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Fond Farewell

Hi, all! Last day of leave today; back to the old grind for both of us tomorrow. As today's the first day we've had alone for two weeks, we decided to spend it together. I shot an e-mail off to Boots with our apologies; thankfully, he was all right with it.

We got Jillian to the airport at half past twelve and had a relaxing lunch with her for an hour. While she was packing, Jillian started asking me about the cost of setting up a cheap, 486-type PC; her intention was to give Vickie a "glorified typewriter" to start seriously writing on, without the distraction of the Internet and her PC's other functions. The issue of space came up, until Vickie had the brainwave of getting a cheap, used laptop - and then Jillian gave her some money to buy one. We've been cruising eBay this morning for one that will capably run Win98 and MS Word 97, and we've put a bid down on a used Toshiba.

After lunch, we saw Jillian to the entrance to the departure gates and said our goodbyes. We miss her... but, we must admit, we still don't mind having the place to ourselves again.

Before we left home, I had a surprise phone call from Marcus, who's been meaning to buy my 100 Mbit hub from me for a couple of months (and who's been meaning to pop up to Fraser Road and see us for ages). After we left the airport, Vickie and I popped over to the home of Marcus and his lady, Nell, in St. Peters, where we met Monty, their flat-mate and an old acquaintance from my year at Macquarie Uni, and their dog, Bo, who seems to have bits of shepherd, kelpie and collie, and is very friendly. (Vickie and I are both dog people, so he was our dog fix for the day.) From there we went to a café in Newtown, where we got to do some catching up. Vickie, Nell and Marcus spent a lot of the time swapping travel stories, which were great to listen to.

I nipped out to get some videos and fish and chips last night, and we watched Reign of Fire, which really wasn't as bad as the aura around it at the time (general word-of-mouth along the lines of "it's getting bad reviews") indicated. Sure, there was nothing new or ground-breaking there, but I thought Christian Bale was fantastic and made his character very believable. It was also fun to see Matthew McConnaughey in what was, I think, his first serious "action" title, and definitely playing very out of type (although I wish he'd stopped turning almost every exhalation into a grunt). I have to agree with Gavin, too; the posters for the film had Apache choppers everywhere, and the only helicopter in the film was a reconnaissance/troop carrier bird. 'Twas a bit disappointing. Still, the action sequence at the beginning of the film was very well executed, especially the skydivers/dragon-bait sequence. (On top of that, the chopper was used in the most emotive way I've ever seen a vehicle used in a movie.) The dragons themselves were exceedingly well done; they actually looked as though the people who put the film together sat down and thought, "Now how would an animal such as a dragon look, work, move and behave if it actually existed?"

With all this business about laptops and hubs, I've been looking into the costs of setting up a wireless network at home this morning. I've been thinking about it for a month or two as an alternative to drilling holes in the floor and running a Cat5 cable to the Xbox if I subscribe to Xbox Live. With the possibility of a laptop, I also began thinking that a wireless network card would be a perfect way to link it to Vickie's documents on her PC and the printer while still allowing her to work from somewhere comfortable. However, after totalling the cost of a wireless access point/4-port switch, wireless PCMCIA card and a wireless Ethernet bridge for the Xbox, holes in the floor (which we'd probably have to drill for the TV antenna we want to put on the roof at some stage) and a long Cat5 cable are looking like a much less expensive alternative.

Vickie has a chat to run this afternoon at Robinson's Place in about a quarter of an hour. I'll be dropping in there for a while.

And finally, just a quick reminder to everyone that Valentine's Day is this Friday. Got a card and/or pressie for your special someone yet? I also have a birthday on the same day to buy for!

P.S.: Anyone fancy seeing Treasure Planet sometime?

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