31 December 2007

New shirts for Eric

Eric likes bright tropical shirts, but only in cotton. Suitable shirts are hard to find around here (the bright ones are usually synthetic fabrics), so on the rare occasions that we're in a town where we can find a store with a good range of fabrics, we look for suitable ones. On the last trip to Mackay, we stopped in at Spotlight, where Eric found five fabrics that caught his eye (and that I approved of). I haven't done any serious sewing for years, but I did get a new sewing machine a year or so ago, so I got to work and have now produced three shirts. Here is Eric modelling them. The first one looks very Christmas-like in red and green, but the green bits are coconut palms. My favourite is the last one, with the dark blue.

30 December 2007

My editors' website was hacked!

Today I discovered that my technical editors' website had been hacked sometimes in the past few days. All my pages got turned into blog posts, and a bunch of spam sites were listed on the blogroll. <sigh> Damage control time! At least everything appeared to be there, even if it was goofed up. I fixed the blogroll easily, and then figured out how to edit the database and change the designation of the pages from "post" back to "page". Fortunately, Dreamhost provides easy access to tools for editing the database. The hardest part was remembering my login name and password combination for the database (different from the FTP login).

29 December 2007

Marina construction update

We've had a lot of rain this week as well as king tides, so the holes dug in the bay are full of water, despite the best efforts of some heavy-duty pumps to keep up. The section they've been building up in preparation for construction has some large, but not deep, puddles. Good thing all the digging equipment had been brought in to high ground, or a lot of it would be well underwater by now.

28 December 2007

Christmas events

Eric and I had a pleasant but uneventful Christmas as home, indoors with the air-conditioning on because it was over 30C and very humid on both the 25th and 26th. I had cooked half a turkey (all that will fit in my tiny oven) on the 24th, so we had a nice meal instead of our usual snacks. I even put a tablecloth on the table for the occasion. ;-) On Thursday rain started before dawn, and continued for two days with few breaks. We recorded more than 150mm here, but we know it was more because overnight the rain gauge overflowed. The big hole that's been dug in the bay below us filled up with muddy runoff water and is now a lake, despite the best efforts of several large industrial pumps. Good thing the workers brought all of their diggers and trucks in to high ground before they left for the Christmas break; otherwise, several would be well submerged by now. I'm hoping to put some photos on this blog soon. Also on Thursday, my oven stopped working. Good timing, waiting until after the turkey was cooked! The top burners still work fine, but the oven doesn't heat. Fortunately there is a similar oven in Eric's kitchen, so we can use it if we need to. We think the problem is a broken switch, but as the oven is 10 years old and was cheap to begin with, I won't even investigate whether it can be fixed; I'm glad to have an excuse to buy a new one.

23 December 2007

Recent reading

I've been catching up a bit on my reading of science fiction. Lately I've been working my way through several volumes of collected "best of the year" books. Yesterday and today's reading was the "Year's Best SF 8" collection, edited by David Hartwell. The stories were published in 2002. I was mildly surprised that I enjoyed (or at least found interesting) most of them; often I don't. One of the stories really made me laugh: Robert Onopa's "Geropods", first published in F&SF. I loved the premise; a geropod is a legal entity that constitutes a full human being: "any group of infirm old people whose combined physical and mental capacities constitute the powers of a single, competent individual is collectively entitled to act as an individual". So a group of men "escape" from a nursing home (to which some, if not all, of them have been involuntarily committed) by forming a geropod and hiring a younger man with a large vehicle to drive them around. Their original purpose was to get even with the son-in-law of one of the members of the group, who had got the older man been declared incompetent and taken over control of his assets; but during their adventures, they meet another geropod ("babes!") and form some friendships... for a 14-page story, there was a lot in it.

21 December 2007

Marina construction update

After working feverishly the past few days to tidy up the flat area visible in this photo, it looks like the construction crew will be taking the usual two-week Christmas break, because they've lined all of their equipment up near the road, presumably so the security people can keep an eye on it more easily.

20 December 2007

Marina construction update

This photo shows most of the earthmoving equipment digging out what will eventually be the yacht harbour of the marina. Six of the seven dump trucks are visible, along with diggers, graders, and other equipment. Much of the dirt is being moved to this spot, which will eventually have a hotel and other buildings constructed on it.

14 December 2007

All's well with the new hip joints

Yesterday I saw the orthopedic surgeon for a 5-week checkup on my right hip. He said I am doing very well and now have no restrictions on what I am allowed to do (except "no jumping, running, or other impact stress on the hips" for the rest of my life). Mainly my task now is to do as much walking and other exercise as possible, to strengthen the leg muscles on the right side, and then to get both legs back to my former level of fitness. He gave me another exercise to do, to help me stop limping when I walk.

09 December 2007

I love the iPod Touch

Eric recently bought an iPod Touch. I didn't think I would like it at all, but I love it! I thought it would be really difficult to read things on the screen, but it does such cool things with the display of web pages that they are actually readable, and Google has a "Google mobile" mode that makes using Gmail easy and even Google Docs are not bad. It connects by wifi to the internet. Typing is tedious (though not nearly as bad as typing on a the keypad of a typical mobile phone), but the rest of it is fantastic. I haven't tried to watch a movie on it, but then I almost never watch movies at all. And I rarely listen to music, so the ubiquitous "music everywhere" aspects of an iPod have never interested me. But the possibility of doing my email and websurfing on this thing on my travels, instead of lugging along a laptop computer (unless I expect to want or need to do a lot of typing), are most tempting. (The iPhone isn't available in Australia yet.)

08 December 2007

Brats: Our Journey Home

I recently bought a documentary film titled Brats: Our Journey Home. It's about growing up as an American "military brat". It was totally fascinating (to me). Some of the topics reminded me of things I had long forgotten about life on a military base and in a military family; others I remembered all too well. The main point of the film was the effects of our childhood on us "brats" as adults and our outlook on life and our ways of coping and relating to people and work and life in general, in comparison to the general population. I had worked out long ago for myself most of what they said, but it was interesting to learn that some of my experiences and reactions were more general than I had previously thought.

03 December 2007

Marina construction update

On the 30th and the 1st we had some real gully-washer thunderstorms: about 50mm (2 inches) of rain in less than half an hour each time. The next day, the diggers, trucks, graders, and other construction equipment in the marina area were busily moving more tons of dirt into the extensive puddles left by the weekend's rains. I've been mildly disappointed that so far no equipment seems to have got bogged in the mud, as it's quite entertaining to watch them extricating bogged items. Here are some photos of the latest stage of work.