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January 28, 2007

Rita Coolage

I mentioned in a recent posting that Vickie's and my PCs are suffering in the Cairns heat. Here's what I've ordered to fix the problems and where I've ordered them from.

  • From Sanity Computers:
    • A Spire WhisperRock V Socket 478 CPU heatsink and fan. This, combined with the 12cm case fan mounted on the side panel of Vickie's PC, should keep her system comfortably cool.
  • From PC Case Gear:
    • A 9.2cm blue LED case fan. Vickie currently has a regular 8cm fan mounted at the back of her case, but as it has mountings for a 9.2, I think it's worth getting the largest it can take, especially after the last week or two.
    • A Scythe 12cm blue LED case fan. LIke Vickie, I've also got an 8cm fan mounted at the back of my case (although my one's a blue LED fan), but after my PC froze up, I want to get a bit more airflow through. My Ammo 533 has mountings for a 12, so why not? Besides, I can always put the spare blue 8cm fan on the side panel of Karl's PC...

January 26, 2007

Warriors of the Workstation

This is my Shrine of Protection for my PC and desk:

The Three Amigos: Prime, Chief and Hicks

Yes, I'm still a big kid.

Okay, okay, fine. From left to right: Commander Optimus Prime, Autobots; Master Chief Petty Officer SPARTAN-117, UNSC Navy; Corporal Dwayne Hicks, US Colonial Marine Corps.

Sure, the scale's a bit off, but who cares?

Partway Unhacked

At twenty to eleven this morning, I sent an e-mail out to IMAGinewS:

If you try to get to any of the herstik.com websites at the moment, you'll see a nice little message from a lovely person who decided that he or she had nothing better to do than commit gross site vandalism. It seems this person struck sometime in the last hour or two. Marcus is looking into fixing the problem at the moment; hopefully our sites will be restored to us soon.

Well, Marcus has been hard at work all day (missing out on a friend's barbeque) and as you can see, IMAGinES is back up, shy only a couple of posts! Unfortunately, Midustouch isn't yet, nor is the main herstik.com website. We're not the customers Marcus has, so he's still hard at work as I type this. If you're anywhere near him, go give him some love and pizza. Tell him Vickie and I sent you.

UPDATE: Actually, IMAGinES isn't shy any posts at all! Marcus said that it was only the index pages that got over-written, and he would've restoed them from an earlier backup, but the Movable Type back-end, where the latest posts were saved, was untouched! Adding this post rebuilt the front pgae, so back the other recent posts came!

January 25, 2007

I'the Heat

Our computers have been suffering a bit lately. Vickie's has had some program instability and even blue screen trouble, while mine managed to lock itself up twice tonight. It's been pretty darned hot lately, which probably explains a lot; in fact, Vickie's CPU fan has been shutting down intermittently. I'm thankful that she's got that whopping great 12cm fan on her case's side panel; I dread to think how worse it could have been without it.

I've got a new CPU fan and heatsink on order. We were expecting it to arrive on Tuesday, but thanks to some warehousing problems and delays with the courier company, it'll be Monday before we actually get the damned thing.

I'm also thinking about upgrading my rear extraction fan from an 8cm to a 12cm fan. I'd like to get another blue-light fan, but I think those are a little hard to get a hold of at the moment (and more expensive), so a regular black fan will do. In the meantime, I've shifted my PC case such that the grille on the side panel is actually open to air, although still out of the main airflow.

January 24, 2007

eBay Auction: My Entire Heavy Gear Collection

Remember I mentioned Vickie's toothache? She has the feeling that it's due to an abscess underneath one of her teeth. For the past few days, she's been holding and wiggling the offending tooth to try and alleviate the pain. She's also been using Nurofen and toothache drops but to little avail.

Between various expenses over the past six months and helping out family members who haven't yet paid us back, our credit cards are maxed out again; Vickie cannot afford to see a dentist. I'm not willing to let that stand, so I'm getting rid of some RPG books that I've barely touched since we moved up here. By some, I mean forty-two, and by RPG books, I mean my entire Heavy Gear collection.

My asking price of $300 might seem a bit pricey, but that's just over $7 per book without even factoring in the cost of the tactical game boxed set. I'd appreciate it very much if you could bid and/or spread the word around to any of your gaming friends.

InSpecting Frustration

Hello, everyone. The last week or so has been – well, exhausting, but not particularly busy. It’s just been so damned hot up here!

Long Weekend Gaming seemed like a good idea at the time, but although the gang at the meet-up were generally accepting of the idea, responses to the e-mails I sent out were slim. Instead, I had more interest in running a game on the weekend just gone, and not from any of the gang who turned up to the get-together! Patrick and Scott, the two guys who recently moved to Cairns, were keen for some game, any game, so I organised a session starting at 1PM on Sunday the 21st. I hoped I’d be able to run the Fires Over Omac demo for Burning Empires, but Vickie had previously made clear that she found the main enemy in Burning Empires repulsive, and the demo needs at least three players. And although Vickie is keen on Dogs in the Vineyard, she’s still suffering from not just neuralgia but also toothache (more on that later).

Right when things were looking down, though, I got an e-mail from one of the last people was I expecting: Bruce, who as schoolteacher and head of the English department is busy as heck with the leadup to first term 07. I shouldn’t have counted my chickens, though. Right as Bruce turned up, I got a phone call from Scott. Scott's brother had called him right at the last minute; the brother's PC (er, sorry - the desktop computer kind of PC), which was needed for work the next day, suddenly decided to commit suicide, and Scott got called in to fix it. He said he'd make it as soon as he could, but when I called him at about three PM, Scott told me he'd kicked, yelled at and thrown his brother's PC into the pool; finally, he cannibalised parts of an older PC to get his brother's unit (barely) operating. He didn't expect to get to our place any time soon.

Patrick arrived not long after, and we played some Chez Geek in the hope of Scott’s situation resolving itself quickly, but by 3PM I suggested we slap some characters and a franchise together for InSpectres. The suggestion was accepted and fun was had! In fact, Bruce was so impressed with the game he reckons he'll buy himself a copy from Memento Mori soon.

You know, it's interesting; I get all these grand plans for games, and I wind up running InSpectres instead. I think I'll just get every gamer I know in the one place, get them to co-design characters and a franchise, and whenever any of them feel like a game, I'll run that!

So, still hoping to salvage some gaming on the Long Weekend, I sent some e-mails out again a few days ago. I had some interest, in a few cases pending availability of babysitters. But today, Vickie’s grand-daughter Brook announced that she’s sick and tired of Melbourne (understandable; life’s been fairly shitty for her down there lately) and wants to move up here within the next couple of weeks. We’ll put her up for a little while, which means we need to get back into renovating in order to get the spare room painted. So that’s what we’ll be doing over the Long Weekend.

January 14, 2007

Oh, Yeah, The New Addiction...

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade. Oh, it rocks my socks in a way that no computer game since Dune II/2000 has. All of the skrimish goodness of regular Dawn of War plus a territory-based strategy game. None of this being stuck on one mission in a linear storyline bollocks! Losing is interesting again! I'm playing through as the Imperial Guard at the moment; I've obviously still got to get the hang of the Tau before I get serious with them.

I'm gonna have to get Cam, Gav and Tony back together again for some versus multiplayer...

January 13, 2007

Gamers' Get Together II

Okay, now for some good news.

Today was the second Cairns Gamers’ Get-Together. You may remember that I organised the first in October last year. This one was also a success. Attendance wasn’t perfect; Vickie has unfortunately been under the weather for the past few days, Scott cancelled last night due to family commitments and I called Bruce half an hour into the get-together to discover he couldn’t come along (snowed under with school stuff). However, I was very glad to see that both Simon and Cristel, whose attendance was contingent on the availability of babysitters (which is why they couldn’t make it to the October meet), were indeed able to come – in fact, they arrived within a minute of myself, and I was a quarter of an hour early. They got to meet Tracey and Brett, and I was glad to see that everyone got along great. I took a camera, but forgot to make sure it had batteries, a fact that made Cristel and Tracey happy.

We met up at the Courthouse Hotel again; although I asked whether anyone had another preference, there was one vote for the Courthouse (made by, as it turned out, the bloke I had to call to find out whether he was coming) and none against. Still, the subject of future venues was raised when I made it known that I’d like to make the get-together a monthly thing. Somewhere with a child-minding facility was a strong preference; Simon, Cristel, Tracey and Brett all have young children (Brett brought his infant son Lachlan with him today). Tracey suggested Brothers Leagues Club, and I’m going to give them a ring to find out what exactly they do. I think you have to be a member to take advantage of their facilities, but as annual membership is only $5, that’s not a big deal.

We discussed actual gaming at some point in the future, and I suggested doing something of some sort on the Australia Day Long Weekend, especially as it’s only two weeks away. Vickie and I have the vague feeling that we’re going to b e busy with something on the coming weekend, although we’re not sure what. Gaming tastes, of course, came up; on the list of Things People Are Keen To Play/GM are AD&D 2nd Edition, Shadowrun 2nd./3rd., Burning Empires, Paranoia, Rolemaster and Dogs in the Vineayrd. So we’ll definitely be doing one or more of those in the near future, and hopefully we’ll be able to get the Two Recent Arrivals (neither of whom were available today) in for some game!

Leaving Over Christmas

Hello everyone! Apologies for the lack of posts recently; it’s just been so quiet and hot lately that I’ve not been at the computer too often – and when I have, it’s been to sate a new addiction. More on that later, though. This post is a little sombre, and I don’t want to switch moods in the same post.

Christmas was good. We spent breakfast and dinner at Karl and Jodie’s, coming home in between for a spot of light lunch. There were no family dramas, thankfully, although I think that may have been due to the family crisis. Rather than dwell on the details, let me just say that Jodie’s brother-in-law Kent suffered an aneurysm on the Friday before Christmas and passed away on the Thursday after. He left behind his wife Sheree (Jodie’s sister), daughters Tennille and Teagan and son Isaac. Teagan had only been born a few months earlier. The funeral service was Friday week ago, and most of Aloomba, the town just south of Gordonvale where Kent lived, turned out for it.

In between, on the Thursday after Christmas, Vickie and I, Karl and Jodie and Deena (Vickie’s daughter) trucked out to Aloomba while Kent’s family were still in Brisbane and cleaned up their place; a couple of friends of the family also pitched in, bringing supplies from the local supermarkets (who had donated gift vouchers) and washing the family’s clothes.

I’m back at work now, and things are slowly starting to pick up after the Christmas quiet. I was told when I started that the media industry has a significant turnover, but it’s been pretty massive over the last six months or so. Two more people handed in their resignations in the last couple of weeks; once they go, there’ll only be one person in my department who’s been there since before I started. I will state here, as I have verbally on several occasions, that the people who’ve come in since I started at my position have been good folk, and I hope the trend continues; still, those going will definitely be missed.

January 01, 2007

Happy New Year 2007!

Happy New Year, everybody! Sorry about the peons crack earlier – well, okay, I’m not, really. I just get so few chances to gloat about living in the tropics! I assure you, the fact that your New Year’s Day is probably more comfortable than ours is revenge enough; I’m sitting here at my keyboard, sweat pouring off of me.

Last night was good fun. Clifton Beach is closer to Cairns than I thought it was; we didn’t have to navigate the twisty coast road that runs up to Port Douglas and Mossman. Naturally, Vickie and I turned up at Shelley and Pete’s first, and friends and neighbours turned up later. The only downers were that (a) it was bloody humid – there’s a row of houses and big palms between their place and the beach, so offshore breezes are virtually nonexistent – and (b) we had to drive home so I had to be careful of my alcohol consumption. Good thing, too; we were pulled over by two different RBT teams between Edge Hill and Mulgrave Road!

Shelley and Pete were great hosts and most of their friends were fun to chat with, too (the others we don’t know about yet, we simply didn’t get around to talking to them). Shelley has a tradition of getting a couple of buckets of KFC chicken on New Year’s, and I probably would’ve gorged on it, but between the pasta dinner Vickie and I had earlier and the spread of cheese, crackers, veggie strips and dip Shelley put out not long after we arrived, I was able to limit my consumption of fast food and grease! Pete, being the muse-o he is, saw us into 2007 with a saxophone rendition of Auld Langs Ayne and, as I’m so fond of writing, a good time was had by all.