Filed under General

Back to my roots…

Just a quickie to say that on my friend gally’s recommendation, I have gotten rid of the old splash page. I have also taken the liberty of moving Jameses.org away from it’s long standing /home/ and to the root folder; that is, www.jameses.org

I have put a redirect page at the old location so even if you go there by habit/mistake (this is more for me than anyone else) you’ll be redirected to the new address – you wouldn’t even know you were lost.

There should be no change for email subscribers or anyone for that matter, but if you stumble on an as-yet-undiscovered quirk, please let me know.

I guess the googlebots might be a bit confused with the new set-up but fortunately I’m not faced with too many competitors in the Google ‘Jameses’ term stakes…

Thanks to the people who provided feedback on the ‘Week Without’ or as Cathy proposed the ‘week with’ – which has a decidedly more positive spin and advocates filling your week with positive activities and tidbits, rather than remove things that are ‘bad’… both sides of the same coin I guess…

Oh, and lastly, I’ve been invited to interview for the Senior Policy Officer pool at my current work. In fact, my current job will be drawn out of said pool (due to restructure). So thankfully, I’m not so shit that they won’t consider me for my own job! ;)

Much love…

Perth Storms

So you may or may not have heard, but Perth got slammed yesterday afternoon. And what a way to break a 4-5m month dry spell…! Multiple fronts dumping 45mm of rain in under 2 hours, phenomenal wind (127km in the city), hailstones the size of hailstones, and thunder that popped your heart out of your chest after each colossal lightning strike that froze time for an instant.

I’d left work early due try and get on top of a headcold, and about 12mins after arriving home, the rain started; then the blackout that was inevitable (according to my boss, the salt encrusts on the power distribution network and shorts it out until it’s duly rinsed off – and rinsed off it was).

Then the hail started, and like a sodden fool playing skirmish with god (and without a gun), I dashed about trying to blanket the car to remove some of the potency of the hail impact. Unfortunately, and welts aside, I was a little late and Storm’s beloved Norman now carries some pock marks for his struggles. Compared with some other cars I saw today, and with others that had windows/screen smashed yesterday, he pulled up alright.

I’m sure a few trusty 10+ year old canines managed to slip off their mortal collars and expired with nerves as a result of the lightning and thunder that carried on for hours. Flooding in the city, traffic at a standstill for hours, mudslides near the CBDs iconic park, and washing wet on the line for the first time in months… it was, in a word… memorable.

Anyways, here are some pics… You’d think I’ve never seen rain the way I’m carrying on, but hey… it was fun!

Norman in the Hail

Hail in the Yardl

Hail the size of hailstones

2nd Front on the way

Green Clouds

Green Clouds2

The Old Shed

Downpour

Driving Home

Chain Rain...

Plans and ideas…

Here’s a list of things I’d like to do sometime this year…

1) Record some tunes – now a possibility thanks to my new desktop pc, which is proudly running Ubuntu (and Windows 7).
2) Write some more blog posts, potentially with a few about some of the good food and coffee available in Perth. And encourage Storm to put some of her dance vids/pics/thoughts on www.stormyhell.net
3) Do some research into the best way to communicate to people how much power they consume in the home. I still think visually translating the idea of energy consumption into a standard measure (say 1 x 100w light globe) would be handy. As an example, my Aircon at maximum cooling uses the equivalent of 20 100W globes (or 40c an hour).
4) Investigate how much power different appliances use in my home – in function and in standby – using a Powermate borrowed from work.
5) Work with Storm to develop a collaborative dance piece. My contribution would not be movement based, I’ll give you the tip…
6) Do a quick investigation into how many (parent) companies make everyday products in our home. I have a feeling it would be surprisingly few.
7) Write my children’s story – P.B. Huffletots and Mr Grumbles – oh how cliched ;)
8 ) Go through and organise all of my photos and documents from years past. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll need that blurred photo of half a ceiling fan from one of my drunken forays. Also buy a new lens for my 400D and take some shots around town.
9) See my little nieces play together for the first time.
10) Learn piano and guitar with plectrum…

These are just a few of a bunch of ideas rolling around the grey ol’ sea of mind and matter… We’ll see how it goes ;)

Farewell St Smith, Hello St Longroyd…

After 3 1/2 rather hectic days – which included multiple car, ute and van loads to our new abode; hours of cleaning and scrubbing; more takeaway than an anthropomorphic healthy colon would otherwise advocate; a few random hours making a fence; 6 loads of washing and 11 dryer loads at the local Laundromat; plenty of packing, unpacking and reorganising; and a Sunday trip to the market and pool/spa/sauna – we have finally moved 4 blocks to the west.

We share our new place with 2 third-year dancers (M,F) from WAAPA and an architecture student (M) and it’s now about a 5 minute walk to Storm’s campus. The house is heritage listed and is certainly a little bit further along the spectrum of dilapidation than you might otherwise envisage when you first hear the word ‘heritage’… However, it will certainly serve its purpose for the next 4 months until we ship on to the next locale… As an added bonus, there’s a spare room and a double bed for any westbound visitors (esp, mum and dad, who will be here next month!). As an added, added bonus, we finally have a washing machine of our own!!!

In other news, Storm has been steadily preparing and rehearsing for a week of shows at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA) that commence tonight and run through till Saturday. The post PICA party will also be at our new abode, so there’s plenty a’happening!

Alright, back to work… A post-weekend weekend would’ve been sensational but… ah well…

Widgets, Titbits and Updates…

It’s been a while… In fact, the frequency of blogposts on Jameses.org has been flatlining for some time. But I do like my blog and I’ve often had a gander back at some of the randomness that’s filled its electronic pages over the last 3 or so years to have a chuckle or dance with nostalgia…

To that end, I’ve added a ‘Random Post’ widget on the righthand sidebar… so if you’re ever bored and on Jameses.org… try your luck.

The widgetization of my blog was part of a number of updates I did last night in an infrequent moment of motivation. Security has been strengthened (apologies to Cathy, whose blog, which I set up, was hacked months ago), data was backed up, and a Flickr widget which places the most recent picture of my Flickr Photostream on my frontpage was installed. I’ve done this as part of Project 365, which encourages participants to upload a photo a day for a year. Today’s as good a day as any to start!

The only other feature I’d like is a mediaplayer so I can have some toones on the frontpage – possibly done with my new guitar and microphone setup.

In other updates, Mum and Dad are in Chicago to visit the bro and family almost a year to the day since I visited that lovely city! Dad’s hopefully gonna kick along to Lollapalooza just to prove old people can enjoy Tool, Kings of Leon and/or other music of the devil.

My lovely little niece Ciara has broken her arm. This means she is now outdoing me on the broken bones counter 1:0. The tooth cavity counter is still level at 0:0.

Also, I stumbled on this interesting piece about love, life and acceptance that really struck a chord with me (From Megnut.com via Kottke.org).

Alright, that’s it for now… Hope you’re all well…

Lunchtime Life Update

Hey Guys,

This is fairly boring post, but one that’s aimed at my family and those who’ve asked me what I’m actually doing. That said, feel free to click away or zone out now…

The job is with the Office of Energy, in the ‘Hardship’ area of the ‘Community Division’. My role revolves around the formation and implementation of policies designed to help people in financial hardship (want to pay their electricity bills but can’t) to deal with recent and future tariff increases. Tariffs went up 10% in April and will go up 15% in July (26.25% total) to 17.6c/kWh. More are slated over the next few years to bring WA electricity prices to a point of cost reflectiveness.

As part of this, I work across a couple of different areas – grants, efficiency programs (including audits and a fridge replacement scheme), remote efficiency projects (insulation for remote communities and more audits) and most recently research and policy work regarding Pre-payment Meters (PPMs). PPMs are a hot topic at the moment and there’s significant debate as to how, and how far, they should be rolled out. As a result of all this, I find the work sufficiently diverse and fast moving (at least for the minute) to keep me occupied and happy.

Unlike last year, when Storm was working and dancing nights, it also means that my baby and I get to make dinner together almost every night. Although, with recent performances (which Storm rocked) and assignments due, she’s had more than a few valid reasons to get out of the washing up…

So that’s a wrap; I hope you’re all well and it’s a bit of a shame you all can’t be here to help me celebrate my 28th B’day with a game of Sunday Barefoot Bowls. I’ll be sure to have a beer for you… but not too many; I’m a working man now ;)

Right and Wrong

SO I was right and wrong. I was right that we could confine our spending to food, rent and puncture repair kits. Storm and I eat like kings on the equivalent of Peter Piper’s pitiful pepper-picking pittance. Of some concern though, I have already had 2 punctures in less than a week… I’m thinking about setting up a puncture counter on my website and a betting comp for how many times a stick, burr or bit of glass will deflate my spirits… My money’s on 27 times for 2009.

I was wrong, however, about my establishment of a Soto-coffee ritual every morning of ungainful employment. Stuff that!… too expensive! For the price of 2 coffees, I can get hopped up, Italian style, in the comfortable confines of my own home multiple times. Although, with 260Mb worth of updates needed for my new Ubuntu OS, I might indeed have to duck down for one last coffee and some free wi-fi tomorrow!

Rituals, habits and establishment fees…

Storm and I are practically settled into our new abode. After lugging the better half of our worldly belongings across the vastness of Oz, we knew we’d solved part of the problem of re-establishing ourselves and our new home. Moving into a place with furnishings (save for a washing machine) has also helped the process.

However, there is always the need to ‘settle': buy the last drippings of comfort; purchase the essential non-essential items we all feel we need; set up the plethora of computers we brought with; get connected; find space to store all of our crap.

With Storm busying herself with her studies, this task has been largely left to me. And using it as an excuse to delay looking for gainful employment, it’s been a somewhat tardy process. But now {gasp} it is nearing completion. Tomorrow, after Storm and I have picked up our brand spanking new bikes and the bookcase on whose shoulders (metaphorical) we are pinning our hopes of storage salvation, that’ll be it. After laying out around $2500 in ‘establishment fees’ our spending can finally be confined to food, rent and puncture repair kits. With beer valued at $9 a pint or $4.50 a pot of mid, even drinking in moderation is infeasible within our new mode of fiscal responsibilty.

And with that, there’s no more ‘need’ to research desks and position them on the price/aesthetic continuum. No more running around town in a vain attempt to get Optus 3G prepaid working on our myriad computers. No more thinly-veiled excuses to avoid looking for work…

Gurgh…

I can guarantee this though… for as long as I remain ungainfully employed, every day at about 10:47am I will meander to my local coffee shop, Soto, and order a coffee and an hour’s free internet. I will use this time to chat to friends on the east coast, upload photos from our recent trip and apply for the odd job. I will enjoy being out of the house. And I will enjoy the fact that I have one firmly established ritual in my new city.

And I’ll rejoice in the fact that, although I’ve come 6300km across the country in search of a new life, I’m still as tight as ever…

3 Min 45 Sec update…

Well, the job hunt is back on… As unenticing as it is, looking for jobs is better than spending the day cooped up in an empty house with only dirty dishes and the screaming neighbours for company.

Although Storm and I have purchased an Optus pre-paid broadband doobie, we have managed to churn through 2Gb of data in a notch over 3 days… thus I’m at my local cafe, using free wireless to apply for jobs and read the news. I never cease to be amazed at how long it actually takes to re-jig a cover letter, selection criteria response to cater for the quirks of each job… I think I must have about 20 iterations of my application pack by now…

Ok, with 30 secs left on the clock, I’d better log off…

Lots of love and yes we’re alive…

Still around :)

Well, for only the second time since I commenced Jameses.org, I have gone a calendar month sans post. And it’s not been due to a lack of activity in this little ‘ole town, but rather an inertia that I’m sure all bloggers suffer from from time to time. After the passing of a week or two, it becomes apparent that you can’t just re-enter the fray with a frivolous tidbit regarding tide times in the brisbane river, an idle boast about sweeping the Cup, or a story about homemade pies and quiche.

This is particularly the case when so much has been going on: a trip to the States, the consumption of dog, an ongoing unemployment saga, a new job, a second new job, a new niece, Storm’s dance auditions, moving house, and potential farewells to friends and family… yet all of those things seem too personal or non-Jameses-esque to place on this repository of miscellanea.

And so… nothing.

But, when faced with a ‘give it up’ or ‘live it up’ option, there was never really an option and so the inertia has been overcome and this post is born.

And so a concise recapping of recent goings-on:
* I’m now the loving uncle of 4 nieces, with Mischa Kate Everden entering the world, happy and healthy, on the 26th of October!
* Storm and I will soon be residents of Kelvin Grove, leaving behind our much-loved abode of McNab after 2 years, 7 flatmates, and a millionty-billionty transitory guests.
* I am currently in the employ of both the QLD Department of Tourism, Regional Development and Industry and the Caxton Hotel. One brings in the bacon, the other provides luxury-money.
* I have enjoyed recent trips to Fraser Island, Marcoola, Byron Bay, Toowoomba and Murwillumbah in the company of good friends and in search of good times.
* I’m currently partaking in Movember to raise awareness of prostate cancer and male depression, in the process earning the right to indulge myself with a free Grill’d burger every day till the end of the month!
* I, like every other cricket loving Australian, was left despondent by the recent tour to India.

Coming up:
* The expected, but unwanted, passing of a friend of Storm’s and mine.
* A 10 year re-union – for which I need to buff up and slim down ;)
* A dirty, dirty, ginger ‘tache and end of month Movember Gala Party
* Christmas with both families and a 2000km odd round trip for good measure…
* 2009 and big questions to be asked and answered!

So, in sum, blah, blah and blah… But it’s my blog so I can dribble what I want to ;)

Lots of love…