Oops, #blogjune has been running for 4 days and I’m already well behind. As I’ve commented previously, my mojo has been missing in action this year. I don’t want to speak too soon but there are signs that it may be flickering back into existence. In the last month or so I have managed to not only start but finish a book and start a second. I have read the final True Blood novel and made good progress with the third Sandman Slim.

My approach to work has also picked up and I’m feeling a stronger sense of ownership. I’m also approaching my 12 month anniversary. The last few days have been ticking over nicely and dare I say it, have had a nice buzz.

I have no idea whether I can manage to keep up the blogging in June, especially as I’m only up to “G” of April’s daily #atozchallenge.

We shall see.

Posted in health, june, meta | Leave a comment

f is for furniture

…and flat-packs.

A couple of months ago, I helped a friend move house and there was an almost array of items to deconstruct and reconstruct…not to mention additional items bought for new place. I seemed to spend forever stuck in a sort of Ikea-laden purgatory. At the same time, I was getting new stuff for me, including a new bed…moving from a double to a queen. Finally a new, decent mattress too – been two months and the mattress is still awesome.

bookcaseHowever the bigger bed has presented one or two challenges in my room arrangement. On one side is a bookcase and side table and the gap on the other side is rather narrow. I had initially planned to have the bed against that wall but it proved too awkward to change the sheets. Was ok with the double, less so with the queen. the width is roughly equivalent to the depth of a shallow bookcase, about 240mm. I failed last weekend as I didn’t have measurements with me when I went to Ikea and bought a small billy bookcase…which wasn’t small enough.

Yesterday, I was wandering through Kmart and found a bookcase that is 235mm deep. I am just about to put it together…though dreading the construction. It does at least look more straightforward than an Ikea version. It’s just 16 screws with no odd twists. Fingers crossed.

Posted in flotsam | 1 Comment

e is for ears

I’m a bit of a deaf bugger (maybe a lot :-) and require hearing aids to be able to hear well in many situations. I inherited my current pair from my father when he passed away. I had new molds made for my ears and the aids were re-programmed…literally. They were connected to a computer via wires and had their settings modified. Dad got them new in 2002 and I was fitted around 2006. At the time, they were still pretty much state of the art and there hadn’t been new developments.

Now it’s 2013 and the hearing aids are coming to the end of their life. Hearing aids generally last around 6-10 years and anything greater is exceptional. Just as well as they’re rather pricy with the current pair costing dad about $4,000 per ear. I have embarked on the process for getting a new pair, which take several weeks, and has already proven to be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I went to see a doctor last week to get my ears de-waxed and lost hearing altogether in one ear for a few hours. While I knew logically the ear would be ok, the shock was rather upsetting. This week, I’m doing it again and have drops in my ear prior to seeing an ear specialist tomorrow. Because I was mentally prepared this time, the loss of hearing has been more comfortable.

author staring at a screenHowever, this is but the first stage. Once the ears are de-waxed, I then need to see an audiologist for a full hearing test to see where my ears are at now and whether I’ve lost any hearing since the last test a few years ago. Then I need to look at what sort of hearing aid best suits and what options I like.

While there had been relatively few improvements in 2006 there have been substantial improvements since then. A big improvement is that you can now get water resistant models: one of the things I’ve been paranoid with the current pair is getting them wet. I was told to avoid such and they could only handle a few drops. Given the expense I went way out of my way to protect them and always carry a protective beanie if there’s a sudden downpour. Otherwise I take them out and restore them when inside.

Colour! My current pair are a sort of grey, ugly colour. The new models come in a variety of colours including red and blue. I’ve been very tempted by bright, red ones but have been concerned about coordinating my wardrobe around so may choose a dark blue instead. Blue would go better with my eyes too. Other options include being shock resistant, some models have a remote control to provide greater flexibility. My current pair has about 20 possible settings but I can only ever have 2 or 3 active. To change them currently, requires a visit to the audiologist. A remote control would mean I could change them myself on the spot. And so on…

Posted in flotsam, health, tech | 2 Comments

d is for dockhand

There’s a conversation on twitter about other jobs library folk had prior to becoming librarians. While working my way through uni, I spent several years as a dockhand on the loading dock at Grace Bros Burwood (now Myer). Over the course of 5-6 years, I worked my way up from casual dockhand to second in charge of the entire dock. Most of my time was as a regular casual though I did spend 18 months working fulltime while I paid off a car. I became rather adept at manipulating pallet jacks and stacking boxes…not to mention crushing boxes down for recycling.

I went to uni in Wollongong and when I changed to fulltime work, I planned to take a couple of years off uni altogether. However, I really missed the mental stimulation so after several months, I started studying two nights a week, driving from Burwood to Wollongong (about 90 minutes in peak hour) after work. The only subjects available in the evenings were in the History & Philosophy of Science (HPS) dept which I loved and ended up majoring in. I had initially been studying Philosophy and Computer Science, and had always wanted to try HPS but hadn’t been able to squeeze it in. Ultimately I finished off with majors in Philosophy and HPS and finished all the core components of Computer Science.

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c is for calendar

An issue I’ve long had is finding an easy way of coming events across all my varied systems. Actually the big issue is getting round to resolving it effectively :-) Mostly I keep track of things in my head, afterall my social calendar tends to be fairly light though occasionally populated with periods of intense activity. In my old job on vendor side, I had an iphone and laptop that went with me everywhere which made keeping track of things a little easier. Outlook on the work machine had the ability to maintain multiple calendars ie one for work and one for personal and I could sync it with the iphone.

However I changed jobs and have been back to relying on my head. Since mum died, it’s been hard to remember things, and stuff falls out of my head all the time ie I’m very forgetful at the moment. I no longer have a work laptop, nor access to work stuff and calendars outside of the physical office. This was intentional though it hurts a little :) At work, I have a desktop machine running XP, plus my Transformer Prime hybrid laptop/tablet running Android. At home I have a Mac Pro running MacOS and an Android phone.

For many years on XP, I’ve been using a calendar called Rainlendar, as it sits on the desktop barely visible unless needed. That was great for estimating dates and checking weeks ahead. I’ve since discovered there’s a mac version and have it installed at home too. I finally set up syncing for google’s calendar for my android devices but to feed that into Rainlendar required spending actual money (about AUD$12) and buying the licensed version. That license covers personal use on both my machines.

There’s probably many ways of doing all this but this has worked for me, and once I finally pulled my finger out and tried setting it up, it proved to be easy and took less than 20 minutes. A couple of hiccups as I’d had syncing turned off on the phone to conserve battery life but easily resolved. I can now enter info on any device and get reminders via any device. I’ve got one of the home screens on my phone devoted entirely to displaying the calendar.

All good so far :-)

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b is for book

…though for the moment, the lack thereof. I am otherwise something of a voracious reader, not to mention book collector. I have gone a little silly in this direction, more times than I can count. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, my mum passed away just after christmas. Since then I have been unable to read any books, nor have any desire to buy interesting books. This is not unusual, and has happened with previous losses.

Malazan booksI was 2/3 of the way through re-reading the Malazan series at the time, literally halfway through one of the books and I haven’t been able to touch it since. I have attempted to start several books including easy reads but not been able to get more than 2 pages in. I don’t actually miss reading or long for it, it just doesn’t seem to be a skill I possess at the moment.

The lack is primarily book reading. I can read newspaper articles ad infinitum, blog posts, and of course twitter. Shorter stuff requiring minimal commitment. On a related note, I’m aware that my creative/imagination switch seems to be stuck in the off position eg for work, I’m fine for operational stuff but not so hot for thinking strategically.

This state of mind will pass and I will return to books, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Posted in books | 5 Comments

a is for active

Following on from flexnib’s example, I’m going to attempt doing an A to Z of topics ie each post will be based on a word based on the current letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. Con is doing it in 26 days as it seems to be an April challenge. I’ll give that a go, but mostly I’m just aiming for 26 posts.

I last blogged nearly 4 months ago, and I have not been active in the blogosphere in the time since. My online activities have waned. To some extent, I suspect that’s a side effect of the death of my mother at the end of December…no sympathy required and I’m doing ok; her passing was not unanticipated. I’ll cover another side effect when I hit “B”.

On the other hand, I have picked up on physical things. I am walking more. I even did a 3 hour walk around Northbridge on the weekend. That’s not a particularly big deal, however I’m aware that my fitness has lagged and I’ve not really been up for the sort of tramping I did for Routeburn in December 2010. I’d like to get back to that level of fitness so I can return to New Zealand and explore more of their Great Trails.

Posted in flotsam, health, tramping | 1 Comment