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Tuesday, March 30, 2004
DSL
 
So we are on. It took a while and a day, but we have a fast internet connection at home. We still don't have a router, so we have to share it, but its better than nothing, and its nice to finally be able to get CNN to load. I felt out of touch with the world. Now to play on the Internet.

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Sunday, March 28, 2004
Wanderer
 
Sometimes its just fun to wander around a city seeing places you've never seen and hoping you don't stumble into a really bad part of town at the wrong time of day. That was what i did on Sunday. I had read about an open air marketplace that supposedly was every Sunday from 10 till 5 and decided at around 2 that I would go there. Got the bus and went down to Circular Quay (pronounced: key). Right after I got off the bus I saw a parade of men wearing kilts and playing the bagpipes and thought to myself that there must be something Scottish going on down there today. As I walked toawrds the Opera House (thinking that the market was along the strip of the harbour there, I heard lots of chanting and cheering. I turned the corner and saw thousands of people crowding the steps of the place. Many were carrying the flag of Greece or other Greek symbology and it turned out the parade had come from there. In addition, there were a number of politicians, both local and from far afield making speeches commemorating the glory of Greece. It turned out that Sunday was the anniversary of their incorporation into a nation. I stayed there for a while, listening, and then started walking towards the Harbour Bridge, figuring I would come across the marketplace that way. I walked along the piers, seeing the street performers (mostly people in odd costumes just standing there) that I was told accompany said market. I kept on walking, crossed under the bridge, and found myself in a somewhat deserted area that boasted a couple of playhouses and theatres, and not much else save for what looked like old warehouses undergoing redevelopment into condos. As I moved forward the area seemed to degrade quite rapidly until I was left with a choice of either proceeding into a somewhat dark tunnel where I could see several guys standing around or turn back. I opted to turn back and climbed a set of stairs I had seen a little ways back. Reaching the top I realized that I had found what I was looking for. The marketplace was there, in all its craftiness and overpriced foodstuffs. I wandered around there for an hour before heading into what is known as the Nurses Walk, which is really just a pedestrian lane lined with shops, although some parts of it seem like not too many people walk along it, as there were these narrow stairwells up to different levels some of which had stores and some just houses. I wanered around there, found a store that was closing and had 50% off evereything, but rejected the impulse buys of Pacifica crafts. Then I got a call from Lisa, who had met Laura in the city earlier, and was asked if I wanted to join them for pancakes on the rocks (A restaurant that was quite nearby). I met them and we headed over there, stopping at the information house cause we had no idea where it exactly was. We got in and had crepes for dinner, and then shared a Devil's Delight- 3 chocolate pancakes topped with chocolate syrup, strawberries, cream, and vanilla and chocolate ice cream. It was amazingly rich, but wonderful and we kept on eating even though we were well past full. Afterwards, we came home and I turned on my light only to have the bulb blow. When I went to change it, I took the bulb out (after eventually figuring out how Aussie sockets work- they don't screw in like at home) and then when I started putting the new one in there was a loud sound, a flash of blue sparks and some smoke and all the lights in the house went off. Turns out the fuse blew because something apparently short circuited when I was putting the new bulb in. Upon looking at it, I found that the whole casing had not been screwed in tight, and there was a gap into which something could have fallen and caused it to blow. So Lisa and I went out to Coles (the local grocery store) and tried to find a fuse, which they didn't sell. Class now- will finish later.

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Thursday, March 25, 2004
Still waiting
 
If I asked you to guess how many days we've had internet at home now and you said zero you'd be right. Despite many promises that it will be on by the end of the day,we are still waiting (and it's Friday here now). I actually have called them so often that I've gotten the same customer support people on the line twice. This morning I called at a few minutes after 8 am, and spoke with one of Optus's customer service reps. She told me she would call Telstra (who actually owns our line) at 9 when they open up to talk to them about it. After having gone through a similar thing in previous days where people ended up not calling them, or never getting back to me I decided that I would call them back at 9 and have someone else call Telstra for me while I was on the phone. (Telstra won't accept a call from me cause they aren't who I'm paying). So I call back at a few minutes after 9 and who do I get but the same woman. We both have a laugh over it, and then she disappears for like 30 minutes (and no, this is not an exaggeration as some of you may know I'm prone to do). At first I think she is just off doing something else cause she thought it was rude of me to call back when she said she would take care of it earlier. Instead she came back and told me that she had spoken to 6 people at Telstra and somehow the order had gotten screwed up and she assured me that it would be on by days end. Now, I've gotten similar assurances before but this time I feels slightly more confident in them. Now I'm off to the zoo and hopefully when I get back (after seeing all the koalas and kangaroos) I will be online at home.

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Monday, March 22, 2004
Internet
 
I will finally have internet at home starting tomorrow. (At least that's what they tell me, I'll believe it when I see it). It was supposed to be connected almost 2 weeks ago, but due to Optus losing our phone order once and our DSL order twice (and not being able to comment on the status of pending orders while their systems were down for three days) we still don't have it. The phone works, so we'll just have to see about the internet. They are supposed to call at some point today to confirm tomorrow's appointment but so far I haven't heard from them. If I don't hear by 3 I'm calling them. And to think that Telstra is supposed to be even more disorganized.
UPDATE: They called at about noon, and will be here tomorrow between 8 and 1 (better than the 8-5 I was told originally that it would be).

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Saturday, March 20, 2004
Labs
 
We get an assignment for a class, and we need to use a specific computer lab to do it (as it requires a special circuit board attached to the computer). You would think that on the weekend we might be able to get into the lab to do some work on the assignment, but of course the lab access is restricted then because it contains equipment on which we might possibly hurt ourselves, and we must be supervised while in the lab. If the equipment really was dangerous (it isn't at all) I could understand this, but during the week we are allowed in without supervision. You'd think that by the time we are at this level of learning they would recognize that we need to be responsible for ourselves. The room already needs a special card to get in, and since they have video cameras covering every angle of the room its not like someone is going to just walk away with stuff. It's just frustrating and counterproductive to not be able to use the room we need at a time when we are likely to have the free time to work. In the scheme of things its not a big deal, but there are just a bunch of little things the school does that hampers the education process that seem counterproductive to helping the students learn.

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Friday, March 19, 2004
QOTD
 
Retrospectively, "If I was my computer I'd eat current. If I was an outlet I'd spew it." -Lisa

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Thursday, March 18, 2004
Animal Crackers
 
I gave blood today. As I'm sure I've written many times before, it always makes me feel good, but it was sad today to know that animal crackers would not be forthcoming after donating. I'd grown so accustomed to the drinks and snacks that they give out at Northwestern that they really felt like part of the the blood donation process. Animal crackers and oreos with little half frozen cups of apple juice were just a part of the process. Not that it was ever a reason for donating, but it was just something nice in my mind. The snacks afterward were good here too, including cheese and crackers, a Mars bar, raisins, sugar cookies, and lollies (like our fruit snacks at home), but it was just different.

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Current
 
Not the kind that flows electrically, or the kind that is yummy when black (albeit spelled differently), but the one that means the present. It is once again adorning the bottom of the archive links on the archive pages. For whatever reason, the last time I tried it I used the same code as now, but it just gave me errors. Probably another tempermental fault of bloggers, but the good news is that now my site is 110% of what it was before (if you can call the changing of capital letters on the heading to lowercase 10% extra that is).

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Kinda square and made of wood
 
I am a proud owner of a desk. Not your typical proud ownership, but its a nice feeling to have your own workspace after using a bed or common table for a few weeks. After trying a bunch of people for used ones, I got up early today and called some guy on a poster I saw who had lots of furniture to sell and I ended up going down to his place with Lisa. When we got there we called him and he said he'd let us right in. About 5 minutes later, right before we caled him again his voice came on the speaker (it was a nice apartment complex with speakers at the front door) and said he would open the door. We weren't quite sure what the wait was for, maybe it was a test. Anyway, we went upstairs and then he lead us through a maze of corridors and into the garage, which seemed to be a weird place to have furniture for sale, but wen he opened up his assigned garage, there was enough stuff there to open a used furniture store. Anyway, to make a long story short, we both picked out a desk we wanted, amd then managed to tie the 2 of them onto the trunk of his car and drove them to our place where we brought them up and made them at home. The experience was totally not what I expected, and the free ride home was definitely a nice surprise. Now mine just needs a little love (read: black paint on bits of the legs) and it will be perfect.

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What once was said
 
There was a post here. It was nice. It made some comment about something, or else told something about what I'd been up to, or something along those lines. Then someone pulled the power cord out of my computer. In fact, it wasn't just mine, it was also the power cord for the 8 other computers at the table (2 of which were broken and this was apparently his solution to fixing them). Thus, my wonderous words were lost, and upon plugging the cord back in we found that none of the computers worked anymore. Thus, I left and the words that were to be were no longer. Good thing these words are here to replace them.

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Sunday, March 14, 2004
Blood drives
 
I may get to give blood in Australia! I never even thought about it before coming, but having done it so frequently at home, and finding out they are having one on campus this week here made me happy. I don't know what odd restrictions they have here, but if I was in the UK between 1980 and 1996 I can't give, which seems odd to me, but Meg told me it was the same in the US and it was due to vCJD (Mad Cow Disease). And of course she knew what she was talking about.

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Well, at least somewhat
 
Well, most of the original site is back. Actually, I think everything except the word 'current' under the list of archived months on the archive pages. Still have to figure out whats causing that, and why things take 16 hours to show up down here. Still, I'm happy that everything wasn't lost cause that would have been sad. No, really, it would have.

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Saturday, March 13, 2004
Back again
 
Hopefully most of you didn't miss much by not having comments around for a day and a half or so. They are now back, and my site is entirely rebuilt, although some minor changes are now there. The 'major' differences are that the titles are now all small and gray, the first one is no longer bigger than the rest. Even the folks at blogger had no idea why that one was occuring and we have been unable to duplicate it. Since I never wanted it anyway it's all for the better. They believe there was some artifact in the code somewhere from when they gave everyone the ability to add titles that was causing it, and since that code is now gone and forgotten, its now gone and I can edit all of them. Also, the shade of gray is actually slightly darker, but unnoticeably so. In addition, the title bar has shrunk 20 pixels in size, and has gone to lowercase, which I just decided I liked better (and when I was figuring out how to edit other major properties of the page I figured I might as well do that also. I will also probably be switching commenting systems, with the result that all previous ones will be lost. Sad, but they are going to be charging starting in 2 months, and I cant justify spending $30 a year on comments when I can do it for free elsewhere. I would host them myself if I can figure out how, but will have to do a little research to figure out a secure way to do so. I'm sure there will be more little things changed over time as I play and tinker, but if they are important you will likely notice them yourself, but anything really fun and exciting I will let you all know about. Now back to playing.

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Friday, March 12, 2004
Blog Weirdness
 
Don't fret if you think this looks weird, it does. Somehow blogger lost my template, and now I have to build it up again from scratch. Luckily I found a copy of the original template that I'd archived, otherwise this would be nearly impossible. It's still gonna take some work, but it's either this format for a day or so or nothing (and comments will return, but they too were lost at the time. No worries, this site will be up running with all its former glory all too soon.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Thursday
 
Well, it is here at least. Even if its not for all you who might be reading this shortly after its posting. Not too much new here to report, other than the fact that I will finally be online at home in a few days. It's always nerve racking waiting and waiting for the people to come hook up your internet connection, and the weeks drag by somewhat, but soon. Classes have been going well, nothing entirely shocking on that end, although I am quite happy with the profs, even if no one calls them that here. On Tuesday we (Myself, Ryan and Lisa) attempted to go to Watson's Bay for a movie at Lunarlight Cinema. It's one of the many outdoor movie things that they have going on here. So we took a bus to Bondi Junction, as the map showed another bus from there going all the way to where we needed to go from there. Unfortunately, it forgot to mention that the bus doesn't run between the hours of 2pm and 9pm, a time that might seem like an important time to have a bus route running. Regardless, it meant that we didn't get to see the movie, "When we were Kings", and instead went over to Bondi Beach. We walked around, looked at the shops, stopped in for happy hour at a pub and then tried out three different varieties of cake from some dessert shop. All were yummy (One was chocolate mouse and sponge, one was a poppy seed tart and one was chocolate rum cake). While eating them we had roommate bonding time and we all got to know bits about each other, which was nice as there were many aspects of their lives that I had absolutely no clue about. Later that evening we went down to the beach and played in the ocean for a little while (just really in the edges of the waves after they broke, but it still counted as the first Pacific dip for Lisa). Then we headed home and watched Mitchel, one of the great MST3k movies, and the one where Joel leaves. Mitchel! Mitchel! Mitchel!

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Sunday, March 07, 2004
Another visa
 
Yet another visa to apply for- this time its just permission to work and shouldn't be bad, but i still need to find out a way to print out copies of my fee statements here so that I can apply for it. Just another 55 dollars down the drain to get permission to work. And then I need to find a job- something which isn't as easy as it sounds in this place apparently. On campus jobs aren't that common here as back home. I'd hope to find a lab job somewhere, or else a tutoring one, but I'm not sure how that will all work out yet. I'll keep my eyes open and my fingers crossed and hope that I can find something to help me pay to live around here.

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Burritos
 
Having never seen Chipotle's website before, I can say nothing but 'wow, that was fun'. I'd always been somewhat impressed with their marketing style, and the site definitely confirmed it. Plus, you get the added bonus of seeing all the ads. Has it really been four years since they first came to Evanston (and gave away free burrito cards at suitcase party)? I wonder if they ship them overseas cause I could go for one now, but I guess that's the point of the website.

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Rainy Saturday
 
Normally when you hear Mardi Gras you think Fat Tuesday. Not so in Sydney. Yesterday was the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade. Going there about 4 hours before the parade started to secure a good viewing location, we lined up with a whole group from ISS and stood in the pouring rain for hours, making friends with the volunteers and waiting. Once the parade got started it was lots of fun, and very enthusiastic and pretty much just a great time for all.

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Saturday, March 06, 2004
Midnight
 
So I finally got on to AIM after a 3 week absense only to find noone on cause its midnight at home. Although I can tell who at NU is doing dance marathon based on the ~1800 minute away people. Now that I found a computer that actually works though it will be a nice change of pace to be able to talk to people, at least in the morning here when they might still be up. Still, with Internet service still a little over a week away (we are getting DSL installed on the 16th) it is good to know that I can talk in real time to people again- other than on the phone that is.

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QOTD
 
"We need to get real food... like butter." -Lisa, on what's really important in life.

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Thursday, March 04, 2004
It goes so fast
 
Once again it's that time of year where I have to start rounding my age up instead of down. At some point this is going to be a depressing thing rather than an exciting thing.

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Locked out
 
Yestarday evening when I was locking up my computer I heard a weird click when I snapped the lock shut. That was my first clue that something was wrong. When I tried to open it back up I found that my combination no longer works. So now my laptop is chained to my bed and I can either try the 10000 combinations to see if one of them works, or find some way to cut this cable and see what I can do about getting my money back, which the company probably won't do, but dell might. Its just a hassle to have something that is supposed to help keep my laptop secure go nuts and now not let me even access it. Against my better judgement I started working through the combos and got through about 20% of them in an hour this morning. When I do get it open though I think I'll opt for a keyed lock instead as I know I don't lose things, and they don't have a button that can pop and change the key needed (I hope). So after that depressing morning I walked outside in my TMBG World Tour 2040 shirt and got stopped and asked where a guy could get the shirt. So that totally changed my morning and made me happy again. Now I have to fax something to the phone company so we can get a phone and internet set up quickly and then Im headed over to Watsons Bay with Lisa for a relaxing morning/afternoon till class at 6.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2004
Flower patterns
 
So now we have a place to live and dishes to eat off of and even some food to consume. Along with that we also have a random assortment of towels, sheets, furniture and other stuff that makes a home a home. We should have a phone number within the next day or so, and internet within a week after that. Then it will really feel like home and I can get on IM again and talk to all the people who have been out of my life for a while. For those interested in writing the address is 6/4 Botany St. Randwick NSW 2031 Australia. Now I just have a ton of email to catch up on and then its off to todays class (Wednesday) at 6, Clinical Laboratory Science. My other classes are from 2-5 on Monday, Biological Signal Analysis, 5-8 on Monday, Biocompatability, and 6-9 on Thursday, Medical Instrumentation.

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