Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Office changes

Until we shift to the Law building, to a (hopefully) larger office, Jess and I are sharing my middle-sized one. I cleaned up and shifted furniture on Friday afternoon, and Jess moved in on Monday.

Before - my desk faced the door, and a table occupied the other half of the space.

After - my desk faces the corner, and Jess sits behind, near the door.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

A life on the ocean wave...

Well, no. First we left the spinnaker behind, so Stu shot back to collect that while Schroeder and I worked on a sticky winch. When Stu got back we launched the boat, hoisted the main, and somehow things got tangled at the rear end of the boom - reefing lines caught around the "ears" on the boom, and the tension on the leech caused a batten pocket to rip out.

Down came the mainsail and genoa, and sailing was over for the day. We motored around the inner harbour for a look at the cruise ships and trawlers, then back to the club and tidied up. We were home by 3pm, and I now have a sail to take to the sailmaker during the week. I bet he finds a lot more areas to tidy up!

Sunday, 21 January 2007

The end - really!

Our living room renovations are almost complete, at last. Heather and I covered the floor in books, sorted them into some kind of order, and repopulated the shelves, on a drizzly Saturday afternoon.

Yesterday by accident I caught a documentary on the great Fred Dagg (aka John Clarke). It made me reflect on what a huge talent Clarke is, and what a dearth of satire there is on current New Zealand TV. A dearth of clever bastards, in fact.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Back to normal

Renovations are over and we're more or less established back in the living room, apart from having no books in the shelves. A task we're both putting off for another day... I plan a serious chuck-out, but it really is a job for a wet Sunday - which we're bound to have soon, given this summer's weather.

Work is steadily getting busier, as the CCE gets under way and we rev up the Blackboard/WebCT 6 training. Next week we have two new staff starting work, and I have a funny feeling that it will be my task to get them under way. Which is fine, as long as I know.

We still don't have definite answers about location, furniture, etc, but various factors are coming together quite rapidly, so I expect we'll shift in early February. Just as we get really busy. Still, it keeps us on our toes. I was going to say "keeps us young" but that would be a transparent untruth.

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Renovations complete

Well, almost. The carpet was laid this morning, to mark Heather's birthday, and we spent the afternoon putting the larger furniture back into position. Minor items will be restored over the next few days.

I will now have to look through my scenic photo library for a photo, or several, to place over the fireplace. I am thinking of doing a series of three with a theme - water, clouds, mountains??? Watch this space...

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Back to work

I started back at work on Monday, and had the inevitable backlog of emails and course setups sorted by Tuesday night. The IT Dept (sorry, ICTS) is in a great state of flux, with furniture stacked in halls awaiting offices to be emptied - and empty offices awaiting occupants, some of whom are not appointed yet. The most common topic of conversation is "Where does X live now?"

No definite news yet about where Bill, Jess, & I will be located, but it's likely to be somewhere on the 4th floor of the Law School, with the rest of UCTL. The plan is that Law will give up some postgraduate offices and a teaching room, to accommodate the four or five of us who will move in.

The Flexible Learning Adviser position has been filled as well, so we nearly have a full team now; there's just a Flexible Learning Administrator to be appointed. In the meantime, people keep coming by my office and saying "Are you still here?" I'm tempted to answer "No" but I'm curbing my natural sarcasm for the moment.

At lunch this week, our email server administrator casually remarked that he'd been doing some statistics on our spam filter. Over the summer break, 98% of the incoming email to the University of Canterbury was spam! During the active term time, the proportion of "real" email will rise, but even so, that is a staggering proportion. These bastards have to be stopped somehow, before the internet drowns in crap.

Sunday, 7 January 2007

The economic truth

Well, according to Jim Kunstler anyway, on his admirably splenetic blog "Clusterfuck Nation".

Last year he predicted the meltdown of the US economy, but somehow the bubble has stayed pumped up;
"Yet, marvelous to relate, the whole toxic, entropy-laden, creaking, reeking cargo of shit-and-deceit that comprised this system just managed to keep rolling along for another year without collapsing under its own stinking, fantastically stupid weight." Hyperbole aside, it's hard to argue with his structural analysis of the US economy as a self-fuelled bubble based on "jive capital" that isn't really capital at all, and a suburban housing boom "...that amounted to little more overall than a colossal misinvestment in a living arrangement with no future." Worth a read, but if you can't be bothered, I'll summarise - we're all doomed.

Follow-up; try this for an even nastier view of US politics in the neocon era. I don't buy his "planted bombs in the twin towers" angle, but the overall strategy sounds awfully plausible.

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Sailing, spinnakers, and smiles

Impulsive in the pre-start, earlier this season.
Big grins all round after a great sail today. We set off into a 15 knot easterly, but it dropped to around 10-12 knots, just perfect for more spinnaker practice. We sailed into Purau to heave-to and have lunch, and do a tour of the moored yachts. Then we sailed up the harbour till we were close to Camp Bay, before bearing off and hoisting the kite. This time we worked hard on getting the pole high enough to meet the clew, before trimming the sheet. It worked really well, apart from the whole drama being much higher than the plans show. Anyway, we were able to trim it to a 30 degree reach, but anything more caused problems - so we have a usable spinnaker on a flat run and 30 deg each side.

But - will we promote ourselves to Division 2, or stay in Division 1 where we are more likely to win some prizes? Our current feeling is that until we have the spinnaker well sorted, there's no point in showing our hand - so we'll probably stay in Div 1 on race days for most of the rest of this season. Once we declare ourselves to be out of Div 1, there's no going back, so we need to be sure.

Thursday, 4 January 2007

He who dies with the most toys is the winner

I'd like one of these;
Imagine your own missile launcher, turning and elevating towards visitors to your desk, then firing foam missiles. Technology at the service of humans, this is what the Industrial Revolution was all about.

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

As time goes by...

... we paint the living room. I must take some photos and put one up for perusal. So far we've done the ceiling and doors and windows. Heather is painstakingly working her way through the cupboards and stereo area. Once that's done, the walls get painted and we buy some carpet.

An experiment; can I embed a YouTube video into this Blogger format?

Hopefully that will show a brilliant video clip made by a British lad named Leo. He did this all with a digital still camera to ensure every frame was just right. Hundreds of shots, what a task to assemble and edit! And that's after the storyboarding, art work, building the gadgets like the music machine, email box, and pizza printer, and organising the music. Oh, and shooting it of course!