURS past my appointment time before I got in to see the doctor. (I sent the Snook home rather than have him sit in the waiting room all day.) I have no idea why the Inner West Endoscopy Centre was so backed up, but it really sucked. Especially since I had to fast beforehand, so it was nearly 20 hours before I was able to have a proper meal again. Anyway, they put a line in my arm and shot me up with the drugs. I was determined to really pay attention to the procedure this time, and I remember them starting to wheel my bed into the surgery. Instantly I was back in my little recovery cubicle, dozing on my side and waiting for the process to start. I finally lifted my head and asked when it was my turn. "You're already done," the nurse said. I missed it again! I don't know what they gave me - GHB? - but man, I like that stuff. I wish I could take it at night to help me fall asleep. So I sat up and had some tea and cookies, and I SMSed the Snook to let him know I was done. By the time I was up and dressed, he was there to pick me up. We waited around to talk to the doctor... who basically admitted that they didn't see much. There was apparently some slight damage below the duodenum, but it sounds like it was a lot less than last time. They took quite a lot of samples to biopsy so hopefully my doctor will be able to tell me more next week. As for now, I'm just going to eat and sleep and enjoy these last few hours before the sedation finally wears off (and my stomach starts hurting from all the poking around).

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How to Win Over 15 Male Software Developers:
  1. Make banana pudding.
  2. Bring banana pudding to work.
  3. Profit.
I felt a little ashamed of myself, actually. I'm supposed to be revered for my mad PHP skillz, not my pudding-making ability. Oh, well.

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Obama's Harbour Bridge of Hope
I just received word from Democrats Abroad that Obama supporters "are gathering at famous bridges for a global photographic campaign to show support for their candidate." The photographs will then be edited into a YouTube video. The Sydney event is taking place this Saturday, May 3rd, at 11am at the Opera House steps. I plan on being there, and I urge any of you similarly-minded people (whether American, Australian, or whatever) to come along too.

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Sweeeet. A real estate expert has declared his opinion that "Inner-western Chippendale, the site of a planned $2 billion redevelopment of the former CUB brewery, is Australia's best investment opportunity." This is the kind of news that makes the mortgage payments a little more bearable. (Link courtesy of Life in Chippendale.)

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Check out this excellent and easy-to-understand explanation of the whole "Microsoft trying to take over Yahoo" schmozzle. Very interesting. (Link courtesy of Daring Fireball.)

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Nerdy Things We Have Debated at Work Today:
  1. The Vulcan Salute
  2. WWF Wrestlers of the 80's and early 90's
  3. The Snorks
I'm sure there'll be more.

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RunningBlog: Many thanks to Jeff and Allan for the huge shout-out they gave me on the latest episode of Running with the Pack. They had some great advice for my training, and it was reassuring to know that they're on my side with regards to the time cut-off. Thanks guys!

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

RunningBlog: I'm asking MetaFilter for advice about energy gels and running shoes...

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RunningBlog: I ran 16 kilometers today. That's TEN MILES. [chart / route map] I'm a little surprised myself! Since my lower back is still bothering me, I slathered on some pain relief gel and took a prescription anti-inflammatory before I went out. (I had to get special ones from the doctor because normal ibuprofen is a NO GO for my stomach.) It still ached a bit, but not enough to hold me back. I did 5:1 run/walk intervals for the first 90 minutes before switching it up to 4:1 towards the end. Halfway through, I stopped in a convenience store and bought a bottle of Gatorade. Carrying it with me was surprisingly less annoying than I'd expected! I discovered, though, that Gatorade makes my mouth feel all gummy and dry so I still hit every water fountain that I passed as well. At the 14K mark, I crossed the threshold into Longest Run Ever territory. (The 14K City 2 Surf was my previous longest distance.) In terms of cardio fitness, I am fully confident in my ability to run the half-marathon without any trouble. It's like I've had a breakthrough with my breathing, and at my normal pace I finally feel able to carry on a conversation without huffing and puffing. It's really cool, actually. (Although I still gasp like a fish when I swim. Odd, that.) I think the real limiting factors are going to be my legs, feet, and back. I'm feeling some real soreness on the outside of my thighs, which is probably a warning sign for IT Band Syndrome. (I don't feel any pain on the outside of my knees, so I don't think it's too far along.) Two hours of pounding on pavement just, you know, HURTS. So I'm going to take it easy this week and try to recuperate. I'd like to do one more long run this weekend (hopefully 18K) before the race, but with my endoscopy on Wednesday I don't know how I'm going to feel. I'm just going to bask in this feeling of accomplishment for a while...

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Weekend Update... and it isn't over yet!
Three-day weekends are so nice. Yesterday the Snook and I went to Newtown to meet up with Steve (visiting from London), Kenya, and Sal. Most places were either closed for the ANZAC Day holiday or packed with people playing two-up, so we ended up getting lunch at Kelly's on King. It was good to catch up with friends we hadn't seen in a long while.

Today was a busier day. I talked to both my parents on the phone, and my Dad mentioned how impressed he was with how far I've been running. I was so tickled I went right out and did five miles! Then I headed to Newtown for SSK, which featured the usual bunch of great folks. I finished one Twisted Flower Sock heel and got started on the second. On my way home, I stopped in Better Read Than Dead and picked up a new copy of American Gods (in preparation for Neil Gaiman's visit next week). When I got home, the Snook and I headed over to Broadway to look at digital cameras. My old Canon had finally given up the ghost and I was looking for something small and light to carry with me. An hour later, I walked out of Harvey Norman with a brand new Fuji Finepix Z20 in cherry red. It's so tomorrow! I love it. We also picked up a new litter box for that cat. You know how she likes to hang her butt over the edge? Snookums has finally gone for the nuclear option, purchasing a giant plastic storage tub that she has to jump in and out of.

Finally, there was food. I made homemade pea and ham soup from a Rick Stein recipe in delicious, and it was very tasty. I started by boiling a ham hock to make some stock. (Quoth the Snook: "Hot ham water? YUM!") For dessert, the Snook cut up the pineapple I bought at the markets last weekend and created a from-scratch pineapple upside-down cake. We had it warm from the oven with ice cream. SO GOOD, PEOPLE.

And the best part of the weekend? That I've still got one more day of it left. Ahhhh...

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Indie FTW
My sister just had her first day alone with the new baby... and Indie broke her within one hour. Yikes. I feel really bad that I can't do anything to help. At the same time, though, I'm really grateful that she's giving us the warts-and-all look at life with a newborn. (Which reminds me, it's time for my next Depo Provera shot.)

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An Engineer's Guide to Cats. Another video link? What is WRONG with me? In my defense, that little movie is highly amusing. I especially enjoyed the section on "cat-yodeling," which I'm going to have to try out with Dr. Amy Jones today. (Link courtesy of Christopher.)

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While I'm sure that the Snook would LOVE to take a bath in beer, I can't help but wonder if it wouldn't be bad for the ladies. I mean, lukewarm unpasteurized beer with active yeast? Seems like a recipe for all sorts of, uh, unpleasantness.

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Aussies: Can any of you recommend a white noise machine? It's odd; despite our bedroom being farther from the street in the new house, I get woken up by noise a LOT more than I used to. (I think it's because we have a window now, and the sound bounces off the outside wall of the old place.) During the summer it wasn't so bad because we kept a fan running, but I'd prefer not to do that in winter. Any suggestions?

Also, nothing makes you feel older than bitching and griping about the sound of the neighbours' party -- and then realising it's only 9:30pm. On a Saturday night. Which is a perfectly reasonable time to be having a party. A party that sounds pretty fun, actually. Grumble, grumble, grumble...

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Friday, April 25, 2008

"Crocodile came up, bit my guts out!"
I know I don't usually do YouTube links, but you guys HAVE to watch this insurance commercial currently airing on Australian TV. It's my favorite and it makes me laugh and laugh. It's little kids telling stories about being eaten by monsters. And I don't know who that third kid is, but he needs his own show now.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

RunningBlog: (Actually, it's more like "StomachBlog" at this point.) After a series of some pretty good runs last week, I went out for my 10K on Sunday and it completely SUCKED. Within five minutes, the right side of my lower back was seizing up and throbbing with every step. I still managed to do 9K, but only by stopping every five minutes to attempt to stretch it out. It killed. I immediately fired off an email to my physio, who scheduled me in for an appointment Wednesday night. When I got there, I gave him an update about my stomach ulcer and he immediately tied the two together. According to him, my body is probably "in a state of inflammation," and he didn't want do any serious massage for fear of making it worse. He did work into my sides a bit (above my hips), which was incredibly tense and painful. Oddly, releasing that tension made me feel better (in my stomach) almost immediately. He says they're my "worry" muscles, and tensing them (from stress or from pain) might be contributing to the lower back pain. I went out for a slow 5K this morning, and the change was really noticeable. I did feel a bit sluggish through the last mile, but at least I didn't have to stop and stretch at every light pole. Two steps forward, one step back...

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We're up to 12 days of rain. On the upside, I do like the photo accompanying this story. Can you spot the Harbour Bridge?

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Heh. Dan Carbo will appreciate this. Kevin puts the blame for Obama's loss in the Pennsylvania Primary yesterday squarely on Philadelphia. Why? Because "the City of Brotherly Love broke from the rest of the state and went 2-1 for Obama. And, as every sports fan knows, Philly always loses despite themselves. You can't fight the curse." HA!

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Eleven. Eleven days of rain in a row. I woke up at 6am this morning to go out for my run... and heard the rain pouring down outside the window. Ugh. I just couldn't do it.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Male Logic
Me: You think you got problems?
I just went to the bathroom... and discovered a big black smudge on the end of my nose!
I must have got some ink on it or something.
I looked like a clown.
Oooh, I know what it was from!
It was from the texta the barista used on the lid of my coffee; that must've been it.
And i could've been that way for, like, an hour.
Snookums: You need to go to the bathroom more often, then you'll notice sooner.

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40 Tips for Optimizing Your PHP Code.

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On one hand, I hate being the type of person who orders a "decaf skim latte." I mean, really, what's the point? But on the other hand, it's either this or nothin'. And on a rainy, crappy day like today, I just can't take nothin'.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Moblog: moblogged imageFlemington Markets
Last week Eva kindly invited me to accompany her, Steph, and Kathleen to Flemington Markets on Saturday. I'd been to Paddy's in Chinatown before, but this is the big market out near Homebush. It was INSANE. Hundreds of stalls with people selling fruit and veggies by the boxload, and it was all incredibly cheap. Bananas for $1/kilo. Whole crates of apples for $5. A one-kilo bag of peeled garlic for $2. We rented a cart and started piling stuff up. A couple hours (and one cramped car trip) later, we pulled it all out in Steph and Eva's garate to divvy up. For less than $20, I ended up going home with apples, bananas, plums, mandarins, a pineapple, a pomelo, beans, coriander, cherry tomatoes, purple sweet potato, asparagus, the aforementioned bag of garlic, and nine(!) bulbs of fennel. So of course, now we're cooking everything in bulk and stocking up the freezer for winter...

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This article about books written by computers reminded me of something... Oh, that's right! The Great Automatic Grammatizator! The obvious next step is for this Philip Parker guy to start paying "real" authors not to write.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

I absolutely love this skirt, but all up with shipping it works out to about AUD $100. That's an awful lot for a skirt you have to sew yourself... (Link to Clothkits courtesy of Alison.)

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RunningBlog: As of today, I am officially FOUR WEEKS away from the Sydney Half-Marathon. I've already run three times this week, so I'm going to cut back the distance on my long run today and go for a timed 10K just to see where I'm at. Then I'm hoping to do my first 10-miler on Sunday the 27th, and my longest pre-race run, an 11-miler, on Sunday the 4th of May. (I'm hoping that race day adrenaline will be enough to push me through the final two miles.) For the last weekend pre-race, I've just signed up to do the Mother's Day Classic (8K fun run) on the 11th. I figure that should be a nice easy way to get fired up before the big day on the 18th.

As for my goals, first and foremost I want make the 11km 75:00 cutoff point. Once I do that, my goal is just to finish. If pressed to set a time goal, I'd have to say that finishing in less than 2.5 hours would be fantastic. That would bring me in just before Norma Wallett's time of 152:52 from last year, when she was the oldest competitor (at 78!) to finish the race. So yeah, I'd like to match Norma's pace. :)

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From Life in Chippendale: "Chippendale Property on the Rise." According to today's Sunday Telegraph, Chippendale was #2 on the list of best performing Sydney suburbs in terms of property value. Over the last 12 months, the median property value here rose by more than 25%. Sweeeeet. The actual median price in Chippo is around $640K, but we paid substantially less than that for our 3 bedroom town house. (Note: I think the previous owners could've easily gotten that amount if they'd wanted the hassle of going to auction.) So if/when we ever decide to sell, it looks like there's a good chance we'll be making a profit!

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Of Breakfasts and National Differences
The Snook made us oatmeal for breakfast this morning, so I was nomming my way through that when I read this thread on the great Full British Breakfast (which is more or less the same as a full Australian breakfast). Yum. Not something you can eat every day, but when you've got a hangover, it's the Best. Thing. Ever. I was surprised at the couple comments from Americans who couldn't fathom eating baked beans at breakfast. Huh? I don't remember ever thinking that. I mean, baked beans = double plus good, no matter what time of day (as far as I'm concerned). But anyway, the whole point of this is to mention that towards the end of the discussion, somebody linked to the Wikipedia page for "biscuits and gravy", and I nearly choked on my own drool. There's not a lot I miss from home that I can't get here, but that is definitely #1 on the list. I've tried making it myself, but it didn't turn out well. The biggest obstacle is finding the right sausage. American-style breakfast sausage - the heavily spiced "Jimmy Dean" type - just doesn't exist anywhere else. Maybe I need to try to make my own...

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cool. The SMH travel writer visited Sakai-san's restaurant in Tokyo. I'd love to do that. And despite the guy's protests about all the food in Tokyo being expensive, that dinner works out to about AUD$150 a head (including drinks!). You can spend a lot more than that on a fancy night out in Sydney...

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Wow. If Sartor's new planning laws go through, I guess the gentrification of Redfern will get fast-tracked, huh? Some property-minded friends of ours were trying to convince us to buy there last year in the expectation of making a mint when Sartor's plans to redevelop the neighborhood finally happen. Of course, they didn't anticipate that the government would be allowed to sell your property right out from under you...

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Me: Oh. My. God. Eileen just coined the term "PILF" on her blog. Where "P" stands for "Priest."
Snook: Whaaaaat?
Me: Apparently the Pope's assistant is pretty hot.
Snook: What's Eileen doing helping the Pope?!
Me: She's not on the Pope's STAFF, you ding dong. She just saw his picture.
Snook: Oh. I wondered.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

I know it's petty, but it was almost worth letting someone goad me into a stupid, frustrating non-argument today for the secret glee of standing before him in a T-shirt which read "You are Dumb" in binary. Almost. (Thanks again to Ma Snook for the awesome shirt.)

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Ahhh, VICTORY!
Karen and I pulled off a very satisfying 10-2 win this afternoon in the losers' bracket of the foosball tournament. We now get to play for 5th or 6th place!

Later: AND AGAIN! We won our second match! We had to play two guys that beat us 10-2 before, but this time we kicked their butts 10-5 in front of, like, half the company. It was soooo tense, but I was just on fire today! And then Karen got the last goal on a fluke shot from the goalie, and then we screamed and hugged and jumped in a circle. It was AWESOME. Best fifth place finish ever.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

This is for my brother-in-law, Dan Carbo. Maybe my Mom can make it into a quilt or something for him.

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Snookums pointed out to me last night that Google Maps has been updated with super high-res pictures of Sydney. Check it out. They obviously flew over before we moved last November, because that's our picnic table in the backyard of the old place!

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RunningBlog: The Need for Speed
In spite of my ongoing ulcer issues, I've still managed a couple good runs this week. I went out Tuesday morning for a "recovery" run, aiming to run at a nice slow pace for 40 minutes without stopping. I ended up doing over 6km, and it felt surprisingly easy the whole way. I didn't even start to get winded til the very last bit. To my utter astonishment, I averaged 6:46 per kilometer, which works out to a 34:00 5K time! And I wasn't even trying! This is well within the pace I need to keep for the half-marathon next month. I decided to build upon this with some "cadence drills" this morning. I got these from Jeff Galloway, and it's basically an easy form of interval training. I started by walking and jogging 10 minutes to warm up. Then I ran at a normal pace and timed myself for 30 seconds, counting each time my left foot touched the ground. I think it was 34 this first time. Then each subsequent repetition, you try to increase that number a bit. So I alternated with 30 seconds of sprinting (and counting my steps) with a minute or so of walking to recover. I did this for about a mile and managed to get my count up to 50! I felt a bit silly, like the Road Runner with my legs flying in a blur. But I also felt pretty fast! Then I finished by jogging the last fifteen minutes home.

Also - I got a shoutout on the latest episode of the Brandon's Marathon podcast! That was fun.

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Libby Stock has a righteous rant in the SMH today about women taking their husband's surnames. I just find it interesting. I didn't really have any big political issue with the practice - like I did with marriage in general - but in the end, I just found it too weird to contemplate changing my name. It's too much a part of who I am.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The 10 Most Badass Geeks in Film/TV. I agree with most of the items on that list, but I have a few quibbles. Was Donnie Darko really a geek? Other than that whole Smurf speech, I can't think of anything he did that was particularly geeky. I'd probably replace him with Willow from Buffy, especially in her rare evil incarnations. (That also solves the issue of there being NO female representation in the list.) But man, I really hate Anakin Skywalker being in there. I can what they're getting at, but I feel that the prequels just sucked out any sense of malice Darth Vader had. (Link courtesy of Bex.)

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Still Sick
My stomach continues to defy medical analysis. My duodenitis (aka ulcer) flared up two weeks ago, but after one bad day it seemed to settle down. It didn't go away completely, but it was manageable and I was able to keep exercising. My doctor's tests didn't show any underlying infection so I chalked it up to the stress of starting the new job. Then, yesterday, it came back with a vengeance. I don't know what set it off, but by 4:00 I was in agony. I rang the doctor and left work early. I honestly don't know how I managed to get home without puking. It was that bad. My regular doc was booked out so I had to see somebody new, which meant he had to get the whole two-year-long saga of the diagnosis. Yes, I have been tested for h.pylori. No, multiple tests for it have been negative. Yes, I know that's really weird, because I have every symptom of a classic ulcer EXCEPT for the bacteria. I was nearly in tears telling him about it. It's just so frustrating, because there doesn't seem to be anything I can *do*. If I tested positive for the h.pylori then they could treat me for it, but without that, all I can do is take more Nexium (which doesn't seem to help much).

So the upshot of all of it is, he wants me to have another endoscopy and another round of blood tests. Oh, and no more caffeine and alcohol. Joy.

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"Arrested" alumni reunite for Fox pilot. I'd give any show that Mitch Hurwitz is involved with a try, but with Bateman, Arnett, and Winkler involved? I'd like to pre-order the DVD, please. (That said, the Snook and I can't figure out what the hell the "Australian" show is that it's supposed to be based on. We've never seen it.)

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How to Make an Anatomically-Correct Brain Cake. Very nice, but I think I'll be sticking with my brain panna cotta this year.

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Ooooh, this UrbanMAX scavenger hunt thing sounds awesome! I'm going to try to talk the Snook into doing it. It's probably as close to being on The Amazing Race as we're ever going to get... (Thanks to Emily for the tip.)

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Yowch. My partner Karen and I just played our first game of the foosball competition here at work... and we got SPANKED 10-0. Of course, we were playing against the top seeds. We'll get better.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

RunningBlog: I had a great long run today. I set the iPod workout to 100 minutes and headed off towards Centennial Park. I was doing 4 minutes running / 1 minute walking, and that seemed to work pretty well. I managed two full laps around the park before heading home, which ended up being nearly 14km in total. (Hey, that's 2/3 of the distance of the half-marathon! I'm nearly there.) The real improvement was in my hydration level. I started drinking water the night before and kept it up throughout the morning today, and on the run I hit every water fountain in the park. It was GREAT! I really only felt dry and thirsty in the last twenty minutes (when I was farthest from a fountain). My legs felt pretty good while I was running - no injuries to report - but by the end, I could tell I'd be sore and hurting afterwards. I'll take a day or two to rest and recover...

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Wow, we're getting a female governor-general! Pretty sweet. That Kevin is on a tear these days, I tell you.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

I spent a couple hours back at the shop today putting some new yarns up on the website. We finally got the long-awaited Noro Kureyon Sock yarn! And according to the discussion on Ravelry, the price is pretty competitive...

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Oh man. When did Television Without Pity change layouts again? It's AWFUL. There are crazy huge images in your face everywhere, and you can't see what reviews are new without scrolling down. They seem to have done away with the drop-down nav menus too, which means you can't go straight to a show or forum anymore (artifially inflating pageviews). It sucks.

Oh, wait! I just discovered that you can go straight to shows and forums; they're just hidden in a stupid huge javascript rollover menu. What was wrong with the old version? The rotting yet beloved corpse of Dawson's Wrap must be spinning in its grave...

Five minutes later: Ahhhh. The founders left the site last month. That explains it. I went to Sars's site to see if there was any word from her. Nothing but a link to a forum post that's already since been erased. Wow, I've been reading that site for more than ten years and suddenly it's just... gone. That sucks.

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Oh! I forgot to tell you about my other new podcast obsession: Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me (the NPR news quiz). At first I was a little annoyed by the smug liberal intellectualness of it (I'm a self-loathing smug liberal intellectual), but I was won over by the fact that it's the FUNNIEST THING EVER. Tonight I made the Snook listen to an episode from February when one of the "fake" news stories was about women in Fort Wayne, Indiana who had an irrational fear that dingoes would eat their babies. Good stuff.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Taking a shower at night instead of in the morning: what do I do about my crazy morning hair? That's another one of those AskMeFi questions that I could have written.

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As she did with Penn, my sister has put her Photoshop skills to work creating a suitable birth announcement for my new niece. Presenting... Indie Marie Carbo!

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Odd and the Frost Giants
A few weeks ago I picked up Neil Gaiman's new book Odd and the Frost Giants, a short little tale written for World Book Day. Then I pretty much forgot about it. Earlier this week I happened to spot it and threw it in my bag for some lunchtime reading. I was hooked! I finished it later that night. It's a charming tale of Norse mythology, definitely suitable for younger readers. I loved the humour of the writing - especially the dialogue between the gods - and the way Gaiman created such distinct personalities. The story doesn't shy away from "grown-up" issues though, like how Odd's father met his mother and how Loki isn't always a nice guy. And I really like that Odd wins not because he's the biggest or the strongest, but because he thinks and observes and knows how to read people. It's a really good story.

It really put me in the mood to re-read American Gods... but my copy is missing! Did I lend it to any of you? I can't remember.

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The information for the Sydney City WWKIP Day event has now been added to the official site. We are on like Donkey Kong, folks! June 14th, 2pm at the Bayside Lounge in Darling Harbour. More details to come...

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

RunningBlog: Exer-ma-cise
Now that I have a slightly longer commute to work (about 40 minutes, 15-20 of which is on the train), I've been exploring the fun world of running podcasts. I first found the guys over at Running With the Pack, who are both experienced runners training for a marathon. Through them, I found Brandon of Brandon's Marathon, who is also training for a marathon but is much closer to my fitness level. These guys are honestly really inspiring to me. They all give great general information and advice for running, but it's hearing about their training that gives me fuel for those long weekend runs. Thanks, guys!

So anyway, I went for a deliberately short run today with a goal of pushing my speed a bit. I walked and jogged a mile to warm up, then I pushed it for a full mile as best I could. (Not a full-on sprint, but a pace that I felt I could still manage.) Then I jogged the rest of the way home. I ended up getting a new PB for the mile... by one second! Since I'm pretty sure the previous time was from the City 2 Surf (ie race conditions), I'll take this as a win. Then tonight I went for my swimming lesson, and I have to say, I'm getting a lot better! I still have a tendency to lift my head too much when I breathe, but my stroke is starting to feel more natural. I still have to rest after each length of the pool, but at least I'm not thrashing like a washing machine anymore. :)

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Bag Swap Package
I can't believe I forgot to post my Bag Swap Package! I received mine from Tricia, and I sent off a package to Amanda in rural Victoria. I spent some time stalking Amanda, and I figured that a practical bag was going to be best for her. I went with Knitty's Satchel, which is a roomy, felted messenger bag. I knitted the smaller size out of Lincraft Cozy wool and felted it in my washing machine. (I double-felted the handle for extra strength.) In one of her questionnaires, Amanda happened to mention that she really wanted a dog. Well, I thought, I'd stitch her one...

Satchel Spot the Dog

I also sent her a book of Sudoku (since she likes doing those), a bar of chocolate, and a box of T-pins. (A lace knitter can never have too many T-pins.) I'm really happy that she liked the package! (More details over on Ravelry if you're interested.)

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Still Life with Vodka. My co-worker Paul (who is from Russia) sent those around today. I am perplexed by the number of them that include raw garlic. Evidently they eat it that way a lot.

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Human Tetris. Oh my. That's a good laugh to start the day! (Link courtesy of Emily.)

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Holy crap! As of next year, I'm going to be banned from tanning beds. Not that I'm a big tanning bed user or anything, but it seems weird that there will actually be a law that's enforced according to your skin tone. How are solariums supposed to police it? A poster with paint chips? "If your skin is THIS PALE, you're not allowed to use our tanning beds!"

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hahahaha... Snookums alerted me to the fact that the NY Mets got rickrolled. That's pretty good.

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Looks like things are happening over at the brewery site again..

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My First Pho
At lunch today I continued my exploration of North Sydney. On Miller Street I found a little food court called "Street Eats," and inside I was thrilled to spot a "Pho Express" stall. I'd never had pho before! So I ordered the basic beef noodle soup and was soon presented with a big steaming bowl. They had a condiments tray nearby with sliced chili, lemon wedges, and several different types of sauce ("pho" sauce, soy, fish, etc). I didn't know exactly which was best to use, so I pretty much put some of everything on. It was fantastic. The beef was tender and juicy, and the broth itself tasted slightly sweet and salty. There were bits of green onion and bean sprouts hiding amongst the slippery noodles. It was actually lucky that the food court was so noisy, because I caught myself (more than once!) making contented "mmmmm" noises as I slurped my soup!

So, any pho experts out there? Any tips on the proper application of pho condiments?

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At work today: "Nice. I've always just wanted once, in my professional life, somebody in a meeting to say 'big boobs.' And now it's happened."

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Vote for Matt
My old college roommie Liz (aka Pants) has asked me to help out her friend's husband. He's in some online golf contest thingy, and if he gets the most votes, he gets to play golf with Justin Timberlake. (Sweet, I know.) I've voted for him a couple times now, but he's way behind at this point. So if you'd like to help out, just click here and register. (I can report that they haven't spammed me beyond the original sign-up message.) Then click through the video thumbnails and vote for Matt Rice. You can vote once per day, so give it a go if you've got a few minutes. Thanks!

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

RunningBlog: Huh. I think those (enforced) few days off this week might have done me some good! I went out for my long run today and I felt pretty great. I set the Nike+ for 90 minutes and headed up Glebe Point Road towards Blackwattle Bay. I went all around Blackwattle and Rozelle Bays and then headed up towards the ANZAC Bridge (which I'd never crossed on foot before). Once I was back down to street level near the Fish Markets, I turned left and ran up the hill into Pyrmont, then up Harris Street a few blocks before turning into Darling Harbour. I went from Darling Harbour into Chinatown, then back up George Street all the way to home. I'd only gone 70 minutes at this point, so after a quick drink at home, it was back for a lap around Victoria Park. Then I staggered back home for a Gatorade and a shower. All in all, I ran 12km (about 7.5mi) at a better than 12min/mi pace. Pretty good! I'm not too far off the pace I need for the half-marathon next month. My biggest problem seems to be dehydration. As my runs get longer, I find that my mouth gets really dry and I'm gasping for water at the end. (This despite me hitting every drinking fountain I can find on the route.) I'm going to try chewing some gum and see if that helps (in addition to drinking more water, of course).

Also, a product review! I got running tights! [more...]

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They've just rolled out an awesome new change over at Ask MetaFilter: a page where you can specify categories and tags so you can see just the questions you're interested in. To help you get started, they provide a list of tags from the questions that you've answered the most in the past. Here's mine:
travel cooking Sydney food music cats diet marriage women work beer film movies period vacation eviction health legality mac money nsw rental resolved tenancy wedding
Yep, pretty much my whole personality is in there. How depressing.

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Snookums and I were discussing this article about a girl who was pushed by her father into going to university at 13 and is now, ten years later, working as a prostitute. The article is filled with quotes from various experts about how going to uni early should be discouraged. Of course, the Snook also went to uni a few years early, and (as far as I know) he's not turning tricks on Oxford Street. So what's the difference? He says that in her case, it was that her father was a nutter. His parents never pushed him into anything, and when he went to university, they were willing to let him go entirely. Those who remain too sheltered, he says, don't stand a chance.

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Saturday, April 5, 2008

There's no official confirmation on my sister's website yet, but Mom rang to let me know that I do indeed have a brand new niece! The baby weighs 8.5 lbs and apparently looks exactly like Penn did. No word on the name yet though...

Indie Marie CarboUpdate: I've got a picture! This is Indie Marie Carbo. (Yes, really. They've got a State-theme happening.) She was 8 lb 5 oz and 21 inches long. Born at 12:15pm in the afternoon. So far she sounds just as fractious and grumpy as Penn! Hang in there, Sis...

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Max wrote a very cute post about deliberately mispronouncing words. I commented with some that the Snook and I use often: "bzactly," "saxamaphone," "compyooto," "mo cho cho," etc. What are yours?

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Friday, April 4, 2008

"Lazy man creates bed that makes itself." Neat. I want that. Of course, I feel compelled to point out that he didn't invent the concept. The Moroccan house of marvels from The Twenty-One Balloons had self-making beds too (although those were steam-powered).

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Hey! I didn't realize my brother-in-law Dan Carbo has an IMDb page!

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RunningBlog: I am perhaps not as hard core as I thought. Today is my third day without a run. My duodenitis has flared up again. (For those who don't know, this is basically a stomach ulcer.) It started bothering me last weekend, and I figured it was just the stress of changing jobs. I saw my doctor Monday night though, and he's running tests to make sure I don't have an underlying infection. It's been manageable, and I was able to run and swim on Tuesday. On Wednesday though... it got bad. I was in meetings all afternoon and by 4:30 I was wincing in pain. I nearly cancelled our outing to see Margaret and David. The only thing I can trace it to was possibly a green apple that I had as a snack that afternoon. That was the only unusual thing I had. Eating dinner seemed to help, but I had a pretty sleepless night. I skipped my Thursday run, of course, and I didn't feel up to swimming either. I meant to run this morning, but it was still bothering me when I woke up. Hopefully I'll still be able to do my long run this weekend...

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According to the SMH: 3G iPhone release 'imminent.' SWEET.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sweet! Just got this month's Kinokuniya newsletter, and it looks like Neil Gaiman's coming out in May. I just RSVPed for myself and the Snook to meet him. I suggest you do the same if you're a fan!

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Margaret and David
Ma Snook's down for the weekend, so last night she and I headed over to gleebooks for the launch of David Stratton's memoirs. The book's called "I Peed on Fellini," and we had a great time listening to the story that inspired the title. The main theme of the night - and, according to David, the reason he wrote the book - was film censorship in Australia. Margaret was there of course, interviewing him and adding her own colourful commentary. (My favorite part of the night was when she referred to the Attorney General of South Australia as "pussy whipped.") They also referred to the good ol' days at SBS a bit, at which point Ma Snook elbowed me and whispered: "See? You didn't want to work there anyway!" All in all, a fun evening.

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It's not every morning you log onto Gmail and find a lovely message from Nicky Epstein! I'm just astonished that she remembers me and that she'd send me a nice note. Hi Nicky!

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Hmm, should I call up EB Games and see if they'll let me put down a deposit on Super Pii Pii Brothers? (Link courtesy of new co-worker - and blog reader! - Tim.)

I forget that it's still April 1 in America. Eileen totally got me this morning with her Ryan Seacrest story.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Amidst all the hubbub of switching jobs, I nearly missed the significance of the date. (And no, I don't mean April Fools.) On this day eight years ago, I finally told a cute boy how much I liked him and I kissed him on a dodgy dancefloor in London. He's now my best friend and my husband. Happy (real) anniversary, Snookums.

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Sweet. Google Australia have released a new application that allows you to search one day into the future. What will they think of next?

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Man, after more than three years of thirty minute lunch breaks, these hour long corporate lunches feel INDULGENT. I don't know what to do with myself!

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How to feel like a real runner
When I went out for my run this morning, it was so dark the street lights were still on. I felt hard core.

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