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Year View| Summary| Highlights| December 2003 (Month View)

01.12.2003Monday 1 December – Heat Exhaustion at the Beach

Mum and I went into town with Jean. I did the obvious, and bought a milkshake, and then went and saw Bob and Peter, before heading towards Ricci’s, but only getting as far as the Big Shed. I popped in to see both the Matthew’s, and ended up discussing web site design, hospitals, lung surgery, and giving a quick demo on the basics of Dreamweaver and web pages in general. They’ve offered me the job of designing a site to sell imported motorbikes and forklifts if I want it.
Ricci wasn’t home so I walked down to Finch Bay by myself. Two busloads of school kids turned up for some sort of sports thing, so I went looking for crocodiles in the mangroves, seeing as I had my camera with me. I didn’t find any, and, probably luckily, none found me. I then walked to Cherry Tree Bay. It was very sunny, hot and muggy. By the time I got to Cherry Tree Bay I wasn’t feeling so remarkably good, and very thirsty. I did get some (hopefully) nice panoramic beach shots though. Walking through Grassy Hill and back into town may not have been the best idea – I think I was bordering on heat exhaustion and sunstroke. By the time I got to the Gatorade at the Shell servo, I was ready to throw up. I’ve only had bad heat exhaustion once – and it wasn’t so fun. Ages ago, out in the Wild West behind Gympie, I went for a bushwalk – in the hot. After a few hours, fortunately once we’d turned about and were making our way home, I got too sick to walk and just had to lie down and close my eyes. Death seemed the best option and I lay there for a few hours while my friend went for help. I felt slightly better once night fell, and was content to curl up and never move again, but someone managed to get a truck in and pick me up and I lived. I’ve also managed to get nicely sunburnt.
I ate a punnet of pasta salad for lunch, along with some milk, and made my way up to Vince and Sarah’s, where Mum wasn’t, then down to Ricci’s, where she wasn’t, then back to Vince’s, where mum then was. Ergon has their backup generators running for some reason. Those megawatt generators use an amazing amount of diesel and make remarkably little noise. I’m impressed with how they can (sometimes) synchronise all of them and they actually (sometimes) work. The gas turbine is cool too.
Mum and I walked down to the wharf and got chips for a satisfying and healthy vegetable dinner, then watched a movie with Vince and Sarah, before Jean turned up and we all drove home. Jean’s two rings never turned up, so I got myself into hero-mode, complete with my custom, patented pure-lead thin plate starved-electrolyte foamed grid-alloy rechargeable cell powered ultra-bright halogen MagLite, and Mum and I drove up to her place to see if she’d died. She hadn’t, so my torch and I went to bed.
Clint found an interesting online journal mentioning him and me. It’s funny in a slightly sad way, so I’ll quote it: “Finally, today I was downstairs at GP South with DV looking for something to eat, and in walk Ned Martin and Clint Felmingham. I’m pretty sure Ned was giving me a bit of a funny look, so what, he can go f*ck himself. He hasn’t updated his sh*tty website though, so I consider my endeavours relatively successful.” Then again, at a slightly earlier date, “As I was getting off the ferry, I saw my arch-nemesis Ned Martin (well, he doesn’t actually know me, but I happen to think he’s a sh*t-eater) walking towards the ferry, so I waited until he was about to walk past me, when I uttered “NEDDY!!!” in a high-pitched voice. I’m sure he was startled, and although now he can put a face to the “Bob Goatse” joker who’s been commenting his stupid daily recount of his boring life, I certainly hope he confronts me during one of the two exams we’ll be sitting together during this exam block, when I can pay him out for being an IT student. Freudian slip? As I was typing student just then, before I could correct myself I had completely spelled STUPID. Now why is that not a surprise...” How peculiar, but I bothered to read a bit of his journal, and came across a good explanation. To quote, “So today I bought “Dude, where’s my country?” by Michael Moore. I’m only up the chapter two, and I already want to go to the Whitehouse and f*ck George Bush’s sh*t up. I had planned to do a heap of study, but ended up just watching Jerry Springer before I went into uni”. So there we have it, the guy’s a sad, misguided moron who seems to admire my journal. I am curious why or how he knows or bothers to think he knows us though, or more specifically, why he dislikes me – perhaps he’s just another of the many geeks badly needing some normal social interaction.
Comment by DM – Thursday 4 December 2003, 3:33 AM
  Your very own archnemesis, and you didn't even know about him. Nifty.
Comment by Ned – Sunday 7 December 2003, 10:03 AM
  I always wanted a pet arch-nemesis ;-)

02.12.2003Tuesday 2 December – Relaxing

I slept in late, enjoying my relaxation. I spent the evening messing about online, and then went for a walk down the creek and out along the Home Rule Road. I met Shan just before the halfway spot, so got a lift out to Home Rule. Everything is looking surprisingly green and pleasant considering we’re in the throes of the worst drought in living memory – I guess that’s what droughts are like in one of the wettest places in Australia. I had a look at Shan’s new camera and a cow with a bung leg, and then walked home. It’s nice to be out in the bush again – it’s only now that I’m relaxing that I realise how stressed I was. That sounds a bit melodramatic, in retrospect I had an easy semester during which I was very slack and managed to pass everything, so can’t complain. What I can complain about is this computer – it takes minutes to edit my journal and there are absolutely no image editing applications at all, I’m viewing pictures in the fax viewer. And I’ve left some of my favourite songs behind.

03.12.2003Wednesday 3 December – Lazy but enjoyable

I had another quiet and lazy but enjoyable day, being woken in the morning by Sarah phoning. Then again, having tried to go back to sleep, I was awoken by Elsie arriving to ask me if I’d go over and have a look at her stereo and re-connect the speakers to it. This I duly did, after a few hours online relaxing electronically. Having driven over to Home Rule and connecting the appropriate speaker and aerial wires to their respective connectors, and having driven back again via Joneses, where only Kylie was – asleep, I again rested. Wayne and Renée turned up in the evening and Mum and I talked to them for a while, before driving up to Dad’s to see if he wanted to come into town tomorrow and walk Sarah’s dogs while she’s working in Cairns. I then ate some nice curried rice and retired to my van to relax, rest and figure out what to do tomorrow.
Comment by keight – Friday 5 December 2003, 2:54 PM
  Lol @ lazy day. Thats what you get in woop woop, when theres nothign to do :)

04.12.2003Thursday 4 December – 20 million of us

Australia’s population has officially hit 20 million. It has been 44 years since Australia’s population hit 10 million. It’s almost hard to believe I’m still the best.
Mum woke me up early and we drove into town, where we stayed at Sarah’s while she’s in Cairns working – their Cooktown work having dried up in preparation for Christmas.
I phoned Centrelink in response to a letter, regarding why I’d not declared my income from tutoring. I was told it would probably be ok as I had a large income bank. I also phoned and had my mail temporarily redirected to my PO Box until 1 March, having been told to tell Centrelink that I am maintaining residence at Joe’s place.
I went and saw the friendly people at the Big Shed and told them I’d not be able to do their website for them: result, I’m going to make a date sometime soon to help them build it themselves – argh. I also went and saw Bob for a while.
I walked too much today, and it’s too hot and sunny and now I’m more sunburnt and suffering from heat exhaustion, sunstroke and gross stupidity.

05.12.2003Friday 5 December – Pizza and Videos

I slept in. The sun was out by the time I got up, but I did manage to double my sunstroke by poking my head out the door to see if there were any clouds.
I went and saw Matthew, who was practising his guitar as usual, and stayed at his place for a while. “Black Image” were playing at the West Coast, so I didst make my way hence, for a short while, before becoming unhealthily hot and dripping home.
Mum and I went and got pizza and some videos, and then stayed up latish watching and eating them.

06.12.2003Saturday 6 December – Cooktown Markets

I did things, such as going to the exciting weekly Cooktown Markets – very slowly, as it was so hot. This sunstroke stuff makes me hotter.
I went to bed early, as I was tired and suffering from heat exhaustion, sunstroke, rabies etc. and Mum was watching some movie that had already been going for half an hour before I got back.

07.12.2003Sunday 7 December – Home again

Mum and I drove back home before the heat of the day could come along and stifle us. Once home, I went online to check if the world was as it were, and the phone kept disconnecting me, eventually dying altogether for half an hour.
Thousands of fans rioted at Sierra Leone’s national stadium today when authorities substituted two local dwarf comedians for a widely anticipated out-of-town midget duo. Today, blood splattered parts of the stadium.
It’s 33° inside my van, and pretty much as humid as it gets.
I headed off for a walk but noticed the shop gate was open, so headed up there instead. Jade, Shan, Kylie and Ella were all there watching a DVD so I stayed there for a while, before continuing onto the Home Rule Bridge, getting home just on dark. I then tried on my pants to make sure they fit, in preparation for Shan’s fast approaching wedding.
I’m tired now, having spent the last several hours discussing everything from crop circles, politics and television shows to hydraulics and FORTRAN with Dad.

08.12.2003Monday 8 December – Joneses

Mum drove into town with Jean early and I spent all day online chatting, having woken up early and then gone back to sleep until it got too hot.
I walked up to the shop and talked to Shan and Kylie for a while, and then watched half of “Who Am I”. Jade and Ella drove up halfway through the movie, so we stopped and talked to them for a while before watching the rest of it, after which I walked home. It was quite an enjoyable evening with lots of laughing, although I felt slightly sad afterwards – imminent change is often sad.

09.12.2003Tuesday 9 December – Town again

I have had a relaxing morning online avoiding the heat. My fan died, seems the sleeves have died or it’s poling, or an anomaly in the earth’s magnetic and gravitational fields has occurred – either way it doesn’t go around very fast anymore.
Fares Allowance
I filled in my fares allowance form, claiming $181, being for a $129 airfare from Brisbane to Cairns on 23 November and $52 petrol costs for travel from Cairns to Rossville with Silas on 27 November, claiming a travel distance of 400 kilometres in a 4100 cubic centimetre capacity motor vehicle.
Mum and I drove into town, where I stayed the night.

10.12.2003Wednesday 10 December – Cooktown

Mum and I drove down to the shops, where I bought several exhilarating items, including a milkshake, wrapping paper, a fancy ribbon thing, a card and some scratch-its for Joe. I also printed out my airfare receipt at the library and lodged my fares claim with Centrelink, also meeting James in the library, and Mandi, Jade and Ella at the supermarket and hairdressers. Mum bought me a new pair of black pants even though I told her I didn’t need them and was happy with my other pair and we had an argument about it, which was cut short by meeting Shan, Kylie and her friend Crystal and us going to the bakery for lunch. Shan is on crutches, having fallen off some scaffolding, I guess yesterday. He’s apparently torn a muscle and done tissue damage to his knee and shouldn’t walk for ten days. His wedding is on Saturday and they’re off overseas for their honeymoon shortly after so I think not walking might not be an option.
After Shan and his cohort of girls left to get a flat tyre repaired and head home, I began to walk back to Vince’s, but met Matthew on his way to the supermarket shopping, so I went shopping again, rather than walk in the horrendous heat. He had a $40 food voucher from the council, apparently we’re all eligible for three vouchers a year – I’m not sure why, but $40 is a lot of ice cream. After shopping, I drove home, went online for about a minute until the phone died, reconnected for a few minutes until the power died, decided that was stupid, drove up to see Dad who wasn’t home, went around to Ron’s and met Dad there, discussed auto electrics, watered Mum’s pot plants, and showered. I also ate some carob buds.
I walked up to Shan’s place where I had dinner with him, Kylie and Crystal, and then talked for a while before walking home. It was quite dark and overcast, with the power threatening to fail, surging, spluttering, and frightening my computer while I was peacefully attempting to reply to some email.
Devil’s Advocate
I watched “Devil’s Advocate”, which I did not enjoy, due to my mood, an imminent worry that the movie was about to turn into a horror movie, and the fact that I was home alone with the power fluctuating and thunder rolling overhead – despite its rather clever plot. I should have watched some mindless American action comedy.
The storm seems to have passed, the power hasn’t failed, the movie wasn’t horrific, and I’m not scared to go inside and get a drink and find my toothbrush before going to bed. I’m also quite tired.

11.12.2003Thursday 11 December – Shopping

Dad came around earlier while I was still in bed designing the perfect camera. By the time I got up, he’d got sick of waiting for me and got a lift to the Lion’s Den, although I didn’t know this. A few hours later, after missing a phone call, and having a hanging up noise on message bank, I drove into town and met Dad at the Den on the way in. We stopped in at Vince and Sarah’s where Mum was, and picked her up and went and shopped. Some time later, we drove home again and I learnt how to tie a tie.

12.12.2003Friday 12 December – 12:12:12 AM

I logged into my web server, and noticed the time – Friday 12th December 12:12:12 AM. What’s the chance of that?
I walked up to Shan’s to give him back his CD but he wasn’t home so I continued walking out to the halfway spot, then turned around and walked back again. I met Shan just before the Home Rule Bridge, just as it was getting dark, and got a lift up to his place. He’s very busy, rushing around doing things. I then drove up to Dad’s, but he wasn’t home.
I carefully wrapped Shan and Kylie’s wedding present. Wrapping presents is a very hard thing for me to do, as I’m too much of a perfectionist to do it normally. A normal person would have used four pieces of crepe paper and not worried about the nasty folds and things, but I figured out how it was possible to wrap triangularly this rectangular box using only two pieces of crepe paper. Unfortunately this left less than half an inch overlap, and less than a quarter of an inch on the corners and took me the best part of an hour, after which I found that the crepe paper is very weak and slides easily over the glossy paper inside so I’m not sure how it will go. Mathematically it has to be the best possible wrapped present there is.
A friend threw out 3,500 litres of brand new Mount Franklin bottled water, 2000 cans of Lift Plus and 30 wheelie bins of bottled soft drink today.
I am feeling a little sleepy now.

13.12.2003Saturday 13 December – Shan is married

I reclined, showered, reclined, chatted online while reclining, and generally relaxed.
I drove up to Shan and Kylie’s, where Shan was busily preparing for his wedding. I’m the official music controller, so I had to go discuss that and pick up the CD’s and such like. I then drove out to Joneses, where I changed into my finery and drove down to Home Rule to await the arrival of the groom, and later his bride. The setting was lovely, very scenic, green, misty and peaceful, as is nearly everywhere up here. It was a small wedding, with only a few close friends and the families of the bride and groom, which is the best way to have a wedding. We all waited around while half past three came and went, four o’clock came and went, and still no groom. As half past four approached and still no groom to be seen, an official search party was despatched. For the first time in known history, an eccentric looking car driven by an eccentric looking driver had broken down right in the middle of the bridge – the starter motor having literally fallen out, along with most of the rest of the car’s vital organs, blocking the entire bridge, it being only one lane wide.
Shan did finally arrive, an hour late, and Kylie-Anne, his bride, arrived long enough after that we got worried she’d also got stuck behind the blockage on the bridge and had just sent another search party. She was looking remarkably beautiful, walking down the aisle on her father’s arm while a few tears were shed, as is customary. The service was lovely, with both parents being happy and impressed by it and the groom and bride looking respectively handsome and beautiful, along with the rest of the bridal party.
After Shan and Kylie-Anne became husband and wife, many photos were taken, with me taking 232 and almost filling my memory stick. Their professional photographer, who is also a close family friend and ironically lives in Brisbane quite near to where I do and attends uni, then spent over an hour doing an exasperatingly precise photo shoot until the light ran out. After that, we all made our way inside and sat around talking and doing wedding sort of things like toasting the bride and groom, or husband and wife or whatever they’re now known as, dancing, eating wedding cake, and worrying that the other present which is exactly the same size as mine is going to also be a blender. The parents all got tipsy, or drunk, depending on whom and how you look at it – and everyone had a good time, although it is, in some ways, tinged with sadness for some.
Shan and Kylie-Anne, now married, and in Kylie’s case, rather drunk and nervous, then drove home in their shaving cream and rum can adorned car and we finished our drinks and did likewise. It’s a bit funny for me, having known Shan since he was born, and now he’s married. I don’t yet know quite how to feel about it. I hope it all goes well for them – it must be lovely to marry your first true love and the day went so well and happily with no fusses or problems, apart from the bridge fiasco, which was rather amusing once it was over.

14.12.2003Sunday 14 December – Rain

I had a quiet, relaxing morning, spending a lot of it sleeping. Mum is in town looking after Sarah’s, and I’m tired from last night and my chronic laziness.
Shan popped on MSN for a minute to tell me his computer password, and then they headed off to Cairns and their honeymoon.
I phoned Mum, except got Sarah who is now home. I was planning to get a lift into town tomorrow with Jean, but after phoning Jean and finding her not home; I changed my mind and decided not to.
Ella phoned, she’s missing her internet connection and trying to get the satellite stuff from Shan’s to work.
I decided to finally finish writing my Indian journal. It took quite a while. I wrote 8379 words, 1000 lines, 21 pages, 322 paragraphs and 45679 characters tonight – and then a whole lot more when converting from Word doc format to my XML journal format. My arm is dead, but it’s done. The old paper copy may now complete its disintegration in a peaceful manner. Some entries have an ℮ at the bottom of them; I’m curious what it meant, as I can’t remember. I’m now feeling acutely homesick for India and the peaceful, worry and stress free time I had while there. To change the subject, it has been raining on and off all night, actually raining enough to get things wet for a while – heavy might be an exaggeration, but it’s definitely better than it has been.
Sleepy, and going to bed.
Comment by Ned – Monday 15 December 2003, 3:18 AM
  These moths... argh... they are everywhere... and flying ants... argh!

15.12.2003Monday 15 December – I love computers

The morning was nice and peaceful, and I slept as usual. I’m thinking of moving the morning to the evening to fit in with my new lifestyle.
Jade and Ella came around, I can’t remember why, but they ended up staying a while and looking at the photos I took of the wedding, and then I went back to Home Rule with them to set up their satellite internet. When we got there, the replacement RAM for Ella’s new computer had arrived so I put that in as well, expecting her PC to work. It didn’t, of course, and everything took so long. In fact, almost everything went wrong. First, I tried setting up the satellite stuff on Jade’s computer, which didn’t work. Then we drove up to Shan’s to see if we could find the info we needed to authenticate the satellite stuff on Jade’s computer, which we couldn’t without the actual decoder. Then I tried reinstalling XP on Ella’s computer using various different BIOS settings, several times with varying rates of success, along with various drivers and other things, eventually getting it to run semi-stably, but not before having to fight every known component and the recovery console several times. It’s now running at a greatly reduced and asynchronous speed, with write-combining, bitmap and cursor acceleration, 8XAGP, and several other performance increasing but stability decreasing features that I can’t remember disabled. It still hangs temporarily on start-up, but then seems to run stably, although there doesn’t appear to be any sound – but I did remove two jumpers from what’s probably a vitally important sound related thing somewhere within the nether regions of the motherboard to connect the front audio stuff. I then tried to install the satellite stuff on it, after getting the installer CD out of Jade’s now unplugged computer where I’d left it, but couldn’t because it doesn’t have a modem, so decided to try installing it on Jade’s, which does have a modem, and seeing if I could find the vital information from that. Of course, after unplugging Ella’s PC and setting up Jade’s again, I had to get the installer CD out of Ella’s powerless computer. Then, after running a long phone extension lead, we managed to authenticate the satellite stuff on Jade’s, and find out the various frequencies and stuff that we needed, so back to Ella’s computer again. I left the installer CD in Jade’s computer again too, of course, which is rather difficult to get out when it’s all unplugged. It was one of those sorts of days. Then we drove back up to Shan’s to get a modem for Ella’s computer, that being the only way to authenticate the satellite stuff it seems. Needless to say, the modem we got didn’t work in Ella’s computer, simply failing to detect or function in anyway whatsoever. Fortunately, an old external modem did eventually work, and Ella finally had her beloved MSN again, at which time I could begin to network their three computers together, one of which has a two hundred metre or something ridiculous semi-buried, semi hung in trees cat5 cable going to it. Not surprisingly, things didn’t go as they’re supposed to, and I had to mess around, find dead leads, reinstall networking components multiple times, and pull small clumps of hair out before everyone could connect to each other and chat on MSN and share their viruses. Ella managed to pick up two virus-like ad sever sort of things within five minutes of being connected to the internet, which probably isn’t that surprising considering she had something like a thousand spam emails from the past three days which she downloaded into Outlook Express. Then, just to add insult to injury, when setting up a few user accounts for her, nothing would work, things couldn’t access the registry, nothing would install, the internet connection wouldn’t run as a multi-user connection, and the stupid virus-like ad things fought each other and refused to go away. It was quite late by the time I got home.

16.12.2003Tuesday 16 December – Real rain

I slept in, once again, enjoying my relaxation. After finally waking, I phoned the cinemas in Cairns and booked a ticket to “The Lord of the Rings” movie marathon, just in case they are booked out later, and phoned the travel agent to find out about airfares down there.
I phoned Jean and walked up to her place to fix her computer, television, videocassette recorder and satellite decoder. Once there I realised I’d need my mouse, keyboard, and some RCA leads, so she drove me home to find same, during which time it began to rain. Jade and Ella were here, wanting to know if I wanted to go watch “2Fast, 2Furious” with them up at Shan’s, which I did but first back to Jean’s. Connecting everything correctly and getting rid of anything that required tuning in various channels fixed her television problems – why people even bother using crappy coaxial television leads I don’t know. Carefully straightening two pins in her mouse plug fixed her PC problem – two lots of two pins had become squashed together and gone in the same holes in the plug, which was enough to stop the mouse, keyboard and Windows itself from working. Having miraculously fixed everything, I got a lift home and jogged in the rain up to the shop – it’s actually been raining properly, with enough water coming down to make a difference. After messing around trying to scan and print a picture precisely twice the size of the original, and having it come out a magnitude or two too big every time – because, unbeknownst to me, the wrong printer driver was installed, Jade, Ella and I watched “2Fast, 2Furious” while the rain thundered down outside.
It’s raining heavily – that proper sort of rain that you only get in the jungle, where everything goes white and the rain ceases to be separate raindrops coming down and somehow turns into a sort of spray, which comes from all directions and just permeates the world.
It seems to have stopped raining now, and I might head inside, clean my fangs, and go to bed.

17.12.2003Wednesday 17 December – Jason and the Argonauts

Mandi, Jade, Ella and I drove into town, where we did town-like things such as shopping, drinking milkshakes, eating food, visiting Ricci, etc.
Jason and the Argonauts
I went over to Joneses on the way home from town, where I got Ella’s computer to work properly – or so it seems. It’s running at its proper speed, and seems to be stable, although I had to reset the BIOS just to get it to boot – why do manufactures put settings in that will cause guaranteed instability? It’s dumb. My BIOS even had an option with a little warning – “never use this option, it will result in an unstable, unbootable system...” duh. It’s now firewalled, running a virus scanner, and already saturated with nasty Internet Explorer add-in spyware online casino search-engine type things. We then watched “Jason and the Argonauts” for its full four hours running time, which wasn’t too bad, although not as refined as would have been nice, before Jade drove me home, where I spent a little time online before heading off to bed.
It has been raining on and off most of the day and night, although not heavily enough to cause flooding – it seems like the wet season may have finally arrived. Here’s hoping that, after its two-year hiatus, it’s a real proper wet.

18.12.2003Thursday 18 December – Mud and Computers

Rainy Morning
Janet dropped in and asked me if I’d go have a look at her computer, which I, being the nice sort of person I am, agreed to. Apparently, she’s bought a CD burner, but can’t install it due to an “incompatible version of the RPC stub”, a known and easy to fix problem, although I didn’t know it affected Windows 98 as well. In addition, she had a few other little problems – some silly thing blocking Internet Explorer pop-ups (and most valid links), a useless and time-wasting Windows logon screen, a badly integrated Acrobat Reader not working with Internet Explorer (as usual), a dead “A drive”, and a noisy fan. Hopefully it all works now.
Rainy Evening
I lazed about, lying down for a while and listening to the rain. This weather is nice, in its own way. It’s not too cold and not too hot – there’s a sort of peacefulness and isolation, with the rain forming a sort of curtain, a barrier, between the big bad world and our own paradisiacal corner.

19.12.2003Friday 19 December – Cooktown and Computer Problems

Mum and I drove into town, where, after picking up Sarah and checking my mail, I broke my fast, and almost my belly, with a caramel milkshake. Feeling bloated and sick, I bought a 50¢ Lions fizzy lifesaver thing, to offset the creamy milk, which I ate. Now feeling fizzy, bloated and sick, I bought a can of Solo, to wash away the rest with its sharp, aerated lemon tang. It didn’t work of course, but such is life.
It poured down for a little but just as we were driving out of town, and the windscreen wiper broke. Upon closer inspection, some dim-witted person had fitted the wrong sized blade to it, so we had to go buy the right sized one and put that on, along with a lot of un-squeezing to get it to fit where they’d bodged it up to hold the smaller blade. Not exactly exciting, but that’s what happened. Mum got a few DVD’s out too, “Lantana”, “Charlotte Gray”, “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “Beware Greeks Carrying Guns” – along with “The Fast and the Furious”, which I got for Ella.
Jade’s Computer
Jade’s computer won’t connect to the Internet anymore, so I drove over to see why. Her problem was easy to fix, the new version of Kerio’s Personal Firewall, which is sadly much worse than their previous version, doesn’t support running as an internet gateway in the free version – but it did for a day or so before the “demo” part expired, so much for being free. With the firewall uninstalled, everything worked – for a while.
Ella’s Computer
Originally, it wouldn’t run stably at all, rebooting at random and having numerous blue screens of death. When he swapped the RAM with RAM from a friend’s computer, it seemed to work, so he sent the RAM back for warranty replacement. This is where I come into the story. My task was to go around and install this RAM, along with a satellite transceiver. After installing the RAM, the computer would automatically reboot just before it would get to where the Windows XP login screen would normally be. I reinstalled XP (Professional), during which I had some random rebooting problems, but eventually managed to get it to boot properly. I then noticed that there were graphics problems. Little lines would be drawn at random on the screen and certain images and windows would be garbled. Turning off “write combining”, cursor, and bitmap accelerations seemed to fix these garbled graphics problems, and I even reset the FSB and DDR pulse back to their original full-speed settings without any problems. Everything seemed to almost work well, the computer only randomly rebooting once when I went to install something. It then ran for a few days without any problems – until I went over today, installed WinDVD, and attempted to play a DVD. WinDVD starts, then the monitor blanks momentarily, then WinDVD appears all white and frozen, then it begins to play – but with severe lines and artefacts, before either resetting the computer or causing a STOP error. I then installed PowerDVD, which runs, and plays, but did eventually cause the computer to reset, although it worked for a while, and didn’t seem to have any weird drawing problems.
I’d thought to replace the motherboard – which is a bit hard to do as I’d have to send it back to Brisbane, 2000 kilometres away, and probably over the Christmas break while they’re closed, but I don’t want to do that and then find, a month later when I finally get the new motherboard, that it has the same problems. Someone mentioned doing a disk scan to see if there’s any corruption on it, and that’s about all I’ve been able to come up with, apart from trying to install something entirely different, perhaps Windows ME, in case it’s some sort of driver problem. The motherboard is an Albatron KM18G PRO nForce2 with an AMD XP2200+ processor (running at 1.8GHz) and 256 MB of DDR RAM (running at 333 MHz). Any ideas?
I might try to get an early night in. I’ve had reasonably bad hay fever all day today, which makes me tired. I hope it goes away.
Comment by DM – Saturday 20 December 2003, 1:15 AM
  My only suggestion for the computer problem is that I've heard that some recent motherboards have been having trouble implementing AGP 8x too well. I've got no idea if the computer's using that at all, but as the problems all seem to be graphical in nature (and the comp is resetting when displaying DVDs:- most DVD players write 'directly' to the video card, so it's something a bit out of the ordinary), it could be something worth checking out. If the computer's using 8x AGP currently, try forcing it down to 4x in the BIOS, or something like that.
  Also, I really enjoyed Lantana. Thought it was a great local (read: Aussie) film.
Comment by Ned – Saturday 20 December 2003, 1:56 PM
  Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve tried disabling AGP 8× support, but I’ve a feeling that it only applies to add-in AGP cards, not the onboard solution. Either way, it didn’t seem to make any difference. I saw Lantana a while back – when it was on at the cinemas I think, but I don’t fully remember it now. Mum hasn’t seen it though.

20.12.2003Saturday 20 December – Latin is dying

I can’t find a free online English to Latin translator.
I went for a walk, coincidentally ending up at the Home Rule Bridge just as Jade drove by on her way up to my place to drop off Shan’s key, as they’re going down to Cairns for a few days. We went up and opened Shan’s place. It smelt a little musty so we decided we should leave it open for a while to air, which was a good excuse to stay and watch “xXx” on Shan’s computer – which isn’t such a bad movie really.
Sarah had left a message on the answering service that she would be able to get Vince’s car for our exciting and hopefully uneventful adventure to Cairns to see the best movie ever made – “The Lord of the Rings”, so I phoned the Bellview and booked accommodation. Mum and I then watched “Beware of Greeks Bearing Guns”, which wasn’t as funny as I’d hoped – although not too bad I suppose. I enjoyed watching it, which is what matters.

21.12.2003Sunday 21 December – Hypocrisy

I did nothing, as per usual.
Vince and Sarah came around, having been spear fishing and caught a nice trout, which Vince ate for lunch. I showed them Shan and Kylie-anne’s wedding photos, and then drove out to Joneses, who are away in Cairns for a few days, to bring Ella’s computer over here for a more detailed problem analysis. Once there, though, I figured I might as well try a few things before bringing it over, as they’ve a much faster internet connection than I, which would be handy if I needed to download anything. Three hours and two hundred and fourteen reboots later, and I believe I have the monster of a machine tamed. At least it will play DVD’s with both PowerDVD and WinDVD now, without them randomly quitting or the entire thing rebooting – although it does have some sort of artefacts in the picture. I’m guessing the memory is poor quality, even though it’s rated at 400 MHz and I’m only running it at 333 MHz, after adjusting some of the memory parameters it runs stably – or has so far anyway.
Mum and I watched “The Count of Monte Cristo”. Halfway through, Shan came online, so I stopped and talked to him for a while. It seems they’re both having a good time despite having not had any good weather yet, and Shan’s knee hurting him. I guess that’s what wedded bliss is like. They’re apparently going to take a short break from sex tonight, to go watch some Thai women mud wrestling, which prompted an argument between Mum and I. I hope Shan really loves Kylie, because I’ve yet to meet an intelligent and logical woman, and it’s more bother than it’s worth trying to put up with illogical people, at least for me. It just amazes me how the most obvious logic, to some, just isn’t – or even worse, what they think is clearly logical doesn’t even make sense. Bah, people are stupid.
According to the BBC, Arab states have responded to Libya’s pledge to abandon its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programmes by demanding that Israel do the same. Of course, the moronic Jerry Springer believing West, and America in particular, will, while amassing their own weapons of mass destruction and invading or otherwise threatening anyone else who attempts such a heinous, inhumane thing, continue to support Israel in all its aggression. Obviously, North Korea can’t be allowed to have nuclear weapons, or Iraq or, apparently, Libya – but a country that openly flaunts basic human rights, international law and several UN resolutions, in addition to being widely considered a nuclear power, will be provided as much military aid as they want. Not to mention that anyone with even half a brain can tell that countries like Israel, who are hated by all their neighbours, are a far greater threat to any sort of peace than isolated countries like North Korea or, ha-ha, Iraq. I guess we’ll be seeing weapons inspections of Israel’s nuclear capability – yeah, sure. The hypocrisy makes me sick.

22.12.2003Monday 22 December – And the Cat ran away with the Spoon

I wasted many electrons, all with varying degrees of spin, disagreeing with the commercialism of Christmas and being abused for such.
I walked down to the Home Rule Bridge and had a look at the Hartley Creek, with a view to walking up it and trying to get some beautiful rainforest creek photos, but it’s only just trickling so I’m not sure if there’d be that much moss and nice things around now.
I walked up to Dad’s and spent the evening there, until Mum came and got me and we went and watched “Charlotte Gray”, which sucks. Not only does nothing happen, but it managed to not happen in a boring sort of way.

23.12.2003Tuesday 23 December – Nolan Creek Walk

I went for a walk up the Nolan Creek, taking photos. It was very hot and I walked too far, too fast, too hard, and without drinking and got heat exhaustion and felt sick. When I got home, I drank a 1.25 litre bottle of red Fanta, which didn’t help me feel any better, making me feel much worse instead – not surprisingly. I was so sick that I didn’t even try ice cream to see if that would fix the soft drink, as I normally would.
I watched “Lantana” with Mum. It’s not a bad movie; the social interactions it portrays have been illustrated very well.

24.12.2003Wednesday 24 December – Christmas Eve

Dad, Mum, myself and I drove to town, where we picked up Sarah and to the shops did go. It was quite busy, the shops being closed tomorrow for Christmas. The DVD’s “Shanghai Noon” and “Shanghai Knights” were hired by Sarah and I, to watch, obviously. Some nachos did then satiate my appetite, before we drove home
Sarah and I walked down and had a look at the markets, which were being set up for tonight’s Christmas Eve party, before walking out to the halfway spot where I went for a swim, Sarah being scared of getting wet. I then had a lie-down to think, before going for another walk by myself, also to think. I dropped in to the Fire Brigade’s fundraising Christmas Eve Party on the way back, which wasn’t very busy yet.
I updated the BIOS in this crappy BENQ DVD drive, and it actually sort of works now – I can finally rip DVD ISO’s, insert legal disclaimer here. Or I could if all the DVD’s up here weren’t so scratched – blah. Sarah and I then watched “Shanghai Noon”, which I’ve seen before – but it’s funny enough that I enjoyed it. Shan and Kylie-Anne came online halfway through and I had a quick chat to them. Shan has some sort of flu, and Kylie-Anne is bored and homesick, thinking of Christmas and all, but they’ve been having fun, go-karting, jet skiing and travelling. After the movie, I walked down to have another look at the Christmas Eve party, but it had pretty well finished.
I’ve been giving and receiving Merry Christmases and Happy Birthday’s from friends online, and am now going to bed.
Comment by DK – Thursday 25 December 2003, 6:10 AM
  Happy Holiday and Happy Birthday! :D
Comment by Ned – Thursday 25 December 2003, 2:52 PM
  Thanks :-)
Comment by keight – Sunday 28 December 2003, 7:00 PM
  Put Mr. Sheen on your scratched dvds. Leave em for about an hour, and then wipe Mr. Sheen off with a tissue.

25.12.2003Thursday 25 December – Christmas

I went and looked at the pretty wrapping, presents and dangly Christmas things on the stump inside, and then we all sat around while Dad and Mum opened their presents, and then Sarah opened hers, but I didn’t feel like opening mine, so I didn’t.
Mum made a veritable feast, a smorgasbord of things we only get at Christmas time, and spread them out across the table. I have eaten too much now and can’t walk with safety.
I went online and sent Christmas greetings to various friends and relatives. People phoned and wished us Merry Christmas. I opened my presents.
Sarah and I walked up to the shop, where we met Jade and Ella and talked for a while. This is the first time Sarah’s seen them for quite some time, and the first time she’s actually had a talk to Jade since moving in with Vince, I think.
I’m apparently twenty-three years old. This is older than I’ve ever been before, at least this lifetime, so I’m impressed. Sarah and I watched Shanghai Knights.
I had a long chat with Raina, who was having a good night drinking wine. I ended up staying up quite late, until morning, and had an enjoyable night myself. Apparently, I’ve gone from being an ASD-hater, to an ASD-lover.

26.12.2003Friday 26 December – Boxing Day

I went for a walk out the Home Rule Road, going for a swim in the spa-like rock pool near mollies. It’s quite a good rock pool; I reckon I could fall asleep – suspended by the water with only a foot touching a rock to stop me washing away.

27.12.2003Saturday 27 December – IRC

It’s been sprinkling on and off for most of the day. I did absolutely nothing whatsoever, apart from a walk out to the halfway spot.
Mum and I watched “Shanghai Noon”, which she’ll hopefully remember to drop back into the video store before next Wednesday. I then chatted on IRC until the cows came home.
I should be in bed, this is crazy. I’m going to Cairns tomorrow to watch an all-night movie marathon and I’ll be so tired.

28.12.2003Sunday 28 December – Cairns and The Lord of the Rings

Sarah was supposed to arrive, but didn’t.
I phoned to find out why Sarah hadn’t arrived. Apparently, she had to change the oil in the car and then it took her ages to get clean... typical woman, bah.
Sarah and I left for Cairns, an uneventful four and a bit hour drive.
We went around to the cinemas and picked up our tickets. As I’d expected, we had problems. What is it with these people? When I bought my tickets to the “Matrix” marathon, I reserved them over the phone and got special permission to jump the queue, but when I turned up at the cinema, I was told that it was impossible to reserve tickets – that they’d been specifically instructed not to. So I had to wait, while holding up two hundred or so people trying to buy booked-out tickets, while they went and found their manager, who also said it wasn’t possible, but that I was listed as reserved in their computer but that they couldn’t sell me a ticket because there were no free seats. I didn’t accept that, of course, so they gave me a ticket to the wrong cinema and I used that instead – also managing to jump a huge queue in the process.
  Then, when I bought my ticket to “The Lord of the Rings” marathon, I just did a credit card purchase over the phone, but when I tried, a few days later, to purchase a ticket for Sarah, they told me it wasn’t possible. I pointed out that I’d done it successfully a few days ago, and my credit card had been debited so it damn well had better be possible, so they went let me do it again, as it was obviously possible. When Sarah and I went around to pick up our tickets, the bloke at the cinema said, you guessed it, credit card bookings are impossible and there is no way I can have a pre-booked ticket. After getting his manager, he found the envelope with our tickets, armbands, and properly printed credit card receipt and tickets.
I had a Pasta Napolitana from the Night Markets while Sarah ate a pile of funny things from some Chinese place there.
Sarah and I went to the cinemas, where there was an immense queue of people, complete with pillows. We thought we’d be waiting for half an hour and get squashed in some terrible seat, but as we already had our armbands we were allowed straight in – effectively jumping a queue that would have been 200 or more people long and getting our pick of seats. I’m beginning to think pre-booking tickets is a good idea. We sat in the very middle of the front row – my favourite spot and definitely the only place to sit for a marathon, the ability to sit on the floor is a real back-saver.
  I’m not sure how to describe the movie – it’s just brilliant, without doubt the best movie ever made when considered as a whole. It’s a bit of a shame they weren’t showing the extended versions, but I guess there’s a limit to how long anyone can sit for. It’s not possible to make a movie of the books, not one that’s viewable in less than a week solid anyway, but they’ve done a remarkably good job of capturing the main thread of the books and making it understandable as a standalone movie – and done so in such a stunning manner that each of the three movies is itself a spectacular. I believe I can safely say that this movie will remain the unchallenged pinnacle of cinematic production for quite some time.

29.12.2003Monday 29 December – Cairns

Movie finishes. Sarah and I feel surprisingly normal, considering we’ve just watched a nine and a half hour movie, although it’s probably lucky nothing unusual happened after we left the cinema, as I’m not sure what our reactions would have been. It’s still raining a little bit too. We drive around to the Bellview and check in there, and go to sleep. I feel sorry for all those who had to go to work. That marathon was unquestionably something not to be missed.
After barely two and a half hours sleep, Sarah and I get up and go shopping. I spend all my time trying to buy a stereo for Mum’s birthday. I’d originally budgeted $200 for it, which would have been alright, had I been able to accept that I wasn’t going to get the “perfect” stereo for that price, but there was just something major wrong with every one I found. I am just too fussy and couldn’t bring myself to spend the money on something I wasn’t happy with. Eventually, after driving all over the place, Sarah and I got sick of it, and decided we’d get this one out at Stockland’s, which was on special – reduced by over $100. We drove the 10-minute or so journey out there, but it was crap – I think they just lie about the reduced prices, either that or they’re stupid. Sarah was sick of it by now and just wanted to buy any one, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that – it seemed a waste, so I decided to buy a slightly more expensive $254 Sony one I’d seen at Myers. Sarah and I drove the 10-minute or so journey back again to Myers, I having spent hours looking at this stage while Sarah did her shopping, and found it was $354. I wasn’t quite sure if I was going insane or what was going on, until I remembered that the one I’d looked at was definitely turned on, whereas the one at Myers wasn’t plugged in, so we went searching and found it at Target – on special and $100 cheaper than at Myers. I can’t wait to give it to Mum and see how it goes; it’s a very nice looking mini stereo.
Sarah and I went and saw “Scary Movie 3” at Earlville. It’s a very stupid movie that I cannot recommend at all. After the movie, we drove back to the Bellview, checked out, and left Cairns.
It began raining shortly after the Kuranda Range, getting quite heavy. By the time we got to the gravel, it was evident that there had been a lot of rain since we had left. The road, which was good on the way down, was now bad – rutted and potholed, with mud and water everywhere. At one stage, we were driving through what looked much like a lake – fields of water on either side of the road and most of the road underwater – with no land in site anywhere apart from narrow strips of road a few feet wide poking out here and there. It was the first time Sarah has driven through stuff like that, so she was a bit nervous. Fortunately for us, we didn’t get stuck in any hidden washouts or anything exciting like that, and arrived home around 1 o’clock.

30.12.2003Tuesday 30 December – Wet and Unhappy

I woke up – it is so late and I feel terrible. I’ve a bit of a sore throat too, which I hope doesn’t develop into anything. I’m somewhat depressed and unhappy, Mum doesn’t seem very happy either – I’ve no idea why. My shoulder hurts, my eyes hurt, my nose hurts, even my tongue hurts – I think I’ve broken it.
Mum watched “Legends of the Fall”, perhaps the worst movie ever made. Admittedly, I didn’t actually watch it because it was too bad to watch, so perhaps it wasn’t as bad as it sounded. I’m unhappy, angry, uncomfortable, depressed and so on. Why are people so stupid? I honestly cannot fathom how stupid some people are.
Oh dear, it’s so late. I need to start getting to bed earlier – this is ridiculous.

31.12.2003Wednesday 31 December – New Year’s Eve

I walked out to the halfway spot, where I met Jade and Ella, and had a swim – or Jade and I did, Ella being too scared of getting wet. I then continued on out to their place to show Ella how to load and play a DVD image. I didn’t realise how late it was, and had to walk back very fast so we could go to town and the Kickboxing fundraiser New Year’s Eve party.
Dad, Mum and I drove into town. It was the worst possible time to drive – just on dusk and the lights on Mum’s car are atrocious. The right-hand side light points to the right and up, shining optimistically on the powerlines on the other side of the road, while the left-hand side light shines up in the trees ahead, handy for spotting possums but not handy for seeing rocks and potholes on the road. Out-driving one’s visibility isn’t good at any time, but it’s particularly bad on a road that’s covered in cows, pigs, kangaroos, indigenous folk, washouts and rocks.
New Year’s Eve
When we arrived, there were very few people down at the fisherman’s lease, so I drove up to Sarah’s and hid Mum’s birthday present in the boot to bring home, and then went and had a look at the various pubs.
  The Top Pub was busy, the West Coast was packed – they have Tamara Gibson there, who all the Murris like, the RSL was also quite busy along with the Bowls Club, and, as usual, the Sovereign was almost empty.
  People slowly wandered down towards the wharf where they congregated at and around the fisherman’s lease. It’s a nice spot really, at the foot of grassy hill and beside the Endeavour River, with the moonshine on the river forming a backdrop on one side and the dark presence that is Grassy Hill on the other. It is as far as you can really go in Cooktown – without drowning or being dashed to pieces on rocks anyway.
  Protégé provided the music, Vince, Sarah, and the Full Boar Muay Thai Kickboxing Club organised it all and provided the beer – their source of income, and it was good, although perhaps not as busy as it could have been. I met Marcelle, and spent most of the night talking to him – it was nice to meet a few of the people I used to know again.
  I had chips for dinner, drove up Grassy Hill with Marcelle once, walked up and had a look at the band in the Shire Hall a few times, and generally just wandered around talking to people, avoiding mud, and being bitten by ants. The actual countdown to midnight was, as usual, a silly anticlimax. I felt no different the second after.
The bar was supposed to close at a quarter to one, with the event having to be shut by one, but it was nearer two o’clock by the time the music stopped and everyone was kicked out. The drive home was not fun, as I couldn’t see a thing – bah at the lights or lack thereof. I think everyone had a good time; Dad and Mum seemed to enjoy themselves, as did I, although Sarah worked the bar most of the night.

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