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::: Saturday February 11, 2012 :::

Well, no updates for years.

There doesn't seem much point to add any more to this blog. It was started as a way of dealing with a great deal of stress in my life, and was continued through a period of drunken debauchery, and finally, as I explored some major changes in lifestyle and life, updates became few and far between. It has served its purpose.

While I decide what to do with the domain (I'm not going to give up the domain, it's too valuable to me), I'll leave it up. What will probably happen is that the antiquated blog scripts, and thus, all of the content, will be archived off somewhere, and this will become a place where I showcase my many hobbies, and where other interested parties can meet and share information on the subjects.

Those people who need to know, know how and where to find and contact me. Social media has taken the place of this website.

Goodnight. Sleep tight.

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::: Saturday June 21, 2008 :::

What Kind of a Slack Bum am I?????

Seven months with no updates....! Ok, here's the salient points

  • Lou & I went out to get a new washing machine (Maytag big bastard). While we were at the appliance shop, a matching tumble dryer and a Dyson caught her eye, while I was attracted to a special Halo 3 edition X-Box 360.
    We ended up spending more money than we planned......
  • I have wiped the microsoft rubbish operating system from my desktop PC. I am now running Mac OS X. It's good!
  • I have cabled the house, including installing a comms cabinet on the wall above the server rack in the garage. I found a 5 foot long flexible drill bit in the US, which is very handy when running cable in the wall cavities. I also managed to strip the gears in my old drill, but that's OK, it was the perfect excuse to get the 1100 watt Big Bastard Drill (BBD) that I've been wanting to get for a while. I love hardware stores............
    When I was using the Roku as our networked media player, it would have major trouble with the video streams from the server, as part of the house backbone was wireless. The same problem cropped up when the Roku was superceded by the X-Box.
    This problem is no more. Still using TVersity on the AD controller (The kids still use XP, so it's still required) to do the video transcoding.
  • I translated the drivers for the Alps MD-5500 printer from Japanese to English. If you want the only consumer printer in the world that is capable of printing white, gold and silver, as well as the usual colours, visit the Alps Supplies website. You can also get inks for the Alps MD (MicroDry) range of printers there
  • I have spent a lot of time mowing the frigging lawn. It still takes ages, even with the ride-on mower.
  • I have a permanent Returning Residents Visa now, which means that I have been a permanent resident for two years, and can apply for citizenship in 3 years (Well, 2-1/2 years now) time. When a person first is granted permanent residence, they only get a returning residents visa valid for 2 years. If, in those first two years, the applicant spends more than a specified amount of time outside New Zealand, they will not be granted the permanent returning residents visa. Which means that the next time they exit the country, they will not be allowed back in.
    Part of the process in applying for citizenship is that I will have to swear allegiance to the Queen. Now, I'm already a subject of HM Queen Elizabeth II, so why do I have to do it all over again? I'm a loyal British citizen FFS, who always cheers on England against the All Blacks. I'm more of a subject of HM than any kiwi (bloody colonials!). So why do I have to swear allegiance?

It's late. Time for bed.

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::: Wednesday November 14, 2007 :::

The BIG monitor

The DVIator arrived from the US today. This is an interface to adapt the proprietry Apple ADC monitor connector to DVI, USB and power. Why do I need one of these? Well, I got myself an Apple 23" widescreen cinema display, which has an ADC connector.

I suppose I could have quite easily have cut the plug off the monitor, and soldered the required plugs on myself, but I didn't for several reasons:
1. The PSU required is 25V 3A, a costly beast
2. My time.
I calculated that $56 plus postage for the DVIator came to less than the cost of my time and PSU.

I now have the new monitor and my old 19" LCD side by side, running off a Radeon X1600 Pro graphics card, and am enjoying the screen real estate. I have just played a game of Command & Conquer, and Doom 3, and the quality of the Apple display is awesome, as it should be at 1920 x 1200 pixels.

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::: Tuesday November 06, 2007 :::

Transferring a pension from the UK to New Zealand

Recently I contacted one of the local firms who specialise in transferring pensions from the UK to New Zealand. This company claims on their website that one shouldn't go to the smaller firms as they didn't have the expertise, had hidden charges, yadda, yadda, yadda. So I set up a meeting.

Along came the day of the meeting, and, clutching my paperwork, I made my way to the cafe where I'd agreed to meet the "consultant". He took me through their process, explaining their fees, and explaining that there'd be two sets of fees, one for each of my pensions. As they charge a percentage, with a minimum charge of NZ$1500 per scheme transferred, half of my smaller fund would have gone in their their transfer fees for that fund alone, let alone the fees for my other, much larger, scheme. I questioned these charges, and was informed that there was an awful lot of paperwork, it was a very complicated process, the funds had to be transferred into a qualifying fund to avoid UK tax of 55% of the fund (Which I already knew), yadda, yadda, yadda.

A few days later, I was in my bank, and on the spur of the moment, asked to see an adviser regarding a pension plan. "No worries", was the reply, and the next day, I met with one of their investment advisers. He was well aware of the fact that the plan had to be one approved by HM Governments tax man, in order to avoid the 55% tax, he got the paperwork done to start the plan, and told me to expect some correspondence from my UK pension providers.

A few weeks later, a questionnaire arrived from one of the providers; I filled it in, and forwarded it to my banks investment adviser to complete the pension plan section. A day or two later, a similar questionnaire from the other provider arrived, along with a request for a certified copy of my birth certificate, which was treated in the same way. A few weeks later, the money was transferred into my new NZ pension plan.

The total charge for this?

The princely sum of NZ$ 0.00

So, if you're transferring your pension, it pays to talk to your bank, rather than to the scalpers who charge lots of money to do what amounts to bugger-all

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::: Tuesday January 31, 2006 :::

Weekends Away

Spent the last two weekends away from Auckland, went up to Matakana last weekend, and Opinoni the weekend before with the boys. There's some extremely high sand dunes on the opposite side of the bay from Opinoni, so we went across and the boys did some dune-boarding. I couldn't join in, as my left hand is still in a splint following my little tendon cutting mishap over Christmas - Which is possibly a good thing, as I only ever seem to injure myself when doing stuff with the kids (Severed tendon - watersliding with the boys. Broken elbow - rollerblading with the boys. Wrecked ankle - skateboarding with the boys..........). Did manage to induldge in some serious pyromania at the bach this weekend, nothing like a REAL barbeque on a charcoal fire..... Lou had to do all the driving on both trips, as I'm still not allowed to drive because of the hand.

Still unpacking my stuff from Oz, not a easy job.

Otherwise, same old, same old......going to work, going home, chilling out....

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::: Thursday January 12, 2006 :::

Eventful Holiday

I find myself too busy for regular updates these days, but a few quick words on recent happenings......

I had the boys over Christmas, and did something that they are likely to remember for a long time. Lou came up with the idea of cutting out bootprint stencils and making Santa footprints from an open window to the Christmas tree and back with talcum powder. Then reindeer footprints on the path outside were added, and there were two very excited little boys on Christmas day.

Between chrissie and new years, I took the boys to the local pool, and we were having a whale of a time, up to the point where I severed the flexor tendon in my left ring finger. So an operation was performed to re-attach the tendon, and I have twelve weeks of an immobilised (and very useless) left hand.

To top it off, the day after the op, my stuff arrived from Aus - there are things in there I was itching to get at, but now can't use for many weeks.

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::: Saturday October 08, 2005 :::

Watching the Cats

So far, not too many dramas on the cat front.

Ruby's nose (And a cute little flat nose it is) is a little out of joint, and Fingal is not too sure of his surroundings, but he seems to be settling in quite well. He's done some exploring, and has bagged his favourite spot in the house, which, fortunately, did not clash with Ruby. I've been sitting downstairs with them, and Ruby was quite playful around him for a while and it looked like she was trying to get him to join in. She gave up after a while, as he is still quite confused about how he should react to her.

I don't see any problems going forward, and once he is settled, I'll let him explore outside. This should be in about two weeks. If all goes well, Ruby can be his guide around the neighbourhood.

I'll be posting some photos in the gallery soon, keep a look out.

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::: Friday October 07, 2005 :::

The New Housemate

Today is the day when the new housemate arrives.

I've been wanting a cat for absolute ages (Well, since I had to give Pilchard away in Nov 2002, when leaving England), and so I've been hunting around for a rescue cat for a bit. I figured I'd rather give a chance to a cat which otherwise would have limited options, and leave the cute kittens to those who are influenced by such things.

So tonight, I collect Fingal, a 10 month old male tabby with white paws and tufted ears. I found him through Auckland Cat Rescue, he had been previously homed, but the new owner had found herself alergic to cats, so he was up for adoption again.

I met him last week, he's a happy little soul, quite friendly, a little talkative, and very smoochy.

If you're in Auckland, and looking for a cat, please try Auckland Cat Rescue, Lonely Miaow or the SPCA before going and getting that cute little kitten from the local pet shop. If you're not in Auckland, please check out the web for your local cat rescue organisation. These cats have far fewer options (the worst of which is the euthanasia needle), and need a helping hand more than the fluffball in the shop window.

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::: Tuesday July 26, 2005 :::

So....Where Were We?

well, a lot has happened in the last 7 months, most notably some fundamentalist toerag idiots blowing themselves up, along with 3 tube carriages and a bus full of innocent people. Come on Osama, you keep on telling your brain-dead sheep how good the afterlife will be for them. If it's so good, why don't you blow up yourself in one of your caves? DORK! Religion is one of the worst inventions humans have ever come up with.

I've changed jobs, was getting really bored where I was with no work to do; busy, busy, busy now, plus I've got a company car too, and a few other nice things. Now I just need to get rid of Fugly (PLEASE, SOME NICE MELBOURNE PERSON, BUY MY 4X4 FROM ME!), and also the Honda.

I've been able to spend every second weekend with the boys since coming back, and it's been fantastic. We've done all sorts of stuff, all over the place, including, but not limited to:

  • Ice Skating
  • Motat
  • Chipmunks
  • Playing Monopoly
  • Playing Chess
  • Playing Uno
  • Playing Scalectrix

Was planning on going away for the coming weekend, but was then reminded about a party invitation, so will be going there instead.

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::: Sunday July 24, 2005 :::

Hosting Back up!

I've finaly got some hosting sorted, and got the site back up.

Sitting here and typing while Jason and Marc are going mental with their new Scalectrix set. They're very funny to watch, and Ruby (The mad exotic Persian) has been having a great time chasing the cars too. What a good day!

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