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Thank You, Nan!

Once again, another week sans updates! So here's a nice big one for you, and thankfully, it is, as the kids say nowadays, all good.

The pressure is off for the time being at the Cairns Post. Our newest special publication (i.e. a separate magazine not printed as part of the regular paper), “eat. drink. tropics.” has just been published with great results, and it gives the ad reps a bit of a breather between now and Christmas.

Which will probably end next week; we’ve already been informing clients of our Christmas special ad packages, and there’ll be a rush on those soon.

As you’ve probably noticed when I announced I’d be buying RAM and the Serenity RPG and then decided to hold off, Vickie and I have been feeling a bit of a money squeeze lately. But Vickie called me at work on Friday and asked me whether I was sitting down. She’d received a letter from the solicitors that my aunt Trish works for. They’re handling Nan’s estate, and Nan had bequeathed me some money for me in her will! Without going into specifics, it's enough that we can now do some things that we’ve been meaning to for months. It's a bit of relief right when we needed it, and if Nan were alive, I'd hug her thoroughly!

Here's what we're planning:

  • Quite a few of you probably know about the ding above the back left wheel of our car (yeah, quit laughing). We’re going to see if a family friend can do a bit of panel-beating and get it straightened out before the wet season really hits. We’ve been very lucky with rust so far, but we don’t want to push it any further.
  • Ever since the replacement of our kitchen, we’ve needed a splash back along the wall above the counter tops. After discussing options, we’ve decided to go with tiles, and probably next weekend we’ll do some browsing of tile stores.
  • Cyclone season is on its way, and the met bureau is already forecasting four cyclones for our region. We want to get some quotes on trimming the larger, higher branches of our trees off, as well as replacing part of the covering on our entertainment area. Depending on costs, we might even spend a little on a gardener to get the rest of our garden in decent shape so that Vickie doesn’t have to do all of the really hard fixing-up work.
  • Since we moved up, all of our PC kit – both of our PCs, screens and speakers, our printer and phone – has run from a single dual-power-point. We’re going to see about getting a sparkie who’s done good work for us while we were renting the place out (and since we moved back in) to put another power point in the PC room. I’m contemplating another UPS, so that Vickie’s and my PCs aren’t drawing off the same unit (which they are at the moment) and a couple of nice, large surge-protection power boards, one for the PC room (for all the peripherals) and one for all the hefty electrical gear (TV, surround speakers, decoder, Xbox, DVD, VCR) in the living room. We're consindering replacing our current printer/scanner setup with a combo unit.
  • Also, a new battery charger and rechargeable AA batteries for the digital camera will come in handy.
  • Finally, I’m thinking of calling Mr. Antenna (or a local business in the same line) to have a look at our TV antenna set up and re-run a coax cable under the house for the TV in the bedroom. The existing one ran across the kitchen floor and down the hallway to the bedroom; we had to cut it when we put the vinyl flooring down in the kitchen/dining room.

On top of all that, of course, I started thinking of various geeky things that I’d love to spend some of that cash on. I figure Nan wouldn't mind if we had some fun with some of it!

  • That RAM. Specifically, two sticks of KingMax PC3200 512MB DDR SDRAM. I’ve asked Vickie’s son-in-law Paul to look into prices, and depending on how we go, I may even get four (two for me, two for Vickie). My thanks to those of you who told me you can get a serial port PCI card fairly cheaply, too. I’m also tempted to invest in a wireless Ethernet bridge and Xbox Live, not to mention a new sound card of some description - the SB Live! 5.1 I have is showing its age. The included drive-bay panel makes the Audigy 2 ZS Platinum a tempting option, but $279.95 is a bit steep - maybe Paul can do a better price on a package.
  • Military Simulations is doing a HUGE online sale until Saturday the 29th, with 20% off all Dungeons & Dragons stuff and 25% of all of their other RPGs and PC games! The wish list so far includes the three D&D Core Rulebooks (for if I ever run Eberron or as a resource for Horizon: Virtual), the Serenity RPG (which they probably still won’t have in yet, but I might as well give it a shot), Generation Gap (the GM’s guide for CyberGeneration), around $20 worth of dice (Dogs in the Vineyard needs a metric arseload of dice) and Winter Assualt, the previously mentioned expansion for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. I’m also tossing up whether to throw The Sorcerer’s Soul and/or another Paranoia supplement in there.
  • I was even tempted to go crazy and drop $90 for the Starship Troopers Miniatures Game - I mean, $30 off, that's damned tempting - but sanity prevailed. I have no idea what the odds of finding interested players up here are (even if I have both starting sides in one box), I left my terrain and paints in Sydney with Sim and Jason, and I don’t need minis for the Starship Troopers RPG that badly. I don't. Really. No.
  • Speaking of craziness I was also briefly tempted by a Palm Z22, but if a serial-port PCI card goes for one-sixth of that and means I can get my existing Palm III working - I might just wait.
  • Oh, yeah: Burnout Revenge. And the Roughnecks Complete Campaigns on DVD. Battlestar Galactica Season 1. Hell, half of my Amazon wish list! Even - oh, damn. Christmas is coming up, isn't it? I have to buy other people presents...

Now, that mobile phone plan thing: I’ve been thinking of switching back to Vodafone. Not just because they have a $49 cap plan identical to Optus', but because they also offer Vodafone Simply. Remember how I was talking about a no-frills phone? Vodafone Simply meets the criteria. No camera, no fancy extras, just a nice, simple, easy-to-use phone that looks pretty smart to boot.

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