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Sunday 20 May 2007

Not good

Posted by kim @ 12:45am

I've just been reading a bit of the June issue of the Gardening Australia mag that I bought this morning, and am a little dismayed at one of the articles. Its about John Byrne meeting up with a famous gardener/garden author from England and what she has to say about Englands water crisis is nothing short of depressing.

When you think of England you automatically think of the cold, dreary days where it rains for days on end, and where consequently, the gardens are lush and green and full of life. But apparently they too are feeling the pinch for water with "more and more gardeners installing tanks and water butts" (drums placed at the base of downpipes to collect rainwater), where people are turning away from the lush lawns and are declaring the herbaceous border dead in the UK because they are too high maintenance. Instead people are "opting for paving and foliage plants to save time, money and water."

So soon enough there's not even going to be traditional English gardens even in England. Very sad, but there's not much we can do about it at this point in time.

Can't wait

Posted by kim @ 10:46am

Putting away the fruit and vege after returning from another grocery shop, I'm again reminded of how much I just can't wait until we can grow our own veges again. I really do miss the thrill of watching them grow, the brilliant variety of colours, shapes, textures and smells that excite every sense from preparing the soil right through to harvesting the ripe fruits and plump leaves.

Its wonderful. And I can't wait.

Friday 18 May 2007

Golf club?

Posted by kim @ 5:41pm

(Sitting outside at the pub) You have to wonder about a guy who tries to get into a pub carrying a golf club. Not surprisingly, he got turned away by the bouncer at the door.

Thursday 17 May 2007

Hahahaha

Posted by kim @ 11:26am

We just received the funniest Service Job ever!

It was a keyboard. The fault: "The spacebar doesn't work. Please fix and send back as soon as possible as we are quite handicapped without it".

It didn't even take close examination on the part of a non-Service person, ie me, to know exactly what was wrong with it.

It was absolutely festy!! I have never before seen a keyboard in such a state of complete filth! If it wasn't the current type of keyboard, you'd think that it had come out of last century, with all the dust, hair, oil and gunk associated with that much use without cleaning. There was even a dead spider in there for goodness sakes!! The mystery lies in the fact that not more keys "don't work".

My gawd. Did it not occur to them that cleaning it once in a while might help!?! Clearly not. And now they have to pay for a $99 Service Job for the guys to waste their time doing it for them.

Some days I wish my phone had a camera.

Wednesday 16 May 2007

Typical

Posted by kim @ 11:40am

Late last night in an office or warehouse of the afore mentioned Major-Computer-Manufacturer, the following conversation occurred:

"Oo oo!! Its Kim's birthday tomorrow. What's something really nasty we can do?"
"Oh I know! What about giving her a s**t-load of stuff to book in and invoices to enter?"
"No, no. We did that every day last week. It's got to be something worse then that."
"Um .. Oh I know! What about releasing new machines? That always seems to give purchasing offices a good headache."
"Yeh ok. But thats not very bad just on its own. What's something else we can add to it?"
"Oh I know! What about a nice little Price Protection?"
"Oh yes!! And not just any Price Protection! Lets make it an iPod Price Protection!!"
"Oh yes!! Lets do that!"
Evil snickers follow and fade into the night.

Monday 14 May 2007

Weekends

Posted by kim @ 12:50pm

(WARNING: another rant.) One of my friends used to be a courier driver, and with this knowledge of the job and having worked in purchasing and dispatch for quite a while now, I have a very healthy respect for what those drivers go through each day and would not be in the least surprised to be dealing with grumpy ones most days. What I can't understand are the cheerful ones. How can you do that job and still be able to greet people with 'How are you going today? Just sign there, Love. Thanks so much.' in a bright, cheerful voice. I feel like asking sometimes 'What are you on? because whatever it is, I want some.'

An additional hazard of Monday's is couriers asking cheerfully how your weekend was. Like as if weekends are used for anything other then rushing around madly trying to catchup with friends and family and do all the other jobs that you don't have time/opportunity to do during the week because you spend all the useful hours of the day at work. Weekends, if anything, tend to be even more crazily busy than weekdays. They are not, therefore, as enjoyable or relaxing as they could be. And if you do manage to do something enjoyable and/or relaxing - such as visiting a few wineries with friends, or wandering around the weekend markets, or going to the park for a BBQ - are spoiled when you realise that you have to go back to work on Monday.

Explanations

Posted by kim @ 9:47am

Maybe I should explain my last entry a bit. (WARNING: rant following.)

My manager would probably think that that attitude is a result of me not liking my job ... but that isn't true. I don't actually mind my job that much, the tasks that I do each day, but I do mind the constant, and I mean constant, having to be onto people about things. For suppliers, its being a witness to A-Major-Computer-Manufacturer doing confoundingly stupid things, every single day; its always having to argue with A-Major-Accessories-Distributer about anything and everything, because that's just the way that our Account Manager at their end is (I will point out that the other people that I deal with at their end are quite nice and will actually help you if you have a problem, and I so wish that I could deal with them full-time instead of having to go through this other argumentative idiot); and having to sort out the constant stuff-ups, at both ends, with other suppliers. And closer to home, its dealing with, being inescapably exposed to and having to listen to the constant in-fighting here, all the bitchiness and aggravation flying around; multiple groups of people having arguments via email, with the whole staff list cced in; Person1 coming in to me to air their little (or not so little) grievences, with Person2 having noticed, then Person2 coming in to have their say as soon as Person1 has left because they can't have it that I'll have a biased outlook on the situation.

Sometimes I really feel like pulling them both together and yelling 'I DON'T CARE! Sort it out yourselves!'. I mean, for goodness sakes, bitching to me isn't going to solve anything. If they need some issue resolved they should be speaking to their respective managers. Not me. I'm just the unfortunate person who happens to be sitting next to the kitchenette/lunchroom.

And there's one particular person within our own staff, who is really starting to not just piss off me, but also a number of other people, including my manager, who is second only to the two Managing Directors. Not a good thing to be doing. But he persists in arguing every single little point, every single one. And constantly going on about how very busy he is, when frankly he wouldn't know busy if it slapped him in the face.

Sigh. Some days I'm just so over this place.

Yay

Posted by kim @ 9:03am

I wish that I could approach my days without the feeling of intense boredom and dread.

Sunday 13 May 2007

Interesting article

Posted by kim @ 3:02pm

I haven't done this for quite a while, so here's an interesting article I found on NewScientist:

Bizarre planet is hottest yet found
18:00 09 May 2007

One of the most exotic planets known around another star just got a little more bizarre, thanks to new data from the Spitzer Space Telescope. The latest observations make it the blackest and hottest planet ever discovered.

"What we found is that it was not just a hot planet, which we expected, but that it was really hot," says team leader Joseph Harrington, an astronomer at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, US.

Temperatures on the planet HD 149026b, which lies about 25 times closer to its star than Earth does to the Sun, reach a scorching 2040 degrees Celsius - almost as hot as some small stars.

To make the observations, the researchers took advantage of the fact that the planet is one of only 17 known to "transit" - or pass directly in front of - its star as seen from Earth. So by observing how much the star's infrared light dropped when the planet passed behind it, they calculated the planet's own infrared emissions.

The team found that the planet does not appear to reflect any starlight, suggesting it must be blacker than charcoal. But because it is so hot, it may glow like an ember.

Scientists are not exactly sure why the perplexing planet is so hot. "A lot of people are going to be scratching their heads trying to figure this out," Harrington says.

The planet's "heavy" elements - defined as all elements other than hydrogen and helium - may play a role.

Extremely dense

It is thought to contain more heavy elements than all of the bodies in our solar system, excluding the Sun. That is because it is extraordinarily dense - scientists had previously discovered it has a solid core with a mass of 70 to 90 Earths (see Exoplanet's hard core is largest yet detected).

The researchers suspect that some chemical component in the atmosphere - such as a layer of titanium oxide might efficiently absorb light - and thus heat up the planet. However, at such high temperatures, the element titanium is expected to condense and rain out of the atmosphere.

"I think the best idea right now is we have some absorber, whether it's titanium oxide or something else, that heats up and emits efficiently in the infrared," Harrington told New Scientist.

The researchers have reserved time to further study the planet's atmosphere with all of Spitzer's instruments - not just its Infrared Array Camera - later in 2007.

Thermal map

Meanwhile, a separate team of astronomers led by Heather Knutson, a graduate student at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, revealed the first ever thermal map of a planet outside our solar system. The map suggests winds are distributing heat around the world.

HD 189733b also transits its host. The Jupiter-like planet whips around its star every 2.2 days and is closer to its star than Mercury is to the Sun. It always shows the same side to its star, meaning it is always daytime on that side and nighttime on the other.

Right before the planet disappeared behind the star, the researchers got a glimpse of the day side and were able to compare it to the night side.

The map indicates that the temperature between the perpetual day and night sides only differs by several hundred degrees Celsius, much less than expected. That leads researchers to suspect that high winds may be dispersing the heat from the day side to the night side.

Bolstering that idea, they found the brightest, and thus hottest, spot on the planet is not directly facing the star, as would be expected. Instead, it is offset by 30, suggesting jet streams may be whipping around the planet at several kilometres per second.

...

Journal reference: Nature (doi:10.1038/nature05863) and (vol 447, p 183)


So they have 2040 degrees Celcius days, it rains Titanium and has winds that whip around the planet at several kilometres per second. Yeh! And there's a top holiday spot for you! :D

Thursday 10 May 2007

Strange

Posted by kim @ 8:20am

Sitting in the coffee shop again and I hear the following order called out as its placed on the bench by the barista: "decaf flat white with soy".

I have to ask, what's the point? Especially at this time of morning when any normal coffee-drinking person would go for a wake-up that actually tastes half-way decent.

What a very strange person.

Tuesday 8 May 2007

First rain

Posted by kim @ 8:11pm

Blimey has it been a month already?!

Quick update: we have a dog. We've had a dog for just over 3wks now. He's a black lab with a white patch on his chest and we've called him Sam. He turned 13wks old last Friday and Iain had the task of taking him to the vet for his second round of vaccinations - bad, horrible person he is :P

Well, anyway, it rained last night. And we realised that it would be the first time Sam had seen rain (he comes from Kingaroy, where it hasn't rained in months, and it hasn't rained down here since we got him either) but instead of him being a bit wary of it, like puppies sometimes are with new, strange things, it didn't seem to phase him at all and instead he and Jess seemed to go even sillier than usual, playing and running around most of the night and digging to China and Vietnam today in the nice soft soil that was our back garden bed.

They both got into trouble of course, when we came home and found it, but we aren't really that upset because that entire bed is desolute at the moment (the veges are all long dead) so they didn't really damage much.

He really has been a good dog so far: he had a 4hr+ drive back home from Kingaroy when we picked him up and he didn't once throw up or pee in the car; he was sitting on command by the end of the following day, and was coming to his new name after a few days; he quickly learnt that messing in the house wasn't allowed, and that whinning didn't get you anywhere (we ignore him when he whines, and reward him with heaps of pats and attention when he's quiet) and he even lays on his mat and is well behaved (not jumping about and being silly) when he's inside (he's allowed inside in the evenings when we get home from work because its really the only time we get to spend with him otherwise - but only if he behaves. If he doesn't he goes straight back outside again).

He's also much bigger than when we first got him and is quickly getting too big/heavy to pick up. But the vet says he's about the right weight for puppy his age, so that's good.

Oh and did I mention how cute he is? :D