andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
I would just like to take a moment to say how impressed I am that my BFFs managed to translate my garbled, sleep-deprived, pain-killer assisted text message. Reading it back, I'm astonished that anyone got 'I can't go to the movies with you because one of my fillings fell out and I haven't slept and it's Sunday and I need a dentist, OH GOD WHY?' out of that.

Well, I'm pretty sure that the filling has fallen out, because it feels exactly the way it did last time the same friking filling fell out. As a bonus, the dentist said last time that they wouldn't be able to re-fill the tooth normally and it would need a root canal. Which I cannot afford, so I'm going have to ask them to pull it instead :(. At least it's right at the back?

There are only nine more hours until I can go to the dentist's office and explain my problem. Maybe they will at least be able to tell me where there is someone with a pair of pliers and less than a three-week waiting list for an appointment?
andraste: Life is too short for cheap chocolate. (Kimono's Townhouse)
... because my brother just proposed to his girlfriend!!! This is wonderful news - they've been together three years, she's lovely, and gets along with our side of the family very well.

And apparently he proposed with cake, which is obviously the correct way to go about it :).

Now I just need to try and make sure they don't schedule the wedding for PAX weekend. (I love my baby brother, but I would rather not drag myself off to watch him get married in the middle of a con. I might accidentally forget to change out of my cosplay outfit.)
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
I'm currently staying at my parents' place in the country, and was planning to go back to Melbourne tomorrow, but there is no way in hell I'm travelling on public transport in 45 degree heat. (That's 113 degrees Fahrenheit, for people who insist on using confusing outdated systems *g*.)

My parents' cat has been stuck like this for three days so far:

Cat photo below the cut. )
andraste: Cooking. With Superman. (Cooking With Superman)
Heads up to my RL crew: I won't be at the place with the things on Christmas night, as I have agreed to go and rescue Aunt #1 from Aunt #2 and Aunt #3 and Aunt #2's awful husband [1]. Since this is a compromise that still allows me to spend most of Christmas Day watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition in my pajamas, I have agreed to it. Shall we meet up for dinner before the movie on Boxing Day? (Assuming you are all going to the movie on Boxing Day ...)

On the bright side, when I went to get the last few things for my solo Christmas dinner, there was exactly one lamb rack left! I imagine it was left behind because it seems to have come from a decidedly under-sized lamb, but that just means it's the perfect amount for me. And next door they were selling discount cider, so I am planning to have a merry afternoon.

Also looking forward to Yuletide, now that my assignment is in a fit state to be seen. And someone wrote me a TREAT!!! I've been participating since 2005, and that's never happened before! (Not that I'm not equally excited for my assigned story, but I knew that was coming, whereas getting a treat is a lovely surprise.) I'm hoping to get a treat or two finished myself before tomorrow afternoon.


[1] Or, alternatively, to help her hide the bodies and provide her with an alibi, if she has given in to temptation and beaten them to death with the roasting pan. Since the approach of the festive season has caused Aunt #2's conversation to expand from This Is Why You're Fat into This Is Why You're Still Single, I could not blame her.

Ugh

Oct. 31st, 2013 08:49 pm
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
So, last week I had a cold, but I've been steadily improving. Until this morning, when I woke up feeling like death with a fever and my right ear full of ick. It looks red even to me, from the little I can see with a torch and a mirror. I hate my stupid Eustachian tubes! Most people grow out of this by the time they hit puberty, but I don't think it's ever going to happen for me.

I couldn't get a doctor's appointment for today or tomorrow, so it looks like I get to spend the weekend curled up in bed again :(.

(Chances of me appearing at club tomorrow: low. Sorry, everyone!)
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
This is the most depressing election campaign ever. It's 4:30am on election day, and I still don't know what I'm going to do when I get into the booth. I don't want anyone to win. It's awful.

However, if I was voting based solely on advertising campaigns, it would be the Australian Sex Party all the way:



I don't like how they're distributing their preferences, but I'll be putting their candidates high up on my Senate ballot.
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
Time spent trying to get Adobe Digital Editions to recognise the existence of the eReader I purchased for my parents: one hour.

Time spent finding our how to remove DRM from books: ten minutes.

I have exactly the same experience with digital music - getting things the illegal way takes a few mouse clicks. Trying to buy them ensures misery and wasted time. And don't get me started on the way Australian prices for digital content are jacked up for no reason other than distributor profit-gouging. (Of course, what I just did was only illegal in the technical sense. I paid for all the books!)
andraste: Why, yes, this is my tentacle sex icon ... (Shiny Objects)
Every now and then, Cracked has an article that makes me want to point and say 'yes! this!' and this one is at the top of the list: Five Idiotic Misconceptions About Calling Customer Service.

I especially agree with the parts about demanding to speak to a supervisor without telling the operator what your freaking problem is, and the part about yelling. Especially the part about yelling.

If you are polite, a decent customer service rep will try to help you. A good one will go out of their way to do so. As soon as you start shouting at or insulting them, though, you have stopped being someone they want to help and turned into someone they want to go away. Preferably as fast as possible, whether your problem is fixed or not. Then they can go back to drinking their coffee and posting on their social networking site in peace, without somebody screaming in their ear. This goes double for yelling about things that are not their fault, or even their employer's fault. Tripple if you are yelling about something that is your own fault.

I would also add: do not threaten your customer service rep. Threatening to report them or get them fired is bad enough, but threatening them with physical violence is worse than useless. Apart from being, y'know, a crime, it ensures that nobody at the other end of that phone line will help you ever again. While you're threatening to firebomb their office or shoot them, they are writing 'RAGING ARSEHOLE WHO MAKES VIOLENT THREATS, DO NOT ENGAGE!!!' on your account and planning to have your service cancelled.

And, yes, people really threaten things like that. (Along with sexually harassing female reps like me, and calling people disgustingly racist things. Because people suck.) The funniest conversation of this kind I have ever had went like this:

Me: Look, I'm sorry sir, but I cannot help you with :problem that has nothing whatsoever to do with our service:.

Arsehole Customer: Would you be able to help me if I came down there and put a gun in your mouth?

Me: No, sir, because then I wouldn't be able to talk to you any more.

At which point he became even more enraged by my lack of concern about his threats of violent assault and murder. Dude, I have been answering phones in call centers for more than three years! There is nothing you can say that will impress me!
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
Because I am both a genius and super organized, I just bought my mother's Christmas gift. Sure, it's four months early, but it isn't something she's in any danger of buying herself. She will now be the recipient of two tickets to the last ever Spicks and Specks stage show. (For people who are either not Australian or not avid ABC viewers, it's a music quiz show. Sort of.) She's always loved it and she rarely gets to go to that sort of thing. I doubt dad will want to go with her, but she can take one of her sisters. Or one of her children, but it would be rude to take half of my present back.

I almost want to tell her now, because she's having such a hard time lately. My dad's mother is in hospital after a fall and is probably never going back to live at her house (she's ninety, so this is not a surprise) and this is causing massive angst in everyone involved. Mum is usually a rock about these things, but all the driving back and forth between her house and grandma's and the lack of sleep have given her shingles. The doctor took one look at the rash and asked her if she had any stress in her life, and mum burst out laughing. Still, at least having bought her a nice present makes me feel better.

Now I just need to figure out what to get for dad. *facepalm*

Wheeeeee!

Sep. 1st, 2011 08:53 pm
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
I have successfully purchased my weekend pass for the 2012 Global Atheist Convention! So exciting! Not cheap, but last year I only got to go for the Saturday and I've been regretting it ever since.

Now I just hope that Christopher Hitchens' health holds up long enough for him to make it. Not because I'm a particular fan of Hitchens (there's actually not much I agree with him about other than the non-existence of any divine or supernatural forces) but the idea of assembling the Four Horsemen for what might well be the last time is appealingly historical. No matter how many issues I have with them as individuals (and how much I wish the most public face of atheism wasn't four middle-aged white men) they've been hugely important to atheism as a social movement.
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
In the last twenty-four hours, I've gone from running a temperature and feeling crap to running less of a temperature (hooray for drugs) but bearing a rash.

It doesn't look like meningococcal meningitis to my admittedly untrained eye, and I have no other symptoms of that. (Obviously I will seek urgent medical attention if I develop a severe headache, photophobia, etc.)

What it might well be, however, is rubella. This would be good news for me since it is a mild illness that I should recover from quickly. However, it does mean that if you were one of the people who saw me on Wednesday night, I may have given it to you. Especially since I was sharing forks with various people. This is nothing to panic about, but if you know any pregnant women it is very important that you not pass it on to them.

Anyway, I am going to the doctor on Monday to confirm and am feeling better than I did yesterday. I apologise in advance if I have given you rubella!

Woohoo!

Sep. 7th, 2010 03:35 pm
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
Seventeen days after the election, the ALP has managed to form minority government. I don't agree with them on everything, but nobody in their party is Tony Abbott, so I'm definitely counting this as a win.

When it comes to Tony Abbott, I would prefer almost anything else, including John Howard. Or a turnip. Or a rabid wolverine.

*headdesk*

Aug. 22nd, 2010 12:06 am
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
It's after midnight and the Australian parliament is officially hung. The most likely outcome at this point is that the Coalition will form a minority government - I think the chances of Bob Katter and the other two conservative independents siding with the ALP are close to zero. (Although the national broadband network could yet turn out to be the deciding factor in this election. I grew up in the country, and unlike Tony Abbott people in rural Australia understand that we need internet that actually works outside the city.)

It's not that the ALP have been a particularly inspiriting government, but the opposition is lead by Tony Abbott. An anti-choice, anti-LGBT, anti-immigration misogynist jock who doesn't believe in anthropogenic climate change. The last time I hated a politician as much as I hate Abbott it was Peter Reith, so I am greatly upset that he's probably going to be our next Prime Minister.
andraste: Mendoza: because he's smarter than you. (Mendoza)
In two days time, Australia is having a federal election. It has not exactly been the most inspiring campaign in our history, but as voting is compulsory here we all have a make a decision. Who I vote for in the House of Representatives is immaterial as I live in a safe Liberal seat, but the Senate vote in Victoria is actually quite important this time, as we will have a chance to get rid of Family First Senator Steve Fielding.

My mother hasn't had time to look into the sixty candidates on the paper in detail, so I made a few notes for her, and I thought I might as well post them here for anyone else who hasn't had time to do background reading. Candidates are sorted into Groups A through U, usually by political party.

This post is aimed at Australian readers, so I assume you know the major players already and devote myself to describing the fringe parties. It's not a 'how to vote' card although I have not been shy about my views.

Brief description of each group's policies below cut. )
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
Most surprising headline of the day: wombat mauls camper.

As the article notes, this is highly unusual behaviour for the species, and I feel bad for the wombat as well as the camper it attacked. Perhaps it's just more proof that Australian wildlife is mean!

I guess I should add wombats to my list of wild animals to warn tourists about, along with magpies, kangaroos, koalas and possums. (I mean, we also have snakes and spiders and crocodiles, but I like to think that those are pretty obviously not to be patted.) I really mean it about the kangaroos, though - most of the time they're placid and even friendly, but if a dominant male thinks you're getting fresh with his harem, he may try to disembowel you. Part of the national park near where I grew up was closed off for several years after a local 'roo did this to a tourist.

At least the kookaburras just want your lunch. Although who knows what Hitchcockian plans they have brewing?
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
So, the good news is that I've been back at university for two days and it's going well. The bad news is that Centrelink - that's the Australian social security agency, for all you foreigners out there - have rejected my Austudy claim.

More comprehensive description of their fail below the cut. )

ETA: My powers of persuasion are mighty! After an afternoon of politely arguing with every staff member in the local branch office (well, it felt like every staff member) I finally got to talk to someone who knew something about Austudy. Turns out whoever assessed my claim had rejected it because of 'previous study of a Master's course' - a course which I have never applied for, enrolled in, or done! Maybe they assumed all phD candidates have Master's degrees or maybe they ticked the wrong box without looking. Anyway, the Austudy person declared them an idiot, reinstated me and actually gave me extra money which will tide me over until they begin paying me. Andraste: 1. Centrelink: 0.
andraste: Why, yes, this is my tentacle sex icon ... (Shiny Objects)
My internet time has been severely curtailed by spending the past week with my family, who keep expecting me to do things and talk to people. The only Yuletide story I have managed to actually read is the one written for me! However, not everything has passed me by. A brief summary of my recent activities in emoticon form:

Christmas Day: :(

Boxing Day: :D

Yuletide: :)

Sherlock Holmes: \o/

The End of Time, Part One: o_O

Expanded Thoughts On These Subjects Below Cut. Trailer spoilers only. )
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
Usually, I would have all my Christmas shopping over by now; for preference I like to have it sorted out near the start of December so I can save the Christmas Eve panic for wrapping. However, this year people in my family keep asking me to to their last-minute gift buying for them because I live in a big city with many shops and they don't. Hence why I spent today running around Chadstone shopping centre on the weekend in the middle of the pre-Christmas insanity. However! I have now done everything except pick up gifts for my brother and one of my aunts. I know what I'm getting them, at least, and don't actually have to think about it.

I pride myself on being generally good at buying presents for people - I don't always get it right, but my hit rate is pretty high. So I was worried this year when I had trouble coming up with something to get my dad. He's always been pretty hard to shop for, but it's even harder the past few years since he has a chronic illness. This means that he doesn't actually do much, so he doesn't need that much stuff. He's already got piles of unread books and unwatched DVDs rising to the ceiling - the local library and JB Hi Fi sales provide him with more entertainment than one man could get through in a lifetime. His medication means that he can't drink much, so alcohol was out. Last year my brother and I got him a new digital camera, but I had trouble thinking of anything else he might need. I didn't really want to get him a voucher, since I wanted him to have something to open on the day.

I was thinking sadly to myself that what he does much of the time is lie in front of the TV under his blanket ... and then I realised that the solution was staring me in the face. Mum has been complaining about that ratty old blanket for about three winters now and saying they need to replace it - so come Christmas day dad will be the owner of a brand new Mohair throw. It may shed on the carpet, but I figure it won't be worse than the cat in that respect. (The cat will also shed on the blanket, of course, but that is what cats do.) Now I just need to go by wrapping paper and pick up those last couple of things and I will be done.
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
Does anyone out there in internet land know any good vegetarian recipes that freeze well? I have a ton of good veggie recipes in my repertoire, but not many I can make a big lot of and store for later. I'm trying to fill up my freezer before Dragon Age Day arrives next Thursday. (Yes, I actually have a list of stuff I have to get done before I get this game. So far it's going well - I've got my hair cut and my wardrobe cleaned out, among other things. I should work on organizing my life so I can spend more time playing video games more often.)

I don't eat tofu - or most other soy variations, for that matter - or mushrooms. (There's at least two reasons I'd make a terrible full-time vegetarian. Well, two reasons apart from my love of bacon.) I'm open to pretty much any other vegetable or legume, however.
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
... not being able to buy a ticket to The 2010 Global Atheist Convention :-(. Even if I only got a Saturday pass to see Richard Dawkins, it's still $110.

This makes me a sad atheist panda, because there are going to be so many interesting speakers. Not just Dawkins, but PZ Myers and a bunch of locals whose work I've been following for years. Peter Singer! Phillip Adams! Catherine Deveny! Sue-Ann Post! Maybe I should stand outside the convention centre with a sign that says 'THIS CON IS SO TOTALLY AWESOME, I WOULD BE INSIDE IF I WERE NOT SO POOR.'

I mean, it would be nice to think that I will have a job by March, but I'm not holding my breath. Tickets will probably sell out long before the convention. I'm tempted to ask for one as my family Kris Kringle present this year, but I suspect my mother will veto it as inappropriate. (My mother is a fellow atheist, but would probably prefer to avoid the conversations with her extended family that would doubtless ensue. I guess I'll end up with towels or something instead.)

Anyway: if you're an atheist of the 'New' variety and you're going to be anywhere near Melbourne next March, you should go.

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