Sunday, April 26, 2009

Newington Armory

Visited Newington Armory area for the first time. Close to Olympic Park and Bicentennial Park, but not sure exactly where it is. It's a very nice place, I must say. The Blaxland Riverside Park has ample parking spaces with bike paths and fountains and BBQ facilities. There's the Armory Wharf Cafe with indoor and outdoor dining areas. There's the actual wharf with the cranes still standing. Bike hire is $15 per hour. Nearby is the Newington Armory, which used to be a naval depot. A few hundred meters away is Armory Gallery (Building 18). At 500sqm, the building is the largest single room gallery with uninterrupted wall space in Australia. It hosts ArtExpress, currently featuring Art of Darkness with works from 2008 HSC Visual Arts students.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

2-for-1 at LG IMAX Theater

We knew Monsters vs Aliens 3D is a very popular movie, so we bought our tickets way in advance. An hour early to be exact. While waiting outside the theater, we saw people going in already. Might as well go in early and get some good seats, right? By the time we went in, the place is half-full. Some ads were being shown, a few trailers for upcoming movies. Then there's this long trailer for Under the Sea 3D. The trailer has been going on for more than half an hour already, so I jokingly told WHQ maybe we went to the wrong movie session. After the trailer, everyone started standing up and leaving the theater. Uh-oh, did we just watch the wrong movie. Well, we showed our tickets to the door lady and she didn't say anything. Anyway, we lined up again for the real show. We do have valid tickets, and if the door staff objects, we'll just buy new tickets. We got to the head of the queue. The guy didn't even look at our used tickets, and waved us in. Probably figured we came out to buy popcorn and drinks.

I found Monsters vs Aliens quite funny. Earth is having an alien problem, so General W. R. Monger brings out his collection of monsters (each sold separately) to fight them off. You've got Dr. Cockroach, blobby B.O.B, The Missing Link, Insectisaurus, and supersized Susan/Ginormica. Obviously, Susan is the main character here. Due to a freak chance encounter with a meteorite, she becomes a giant, and now her fiance doesn't want her anymore. Realizing that she's now big and strong (literally), she ditches her loser fiance, and goes on to become a full-time monster.

Photoshoot at The Rocks

Funny how things work out in the end. We're supposed to have this 9am photoshoot at The Rocks with Fotoexpression. As it is ANZAC Day, I thought of just parking in the office, then taking the bus through the city to Circular Quay. First, I woke up later than I wanted. On my way to WHQ's unit, I find Beamish Street blocked in preparation for the local ANZAC Day parade. I take to the small side streets, and even some of them are blocked. Then WHQ calls up asking if I can bring along a few of my shirts, so she can decide what to wear. That means I gotta go back home. By the time I got to her unit, her sister's still getting ready. We quickly drove to the city (within speed limits, of course), and got on the bus just in time.

Photoshoot went pretty well. The sun was out. There's a light breeze, but not too cold. I thought we were gonna take pictues with the Harbour Bridge as a backdrop, but apparently not. Right beside the Argyle Stores (corner of Argyle and Harrington Streets) is a quaint red phone booth. That's the starting point of the photo shoot. Moving up the road, more pictures outside the front door of Argyle Venues, then along sections of Cambridge Street, all the way to Susannah Place. The whole e-session took about an hour, and by then we're both tired from smiling and hugging and pretending to be models. :-)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Wedding Rings

Went to Mt. Pritchard to attend an Easter party. Left early and went to the city because WHQ's sister has to attend a meeting there.

Since we're already in the vicinity, we dropped by Ricco Ricco to take a look at their wedding bands. Naturally, we looked for 18k white gold bands that matches WHQ's engagement ring. Each one costs from $700 to $1000. We selected a pair, and the manager is offering us something like 50% off. Either the manager really likes me, or the store is having a massive sale, or maybe this is just Marketing 101. He's even willing to throw in free engraving. Personally, I'd rather check out a few more shops to make sure the price is within range, but this guy is really pushy. So I took his best price, shaved off $50, and asked him if he could give me that price. He laughed out loud and said to me, "That's not how you negotiate." Anyway, he played around with his abacus, I mean, calculator, and we came to a middle ground. As I always say, ask and ye shall receive.

Went back to the unit to find that the phone line is still not working. Worse, even the DSL service is busted. It definitely was working before. Checked the phone box outside and found the cover lying on the ground. Someone definitely fiddled with the wires.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

247tint is running a special on their car windows tinting services. The blurb goes "Any car, any darkness - $130!!!" Given that they normally charge $190 for sedans and $220 for wagons and 4WDs, that's a pretty good deal.

So I drop by 20 Consett Street around 8am for my appointment. Turns out it's a home business. No complaints about the work though. I left the car with Boyd, and by the time I came back at 11am (after McDonald's and Bunnings), it's all done.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Minnamurra Rainforest

For the long Easter break, the family decided to go to Minnamurra Rainforest, just west of Jamberoo. Been a while since the whole family went out on a trip. Stopped by Nan Tien Temple in Berkeley, Wollongong as the brother hasn't been there before. Took the Grand Pacific Drive through the Royal National Park to Stanwell Park through the Sea Cliff Bridge.

Today being a Christian holiday, I was confused to find so many people at Nan Tien Temple. The parking lots are almost full. Aside from the pagoda and the shrines, don't forget to visit the exhibition halls with paintings on display and the museum, which can be found inside the gift shop. After a hearty vegetarian meal at the dining hall, we proceeded to Minnamurra Reserve. From Princess Highway, take a right at Illawarra Highway, follow Terry Street, which become Jamberoo Road. Take a right at Jamberoo Mountain Road, then another right at Minnnamurra Falls Road.

Minnamurra Reserve is actually part of the Budderoo National Park. Vehicle entry fee is $11. Should've bought a truck next time. From the Visitor Centre, you start off with the Rainforest Loop Walk. It's 1.6kms and takes about an hour to complete. There's an elevated boardwalk that runs through the rainforest and a couple of suspension bridges here and there. Some sections of the wooden boardwalk have been replaced with specially designed non-slip ripple sole concrete pavers for better traction. To see the falls, you'll have to make a detour and take the 4.2km Falls Walk, which is another extra hour or so. The path is pretty steep and NOT recommended for people who get easily tired. At the end of the Falls Walk, you'll get to a viewing platform where you can enjoy the Minnamurra Falls. Worth the walk.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Birthday Surprise

Two hours into my birthday (read: 2am), I got a call from a colleague saying that the planned CPU upgrade didn't go too well. The CPU upgrade for one node went ok, but the other node got disconnected from the DB cluster. In the middle of our recovery, the whole thing just rebooted itself. Next, we started getting disk errors and read failures. A couple of volumes are in RESYNC mode. Looks like the sync process is gonna take more than 24 hours at the rate it's going. Not able to wait that long, we decided to fire up the application. Good thing everything came up properly.

Birthday dinner at Stir Crazy Thai at Erskinville. Food's all right, not as good as I was expecting. Service is quite good though. We brought along a cake, and the staff served it nicely with sparklers.