Still alive

I'm still around in case anybody is wondering. Sorry for the lack of updates, but things have just been so crazy busy since I got back from the UK in September.

I can't believe it's less than a week till Christmas, and how quickly it's crept up. Didn't seem so long ago I was scoffing and how ridiculous the department stores started putting up Christmas decorations in October!

  • Some of the things I've been up to in the last couple of months:
    Got a new phone - Nokia N70
  • Been to the UK (all over) , Netherlands (Amsterdam) and Germany (Berlin)
  • Been to Dubai
  • Took lots of pics but haven't sorted through them yet.. have put up a few on Flickr but there's LOADS more
  • Got a 5-week contract job with HugeObject, which was interesting and a fun office to work at.
  • Attended my first Web Standards Group meetingParticipated in my first protest rally - Walk Against Warming
  • Paid off my credit card bill racked up from my holiday
  • Bought a Macbook - white, 2.0 Ghz Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM
  • Done my taxes (got a bill, not a refund this year) * Learnt how to use Subversion for version control
  • Trying to learn Ruby on Rails
  • Wanting to learn AJAX
  • Moved this site and a few others to Media Temple's (gs) Grid Server
  • Launched a few new web sites - Gemstone Brokers, DJRW, Friday Club Central
  • Been to several Christmas parties (already) So there you go. I'll be around Melbourne for the next few days, then going to the Grampians on Christmas Day for 3 days, then Warnambool overnight then back in Melbourne for New Years. Really looking forward to a break and chill out a bit. Merry Christmas everybody and to a great year ahead!

Dinner with friends

Last night, I had a couple of friends, Jaime and Tracey over for dinner. It had been quite a while since I last saw them, and we had been trying to organise this for weeks now, due to clashing schedules.Instead of going out to a restaurant, I thought it'd be nice to cook for them and have it at my apartment, now that I can entertain after all, with a proper dining table and some really nice cutlery my mom bought me. I had planned out a simple meal and went out to Coles to get the stuff I needed. I prepared grilled Moroccan chicken, with sides of fried potato cubes and salad. Also picked up a couple of bottles of wine, one white, one red. In just the previous day's Herald Sun newspaper, I had read some wine reviews and there were some highly rated wines that were affordable, about $15, but of course, I didn't write it down and couldn't remember what they were when faced with the huge range at Vintage Cellars. Ended up just getting some other random wines that were going for around that price. I lit up some tealights, and put on some music from my 'mellow' playlist in iTunes, and turned on the heater in the lounge/dining room for that cozy, relaxed environment. My guests arrived at about 7:30pm and we cracked open the bottle of white and chatted a bit, before I went to dish out the meal that I had already cooked earlier and kept warm in the oven. We had a very nice time, I was quite proud of my cooking, though simple as it was. I think my guests enjoyed the food. We had such a good time chatting about friends and the whole 'six degrees' thing were everybody is somehow connected and all our friends in common, catching up on little titbits of news as to who is where, doing what. Tracey brought some Baskin Robbins ice cream and we had that for dessert. Dark chocolate, macadamia cream, and rum & raisin flavours. Yum! It was such a nice, relaxed atmosphere and we kept chatting away and time passed so quickly, and the girls had to go at about 11:30pm to get the tram back home. I do enjoy entertaining and cooking, pity my apartment isn't that big, but I do prefer quieter affairs like this to loud parties.

Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony

I know it's already halfway through the Games, but I was trying to delay posting until I'd uploaded all my photos from the night...It's not often you get to be living in the host city of the Commonwealth Games or Olympics, and I was in a dilemma about spending $400 on a ticket to see the opening ceremony in the stadium or missing a chance of a lifetime. Well I ended up going down to the Yarra River with Simon and Joe and we watched it on the banks. They had these metal fish sculptures down the middle of the river, each representing a species native to all the member countries of the Commonwealth. Fish at night For the opening ceremony, the show extended outside of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (stadium) onto the river, with the fish illuminated with coloured lights and projections, spraying water from the top, and even fireworks being launched from the fish! While seated on the river banks, we also got a very good view of the buildings at the edge of the city. It surprised us when the there were fireworks coming off from the top of them even. A brilliant display that night. Where we we seated, there was also a big screen across the river showing the proceedings inside the stadium itself, so I think we probably got a better view than those inside, since we got to see both the inside and outside performances. I still have more photos to sort through and upload but here's the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony set on flickr.

Advance Australia Fair

It seems odd (to me) that a fair number of Australians don't really know the words to their own national anthem, particularly the 2nd verse, what more with the Commonwealth Games going on and the Aussies bagging gold medals left, right and center. It's funny watching some of the winning athletes trying not to embarrass themselves singing the anthem at the medal ceremony while the camera is focussed on them and projected on the big screen.A friend sent me a link to the history ofthe Australian National Anthem on the DFAT site. Surprisingly, Advance Australia Fair only became official in 1984. Interesting read indeed.