29 August 2009

Pisco sour

Finally tried making a pisco sour from the pisco I brought back from Peru, using the recipe that came with the bottle. Very nice! I suspect the ones in the hotels were a bit weaker, though. Now to do more testing, with recipes from other sources (but not tonight). I used a type of lemon that's kind of halfway between a lemon and a lime. Real limes are too expensive right now.

Sound for the Wii

We have the technology! Eric found an old radio/iPod player and an adapter cable in his "I might want this someday" box, so I now have sound with the Wii. I just tested it with the 10-pin bowling game, and yes it's much better with the sound. I like the THUNKs of the pins being hit with the ball. ;-)

28 August 2009

Gadgets! Wii Fit

Bought a Wii console and Wii Fit today (Father's Day bundle on sale at Big W, under my price point for impulse purchases), and set it up with my monitor (I have no TV). There's no sound, but I hate sound, so I'm in no hurry to connect some speakers even though I'm sure it would be better with sound.

27 August 2009

No end of writing

Revised second draft of 4 more chapters of my book on self-publishing with OpenOffice.org and sent them off to my editor, who is going to get a surprise when he checks his mail in the morning. Getting there... slowly.

26 August 2009

Screen door locks - at last!

Today the builders finally installed locks with keys on the screen doors, replacing the original locks which had no keys that ever got into our hands. Another item checked off the defect list as done. Still a few to go.

25 August 2009

Writing, walking, sewing - a balanced life

Alternating between rewriting my book and editing Lyn's has its strange moments. If the sheep become examples in the computer book, that's why...

This afternoon I managed a slightly longer walk than usual. At one point an older woman overtook us. Eric said, "Walk faster, Jean!" and the other woman said, "Ignore him." :-) I'm going for distance, not speed.

You know it's time to quit when, while sewing a long straight seam in the side of a garment, you sew the armhole closed as well.

24 August 2009

Life's tedious moments

Lodged my income tax return online. It wasn't very complicated once I got started, but I'm glad to get it over with. Now hanging on the phone waiting to get my internet banking password reset so I can pick up my credit card statements.

23 August 2009

Publishing and life

Internet connection out for awhile this morning. Amazing how much thinking & writing gets done without the distraction of, uh, research.

Back to the self-publishing book. Finished revising another difficult chapter, in between writing a short article for an editors' group, formatting Lyn's book, painting bookshelves, and (yesterday evening) moving sprinklers and hoses to water the vast expanse of lawn and garden beds near us that the management's watering system isn't doing. (We've reported the latter problem, so some day it may get fixed.)

First cut at front cover design for Lyn McConchie's Rural Daze, using artwork by Judith Giddens, who also did the interior illos.

22 August 2009


Taking a break from writing my own book to edit and format Lyn McConchie's next book of farming tales, Rural Daze and (K)nights.

19 August 2009

Wii research & book revision

Today we asked a salesperson in one store about connecting a Wii to a computer monitor, not a TV. She gave completely wrong info (claiming audio inputs weren't necessary), and was most emphatic about it. Eventually conceded she knew nothing about games consoles, only computers. Later, in Harvey Norman, we inspected the Wii gadgetry section and found the necessary cables. Not that we've decided to buy a Wii; just curious.

Later, did first-pass revision of Chapter 3 of my self-publishing with OOo book. More slash-and-burn. Can't believe I'd included so many irrelevant topics.

18 August 2009

Gas barbecue & wine bargains

Eric and I bought a small Weber gas barbecue this morning. It's part of our collection of supplies for cyclone season, in case of electricity outages (the regular stove is electric, as is—of course—the microwave). We could not consider any other brand than Weber. ;-)

One of the bottles of cleanskin Western Australian wine we bought last week tasted very much like a nice Evans & Tate we used to get occasionally, so we went back to the grog shop to get a dozen. While there, we checked the bottles labelled Evans & Tate and found a remarkable similarity in the colour of the screw cap and the name of the wine ("Classic").

14 August 2009

Lyn McConchie's next book

Cover art and interior illustrations for Lyn McConchie's next book in the Farming Daze series just arrived. I really like the work of Judith Giddens, the artist.

Facebook and Firefox

Just got this message from Facebook: "You're using an old web browser to browse Facebook. ... please upgrade your browser. Switch to Firefox." Actually I'm using a beta version of a forthcoming version of Firefox. Not everything is working yet, of course.

13 August 2009

Internet news

Our internet connection's been upgraded to a higher speed, the best we can get in this area. Alas, ADSL2 is not available where we live. Google Maps has a new satellite photo of our area, so our house is now visible (if you know where to look). We're not on StreetView, as Carlyle Gardens is private property and AFAIK hasn't given permission for the Google car to come through.

12 August 2009


For the first time, I saw one of the wallaby joeys out of the pouch this morning. Cute, like most young animals. Mom wallaby seemed most unenthusastic about letting it back into the pouch. Both hopped rapidly away into the fog.

11 August 2009

Computer problems

Computer systems (not mine) have been misbehaving today, starting with the checkout computer at Woolie's (sloooooow); followed by hotel booking website not accepting my credit card and when I phoned, the reservation person said her system wasn't working properly and had to do a manual entry; then the Virgin Blue website declined both my cards (indicating a malfunction on their end).

10 August 2009

What shall I buy?

I'm feeling the urge to buy a new gadget to play with. No, I don't know what gadget, and it's not like I've caught up on all my other gadgets. If Dell has something tempting on special in the paper tomorrow, I may be in trouble...

Online banking woes

Drat. Forgot (or typo'd, not sure which) my ANZ online banking password three times, so now I'm locked out and have to phone them to get a reset. Bah. My US banks let me reset my password online after answering security questions.

09 August 2009

Progress on Self-pub book

Got the self-publishing book off to the editor this morning. Hooray!

06 August 2009

Wallabies and writing

A mob of at least 7 wallabies (not counting the joeys still in pouch) are munching their way through the lush new grass near our house. We go out occasionally and shout "Eat weeds! Eat weeds!" but they don't seem to be paying attention.

Working on second draft of my book on self-publishing using OpenOffice.org Writer. Have done most of the content changes suggested by reviewers; now working on formatting. Still need to create a few more examples, with illustrations.

Wallaby at Carlyle Gardens

04 August 2009

Home again!

Got home yesterday. It was a great trip, but any longer would have been too much. Now to tackle the accumulated snail mail & postponed to-do items, organise and post the photos, write the trip report...

I very much enjoy visiting new places, trying new foods and drinks, and so on, but eventually it's soooo good to be back with familiar things... like the tea with real milk that I mentioned before. Now on my second cup this morning.

I'm happy to report that the rum and pisco arrived safely in my checked luggage. Did I mention that shrink-wrapping luggage is popular in South America? Both for theft deterrence and for keeping luggage from being destroyed by baggage-handling equipment.

Shrink-wrapped luggage

03 August 2009

Auckland, changing planes

On LAN flight from Santiago, skipped full dinner service in favour of "express" service, then to sleep. Flight got into Auckland on time. Good thing my liquor purchases were in my checked luggage, as we had to go through security to change planes (even though we stayed in the "international connections" section of the airport and didn't have to deal with immigration or customs) and they were confiscating liquids as usual.

Now hanging out in Qantas Club waiting for flight to Brisbane. Ah, New Zealand! Back in a land of fresh milk (not that horrid longlife stuff) and proper British tea to put it in.

02 August 2009

On way home to Australia

Managed to get a litre of Pisco to take home. Had to put it in my checked bag along with the Venezuelan rum. Hope the bottles arrive intact, or I will have very flavoursome dirty laundry.

Hanging out for a few hours in the LAN Business Class lounge in Santiago airport. Arrived on time from Lima. Had to go through Chilean immigration and customs, then take luggage and check in for next flight, the long one to Auckland. Fortunately I had plenty of time, and knew where to go in the airport.

01 August 2009

Colca Canyon

Returned to Arequipa late yesterday after an awesome two-day trip to Colca Valley and Canyon, viewing Andean condors, deep terraced valleys, snow capped volcanos towering over everything. Returned through a 4,910 metre pass (over 16,000 feet). Probably no comparison to Tibet, but impressive nonetheless.

Now back in Lima, going home to Australia tomorrow.

EDIT: Photo album from this part of trip to Peru is here.

Jean at Colca Canyon