Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Office screens

I realised the other day that perhaps my office was suffering from monitor overkill

Note the nifty packet of snifters hanging on the wall.  This is quite possibly the last pack of snifters in the world.  Never could stand them.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Bloody Amarok

I usually use Amarok as my media player.  I don't like it but it has a couple of features that work for me - until now that is.  I have just upgraded my linux distribution of choice from OpenSuse 11.2 to OpenSuse 11.3.   This of course upgraded amarok.  I just now started it for the first time.

Amarok has corrupted its music database.  Currently I am listening to a track called "Rhythm in my Soul" by The Velvet Underground off their record titled "Into The Dread".  I wasn't aware that The Velvet Underground played reggae.

edit:  The track after this was "Death Trip" by Jeff Buckley which I thought was quite an apt combination.

Website update

I have just finished updating my website.   The major change is that I have used the Silverstripe CMS (SS) as the backend.  This means that I am far more likely to complete the content of the site and also update it from time to time as SS makes the management of it so much easier.  I have been working on massaging it into SS for about a month.  It was mainly done as a way of getting to know SS better.

I still have work to do on it as the content is lacking in places.  The section on Wine and Food ends very abruptly.  There are only three pages about me and as the site is mainly an egotistical exercise I think there should be more of them.  Currently the page which should contain links to other sites is completely empty.  The section on Oruawharo Homestead only has content on one page and all the rest are empty.

But this is all an improvement on what it was a few minutes ago.  I'll probably spend some time today working on fleshing some of the empty bits out.

But then again I may not

Friday, 20 August 2010

Auckland (again)

The other night I had the pleasure in watching Camille eat.  I got to sit opposite her as she lovingly rubbed a rosemary sprig over her french lamb rack and then sliced into it exposing the perfectly cooked interior.  I sat there as the beautiful aroma from her plate wafted over to my side of the table, as she slowly worked her way through her meal.  I sat there getting more and more hungry.

Normally I would be sitting opposite her chowing down myself on some plate of bloody chunks of meat accompanied by a small amount of vegetable matter but this time I had sent my meal back as my medium rare fillet was on the wrong side of medium.  The downside of returning a meal is that one gets to sit around waiting for a fresh meal to be prepared and it generally takes about as long as the first wait for the main.  The restaurant did offer me a side of garlic bread while I waited but this offer was made about 15 minutes after I had sent my main back and shortly before my replacement meal arrived.   I turned down the side though did say I appreciated the offer.

Eventually my medium rare fillet of beef arrived and I looked at it dubiously.  I then sliced into it only to fnd that it was still overdone for my liking.  However, Camille had finished her meal and I was hungry so I ate it.   Well... I ate part of it and gave up on the rest.

We were staying at the Waipuna Hotel again.  It isn't the best hotel we have stayed in but it is in a fairly good location for our business in Auckland, has comfortable rooms - as long as you have a suite - and  usually the food is acceptable.    The previous night we had dined in our room and had shared a caesar salad which was very good.

Our suite was good.  Very spacious with a small kitchenette and separate bedroom with a bathroom off it. 

From the bedroom we could step outside onto a balcony.  That's about all we could do  as the balcony was only 40 odd centimetres deep.  Anyone with a largish stomach would have some difficulty getting between the balustrade and window.  Although I have put on weight in recent times I haven't put on so much that I had trouble using the balcony.

The view was a nice mix of sea lagoon and technology in the form of a number of large power pylons and overhead cables.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

XT Network and data

Camille and I have had Telecom T Sticks for a few years.  They are on the CDMA network and have been very useful.  However, in our travels recently we have noticed that they suffer slowdown from time to time and on occasions this can be extreme.  For instance, I complained loud and long in this post about ping times close to 20,000 milliseconds.

Currently I'm testing out a Sierra 308 T Stick which runs on the XT network.  So far I'm fairly impressed with its speed.  I think we might purchase a couple of these as replacements.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Random phone photos

Flowers in our garden. These are about to bloom again.

About to get up close and personal with a giraffe.

Lamb shanks, moroccan style in the tagine.

Church at Te Aute

This always makes me think of Camille.

Risotto (chicken and saffron) with roast tomatoes and onion.

Water drop 1

Water drop 2

Roast tomatoes and shallots on ciabatta

Museum Hotel

Recently Camille and I stayed in the Museum Hotel in Wellington.  We generally book a suite when we stay here as we like the space to spread out and relax.  We don't travel light and are often encumbered with quite a bit of electronic equipment and we need space to set it up and work etc. The suite was comfortable and reasonably spacious.  It had all the usual bits plus a coffee machine, oven, stove top, washer/dryer, rain shower with a wand head, badly make shower area that caused water to flow over the bathroom floor no matter what.  A nice place to stay though we did have a few niggles.

We couldn't watch any of the pay per view films as we simply couldn't select them.  Apparently something was broken somewhere in the system and it only affected us.  The staff were good and brought up a selection of  dvds for us to pick through.  Most of them were instant rejects but we did end up watching LA Confidential.

When we have stayed here in the past we have eaten at the Hippopotamus restaurant which does produce quite good food.  I have reviewed in the past albeit over 18 months ago.   We didn't dine there this time.  Instead we decided to stick with room service for breakfast.  However, the breakfasts left something to be desired.

The first morning I ordered oeufs a la coque - eggs with spinach and mushrooms baked in cream and served with toast.  Cost $30.00.  The dish was very pleasant, good textures and flavours but the toast was... not up to par.  Two slices of ordinary sliced bread, lightly toasted and then cut in half on the diagonal is not acceptable when I'm pay $30.00 for a breakfast.  For that I expect a decent, real bread not some white sliced crap from a plastic bag.  However, I let it go.

I enjoyed the eggs and so decided to order the same dish on our second morning.  This time I also decided to get a "Speciality Coffee" for an extra $4.00 as well.  I was deeply unimpressed with the result.  The coffee, far from being anything special, arrived in a cardboard cup with a plastic lid and was one of the worst coffees I have ever tasted.  It was extremely bitter and absolutely unpleasant to drink.  In fact, I didn't drink it.  After the first sip it was dumped down the sink.  Had somebody actually dashed out the hotel door to the nearest street vendor to get this coffee?  That's certainly the impression I had from its lovely cardboard container and the vileness of the brew itself.

The oeufs a la coque were a disaster. They were completely uncooked.  It seemed plain to me that the spinach had been wilted, mushrooms sauteed and then assembled with the raw eggs and cream ready for baking.  At this point something went quite wrong and it missed out the 15 minutes of being baked.  You can see the state of the egg white in the photo to the right.  Note also the 'toast'.

A complaint was made and a new breakfast was provided.  I wasn't charged for either breakfast which is somewhat mollifying but it isn't a good way to start a day.

I'm sure all my readers will be pleased to know that we had no lift troubles in this hotel.  They worked exactly as they should do - went up and down without unexpected halts.  Doors opened and closed smoothly.  We didn't get trapped once though I did get jammed in the doors very briefly on one occasion.