Wednesday, December 30, 2015

That time again

Many years ago, my New Years Resolution was to not make any more New Years Resolutions. I never really got into them, seemingly arbitrary and easily forgotten. But I completely agree with setting goals and working towards them. It is pretty rare that I set goals for myself, but now I have one and I want to be SMART about it:

S – Specific (or Significant).
M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
T – Time-bound (or Trackable).

What does that mean? It means there is no point setting an elusive or ambigious goal. "I want to have a better life" is a poorly written goal because it does not help or focus you. "I want to increase my income by 15% by the end of next year" is a much better goal. It is definite, it has a target and it has a time (and it is written down).

A few weeks ago, I inherited a guitar, an acoustic one. It is currently in transit, I should have it in my hands sometime next month. I had a drum kit and an electric bass guitar in the 90's but never got lessons or practiced. This time around, I want to learn how to play it, properly. With the caveat that I'm married with kids now so my budget is like... zero dollars. So no lessons. :(

On the plus side, this time around there is the internet and YouTube and a million and one tutorials available - for free!

So here is my first goal:

"I will learn to play three songs well, without notes, by 1st of December 2016."

With that, comes my secondary goal:

"I will practice for at least 15 minutes, at least 3 times a week."

But with that goal, I have two caveats - my preference will be to practice every day, but I have no idea what my schedule (or my families schedules) will be in the new year. Also, I have times when I have to travel for work and won't be able to take a guitar with me - so I wouldn't be able to practice then. Those trips will add up to months out of the year, which is why I set my first goal for twelve months away.

Monday, December 28, 2015


I might be putting the cart before the horse, but I worked out how to do custom thumbnails for my Youtube videos and set up a template for consistancy. This way I'll be able to keep a constant "look" to my videos.

Probably didn't need to do that, at least not yet. Pretty sure nobody is going to be watching my videos, at least not deliberately. :)

Itching for my guitar to arrive...

Friday, December 25, 2015

Changed circumstances

Writing: for this years' NaNoWriMo, I'm giving myself every opportunity to meet the deadline by ... cheating? Sort of. Instead of doing it across one month, I'm pushing it out across the whole year. Slightly ahead right now, but it remains to be seem how much time will be available on the schedule. Budget: $0 - but all I need is my laptop anyway. Do snacks count? No matter, budget is still zero.

Photography: ditto for time, but this hobby is more relaxed and has no timeframes. Budget: $0 - though I could spend a few thousand every month on buying new gear if I had the money. Should spend less time online looking at lenses...

Guitar: in limbo, until the guitar arrives. Once it arrives, we'll see how much time I can devote to it. Fingers crossed the humidity up here doesn't kill the guitar. :( The key for me I think will be regular practice. Budget: $0 - but there are loads of great resources on line. A bonus; found out I can use bread tags (the little plastic thingy that keeps the bread bag closed) in lieu of a pick. But if I want to splurge, I can get 10 for $1 from eBay - including postage!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Start of a new age

Today, things change. Hopefully for the better.

A few minutes ago my wife's plane landed in Darwin. My family will be living up here with me again. I hadn't been counting on this, for the last few years I thought the next decade or so would be spent only seeing my family for a week or so every few months, stuck kicking around the far north with nothing better to do with my spare time.

Having my family up here means I will have less spare time with little to do - but that time will be used with my family. Valuable time with them I didn't think I would have. <3

Saturday, December 19, 2015

NaNo planning

Due to work related timings, I am not sure if I will be around or near a computer next November.

But there is no harm in planning, so I might start some ground work for NaNo 2016. After all, it isn't like I have a whole lot on my plate at the moment.

Once my family and guitar get here, well, that's a different matter!


Had nice jog this morning. Carried some water on my back and drenched in sweat, despite going out first thing in the morning when it is coolest. I don't think it is a good idea to go running around in the heat of the day.

Friday, December 18, 2015


Found out (not that I was looking) that there are a few people around offering guitar lessons. The common price seems to be $50 an hour. Which sounds good for a human one-on-one instructor.

Not that I can afford that.

But at least I have an idea on how much I would have been out of pocket, if I had gone the paid lessons route.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

First video live

Whee, posted my first vLog to YouTube. First time sharing something creative in around five years. Feels good to be creating again, even if it is a really low budget "talking head" video.

I can think of a half dozen things I can do to make better quality videos but all of them require either an outlay of cash or a second person (or more). Well, I'll just have to work within my constraints.

I'm pretty disappointed I couldn't recover my old Tsbytomd YT account. The email account it was tied to doesn't exist so it is pretty much gone.

I created a new alias to release my guitar journey on. Not because I want to hide my identity (I'n showing my face, so that makes it hard), but just to make it a little harder to find if people search for my name.

I won't be advertising these videos, I'll just have them as my creative outlet.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Account recovery

Well, I found which email account I had used to set up my old YouTube account, and I'm fairly certain I know the password. Annoyingly, I tried too many times and now Google has locked me out because it thinks I'm trying to hijack my own account.

On the downside, that email account (and domain) don't exist any more. And the account was set up years ago, before we started putting mobile phone numbers as backups. So that is making it a bit harder...

First video test

...Was a success!

I was looking at a few options such as the webcam on my laptop, the camera on my phone and my dslr. The best results were from the dslr with an external microphone, so I will use that.

If I had to buy a camera, then I would just use the camera in my phone (which is still pretty good, despite being nearly four years old!) but since I have the dslr, I may as well use that.

The only down side is that the tripod I have is a bit too tall, so I will need to get creative in order to get the framing that I want.

Next step: try and find my password for my old Tsbytomd account on YouTube. I haven't used that one in five years. It's no biggie if I can't get that one back, but it would be nice to tie it in to my old EDM account.

Fly to Darwin, take two

*Sigh* Can't believe I missed my flight yesterday. And by only around 20 seconds. Stupid electronic check ins just go "nuh, time ticked, you're locked out".

Had to book a new flight for today out of my own pocket. Not saying that work should have covered it, but that was $300 flushed down the toilet that I shouldn't have needed to spend. Not that I can afford it.

Good thing I hadn't planned on doing anything fun for Christmas. Or New Years. Or Easter next year either...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Back to Darwin

I have to fly back to work today.

Nobody likes having to go back to work after a holiday but I wanted to extend mine so I could do more work packing up the house for the move. And more importanty, my wife is sick and I want to be here to look after her.

But there wasn't anyone available at work to approve an extension or change my flights. So back I go...

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Time to practice

With the new guitar quest, the key will be making time to practice. Or more acurately, having the support from my family to be able to make the time to practice.

I figure if I can get in 15 to 30 minutes per day, then that would be awesome. Not sure how it'll pan out but I'll have natural breaks when we go out for work. Wouldn't take my guitar out into the bush.

I've started having a look online at advice on learning guitar and it seems that the common consensus is to learn the basics, learn to tune, loads of practice and have fun. Then practice some more.

Pretty sure I won't have any original music to put up, not for a long time yet. But not sure if I want to put up any covers. Aside from the legal issues, I'm sure the artists don't want to hear me butchering their songs!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Telstra *sigh*

And of course, internet is intermittant. :(

It has been an ongoing saga with Telstra and the aging infrastructure out here. We're in a slightly regional area and every time it rains, water gets into the pits and pipes that carry all the communications cables.

Technician gets sent out, applies a band aid to the best of their ability, but the cabling is old and the only real fix is to rewire the whole town. Which isn't going to happen. Not in our life times, I wouldn't think.

I think there is NBN available were we will be going to next, but I can't say I am overly impressed with what I have personally seen with NBN. My personal choice would be to get standard adsl instead of NBN. I'd only get the "faster" option if the two plans cost the same and included the same amount of data. Mind you, I get no say, so it's a moot point.


Prediction: I don't think any of our chickens will be alive by July 2016. We're moving out and will have tenants in the house. I seriously doubt they will look after the chickens like my wife does.

Don't get me wrong, I really hope they thrive. It'll be good for our tenant to fall in love with them and recognise their personalities (yes, chickens have personalities). But I don't see it happening.

Really hoping to be wrong about this one.

Guitar: Day -X

Well, I have decided to learn to play the guitar. I've had a number of different creative outlets that I've been looking at but not had the satisfaction from them.

That's a bit of a lie, I really enjoyed making stop motion animation with Lego (check out - free plug!) and really like photography but in both cases I lack resources to do it. Writing was okay and I like it, but it seems like I never write, which is kinda step one.

I can't afford to buy a guitar but my mum moved house and gave me her old guitar. I have it now, though it does need new strings.

I won't have the money or time to replace the strings and practice before returning to Darwin. And I won't be able to take it with me on the plane so I won't be able to start learning or practicing until all our home gear gets there... early next year (hence why this is Day -X since I don't know how much longer until Day 0).

At the moment I plan to try and record some videos of myself to vBlog my progress (or lack thereof). Not sure if that'll end up happening but it'll give me something else to create. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

She's home again

Bit of a scary time at the hospital but have the wife home again. Very glad she is safe, if a bit worse for wear.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Life takes a turn

...for the worse.

Now, home alone. Wife was in a bad way this arvo, so I took her to the hospital. So far tests have come back negative for anything serious but they wanted to hang on to her overnight for observation and some more tests in the morning.

Fingers crossed it goes well.


Getting off the plane and walking across the tarmac, I took a deep breath of that cool, damp air and felt invigorated. After many hours of sitting still, I just wanted to run and run.

Spent the afternoon with my wife, we attended her friends' birthday party then caught up with other friends. Felt great to be able to have some time together, just hanging out in a social setting.

Got home and chilled out in front of the tv for a while. We had a cardio session last night and another this morning.

Very happy to be home. Even if it is only for a week.

Saturday, December 5, 2015


Currently at Alice Springs, waiting for a connecting flight. Definitely prefer this method. Only two hours to get here, as opposed to two and a half days!

Going to be really busy at home and it is only for a week, but will be good to have some family time again.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Last trip home

Been doing a lot of flying lately. Flown on more planes in the last 18 months than I have in my entire life. I get to go home in a few days, bur this will probably be the last time I get to go back to my home state for a few years.

Just have to enjoy it as much as I can.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Account recovery

Short version: back in 2007 I set up my blogger account and started blogging. No biggie. Around 2012 Google aquired Blogger and tied my gmail account to my blog. No biggie.

Problem is that I kept using the gmail account (user) and not the blogger account (admin). A year or two ago I wanted to make changes to the blog and found I couldn't since I was using a non-admin account.

I didn't pay much attention to it but it vexxed me. I tried a few times to reset the admin account but the email address I used to set it up doesn't exist anymore.

It took a bit of effort today, but I managed to get access to the account again and made the changes. So, yay! Points for persistance.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Achievement Unlocked

Well, course is basically done (last day is mainly just cleaning up and refurb). Managed to tick all the right boxes so I've passed, another responsibility available to be tasked with. :D

Looking forward to getting back to Darwin, though I suspect I will be spending many hours at the airport waiting for my flight. Such is how these things go.

Looking forward even more to getting some time with the family in December. Only ad two weeks at home all year and was lucky enough to have a third week with my wife when she came up to Darwin in September.

Will be good when she moves up to Darwin and we can spend more time together.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

One more week

Hit the halfway point, second week of this course to go. Half of me wants it to go quick, half of me wants it to drag out. I like the course and what I am learning, but there are so many other things I need to get on top of, it isn't funny.

One day at a time...

Friday, November 20, 2015


Making good progress so far. Helps that I already have some experience, though it is a tad frustrating that I'm only getting qualified on what I already know what to do.

Had been planning on changing career paths but with the family coming up, I figure I'll stay on my current track for a while. Don't want to make the family move, then move again a few months later.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Well, since I had so much spare time I had been gearing up to start recording a podcast. Not about anything particularily import or possibly interesting to anybody else. But with the change in circumstances coming up, I'm not going to have the time or the space to do any recording.

Good thing I hadn't yet spent any money on any gear like a decent microphone. I'd been planning on it, though it probably wouldn't have been for a while. Lots of other, more pressing things that need money before that would have happened.

Oh well, just have to keep looking for something else to set up as a creative outlet.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Got sent to Brisbane for a few weeks to do a spot of training. Going well so far.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Are you annoyed by the "Memories" feature on Facebook? I am. I can understand the reasoning but I don't want random stuff getting picked out and shown to me.

It'd be like letting a random stranger come into my house, rummaging through my photo albums and picking stuff out to shove in my face. No thank you.

At least I haven't been burned as bad as some people who have had "happy" photos of deceased friends or family bringing up bad memories.

Currently, there is no way to turn it off or opt out of it. But there is a work around:

1: Go to
2: Find the settings button
3: Find the dates filter
4: Set the dates you don't want memories from

So if (for example) something bad happened in 2011, you could set the date filter to not show anything from Jan 1st to Dec 31st 2011. Then FB won't show you any Memories from 2011.

I wanted to turn Memories off altogether, so I set mine from Jan 1 2005 (as far back as it goes) to Jan 1 2016 (in the future at the time I wrote this).

This effectively turns Memories off. Just need to update the future date as I catch up to it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Still hot

Slept with the air con on last night. Usually I don't, try and save power. But I figured I could do without a pre breakfast shower. Cut out one during the day... lol.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Bit of a long dragged out day today. Apparently there was some horesy thing on today down south - yawn, not my cup of tea.

Actually, that's more frustrating than anything because I'm trying to get paperwork done and that stalls when everyone is out of the office.

Oh well, can't do anything about it, so no point getting worked up about it. Just wait for tomorrow, then do what I can.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Back north

Finished our little foray down south. Drive back was a bit long, good to be back in a stable environment.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Daylight Savings

In Australia most states do Daylight Savings while a few do not. I'm currently in NT which does not do DS but for some reason my phone thought it was in SA, which does. And consequently was showing the wrong time.

Easy fix, but made me think I was hella late for a moment. Admittedly, I will be in SA soon, just my phone was jumping the gun.

Last day :(

Last day for who knows how many months to have with my gorgeous wife. ♥

Had a week at home last month and she came up here to see me for a week (and do a few other trivial things, like work :P ), so it has been a real blessing to have had a chance to be with her this last week. Why does the time go so quickly? :'(

No chance of seeing her again this month, maybe in November or maybe December. Not sure which, but certainly glad that we no longer have to go as long as five months apart. At the moment, that might happen again in the future, but hopefully not.

It's going to be a slow month...

Saturday, October 3, 2015

So hungry

Hard going all week, pushing hard and bouncing back and forth. Not been getting enough nourishment. Makes me grumpy. Had pretty much zero time to do preparations, so going to have to hammer that Sunday night, in order to be ready for Monday morning.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

So tired

And the drive hasn't even started. The situation is great but the timing is annoying. Can't complain though.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Long ride

Getting ready to gear up for a long road trip. Weeks of poor food, dirt and no showers. Sounds like fun!

Oh yeah, and being away from the fanily. Not fun. :(

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Yay, my wife is coming up to Darwin to visit for a few days. Squeeee! Pretty excited to get to see my darling wife and have some time with her. It was only a week ago that I was at home, so it's a bit on top of the last time I got to be with her, but I'll take what I can get. It'll be a few more months before I get a chance to go home again.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

One more day...

...and my Bae gets here.

Yay! Looking forward to seeing her again. ♥

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

More endless paperwork

The joys of government work. Can't do anything just because it needs to be done, or do it the quick and easy way.

Everything has to be twenty forms, on paper (go environment!) and frequently lost so it has to be done again.

But have to jump through hoops to get things done...

Monday, September 21, 2015

Hot up here

Back in Darwin, hot and humid, and away from my family again.


Never fun having to leave my family behind and come back to work for who knows ho many months until I get to see them again.

This job sucks.

Actually, it's not the job, it is being away from the family for so long. That is what really sucks.

And for now, it can't be helped.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Cold down here

The weather down here is a bit chilly, just a small change from the top end of the country. Still prefer to be here with the family. <3

Friday, September 18, 2015

Back for another round

I'd jumped out the first time many moons ago after reaching my goal. I went again for another round not long after. Time for round three.

I've joined up on OGame again. A frustratingly slow internety game which is kind of amusing and happily low bandwidth.

I managed to build a Death Star first time around (which was promptly destroyed). We'll see how far I get this time.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Full reboot

Well, gave the old phone a good kerb stomping by doing a factory reset and software upgrade.

Lamentably, being an older phone it won't take the latest version of Android (without rooting it), so it's as upgraded as it is going to get (until I root it).

Lasted about 3 1/2 years before choking out of memory, we'll see how long it lasts this time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tv antenna's...

...the bane of my existance.

Be nice if I could just throw a handfull of money at the problem and make it go away!

Monday, September 14, 2015


Been home for two days so far and thoroughly enjoying it. Been so long, since April that I've been home. Loving it. Coming home is so awesome.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Flying home!

So excitement!

In a few hours I'll be boarding a plane and flying home to spend some much needed time with my family.

Very much looking forward to it, and going to relax as much as possible.

Friday, September 11, 2015


Wheee - so excited! Get to go home this weekend for a week. Really looking forward to it, haven't been home since April.

Have flights and travel all arranged and ready to go. Just need to pack my gear and get on the plane.

I get to see my wife again!!! :D

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Those few annoying ones

By and large the people I work with are pretty good people. Help you out when you need it, do the job they need to do.

But there's a few, just a few that have that annoying slacker trait. That annoying habit of doing as little work as possible and putting more effort into getting out of work than just getting on with.

That in itself doesn't bug me that much. But when they come over to where I'm working to slack off, when they get in the way and slow me down, when they actively discourage me from working because "we'll be knocking off in an hour or so anyway" - then that really bugs me.

If they don't want to work - fine. It doesn't bother me. But at least don't get in the way of my work.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Stupid vending machine

Was busy yesterday and missed dinner again. Bit annoying but not the end of the world. Since I had a bunch of spare change floating around, I figured I would get rid of it and go grab something from one of the vending machines.

Stupid thing wouldn't take my money!

I don't normally eat chocolate or chips and stuff, but I'd gotten the urge since I was hungry. The machine said it accepted all coins but all the ones I pit in just dropped straight out of the coin return.

#SadPanda #BedNoDinner

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Missed meals

Grr - hate it when plans are made for me and I end up missing out on food.

And I really hate it when it happens several times in one week!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

New idea

Kicking around an idea for a new project. Probably another one of my "not gonna happen" ideas, but I'll share some more once I flesh it out some more.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

It's the weekend


Much to do.

So busy.


Friday, August 28, 2015


Well, it's been about three weeks that I've been here at Darwin and things are going well so far.

The weather has been pretty decent, but I need to keep in mind that we got here at the best time of year, right at the height of tourist season. Most days are a carbon copy of each other and it's hot but not too hot.

As the year grinds on, it'll be getting hotter and hotter, and the humidity will climb to pretty much 100% most of the summer (which is the wet season). And apparently, once it starts raining, it keeps raining. Hard and heavy. Good thing I don't ride a motorbike!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

First page

Not in the sense that I'm starting something, more along the lines of you have no idea what will be the first page someone sees.

Let me back up a little. I've been reading webcomics since... I have no idea, at least a decade. I had a go at my own webcomic in ... 2003? Maybe even before that, and I read a lot of them before I tried to make one myself.

One of the things an artist needs to be keenly aware of is the limitations of their art. And for an online comic, one of those limitations is that you have no idea which page will be the first one a reader sees.

So make every page count, dagnabit!

Going home... September. It's still a few weeks away, but should be going forth, all things being equal.

Looking forward to getting some time with the family. Missing them heaps.

Friday, August 21, 2015


Trying my hand at a bit of netty action. It's a pretty fast paced game and needs a good cardio capacity to keep up.

I'm serious enough about it to be looking to buy a ball, which is a big deal for me considering I spend as little as possible and account for pretty much every dollar!

Saturday, August 15, 2015


I keep wanting to go swimming. Good cardio, good skill to have. Need to get into the pool more often.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Trying to get home in September. And it's never easy. Stupid paperwork...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Endless paperwork

Weren't we moving towards the paperless office? Like, two decades ago? Seems like we're churning through more dead tree emails than ever!

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Finally arrived, at my new home away from home (at least for the next few years). It still sucks to be away from my family for extended periods of time. But now that I'm here at least it'll be a bit more established and it'll be easier to organise time at home to be with my family.

It's August and so far this year, I've only had one week at home, in April. Too long away from my wife and the kids. Hoping I can get some time at home soon. The sooner the better.

Other than that, it's good to be up here away from the icy cold of Melbourne. Though I think I might be regretting that when summer rolls around.

Monday, August 3, 2015


Hmm, my phone keeps complaining that it is low on memory. I have bugger all apps installed and gigabytes free but it insists on installing everything to on board main memory.

I've already moved as much as I can off main to usb memory but the biggest apps (I'm looking at you Facebook App, you resource hog) can't be moved off main memory. So there aren't enough to run apps properly. Email won't sync any more.

I guess the next option is to do a factory reset then upgrade the operating system. But in order to do that, I need a reliable landline with a good amount of data available, and there's a chance I could brick the phone. So I'll probably need to wait until I get home again.

Whenever that is...

Saturday, August 1, 2015


Yes, I'm still flogging this dead horse.

It's so dead, it's rotted away and the bones have scattered. But I still hold on.

The dream still lingers...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Double pivot

On the final step of our course before heading off to work. Learning to tow 8 ton trailers (the trailer can carry a payload of 8 tons, the trailer itself doesn't weigh that much). Pulling it forward is easy, it just follows the truck. It's reversing that's hard.

Since they have an axle right down the back and another one on a turn table right up the front, you end up with two points of articulation.

The easiest way to think about it, is if you imagine towing a trailer behind your car - then a second trailer behind the first one.

Pulling forward is easy, like a train, both will follow. But reversing? Then it wants to snake and go every which way. Yes, it is possible to crash into your own trailer.

No point doing something easy - you have to challwnge yourself to become better.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Last weekend

Nearly done with Victoria, going to be headed up to Darwin soon. No idea what it'll be like. But looking forward to it.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Course finished!

Wooh! Finally done!

Well, sort of. Training is finished but still have one more bonus bit of training, runs for a week and a bit. But basically, it is done. Time to get to work.

Sad that I can't share it with the missus though, give her a hug and such.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Dinner was pretty sub par today. Goulash and rice with potato on the side. Did not go down well, but it ain't coming back up again.

Toothache getting a bit worse, on my to do list once I can get an appointment.

Other than that, life is peachy...


Course is nearly finished. About a year of work, lots of ups and downs and no real injuries to speak of. Aches and pains, an overnight stay in the hospital and a few setbacks during training... but a week out from the end.

Almost a year away from the family, which has been hard. But long term this should be beneficial for us, more stable and better for when I retire.

Getting a bit more excited to be getting out of the course and into work. Going to be jumping into a bigger pond with bigger fish, that's both cool and scary. But being challenged is a good thing.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Missing the missus

Only had three weeks at home in the last ten months. And no idea when I'll be able to get home and see the family next.

It's a hard life. :(

Monday, July 20, 2015

Final days

Well, course is nearly done. Around two weeks left, give or take. Feeling ... calm? Not sure what I should be feeling at the moment. Been a long time coming, but progress is being made.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

....and ... it's gone.

I was using Business Calendar with my Google calendar to track dates. Addmitedly I don't have anything important or critical on there but the latest sync pretty much wiped my data.

Loads of important dates and little memories, gone. :( Not a happy camper today.

Hunted and tried a few work arounds but no joy, it's definitely gone.


Another weekend rolls around

This weekend I think I'll focus on uploading heaps of photographs to my site. I don't have any new articles to upload, mainly due to not having any internet access.

Normally I'd put them directly on my site but since my host likes to shut me down every couple of weeks, I'm better off uploading them to something like PhotoBucket so I just need to upload the html when my site goes offline and needs reloading.

Might look at a few older articles that I have which I might upload again.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Empty hours

With nothing to fill them. I feel adrift, with too much down time where I'm still away from you, so can't relax.


Some day, I'll hold you in my arms once more...

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Slow Sunday

Down at the local cafe, using their wifi since I have very little data on my plan. Had a nap this morning after breakfast. That was a bit weird.

Hunting around for a different host for my website. I have the domain paid for another two years. If I get paid hosting through my domain registrar, then it is about $7 a month. If I am going to get paid hosting then I'd be better off going through one of the bigger American hosts.

But I prefer free. :D

The drag with my current free host is that they shut down the site every 30 days unless I click a button (or get more than 10 visitors a month - that isn't going to happen any time soon).

Not a bad idea for them, weeds out time wasters and unattended sites. But still an annoyance. Might do an exchange next weekend.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Self sufficient

It isn't much, but I paid my own phone bill this month. Feels good taking care of some of my own bills. There is still heaps of bills and I give my wife all my money, so there usually isn't any left over for me. But having a few dollars available means I can leave more money for her and the kids.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

White noise

Another stage down, two more to go. Nearly a year away from the family. Missing them bad...

<end bad emo poetry>

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Generally not good when you have trouble with your feet. You tend to use them a lot. Have an issue with one of my feet and it makes it a liite uncomfortable to walk. Got an appointment set up to get it checked out.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Back from the woods

Yay, we got dirty, muddy and wet. Roaming over the hills was fun. Now to clean up the mess. :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

On the road again

Almost finished getting our gear ready to go on another camping trip. Around six days, depending on how you count. It's going to be cold, rainy and miserable. But it's essential and should be a good learning experience. Not sure what our food will be like, should be interesting. Looking forward to it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Another year

First birthday away from all I love. Missing my wife and the kids. Lots of people here but feeling pretty alone.

Happy Birthday to me.

Happy indeed...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Good weekend

Busy, but productive weekend. Got lots of washing done and picked up some supplies for going bush.

Best investment? A bag of disposable razors. Shave every day with a new, sharp blade and with the handles cut off, they take up bugger all space.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Feelin' flat

Spending so long away from the family gets me down. Just need to stay focussed on the long term benefits.

A harder today for an easier tomorrow.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Busy week

Lots to get on with and managing to stay on top of it, so far. More or less. Had one test that required a 100% pass mark... and I was dumb enough to leave an answer blank.


Admitedly, I did get like two other questions wrong, so it still would have been a fail. But I went over the test four or five times before handing it in and still didn't pick up that I hadn't answered a question. Knowing the requirement was 100%. Poor form on my part. At least I get a chance to retest.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Halfway mark

Or thereabouts. About half way through this course, runs through to around the end of July. After that, off to the next stage.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Storm in a teacup

Grr, pretty annoyed at the moment. I had the lowest hours logged out of all the people on this training module. Really sweet, I was all over it. Then I got put on a vehicle and we drove in circles for an hour and a half.

It isn't recorded and is no big deal but it got under my skin. No big deal... just vexed me.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Another small achievement

This week I was qualified on city driving. So I've done safe area, off road, off road by night and city. Still need to do convoy and city by night, plus a few others such as danegerous goods. All in all, good progress.

Missing my wife badly. It'll be a couple more months before I get to hold her in my arms once more. Probably the hardest part is not knowing how long it'll be, not even roughly. The uncertainty makes for some rough mind games.

It doesn't help when some of the kids play up and go out of their way to annoy their mum. But we still love them and do what we can to support them and set their feet on the right path. A manual would be nice.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Busy week

13May - Passed my initial driving assessment. For me, having prior driving experience made it easier and harder. I can handle the truck and drive confidently but I also have all the bad habits I've picked up that I had to unlearn and focus on not doing.

15May - Had a good first week. Was a bit of a strain on the old noggin but got through theory week. We did our stage one driving week. That one wasn't too bad but I just need to stay on top of the right way to do things (rather than the way I'm used to, which is a collection of bad habits). But doing good so far, so can't complain.

17May - Bit of a wasted weekend. Don't have the funds to go anywhere so I binge watched some Big Bang Theory. Would have been more productive if I'd written something. Might have to rethink the whole 'be a writer' thing...

18May - We were out in the bush doing some off road driving. There was an emu hanging around and I managed to hand feed it a bit of bread. I didn't think it would come so close. Must be used to people feeding it, probably why it hangs around there.

Friday, May 8, 2015


06May2015 - I'm putting a couple of entries as one as I don't have internet access for ... I have no idea how long. Moved locations and now learning to drive. First week has been all theory so far, but practicals start next week. Looking forward to that.

07May2015 - We've had a couple of assesments so far. I've passed most but failed an important one. Had some insta-fail questions, and I managed to get enough right to pass but got two of the automatic fail questions wrong. Oops. On the plus side, heaps of people failed that one as well. Wait, is that a plus?

08May2015 - End of the week! Passed all assesments so far and gearing down for the weekend. Been a bit mentally draining but feeling good. Next week, we get to start playing with the fun toys. :)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Plans changed

Woot! Recalled back to do paperwork so that I could go on course ahead of schedule. And porridge is back on the menu. Awesome!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


I've been tied up with a work assignment and away from my usual locationfor a week and a half now.

It's been very frustrating not being able to get on with other things I want to be getting on with. It is also a pain not knowing what the upcoming work requirements are. It could be that the next major shift will be in a few days... or a few months.

Makes it very hard to plan ahead.

On the plus side, I've been able to talk to my wife a few times this week. That's been a big moral booster.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Anzac Day

The 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing is tomorrow. Very poigniant to be over here at this time. Was hoping to be part of commemorations but been assigned elsewhere for work.

Broke a tooth earlier today. Managed to get in to the dentist who put a temporary repair in but it'll need a proper fix at some stage.

Feeling pretty bummed out at the moment, not sure why...

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Busy little bee

Been kept busy at work, no reliable net access, so no site updates. Or story writing...

Monday, April 20, 2015

Good news?

Heard a rumour I might be going on my course this week.

If true - yeaahhh!!! :D

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Back to work

Saaaaad... going to spend today travelling and going back to work.

Which means going away from home. Away from family and the ones I love.

For I don't know how many months, again. :'(

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Vanity Plates

Bit of unsolicited advice for those who are looking to get vanity or custom number plates for their vehicle:

Don't get the plastic polycarbonate plates - get normal metal plates. The polycarbonate ones shatter. :-(

I prefer the old school metal ones, those just bend in a minor bingle and can be ignored or bent back flat. Little shards of plastic are harder to put back together.

Friday, April 17, 2015


Ha! I just tested my site and it came up with valid CSS. But the HTML didn't validate due to errors. What errors? There's a bit of code my free host sticks in there automatically (for stat tracking and Ads and such I assume) - that's where the error is, not with my code.

Glad I know what I'm doing.

Domain Squatters

For those of you that don't know, here's a quick overview on how domains work:

You never "own" a domain, it is just "rented" from one of the domain companies. You pay a (usually) annual fee to keep using that domain. Even mighty Google need to pay someone $9.95 a year to be allowed to use the domain - if you don't pay, the domain comes up for grabs again for someone else to use.

There's more to it, but that's the bit that's important for this post. </backstory>

I used to run a number of old domains for various things but after getting married I had more important things to spend my money on, so I dropped them. Today I went and had a look at some of them, just for giggles. Most of them, like my old Tsytomd persona domain are simply 404'd. No surprises there.

What I did like was that my old story domain has a squatter on it, and they have my old domain for sale - for US$799. It's a bargain, I'd be mad not to buy it!

Jokes aside, it'd be nice to get my old domain back and be able to use it, but I don't need it that badly. Plus I can always think of another name if I wanted to set up a separate domain for it. But it is kinda nice to know that one of my domains was worth something. :o)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Got the gutters cleaned and a few other little things done. Just need to run a bit of wire and then I can relax for the rest of the day.

Not that I've been working particularily hard at the moment anyway. :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Whee - done a bit more work on my site rebuild. And managed to get spell check to work on my laptop. Yay, progress!

Having a good, relaxing time at home with the family. Feeling great. :)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Website rebuild

Well, turns out I still had my domain running, it was just my hosting that I'd cancelled. Due to family commitments and a lack of spare spending cash I'd dropped all my sites and general internet presence.

Since the domain was still running, I figured I'd sign up with a free host and get my website up and running again.

Currently I'm just redeveloping my code to make it more flexible and compatible with portable devices since they are now more popular. When I built the site originally, there was no such thing as a smartphone.

And I want to have a rethink about what I'm using the site for.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Last night

I fly home in the morning. Really looking forward to having time with my family.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Only another week or so and I'll be home again.

Really looking forward to having some downtime. Being able to sit next to you on the sofa, giving you a massage, simple things like being able to give you a hug.

It's a hard life we've chosen, having so much time apart. But it'll make the time together so much sweeter.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Losing skin

I always knew the job would entail some bloodshed, no surprises there. And I knew medical would be included, that was always a given. And the few times I've needed it, it's been good to have it there.

But sometimes they go a little over board, a bit too protective. Lost a bit of skin off my elbows, not a big amount or enough to really be an injury. Just painful and a bit annoying. So I went in to get some betadine swabs, no biggie.

No, we can't just give you some betadine. Yes, you have to sign in. No, we won't take your word for it. Yes, we need to clean that up. Yes, we need to put dressings on that.

And then they put me on restrictions for a week.


I just wanted some swabs. Now I know for future reference. Small stuff, just go to the chemist. Don't go in for medical unless I'm carried in there.

Star Trek XII

Ah, the old "quote a Simpsons joke" joke. In this case, even more obscure as I'm going for the title of a fake movie from inside one episode.

"So very tired"

Oh yeah, comedy gold right there. And needing a long winded explanation just makes it so much funnier. :l

But yeah - up late last night and need to get up early again this morning. Sore and tired... not going to be a good morning. Oh well, suck it up and get on with it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


I've been pretty good and focussed at work for the last ... what, six months? Seven? I've been focussed and managed to not let being away from my family get to me.

My lovely wife was doing some work cleaning out the shed at home and put up some pictures on FB.

Got hit with a massive wave of homesickness.

Wouldn't have thought that some simple photos of what is essentially a bare cement floor would affect me so hard. Feeling really blue right now, just gotta buckle down and stay focussed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Chugging along

It's been a quiet two weeks, just the usual goings on. I was duty student this week which may sound interesting but really doesn't require much.

I wouldn't mind having a car or motorbike available to get around with but those little luxuries cost money. Mind you, if I was going to get a vehicle, I think I'd prefer a motorbike. A bit more dangerous but cheaper on the day to day.

Oh well, if I really wanted stuff for myself, I'd make more money.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Caving in the mine

Had some spare time today and we had a chance to go explore an old mine nearby.

Pretty dark so couldn't get any decent photos, but it was good fun. The mine was a little disapointing because it didn't go very far. I think the council blocked up some of the passageways to stop people going in too deep or falling down any shafts.

Very fun to explore, and a nice break from work.

In the fields

Out in the hills, tenting and on rat packs. Good fun so far as we are helping out others that are being assessed rather than being assessed. And the weather has been really good too - warm days, cool nights and only a little spit of rain once... so far at least.

Had a go at playing car crash victim, drunk reveller and angry protester twice thus far. Feels nice to get a chance to do a spot of acting again. Help feed the others in the group and keep the momentum going.

Still a bit longer to go, but stressing a bit as I haven't heard anything about my leave apolication. I guess it should be approved but there's a chance I've done something wrong in the application process.

Fingers crossed I get to go home. Missing my wife terribly.

So much harder

Been trying to organise getting some time off to see my wife for fifteen days now. So very frustrating, get held back and stymed at every turn. Like trying to run uphill with random hurdles. Through blackberry bushes. While dragging tyres...

Friday, February 20, 2015

Another week

Another week nearly done and things are still in limbo, so to speak.

Trying to organise some time off to go see my family, that would be good. Very good, actually. Started getting taught the basics of some new toys and got my grouping down below 100mm which I'm happy about.

Other than that, it's been more of the same. Our routine is fairly regular except that we get less organised exercise sessions now so I need to make sure I do some on my own time. Gotta stay on top of that.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day

It's Friday the 13th (cue spooky music) and I have remedial swimming first thing this morning. And today we're going to go climb a mountain in the woods.

Well, more of a hill really, but mountain sounds better. :)

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and I have no present for you, can't even be there to give you a kiss. :(

Fairly busy week, first proper week here for me. First week was all settling in, second week I had tasking and was out for most of it. Third week I was in the thick of it. I can deal with this, I've been in limbo before.

Not a nice place to visit, definitely don't want to stay! Only a few months, just stay the course...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Little bleeder

Had symex all last week, being a simulated casualty for the medics. Lots of fake blood, coulple of add-on prosthetics to make the experience ... more visceral.

Was good fun and learnt a few things so overall a good experience. Met more new people but hopefully won't meet them again in medic / victim circumstances!

The other highlights this past week were the taxi running out of fuel around 100m from our destination last Sunday; and watching a little joey trying to fight or climb the climbing ropes early in the morning one day.

Friday, January 30, 2015


First week nearly done. :)

This is going to be two months of Mondays but the good thing is our staff make a good effort to vary things up and keep us busy. And we get nights and weekends off, so that gives us a bit of down time to pursue our own interests.

I've set myself the goal to do a NaNo this Feb. There are only 28 days instead of 31 but I should have more time to write. This should get me back in the habit. I sat down in front of the laptop last night but I just pottered around and edited some old short stories instead of writing something new. I also crashed pretty early, and woke up early as a consequence.

No plans for the weekend, other than writing. Some of the chaps and chapettes are heading off to spend the weekend away. Bit jelly but no matter. Service before self. :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

New location

Day three at new base.

Just in holding now, but looks like I will be here until at least April. Not too long in the grand scheme of things but still annoying to be back in limbo again.

On the plus side, my pay should have gone up. Not by a whole lot, but an increase is an increase.

We'll be doing PT every day but at least we also get classes and such while here, so it isn't full limbo. Gotta make sure I stay on top of PT, especially pushups.

Those assessments shouldn't be hard, should feel like a light gym session.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Local leave

On the town. The boys are down the pub having a drink, I'm rocking the wild side down at the library.

Taking advantage of the free wifi and have phone plugged in and on charge. Still on a spend no money budget so it's good I was able to have breakfast before we lefy and we should be back in time to catch dinner as well. Means I only have to skip lunch.

Did splash out and buy a 75c pencil case to carry pens and a notebook around with - all in one place. Haven't found a good size notebook that will fit this case though. It will take an A6 quite easily but the only ones I have found are 200 pages and take up all the space. If I can find a 100 page spiral bound one then that would be perfect.

I'll keep hunting around...

Friday, January 23, 2015

First stage complete

Nearly five months of training and I have reached the standard required. It took five weeks longer than it should have due to my lack of pushups plus an extra two weeks for the Christmas break but today I completed training.

On Monday I will get on the bus and move on. Not sure if I will be going into a holding platoon for a few months or just a few days but I still need to complete the next round of training before I can get on with the job of doing my job.

I'm looking forward to driver training, I like big vehicles and it should be quite interesting.

Just stay focussed.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Last post... for a while

I fly out to work early in the a.m. tomorrow, so this'll be my last post on here for a while again.

I'll have intermittent internet access, mainly via my phone. But the biggest issue will be being time poor, so not a lot of opportunities to post on this blog that nobody reads.

Although I've been running this blog since 2007, the updates have been a bit hit and miss. At least now I have an excuse.

I'll also try writing a few posts in this app and batch uploading them when I get 'net access, see how that works.

See y'all around. I'll be writing every chance I get...