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I know what I want for Christmas.

Check him out.

Just got in after a couple of hours in the city with some work friends. I got dragged off to the Slip Inn by Mary, along with Craig, Kylie and Anthony; we met up with a few others along the way. It was nice to do a bit of socialising, although I did my usual social gathering thing - shut up, stood back and listened. I seem to be pretty good at that. Still, the conversation was by and large about cars and people I don't know, both of which lose me fairly quickly.

It was interesting to go back there; I used to go semi-regularly back between early 1998 and early 2000, when I was still working for Advantra. I don't really think it was my scene then, before I even started drinking socially, and now that I do - well, it's still not my scene really. Too loud, too crowded and, to take a page from Notlih, too Square John. The main redeeming feature was the free alcohol. Between 6PM and 8PM Fridays, the Inn has a list of six beverages which are absolutely free. On the list this evening was Heineken; my favourite beer. Guess how many I had?

Two.

I wound up absconding at a quarter past seven - I don't like staying out late when Vickie's working, it just doesn't feel right. Of course, I wound up getting off the North Shore train to Hornsby at Chatswood (pit stop), then waiting a quarter of an hour for the next Hornsby train, then waiting ten minutes at Hornsby for a train to Normanhurst. There you go, eh?

Dragging the conversation back to the nerdy, Vickie and I went through our budget and decided we had enough wiggle-room for us both to get upgraded. I'd like to thank Baz Manalo for pointing me toward Eyo and Computer Market in the hopes of saving me some dosh, but I just couldn't get them to match Adelong's quote (especially as Computer Market won't go any lower than their catalogued price). Also, neither had the sort of motherboard I was looking for (ATA-100, no on board sound, video or network). So, this morning, I called William at Adelong, got him to confirm that all the parts were in stock and then faxed him our purchase details. William reckons the kit should be delivered by Monday - so far, Adelong seems to be doing a pretty good job of getting my good will back, and although they didn't have the ASUS main board I saw on their site, they had a slightly cheaper Gigabyte board that looks like it will do the job, even if it has on board sound.

So, basically, I'll be upgrading both Vickie's and my PC to AMD Athlon XP 1800+ processors and Windows XP Home Edition. Vickie will also be getting a GeForce 2 video card (which ought to easily do what little graphics capability Vickie will need), while I keep my old GeForce 3. I'm also buying a new 80GB hard drive from Harris Technology tomorrow. This'll give us effectively 2 PCs' worth of spare parts, which we're looking toward building as a gift for some family in Melbourne. It might need some RAM, a floppy drive and a monitor, but once it has those, it ought to easily do what they need it to, especially if we build it with my current Athlon 1.2GHz processor and board.

Steve the Handyman will be turning up tomorrow with a couple of trailer-loads of soil and some timber to keep it all in the one place, and Nick will be popping over to talk Heavy Gear stuff (and probably commandeer the Xbox for some Rallisport Challenge).

Vickie 'n' me also have tickets to see the advance screening of Red Dragon on Monday night. It'll be introduced by none other than Sir Anthony Hopkins himself, with a Q&A with director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) afterward. I think we'll be getting in there very early indeed.

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