16 December 2008

Laptop vs sandal

I don't lose my temper very often and even when I do it usually blows over very quickly.

Even when I'm out driving and I get cut up by some idiot I'll mutter something under my breath, maybe even give them a dirty look if I manage to get eye contact, but I'm certainly not a road rager or anything like that.

I guess it comes with age, you just shrug your shoulders and get on with it. Water off a duck's back so to speak.

Sometimes though, you've just got to let of a bit of steam. The best way to do that is to take out your frustration on an inanimate object.

Back in September, while I was down in Armidale for a uni residential, I noticed my laptop was starting to get a bit slow. It gradually got more and more temperamental until, one day while running a Windows update it stopped.

Somehow the hard drive had become corrupted and Windows wouldn't run. I could access it by running a command window (remember DOS?) and I could see that all my documents and photos were still there, but it was going to be a slow process getting them all off. There were about 40GB of pictures on the drive and copying them to a thumb-drive one by one would have been really painful. I could of course take it to a repair shop, but that would have cost money.

Well I finally got the laptop running again on the weekend, but that involved reformatting the C: drive where all my documents were. There was nothing really important on there. I have hard copies of all my uni assignments, the only thing I didn't have a copy of was my amateur radio log.

Then yesterday the drive crashed again, this time it was the D: partition, the one with all my pictures on, including about 1400 European holiday pictures that I hadn't yet burned to DVD.

Still, I remained philosophical, there wasn't much I could do about it so I might as well make the most of it. I hate Windows, but a Mac is too expensive for what you get, so I decided that since I've lost everything on the hard drive, I might as well reformat the lot and install Ubuntu.

Half way through reformatting the laptop stopped on me again. The only thing I could do was unplug it, remove the battery and start again, which I did. I was starting to get a little annoyed by now, but only a little.

I started again and while it was going I went out to clean some of the animal's cages. When I checked ten minutes later, I sat down on Donna's brand new computer chair and looked at the laptop on another chair and it had stopped again.

The picture above was taken shortly after I said something along the lines of, "You f****** useless piece of s***!" and tried to put a size 8 sandal through the screen.

I now have an Asus Eee PC on order. The hard drive is solid state, so no moving parts there, it runs Linux, so no Windows, yet it'll still do all I want it to. Best of all, it's a lot cheaper than a regular laptop. It only has a small hard drive and no DVD drive, but external drives are coming down in price all the time.

I won't ever buy an Acer again, the computer I'm typing this on is an Acer as well and the DVD drive hasn't worked for ages. My previous laptop was an Acer and the battery was never any good on that.

I'll keep you posted on the little Eee PC.

10 December 2008

Cutting the cheese

We've all done it before, you're cutting the cheese, you push a little too hard and oops, you have an accident.

It happened to me the other day and all I can say is I'm lucky my pork-pie didn't end up on the kitchen floor.

Oh I'm sorry, if you read my previous post on flatulence you're probably thinking along the wrong lines. Let me start again.

I was getting my lunch and had a pork-pie on my plate, you know those lovely pastry things with the cold meat and a bit of jelly in them that Australians can never understand, cold meat pie, yuck.

Rather than dirty a cutting board to cut some cheese I used the plate the pie was on. You know how they always say you should use the right tool for the job? Well that goes the same for the kitchen. I was using an old steak knife that was coming due for retirement. In fact it retired while I was using it.

The handle and the blade parted company and, because I was pushing so hard, my hand thumped down onto the edge of the plate on the opposite side to that holding the pie.

The pie was catapulted upwards with sufficient force for it to hit me in the forehead. The only reason it didn't end up on the floor was because I was quick enough to squash it against the kitchen cupboard with my hips.

I'm a bit more careful now when I cut the cheese, but I still push too hard sometimes and scare myself.

Bad marketing ideas

What's the first thing you notice when you look at this bottle of charcoal tablets?

Is it the nice big pale-blue name a third of the way down, or the equally big and noticeable word a third of the way up?

Now be honest, if you were looking for charcoal tablets, for whatever reason, and this was one of the choices, would you pick it? Donna didn't, she let me do it. Not that I had a choice, they were the only ones in the store.

Now you're probably wondering which of us has the problem. Well that really depends, there's lots of variables involved. Needless to say, we all cut the cheese occasionally, there'd be something wrong if we didn't. But the charcoal tablets aren't for us, they're for the animals, honest.

We sometimes get birds in, especially tawny frogmouths, that have been poisoned. Charcoal is sometimes helpful as it absorbs the poison and allows it to pass. I should add that the birds aren't usually poisoned deliberately, it's just that they eat insects and mice that may have been poisoned.

Getting back to the topic of farts though, I thought I'd leave you with this.

08 December 2008

Tree-fern snot

We have a nice tree-fern growing in our back yard up against the verandah. It's been there ever since Donna moved in about twenty years ago.

Every now and then it will grow another frond that will either totally obscure our view, or it'll grow over the verandah and get in the way as we walk past. When that happens we usually get out the secateurs and trim it a bit, as Donna did with one recently.

Well, with all the rain we've been having the plants are happily sucking water out of the ground and transpiring it into the air through their leaves. The trouble is, when you cut what is essentially a plant's artery it tends to bleed and you get sap running out as in the picture below.

It was quite windy that day, so that glob of rubbery sap was swaying in the breeze, making it look even more disgusting.

Donna came up the back stairs while I was looking at it and I said, "Hey look at this, tree-fern snot".

Donna took one look at it, told me off for pointing it out to her and started to gag.

04 December 2008

Into the wild

We released Banjo the brushtail possum back into the wild on the weekend. Into the wilds of John and Kara's backyard to be exact.

John and Kara have about as much lawn in their backyard as your average English backyard, except they live on about half an acre, the rest is trees and bushes. You can imagine how it would be possum heaven. When John offered his place as a release site for a possum we jumped at the chance, as release sites are so hard to come by.

Normally when we release a possum it's done as a soft-release, that means putting them in an aviary on the property for about a week or so to get them used to the smells and the local vegetation. After about a week a door is left open in the evenings and the animal is allowed to come and go as it pleases. Eventually, after a couple more weeks they don't bother returning to the aviary as they've usually found somewhere else to live.

We weren't able to get another aviary for Banjo, so we did the next best thing, we got him a possum box. We put that in his cage one afternoon and gave him about a week to get him used to it. We thought it would take him that long to wean him off the drey he'd been sleeping in. We were wrong, he moved in that night.

So the time came when we could say, in best Big Brother fashion, "It's time to go... Banjo".

As I said, John and Kara have a lot of trees on their property, so it took a while to find one we were so spoilt for choice. Actually, it also took a while because I kept walking up the wrong garden paths and getting lost and I had to keep stopping to kill mosquitoes. John commented that they breed mossies there. You're doing an excellent job of it John.

Once Banjo was installed in his new home it was time to do what all good Englishmen do (John and I are both Poms) and have a cup of tea. Then it was home to work on the new aviary I'm building for the tawny frogmouths, while Donna went out to rescue a young figbird that'd been attacked by a cat.

Last night was the first rain since Banjo moved, so he's probably a bit annoyed with us right now. The last possum we released, Clive, used to be unlucky with the weather. Every time he got moved to a bigger cage it would rain that night.