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Friday games
We've gone on about it for age. We're finally organized enough to get it started!

Board games, our place, 7:30PM, Friday 18th February.
We'll have nibbles. You bring whatever you like to drink. We're thinking pizza for dinner (Crust Pizza or something local).

Which boardgames will depend on number of people, mood and a dose of just plain random.

If you're interested just reply and I'll get our address to you.

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Iron maiden
so as it turns out, we're unable to attend the Iron Maiden concert in Melbourne on 23rd Feb.
Depressing as hell but it can't be helped.

So, if you're interested in going, or know someone who is interested, we have 2 tickets that need a home.
Maybe not free, but I'd rather they made someone happy than went to waste.

For friends, we can even offer accommodation if you're from out of town.

In other news, I'm planning on posting photos and impressions of our holiday. Just have to get around to it.

Also, I'm not dead.

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Day one in Paris
Well technically day two, since we arrived yesterday. But all we did is get to the hotel, have some dinner and crash.

Actually, since I'm on free wireless, I'll cover the back story.

First leg of the flight was to Seoul on Korean Airlines. It was actually a good flight. The in-flight entertainment system was pretty comprehensive but lost out to scrabble on the iPad. It's been years since I played scrabble, I'd forgotten how much I loved it. We also watched a French film :)
The layover in Seoul was ok, but their idea of 5star was well under mine. Dinner was ok but cold and small (that's what you get for free I guess).

Next morning, up early in the freezing cold and back to the airport for our Air France flight to Paris. Enjoyed the free wireless at Incheon Airport. The flight to Paris seemed a bit more "budget" than the first. Read a lot, bushes up on some French. Was chuffed when they served rather nice cheese with the in-flight meal.
We flew over China and Siberia en route. They had a down-facing camera you could watch. So I can say I've seen Siberia and Mongolia ;)
When we hit Paris we waited for a hour while the shuttle bus waited for other passengers that never showed.

After checking in we went to the hotel restaurant, Hippopotomus (seriously). My French failed me utterly. I was like a deer in headlights. I had no idea what they were saying and no idea how to respond. Fortunately my other half kept her presence of mind and managed to get the ideas across. Eventually the waiter asked if he should use English and I gratefully said yes.
It turns out I don't deal at all well with the language barrier.

Hence, here we sit in Macdonalds where we can order with the bare minimum of communication. They also have free Internet though, which rocks.

This morning we embarked on a long walk through Le (la?) Parc des Buttes Chaumont. It's a stunning park, steep hills lead down to a lake with a rock spire in the centre complete with a gazebo and very impressive views. I might see about uploading some pictures.

The Cite de Sciences is a stone's throw from our hotel and has a science fiction exhibition on but alas it was closed (as most museums in Paris are on Mondays). We have that one pegged as a must-visit after the tour. We did walk around the building in the frickin' freezing morning. It has a giant, reflective metal geodesic sphere that looks damned impressive and ,um, plays a serious of little musical jingles. Oh, and it houses an IMAX theater apparently. I should upload some photos of that too :)

Tomorrow, the tour starts. Looking forward to setting out on that big adventure but also really looking forward to getting back to Paris. There's just SO much we want to see here.

Hopefully, I can also make some progress with this language problem.

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Victorian Election soon...
...and I'm a little in the dark. Anyone care to point me to some online material that might give some background on the govt and opposition?

I'm rather miffed at the whole Myki affair and the Connex to Metro move has been far from beneficial. I presume they're both State issues. On those alone I'm disinclined to give the current mob another go.

But that's just protest voting, so I guess I should also try looking at the positive side and see what they all have on "offer" (if anything).

It's funny, it wasn't until "my old mate" Katter showed up after the federal election that i realised how much accumulated knowledge I had regarding local and state politics, that I don't have for my new home. Except half remebered (and probably apocryphal) tales of police shooting neighbours. I did however enjoy being able to ellucidate some locals on Bob's special kind of politics.

This entry was originally posted at http://belegdel.dreamwidth.org/102718.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

WoW patch Whinging
For those not in the loop - World of Warcraft recently underwent a massive patch as the first step towards releasing the next expansion on the 7th Dec.

Firstly, it was Gigs in size. 6.5 or so and rumour has it there will be another 1.5Gig of patch patching for when I get home.
That's frickin' huge in anyone's language. I take that as proof all the "we don't need national broadband upgrades of any kind" crowd had their heads in the sand.
The scientists haven't told everyone yet, but data actually has sex when you're not looking and makes little data babies. When they grow up all of a sudden your data file is 10 times bigger than it used to be. Trust me on this, I see the end result of the randy little buggers every damned day.

Secondly, some utter moron at Blizzard thought it would be a fantastic idea to let the game start BEFORE all the data was downloaded. Seriously.
So what happens is in game when you try to go somewhere it hasn't downloaded/updated yet everything stops dead whilst it catches up. Really, it does that. That would be OK because one can just refrain from playing (even thought it would let one) until the download is complete. EXCEPT that we're talking an MMO here and one can't rely on the OTHER players being so restrained.
So you end up sitting around in-game twiddling your virtual thumbs whilst THEY finish updating.
If I meet the fool who thought it up, and/or the fools who approved it, I have some choice words to download into their craniums.

Thirdly, the patch has heavily altered the way the game plays. Yet, people in game (when you finally get to start playing rather than twiddling) seem even LESS patient when things go a little south. Had a warrior tank just drop group last night after he died a second time due to his pulling every damned thing in sight and me not being able to keep up with the healing. Even for a gnome that was inexcusable - and I give gnomes a lot of leeway just because they're awesome.
More than once I've wondered if my addiction to WoW as a hobby is some kind of masochistic manifestation of anti-misanthropy.

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Echoes of the Howard years
“This is nothing,” he says. “Five years ago when I worked here last, we got death threats every day. Eventually my car got hit by a rocket through the engine.” Jesus, how did you cope? “Oh, a wee touch of the post-traumatic stress disorder.” Silence. “My wife left me.” Silence. “We’d been married 30 years.” “Still,” he brightens, “it’s all better here now. So what do you need?”

They could not possibly offer me enough money to risk the kind of awful acceptance displayed in the rest of that article.
Makes my skin crawl to think about it.

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Unexpected relief
For years now I've loved a sample in the song "I've Been Dying" by Single Gun Theory.
It goes "...twelve months ago to the moment you destroyed yourself, much as I told you you would."
Not only does it fit the song well thematically, it's well delivered; good emphasis and palpable emotion. I always felt it was a quote I should recognise.

I've wondered where it came from for years. Now I know :D
It's from The Twilight Zone. An episode called The Silence. Here's a WAV sound file containing the quote.
In a strange additional twist it's delivered by the Actor who played Doctor Smith in Lost In Space": Jonathan Harris

(Queue the chorus of "well duh, we knew that")

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Teh internets
So, the Telstra sub-contractor tested a couple of points down the cable then lobbed it back at Telstra to fix. So now it's 1 to 48 hours for Telstra to fix something street-side.
Which leaves us with shitty Internet for another 2 days potentially.

Fortunately, I have my iPad to distract me.
Maybe Starcraft II as well if I can land a copy (since I'm obviously not downloading it).

I always feel bad getting shitty at sub-contractors since they've got barely any more control over the situation than I do, much the same as call centre staff. It's a lovely fluffy padding layer for the people who really deserve a kick in the pants.
When our indentured servitude to BigPond is done, they had better have fixed this with bells on or we're gone.
And on that note, how are 24 month contracts not anti-competitive? Fuckers.

Internet woes
Our BigPond cable internet has been very dodgy lately. Pretty much unusable.
They sent someone out last week who replaced a connection in the underground well out the front of the house. Seemed to do the trick until yesterday.
On top of that, BigPond over charge like crazy.

So we're in the market for a new internet provider. We're thinking of switching from cable to ADSL2+ or something.

What/who do you use and how are they to deal with?

Somehow I missed the bad news
Carl Macek passed away in April.

This is primarily relevant to me because he was the Producer for Robotech. Robotech was more than just my entry point into Anime, it was and continues to be a major creative inspiration. Formative in every way.

I'd go so far as to say it's my number one fictional influence (beyond my own roleplaying experiences). I still regularly go through the various materials I have (especially the RPG books, even though they ar Palladium ;) and regularly watch bits and pieces of the series.
I rarely have to watch it all because it's so indellibly imprinted on my memory.

It's sad that one of the driving forces behind what brought me that experience (and it was no mean feat at the time) has passed away. Death is such a waste.

Sad. Sad that he's passed away but somehow even more sad that I didn't find out about it sooner (or worse I did and I've forgotten).