Friday, 30 November 2012

Day 335: Red Curly Things

Belinda bought these red curly things, they're in a vase instead of flowers. I was a little sceptical at first but the red looks good in the vase and it makes for a nice contrast against the white walls. I also like the the shadows that these red curly things cast, particularly with the flash on my cheap little Fuji point & shoot.

I used the Fuji for today's photo for a couple of reasons: First, I like the harsh light of the flash in this picture and second, I had the Fuji with me and couldn't be bothered going to find my Nikon.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Day 334: Swimming Selfies

To keep Henry entertained while we were waiting for his swimming lesson to start I got the phone out and put the camera on so he could see himself on the screen. Henry took around 20 photos in a matter of seconds and I decided to use this one for today's photo.

By the way, that is a Santa hat that Henry is wearing, he found it in his toy box this afternoon and insisted on wearing it to the pool. He did get a few funny looks in his little one piece bathers and the Santa hat but he didn't mind. It's nice that Henry's getting in to the Christmas spirit just under a month away from the actual day, I think this Christmas will be a lot of fun with our little man.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Day 333: Pucca

Yet again I found myself stuck for picture today, then I spied this little character hidden up high in our wall unit. I can't remember how long we've her but it must be somewhere around 4 years, she's an alarm clock that plays the theme song from the 'Pucca' TV show. She lives in our cabinet now and guards Belinda's extensive collection of Delicious magazines. I'm not sure why we bought her, but she made us laugh a lot which I guess was a good enough reason for the purchase at the time.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Day 332: Budding Environmentalist?

Today Jenna's class had a parent day at her school where the kids show their parents through the classroom and what they've been working on. My photo today is Jenna in front of her project on what would be required to sustain life on a new planet. They had pretty much free reign on how they presented the information and Jenna chose to make a tree that had all things she'd need on her new planet. There was a little plastic bag full of water hanging in one branch, a pinwheel windmill as a source of renewable energy, an origami fish and a carrot made of pipe cleaners as sources of food, another bag that was full of air and a bunch of other things that would make life possible on her planet.

It was very creative and well put together, as for Jenna being a budding environmentalist: I'm not so sure, I think she might have liked the creative side of this assignment more than the actual lesson.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Day 331: Petunia

Belinda grew this in a pot that sits out the back. I haven't taken any other photos today so this is it and there's really not much else to say about it apart from "it's nice isn't it?".

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Day 330: Estuary Excursions

The wedding yesterday was really nice, the reception was great fun and it went on until quite early this morning. We checked out of the cabins and decided it was a nice day to recover at the little estuary just south of Bermagui. The weather was great so we found a little spot on the sand beside the little river that was flowing into the ocean. Henry took a little while to come out of his shell so to speak, I think it was the feeling of walking on the sand that took him a while to get used to. Once he got past that it was like he went into hyper Henry mode to make up for the slow start. He had enormous fun running around in the sand and splashing in the water.

I went for a bit of a wander to play with the new waterproof camera and found some interesting sea slug type things on the rocks and the odd hermit crab as well. As I was walking back toward our little position by the water I noticed this octopus drifting along in the current, it drew a bit of a crowd of onlookers and I think it was actually a bit curious about the people gathering on the shore. It swam right up to the edge of the water and even stuck one of its tentacles out onto the sand. I took the advantage of  having the waterproof camera with me by sticking it in the water and trying to aim it in the right direction while pushing the shutter button. It's not that easy to aim the camera when you can't see the view finder.

I managed to get a few shots before some feral children decided that rather than watching and appreciating an experience that in all likelihood they will never have again, it was best to try and hit the mollusc with their boogie boards. All I can say is 'dickheads'. At least the octopus didn't seem terribly concerned by these brats, it just kind of casually swam off.

It wasn't too long after this that we decided to head home, Henry was exhausted and asleep within minutes of being strapped into his car seat. Belinda and I stopped in at the fisherman's wharf for a late lunch of delicious fish, scallops, calamari and chips before making the 3 hour journey home. This was a very good weekend away.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Day 329: Rats With Wings

Last night was an interesting one that involved sharing our cabin with another family because they had not where to stay and for me catching up with old friends and new until the wee hours of the morning.

This morning we went in to Bermagui to take advantage of the sunshine and the time we had before needing to get ready for the wedding. Henry played in the sand with Nanna Glenda while Belinda and I took a lot of photos of Seaguls, Cormorants and Pelicans. We were close to the boat ramp at a little fenced off swimming area that is sheltered from the wind and there were hundreds of birds vying for position to grab the scraps as that were being thrown by the fishermen as they cleaned their catch.

It's fun trying to capture the birds in flight without the image being blurred or poorly framed, I must have taken over 100 shots of seaguls before I caught the one I'm using for today.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Day 328: Fly-By Bemboka

We tried to leave early this afternoon to get down to Bermagui for Scott & Rowena's wedding. As sometimes happens to us, our plan didn't really come together. Aiming for a 3:30 departure saw us on the road just under 2 hours later. As we were late anyway we decided that we'd pull up for photo opportunities if we saw them.

This was one of the stops we made. It's the little church in Bemboka and I took it from the drivers seat of the car with the window down while Belinda was out taking close ups from different angles. We were only here for a few minutes and in the end we made it to Bermagui just in time to meet up with the others for dinner at Il Passagio. The food at the restaurant was fantastic and the company at our table wasn't bad either. To add to the impressive evening, Henry amazed the people around us with how proficient he was with the iPad while waiting for dinner.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Day 327: Experimenting With The Sun

I thought I'd experiment with the manual settings on my Nikon and try taking a photo of the sun today. I think it worked out pretty well and I like how the sun has the rays coming out of it like you'd see in a kids drawing. The settings I used were: ISO 100, F/16 and the shutter speed was 1/320. Most of the settings don't really mean that much to me but I figure it's worth making a note of them in case I want to shoot directly into the sun again.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Day 326: Another Delivery

More stuff in the mail today, this time it was from an online store that gets a fair bit of business from me. Each day I get an email from the good folk at Torpedo7 and each day I'm subjected to their daily specials. Most of the time I have the willpower to refrain from buying the daily special, but not this time. The daily special was so good that I had to buy two, it's always good to have a spare.  

For the uninitiated, these are Fork Braces used to brace the forks of your dirt bike when strapping it down for transport. They stop the forks from compressing further than they need to which reduces the pressure on the fork seals. I made one myself out of a couple of bits of wood and it's served me well but when these fancy little one's came up at $5 each I just couldn't resist.

I think that's all I have due to come in the mail for a while now.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Day 325: An Improved Behind

A while ago I ordered a few things online and the eBay item of the two arrived today. It's the grab rail attachment for my Ventura rack on the ZX14. The rack is fine when you've got luggage to carry but when you don't it's kind of ugly, the grab rail is much less obtrusive. I think I'll peel that Ventura sticker off it though, it'll be a job for another day... you can't rush these things.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Day 324: Public Transport

After dropping the BMW off at the workshop early this morning I took the hire ute and trailer back to Sydney. The trailer tow's really well when nothing's in it, which is kind of pointless really. I was able to sit on a smidge over 110 km/h all the way back and made pretty good time dropping the trailer off first an then the ute back where I hired it from.

I was fortunate enough that Daphne was able to pick me up from the hire place and drop me off at a train station so I could get to Central and then catch a Murrays bus home. I can't remember the last time I caught a train... or a bus for that matter and today I was lucky enough to do both.

On the train I found a seat and then answered the phone, it was the workshop asking for some details and letting me know what they'd found so far. I'm not a loud talker on the mobile and I kept the conversation fairly brief but after I'd finished a long haired man in a business suit told me very firmly that "This is a quiet carriage!". I agreed with a smile, it was a nice and quiet carriage on the train. This seemed to frustrate the man and he turned around in a bit of a huff. I thought he must have been referring to my phone conversation and that perhaps it's against the rules to talk on the phone so I looked for some indication that this was the case but couldn't find a sign anywhere. I guess I'm just not up on train etiquette.

The bus ride home was far less eventful, I even managed to get a little bit of sleep. It was a full day and I was very happy to see Belinda when she came to take me home from the bus stop.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Day 323: Slow Trip Home

I made the decision this morning to tow the car home and after a little research I was able to find a ute and car trailer to hire at pretty short notice. The catch was that I'd have to bring the ute & trailer back tomorrow, no one would do a one way hire.

We were very fortunate that Belinda's parents didn't need their second car for a few weeks so Belinda was able to take the kids home in that while I fiddled about with getting organised to tow the BMW home. It was a fair bit of a palaver that consisted of picking up the ute & the trailer at separate locations and then loading the car up, tying it down with some ratchet straps that I conveniently had in the boot and then finally getting going.

The whole exercise saw me not getting on the road until after 5pm which should have had me home by around 8:30 allowing for a bit of a break. Unfortunately this wasn't the case either. Towing the car through the suburbs of Western Sydney was fine, a little sluggish with the turbo lag on the diesel ute, but still it was ok once it got going. The trouble started when I hit the highway. The trailer didn't tow so well with the car on it, it got the wobbles up as soon as got close to 90 km/h which is very disconcerting. What was even more disconcerting was not being able to control the wobbles and doing a 180 degree spin on the M7. I managed to stop the trailer from jack knifing and once the spin had stopped I was able to get both the ute and trailer that were facing the wrong way off the M7 quickly enough to avoid creating a massive traffic jam.

After taking a minute or two to calm down, I turned the ute around on the median strip and found gap in the traffic big enough to get going again. I couldn't travel at more than 80 km/h for the rest of the trip, as soon as I dared to venture above that I could feel the trailer starting to wobble again. In the end I made it home without further incident but it was close to 10pm by the time I got there.

This was by far the slowest trip from Sydney to Canberra I've endured and at the same time the most hair raising.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Day 322: Opa's Birthday

Happy Birthday Hans!

What a day. We spent the morning shopping and then visited David's house to see the build progress, after this we all jumped into the car and were going to go back to the Frekes' house. This would have been fine if the car would start. It wouldn't even wind over. I checked the battery, it's one of those ones with an indicator to tell you if it has charge or not, it was showing the OK reading. I started to google mobile mechanics in the area and got on to one who could be there in roughly an hour.

While we waited for the mechanic Belinda went home with her mum to retrieve their second car so we could install Henry's seat in it and get him back for some afternoon tea and out of the heat. Once that was done I waited with the car for the mechanic who spent about 20 mins poking about and looking at all the stuff I'd already looked at, in the end he did something I couldn't do and that was check the starter motor was getting power with a test light. It was and since it wasn't doing anything with the power it was receiving it meant that the starter motor had failed.

Luckily, David was still working on his house and was able to give me a lift back to the Freke's so I could get changed and we could all go out for dinner to celebrate Hans' Birthday. We only just made it, I'd spent pretty much an entire afternoon sitting in a hot car that wouldn't start waiting for a mechanic to come and tell me there was nothing that could be done.

Dinner was nice and we had cake when we got back, today's photo is of Hans, Jenna and Belinda trying to show Henry how to help blow out Hans' candles. He didn't actually blow any out, but on the positive side: he didn't spit all over the cake either.

It was a long day and tomorrow I need to work out what I'm going to do with a car that won't start... I'm pretty over the drama with this BMW.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Day 321: Friday Arvo Drinks

My work is one of the few left that still has regular Friday afternoon drinks, we normally have them onsite in the office but this afternoon we moved drinks to the Holy Grail in Kingston. The boss put some money on the bar and we had a couple of platters of delicious canap├ęs as well. It's a nice way to wind down after a busy week and is one of the reasons I've been where I am for as long as I have.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Day 320: Celebrating Success

Today I got the official word that I've qualified for the s trip to Hawaii next year. I thought this was a pretty good reason to buy a nice bottle of Champagne, hide it in the fridge and surprise Belinda with it when we came home from Henry's swimming lessons. She was supposed to be somewhere else with Henry and I was to meet her at the pool.

This little plan didn't really work, Belinda was home when I got there with the bubbles and I wasn't able to sneak the bottle into the house. Oh well... it was still a nice surprise and the Bollinger was very nice.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Day 319: Sage Advice

Why advice? Just because I wanted a catchy title.

Belinda's been cultivating some herbs with varying degrees of success, the Sage has been going gangbusters on both the pot and the garden but the Basil doesn't seem to thrive like the Sage has been. This is a bit of a shame because we'd use the Basil much more often than we do the Sage, especially if it was growing in the weed like fashion of the Sage.

Apparently there are a number of different varieties of Sage and the plant reportedly has antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. It's also supposed to be good for assisting with the digestion of fatty foods which is particularly handy as most of the time we fry it in oil to get the leaves all crispy and yummy. Our Sage is the Purple variety, you can tell because the leaves are purple. Clever hey?

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Day 318: Spiderweb In A Butterfly

This is Belinda's Butterfly ornament thingy, it has been hanging outside for roughly a year and I noticed it this afternoon while hunting for something to take a photo of. It seems a little spider has moved into the butterfly and has been busy making webs in and around all of it's crevices.

I just liked the irony of the spiderweb in the bug and figured it made for an interesting photo.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Day 317: Henry Lego Hands

Coming soon to a theatre near you: The latest Tim Burton movie about a boy who was created with Legos instead of hands and his struggle to find love, be accepted and scratch his nose without finding his nostril stuck to one of the Lego lugs.

This is a new trick that Henry discovered, he manages to wedge a Lego block onto the end of each finger but not just in any old pattern, they have to be colour coordinated. He's a funny little fellow.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Day 316: The View From Scotts

This is what I spent a few hours looking at this morning while relaxing and waiting for the guys to return from a morning wakeboard session, I was feeling a little fragile this morning so gave the water play a miss. It was a beautiful morning and sitting here drinking water and soaking up the sunshine was pretty good way to unwind after the nights festivities.

I should mention that my title isn't entirely accurate, this is actually the view from about 10 meters to the right of Scotts. It's close enough though and this was a slightly better view of the top end of Burrinjuck.  I can think of much worse places to while away a couple of hours.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Day 315: Heating Goodhope

Tonight was Scott's Bucks do out at Goodhope, we spent the day wakeboarding, ski tubing and then drinking beer. We eventually had a BBQ for dinner and I even brought some veggies to share with the boys. It was just a bunch of asparagus and a 4 pack of corn on the cob from Woolies but they went pretty well on the barbie with the snags & steaks.

After dinner we pretty much sat around the fire drinking more beer and talking, this was interspersed with cutting up a large log with an old and pretty blunt axe so we could stick more on the fire. We also used up what was left of the off cuts from Scott's deck, these didn't cut too well with the axe either.

As far as Bucks Nights go, this was a pretty relaxed and low key one. I think that's what made it as enjoyable as it was.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Day 314: Ahhhh

It's Friday again and this time there's cold beers in the fridge. It isn't always the case but on nights like tonight when there are beers in the fridge I feel compelled to make the most of it. I like beer. I like it a lot. Now I'm going to drink this one. Ahhhh the simple pleasures, they just add that little bit of something special to life don't they?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Day 313: A New Perspective

It's Thursday again so we're back at the pool for Henry's swimming lessons, only this time I've got the waterproof camera I bought on the way to Philip Island last weekend because I forgot to bring my 'real' camera.

I decided to have a bit of a play with it after the lesson and I took a few under water photos of Henry... unfortunately they were pretty much henry from the shoulders down because he doesn't like putting his head under the water just yet. They were interesting though, I liked how from under the water, the surface reflects what's underneath it like a mirror. I didn't use one of those though, I chose this one instead.

Henry likes to play on the steps into the big pool, he wades in until he can't touch the bottom and them climbs along the edge for a bit before making his way back the way he came. He also likes to swing on the hand rail where it meets the water. Henry's turning into a bit of a water rat... just like his sister. It must be in the genes.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Day 312: Damp Brolly

The sky wept today
It made my brolly quite damp
My hair remained dry

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Day 311: Heading Home

For reasons too long to explain, Andy dropped Pete and I with the trailer at Pete's sister's place to bring their dad's car back to Canberra. Along with this we also picked up Bron's bike that she rode in the Ride to Conquer Cancer in October. It was quite an effort to fit all the stuff we had from the ute into the car but with a few adjustments and some minor repositioning of things we made it all fit. It was convenient that Pete's dad's car had a tow bar.

The drive home was pretty uneventful with the exception of getting a call from Andy who was a good half hour ahead of asking us whether we'd drop some fuel to him if he ran out. He'd hoped to pull in to a small town on the highway to refuel but found the servo there was no longer in business. As it turned out he managed to limp the ute in to the next town. Apparently the guy at the servo asked Andy what was wrong with his ute when he pulled in because it was chugging and spluttering up to the fuel pump. Andy called to let us know he'd made it so we could stop looking for the old white ute on the side of the road. The whole sequence of events was a welcome distraction from the boring highway.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Day 310: How Good Is This?

This morning was great, it was another glorious day at Phillip Island and my photo for the day is of the bike all set up ready for the day ahead. The morning sun was shining in through the back door of the garage and my coffee was still hot in my travel cup on the tail of the bike, what more could I ask for?

I was looking forward to getting out on track and putting everything I learned yesterday to practice, unfortunately as soon as I got out there I promptly forgot everything and just tried to ride really really fast. The funny thing is, when you try to ride really really fast you end up going slower than when you just work on being smooth.

Once I had the first session out of my system I was able to focus on my lessons from yesterday, I worked on keeping my vision wide and taking each corner using the three step method I learned. This helped to improve my lines and in turn my corner speed.

It's amazing how having a process to follow makes it feel like there's more time for you to prepare yourself and the bike for the next corner even though you're actually arriving there much quicker than you were previously. I'm not sure that this will actually make sense to anyone who hasn't been through the this kind of tuition but it seemed to work for me.

In any case, Andy, Pete and I all had another great day on the track. We all felt quick and we all came away unscathed, what a great way to spend a few days away with mates.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Day 309: End Of The Day

I had a big day at Philip Island today. It was a full day of California Superbike School with a heap of sessions on track and an equivalent number of session s in the class room. The weather was perfect, clear skies, sunshine and not too much wind.

The class room sessions are packed in between the on track time with barely 10 minutes for a debrief with the instructor before needing to be in class, this doesn't leave any time for putting bikes up on stands, fitting tyre warmers and plugging them in. I was a little worried about the effect his would have on my new rear tyre and also about how the first couple of laps would feel while the tyres were working their way up to the right temperature and pressure levels. It was ok, the tyres only felt mushy for the first half a lap or so and the wear seemed to be ok, certainly better than it was before I had the suspension sorted by Laurie.

Because it was so busy I really didn't have a chance to take any photos on my new camera, so tonight after a few beers with Pete & Andy and while getting organised for dinner I took this one. It's the view from the house we've rented, the sunset was pretty spectacular and the new camera has done a decent job to capture it. The best thing about today was knowing I'd be back on the track again first thing tomorrow morning.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Day 308: Forgotten Camera

Today got off to a good start, Pete & Andy came to collect me at around 7am and I had some coffees in travel cups organised so we were ready to go. We loaded my gear into Andy's ute, hooked the trailer up  and hit the road.

It was roughly 45 minutes into the trip that I realised what I'd left behind. The bloody camera. Despite my best efforts to convince the guys that we should stop, unload Pete's bike and let me ride it back to retrieve the camera and I'd catch them at Nimmitabel where we could load Pete's bike back into the trailer, we decided it wasn't really worth it.

Speaking of Nimmitabel, I've been trying to get one of their famous pasties (their pies are great too) but every time I've missed out. On more than one occasion I've missed the last pastie by one customer and once the last customer was Andy. This time I was adamant that I'd get one so I jumped out of the ute when we arrived and rushed to the bakery before Pete & Andy could gazump me. On my way to the bakery I saw a guy walking out with one and thought I'd be in luck... unfortunately that wasn't the case. I'd missed the last pastie by one customer again. One of these days I'll get one...

Our next stop was for lunch at Bairnsdale where I tracked down the local Dick Smith to buy a cheap little camera to get me through the next few days without my real camera. What I ended up with was the one pictured: a FujiFilm XP thingamajig that's waterproof. I didn't really go in looking for a waterproof camera but I figured that since I was buying another camera I might as well add something to my existing photographic capability. Time will tell if it's any good.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Day 307: Meat With Handles

Henry was in a funny mood tonight, he wouldn't eat his dinner in his chair. Instead he insisted on climbing all over Belinda in her chair to eat his lamb cutlets. It could have been worse I guess, at least the cutlets are easy to eat when you're on the move. Imagine how messy tonight could have been if we'd been having Spag Bol.

Whilst Henry wasn't being very cooperative with his dinner he was at least agreeable enough to pose for tonights photo. I'm afraid the cheeky gene is strong in this boy of ours.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Day 306: Checking Up On Googong

I took a quick detour past Googong on the way home this afternoon just to see if there was much progress with the land. They seem to have moved a lot of earth around and have been shaping the paddock fairly extensively, it looks like they've even started carving out the roads.

In the middle of the picture there's the top of a grader and if my guess is right it's creating either the road that will be our new street or the road that will lead on to our new street. It's still a long way away from being ready to build out there but it's good the each time I go out I can see some progress.