Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Wednesday, 28 December 2005

The Year that was....

Reflecting back on the year 2005, and wow what a year it has been for me. A *LOT* has happened. Does everyone feel they are getting more and more stressed and stretched to the limit each year? or is it just me?

It started when I thought I was going to be retrenched from CSC, when they dissolved our division. Miraculously at the last minute they decided to keep me and renew my contract - but I had already started looking for a new job by then...

During Jan 2005 we moved to our new house. although our plot is a bit smaller than before, the house is much bigger. We have enjoyed the new house a lot and like having the extra space so we are not all in each other's hair all the time. The boys still share a bedroom, but it's about twice the size of their old one, so they have space to play in there now, and don't have to lug their toys all over the house (although they often still do!). Also this house has cupboards! So things can be packed away.YAY!

In January the boys are started at their new pre-school Keurboom. Quinn was in Grade R/0 and Griffin in the 3-4 year old group. Both settled in well and enjoyed their year there. They adapted well and made lots of friends, and had lovely teachers.
Richard's parent came to stay with us for 2 weeks early in the year. It was good to see them, and although Richard and I had to work through that time, the boys really enjoyed having Granny and Grandpa with us. They especially love it when Granny reads stories to them.

A short time after that Catherine and her boys Stephen(9) and Thomas(6) came to stay with us. It was lovely to see them. My boys love their cousins - although they did drive each other mad at times. It's a pity we don't get to see each other more often. It was really lovely having
them here and the boys talk about them ALL the time still. Especially the fact that they got so excited to see the sea they rushed in fully clothed! (Silly Vaalies!- oh wait that's Gauties now...)

In February I was approached by a recruitment agent saying a position had come up with on of Mark Shuttleworth's companies, and was I interested in applying? It sounded interesting, so I did apply. When it came to the interview I was astounded that the interview was with Mark himself (who was in town from London at the time)! The rest, as they say, is history and I joined Canonical, and started on 30 March. I have been working on the Ubuntu and Edubuntu projects since.

It has been quite an adjustment figuring out how to work with people in 20 different countries, across 24 time zones! Nearly all our interaction is on-line and much of it through IRC. I have an office at the Shuttleworth Foundation building in Durbanville, but spend about half my time working from home,and often at odd hours too. We have meetings scheduled at 10pm and once a month a 4am meeting!

The job is very consuming, demanding and stressful, but on the whole it is stimulating and exciting, and I must say I am enjoying being involved in something which feels right and which we all believe in. It's also an honour to be working with such bright and talented people.

Richard has continued working for HP, and spent less time traveling that in the past 2 years, he did have several trips to Johannesburg though and a trip to Uganda as part of the NEPAD e-schools project where he met the Ugandan president and was given VIP treatment. He also went to an HP
conference outside Geneva.

In May Quinn and Richard travelled to Durban for Richard's 25th high school reunion (25 years since he left school! *boggle*). Quinn was very excited to be going on a plane trip, and seemed to have a wonderful time, including a visit to the bird sancuary. He also got to see his cousin Jessica, whom he adores.

I have travelled a lot this year, as due to Canonical's distributed nature we need to travel get together every few months to collaborate in person, and plan the activities for the next few months. I went to Sydney first in April/May, where I met the whole team at the 'Ubuntu Down Under' conference. It was fun but VERY tiring and hard work. It's a strange and motley crew, but I seem to fit in.

In early June Mark, Oliver and I travelled to Bergen, Norway for a week-end to meet with the Skolelinux guys. Mark wanted us to create an education focused version of Ubuntu called Edubuntu, and I was asked to project manage it, and Oliver is the lead developer.

Just after I got back from that I left for Newcastle (the one in KZN South Africa not the UK!) to join Bee and Adrian for the last week of Bee's pregnancy, and then the birth of her baby. I felt VERY privileged to be included in those last few special days of pregnancy and then particularly to be with them both while Belinda laboured. That was phenomenal. I really enjoyed the experience of being on the other side and being able to offer support and encouragement. I still have a lingering dream to become a mid-wife :)

Belinda handled her labour very well, and stayed relaxed but focused on what she was doing. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to be with them for the actual birth, but Bee and Adrian where champs and Belinda managed to surprise everyone by producing a really large baby! Alastair Henry wasby far the biggest and most beautiful baby in the hospital. :)

Alastair has just turned turned 6 months old and I am so proud of them all. Especially Bee who has been an absolute natural at everything! Well done! I just wished we didn't live so far apart so we could see them more.

I rushed back home after that, and 2 days later left for London to our inaugural Edubuntu Summit, to design and plan the Edubuntu release.

In August Belinda and baby Alastair came to stay with us. That was wonderful. Again the boys were thrilled to be able to see a cousin and immediately feel in love with Alastair and have declared him their 'Best Cousin' (probably partially because he can't hit back yet!). Unfortunately I was swamped with work and on the verge of a nervous break down, so didn't get to spend nearly enough time with Bee. She was amazing as ever and people could believe Alastair was her first child since she was acting so experienced with him, and he was only 5 weeks old.

Thankfully after that I had a couple months at home, but unfortunately not to rest, as there was loads of work to do to get Ubuntu and Edubuntu released in October. 10 days later we all set off to Montreal for 2 weeks for Ubuntu Below Zero, to create more work! Montreal was really nice, because we spread the schedule out a little bit and had some recreational time, so it was less frenetic than Sydney, and I knew the team already. It was a nice combination between hard work and good fun, and I actually got to see some of Montreal, unlike Sydney.

Once I got back it was Griffin's birthday - he turned 4, school concerts, Christmas concerts and parties, Grade R dinners etc etc.
Quinn has now Graduated from Grade R and starts big school in Grade 1 at Rondebosch Boys Prep school in January after he turns 6. He is excited and a little nervous about that. Griffin moves up a year, but will still be at Keurboom.

Richard will have been married for 8 years in January. It's been a long uphill road, but it actually seems to be levelling off now ;)

I will be heading to London again at the end of January for another pow-wow... so 2006 looks like it will be busy too... I think I am getting used to it!

I remember my resolution for 2005 was to rush less but do more. I certainly did more, but I think I rushed more too.

So that's the concise version of what's gone on this year. If I was not very good at staying in touch with many people this year I am sorry! I hope you all had a wonderful year.

As New Year and 2006 approaches, I have decided my resolution for 2006 is to stay young at heart and to remeber to have fun - often.

Here's the start....

Thursday, 22 December 2005

Merry Christmas Everyone

Well I am half way through my second last day of work before I have **2 weeks** off for the Christmas holidays. *YAY* Just about everybody I know if off and having fun and relaxing already, and I have not been enjoying sitting behind a desk at all this week. :( Not fun.

I am very much looking forward to spending next week relaxing and enjoying my children and doing what I want to. The kids are having their first real holidays off school ever at the moment - their old school was open right through the year and they would only before when we had leave, not they are having to entertain themselves while I am working :(

So merry Christmas everyone. I hope you have a fabulous festive season. I am intending to spend as much time as possible AWAY for my laptop after tomorrow, but I am sure I will pop in at least once or twice to get a fix and keep up with the action.

We are going camping (ALL the way to Simon's Town - about 20km away) after New Year. I think it will be fun, and even though we'll be close to home we will be real Cape Town holiday makers, and right near the beach, but without the long drive and whinning! We are gong to Oatlands Holiday Village, I think it looks nice.

Tuesday, 20 December 2005

Oh rats!

Well it seems we are getting rats for Christmas....

It all started when after 2 years of contented life, I let our bunny die at the begining of winter (a combination of wet, cold and lack of food I am afraid) I blame the stress from Canonical! Quinn had looked after him very well up to that point, and we were sad to bid farewell to Bugs.

I told them we wouldn't consider getting another pet until summer time at least, which they accepted. Then a month or two ago Quinn started asking for a Hamster. Richard doesn't like them much and thinks they are stupid - however he thinks that Rats have superior powers and started brain washing Quinn to favour rats. (I prefer mice, they are hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings after all...), but Richard was adamant that mice can not compare to rats as pets.

One day Quinn came up to me and with a winning and faultless argument said, 'I know, let's ask Father Christmas to bring me a rat. Then you won't even need to buy it!', and thus was our fate to have a rat sealed.
one from my imagined little cage with cute contained mouslet into a research thesis, peninsula-wide search and monolith of architectural engineering, and that's just for the cage! If and when it reaches completion I will post pictures, but this thing has doors, ladder
s, pipes, mezzanine-levels no-less, hammocks etc designed into it! I mean this tihng sunds like it could grace the pages of Good Mousekeeping or something ;)

Then the rat itself, the PhD in Rat-ology has apparently revealed that one must have at least 2, and that they need special diets, and they can't live in a pine home (it's too common for them or something?) etc etc. One wonders how they survive in sewers being such sensitive and fussy creatures *boggle*

So the Rat Abode is being constructed and the onus is on me to collect 2 suitable young females on Friday. I am hoping to find small tan or grey ones.

Who knows I may get so into rats that I create a page like THIS.

Monday, 19 December 2005

MCQP - It's a Circus!

So MCQP was on Saturday, and I am a little worse for wear now as a result, which is why I am blogging and not working - shhhh, don't tell anyone! It seems that getting older does not take away your urge to party, or even your ability to party, it just increases the damage and recovery time to be endured afterwards! ARRRGH :/

So this year the theme was 'It's a Circus'. Last year's event was a little dissappointing as it was cold and very WINDY. So this year the whole event was revamped and transformed and the result was waaay more polished, organised and slick than before. Yes, it was a bit more comercialized and not quite as quaint and intimate as before, so perhaps it's a little more main-stream now, but I think it was necessary for it's survival, so it's not a bad thing... In fact with far more attention and work this year the event was pretty damn impressive actually!

We went as Knife Throwers. Again we didn't want complicated and restrictive costumes, as we just wanna let loose and have fun once there and not have to worry about large, and elaborate accessories, so our outfits were pretty simple, but they were comfortable and I think they worked out really well. Richard seemed to enjoy my skanky hooker look ;)

We went off for a pre-party drink at Manattan's (a gay bar in Greenpoint) which was one of the meeting points and near to where a bus service would be running. There weren't many people there, and even fewer were in costume, so I felt a bit like a cheap prostitute - but a Tequila took care of that ;) We met up with 3 tourists (Swedish, American, and Dutch - weird combination) and offered them a lift. We set off to Ratanga - where the party was held this year. I had never been there before. It was spectacular!

We arrived over the bridge into Ratanga, where there was a polite and efficient security service - they were hassling someone for not being dressed up enough! LOL. And arrived at the opening of the arrival tent, to make our grand entrance. Every year their is an arrival area where you walk up strike a pose for the cameras and audience and then proceed in to the party. This year there was a man hanging on a trapese thingy announcing the arrival of each group, 'Heeere come the knife throwers!', 'Look here are a group of Lion Tamers' etc. He was very funny because he kept changing position, but was quite awkward and not very good at it, which made it all the more entertaining.

The venue was really FAB. I think it's the best venue they have had so far actually. It was very interesting and varied and fun to explore. It is very well suited to the event and has a good mix of shelter, fresh air, good toilets and plenty of seating, and bars, and food areas. We like to travel light so didn't take much more than a bottle of water *wink* with us, so no pics of the night itself, but I will trawl for photos and post them if I find some.

We decided to explore the party and get into the swing of things straight away, we moved around between the outdoor jungle-drum-and-bass area, the more high energy and high-heat house area, and the fun and frivolous 70s/80s area, and circulated between those 3 as the mood took us. It's also great to wander around and look at all the costumes and characters who are there.

The 70/80s room was playing all those songs from your old schools days that you wanna dance like a hooligan to, but could not admit to liking anymore. It was really fun!

The main arean had circus acts on display but we chose to dance instead. We also walked around the carnival area where the carnival games were open. The weirdest and funniest things we saw was on one floating pontoon in the middle of the river area there was a guy dressed in a Captain's outfit, and he was just like that old Screensaver (Scrantic Island or something), whenever you looked over he would be doing something different, gazing into the distance, fishing, smoking, having a drink etc, it was hilarious.

Then in another area was the most freakish thing, a woman dressed as a hunched over witch with a big gnarled head. But her head was actually inside a cage on the witch's back and the whole witch's head was a prosthetic costume attachment coming up off her chest in front of her. It was so weird - I wish I had a picture! She was stooping around the raft with the woman's head 'trapped' on her back.

We eventually found the Lush room on one of the circuits, which although was billed as a women's only area was letting non-threatening men in, there was a really sexy female DJ playing some very cool music so we stayed there for quite a while until there was a DJ change and we got tired...

At about 2:30am we were starting to get a little tired and thought we'd take a last walk around before heading home.

As we were wandering around the main arena Roger Goode started his set. As far as I know he is SA's most succesful DJ. We had seen a guy earlier in the evening in the HOT venue which we thought was Roger Goode and he was very unimpressive. He seemed to think he was very good, but killed a crowd that had been raging just minutes before... So I was not expecting much...

Well Roger Goode ROCKS. He is really good at what he does and just watching him at work is amazing, he plays his DJ equipment like a musical instrument and makes quick, coordinated and finely tuned movements. The music was awesome too and even though my back, legs, feet and knees were aching from all the dancing we had already done, I couldn't help dancing for another full hour at least. Unfortunately we didn't make it all the way to the end, and left at about 3:45am.

Once again it was the party of the year! If you have an open mind and like a good party, you should make a plan to go next time, you won't be dissappointed.

I spent Sunday, sleeping, reading and relaxing and trying to remeber why we do this to ourselves... will we do it again next year? Abso-bloody-lutely! :)

Sunday, 18 December 2005

Uncle Paul's Christmas Party

On Friday I took the boys to the rotary Christmas Party at Groot Constantia. It is called the Uncle Paul's Christmas party. It is the 3rd year we have attended it, and it was good fun. We decided to go along with some friends this year, as the previous 2 years we have attended alone, and we thought it would be fin to have some of our own friends there. Of course once the men cuaght wind of this, they promptly opted out, figuring the girls could take the kids on their own... tsk tsk.

So the boys and I met Vicki and her boys there, and I must say this one was the best yet. The boys are all old enough now to participate fully and independently, and are no longer clingy or scared.

We walked up a farm track and waited next to the vineyards for the tractor, and had a fun and exciting tractor ride up the bumpy dirt track with vineyards on one side and a forest with ferns and vines etc on the other.
The tractor takes you up to a clearing, with a castle set back into the forest. There is an arena of hay bales laid out to sit on, and a pile of straw waiting to be played in, in the centre. We found a place to sit, and then all the children got busy with playing in the straw.

The marching band came and played some songs and carols and we all marched with them for a bit. The children then got a chance to try out the instruments (cymbals, drums, trumpets, flutes etc).

Noddy and friends then arrived in Noddy's car and entertained the children. Big Ears, Mr Plod, and Raggedy Ann were all there. After a while they make a big production out of finding ice-creams in Noddy's car boot and then share them out. From then on the food keeps coming. Trays of snacks containing whatever everyone has brought along including chips and biscuits, sandwiches, pies, mini pizzas, hot dogs, cold meats, cakes etc, and juice. Everyone ate and drank and had lots of fun

By then it was twilight and the coloured lights surrounding us had been turned on. A piano was brought in and we all sang carols. With Uncle Paul entertaining everyone with his funny actions and antics - he was especially funny when singing Old Mac Donald at the end with some animal props...

Then it was time for Father Christmas to arrive. The children had to blow all the lights out and we waited in the dark..... With a flash of red (a red flare) from Rudolf Father Christmas arrived on the roof of the Castle. We then had to wait for the Christmas fairy...From inside the forest a tinkling bell could be heard and then a shimmering sparkler made it's way along a pulley (looking like a dancing fairy) all the way to the castle, when it reached the castle the castle lit up magnificently and looked beautiful. With another big flash a fairy arrived in the Castle doorway ( a little girl in a while sparkly ballet outfit).
She danced around and 'lit' the Christmas tree lights and the star on the top. The children were enthralled. It was completely dark by then and it looked really pretty.

Father Christmas then sat down and started handing out the presents 'he' had brought for the children. Once then got their present the fairy gave each child a packet of 'fairy' sweets. We all opened presents and ate sweets etc. The boys got shark towels. It was very funny as they sat and waited patiently for their gifts, and jumped up to go collect theirs when they heard their names. Quinn dashed back with his gift and was very excited. He then felt it and could feel it was something soft, so he he said ' I hop
e it's not clothes!'. Luckilly he was very happy when he opened it and saw what it was.

Once we were done and Father Christmas had left, we had a return tractor ride back to the cars.

Tuesday, 13 December 2005

Freshly Ground

On Sunday we decided to go to Kirstenbosch for the Summer Sunset Concert. I used to go to these all the time, but haven't been going very much at all for the past few years. In fact I have probably gone to one a year - at most.

We last saw 'The Muse' there, and tired to see arno Carstens, but when we arrived late we couldn't even get near the venue, never mind find parking...
'Freshly Ground' is a pretty popular local band, so we knew it would be quite crowded. The show was scheduled to start at 17:30, so we decided to arrive at 15:30 to give us plenty of time to find a good spot, meet our friends, and settle in etc. Well, we battled to find parking at 15:15 already and had to walk quite far to get the the gate, where we had to queue to get in. The concert area was already full when we arrived, but we managed to find a big enough spot near the back. The crowds just kept streaming in, until eventually the temporary fences were removed and I think the entire gardens were filled. There were ppl up trees, up paths, behind bushes, just everywhere. At one point there was an announcement that there were 8000 people there - and I think more arrived afterwards. So it is possible that there were 10000 people in total in the end, especially since kids are free so weren't counted at the gate, and there were LOTS of them!

The concert was nice, and the crowd was feastive. We enjoyed a lovely picnic, and because we were all basically on top of our neighbours we all ended up pretty much sharing. The best things I ate were a butternut, feta and caremelised onion spread I had bought and a chees and fig preserve combination I was handed by the fun and funny girls behind us. (at one point one girl spilled wine in her crotch and was trying to wipe it up, the situation got very debaucherous after I commented that I thought she had done enough rubbing for polite company, and was really just using the wine as an excuse etc) ;)

I am normally not a fan of big crowds and half our friends didn,t find us, or didn't even manage to get in in the end, but we decided to just kick back and relax and make the most of it, and it was actually good fun... The concert was ok, I missed a lot of it wheil taking Qunn for a toilet break ... the queue was long, but festive and the mens loos were overrun by women too. Brave and confident men managed to use the urinals in full view of hordes of women ;)

I think I'll avoid the very popular concerts from now on, but will definately make an effort to go more often again... You can't really beat lounging around with a scrumptious picnic and glass of wine in one of the most beautiful setting on earth, with good friends and good music!

Monday, 12 December 2005

Hear Hear

Well after Griffin had his tonsils & adenoids removed and his ears cleared (myringotomy), we were meant to go back for a follow-up visit in January this year. We never did...

In the mean time griffin has been for his PT and then speech therapy and his therapists have basically graduated him now saying he has caught up on any delays he had and is now on track for his age.

We thought it was probably time to take him back to the ENT (Ear Nose and Throat specialist) for a follow-up and to get signed-off by him too. We decided to take Quinn along too and he tends to have fluid in his ears and get bacterial outer ear infections too. So last monday off we went.

Turned out that Quinn still has a very fluid filled right ear, and needed antibiotics to clear that. Griffin was mostly healled well but the Dr was concerened about the sound conductivity in both boy's ears and ordered an auditory evaluation for both.

He thought Quinn's hearing loss was due to an infection and ordered antibiotics to clear this. He was more worried about Griffin physiologically and through he has constricted eustatian tubes or something.

We went of for the hearing tests this morning. They hada good time and enjoyed sitting in the little room (almsot like a radio broadcasting room) with head phones and playing the games with auditory cues.

There's good news, bad news and ok news and expensive news.

  • The good news is that both of their left ears are fine and work as expected. *yay*
  • The bad news is that both of them have reduced hearing in their right ears, Quinn's is worse than Griffin's.
  • The ok news is that she believes it is temporary in both cases and caused by the fluid buildup behind the ear.
  • The expensive news is that we have to go back to the ENT for treatment (possible surgery - ala grommets ofr such like), and then have to have another follow-up hearing test to see if their right ears have improved afterwards.
The ENT, antibiotics and audiologist have already cost R1500! Merry Christmas boys!

*Update* The ENT has looked at the audio scans and confirmed that hearing left x 2 is normal hearing right x 2 is hampered by fluid in the middle ear nothing significant enough to warrant invasion or treatment, and that it should clear up on its own over time. YAY.

Running diary...

So here's a summary of the running I have been doing...

I started on 24 September when I decided to run the 3.5km to Cavendish to meet Richard there to go watch a movie (it was I heart Huckabees). The rest as they say is history and I have been running a few times a week since. I decided to make up a spreadsheet to tally my distance an inspire me to continue, this is how it looks now.

Date Day Distance
24 Sep 05 Saturday 3.5
25 Sep 05 Sunday 2.5
26 Sep 05 Monday 8.5
27 Sep 05 Tuesday 0
28 Sep 05 Wednesday 7.5
29 Sep 05 Thursday 6.5
30 Sep 05 Friday 0
1 Oct 05 Saturday 4
2 Oct 05 Sunday 8
3 Oct 05 Monday 7
4 Oct 05 Tuesday 8
5 Oct 05 Wednesday 0
6 Oct 05 Thursday 6
7 Oct 05 Friday 5
8 Oct 05 Saturday 0
9 Oct 05 Sunday 9
10 Oct 05 Monday 9
11 Oct 05 Tuesday 0
12 Oct 05 Wednesday 4.5
13 Oct 05 Thursday 5.5
14 Oct 05 Friday 0
15 Oct 05 Saturday 0
16 Oct 05 Sunday 10
17 Oct 05 Monday 4
18 Oct 05 Tuesday 5
19 Oct 05 Wednesday 7.5
20 Oct 05 Thursday 2
21 Oct 05 Friday 0
22 Oct 05 Saturday 0
23 Oct 05 Sunday 0
24 Oct 05 Monday 0
25 Oct 05 Tuesday 0
26 Oct 05 Wednesday 0
27 Oct 05 Thursday 0
28 Oct 05 Friday 4.5
29 Oct 05 Saturday 3.2
30 Oct 05 Sunday 0
31 Oct 05 Monday 3
1 Nov 05 Tuesday 2
2 Nov 05 Wednesday 0
3 Nov 05 Thursday 4.8
4 Nov 05 Friday 4.8
5 Nov 05 Saturday 3.2
6 Nov 05 Sunday 0
7 Nov 05 Monday 0
8 Nov 05 Tuesday 0
9 Nov 05 Wednesday 1
10 Nov 05 Thursday 0
11 Nov 05 Friday 2.5
12 Nov 05 Saturday 4.5
13 Nov 05 Sunday 0
14 Nov 05 Monday 6
15 Nov 05 Tuesday 6
16 Nov 05 Wednesday 2
17 Nov 05 Thursday 2.5
18 Nov 05 Friday 4
19 Nov 05 Saturday 7
20 Nov 05 Sunday 8
21 Nov 05 Monday 5
22 Nov 05 Tuesday 3.5
23 Nov 05 Wednesday 4.5
24 Nov 05 Thursday 0
25 Nov 05 Friday 4.5
26 Nov 05 Saturday 0
27 Nov 05 Sunday 6.7
28 Nov 05 Monday 7
29 Nov 05 Tuesday 6.5
30 Nov 05 Wednesday 4
1 Dec 05 Thursday 0
2 Dec 05 Friday 4
3 Dec 05 Saturday 0
4 Dec 05 Sunday 0
5 Dec 05 Monday 6
6 Dec 05 Tuesday 7
7 Dec 05 Wednesday 0
8 Dec 05 Thursday 0
9 Dec 05 Friday 0
10 Dec 05 Saturday 7
12 Dec 05 Sunday 7
13 Dec 05 Monday 3.5

Total 268.2

So I am doing around 100km a month or on average 3km a day... not bad :)

On Saturday I ran on the treadmill at gym and did 7km in 40 minutes, so should be able to do a 10km race in under an hour. It is my goal to try early next year.

Sunday, 11 December 2005


We went off to see the Shaolin - Wheel of Life show at Spier on Saturday night and it was spectacular! We had front row seats, and were a meter or 2 away from the stage, in fact Richard even had to move his feet a few times to allow the monks to run past when they filtered through the isles a few times...

From the fabled Shaolin Temple, deep within the forest at the foot of the Shaoshi Mountain in China, come the legendary Buddhist Shaolin Monks, the acknowledged founders of kung-fu.

The name Shaolin is synonymous with the most extraordinary feats of discipline, strength and courage. The popularity of kung-fu grows each year, with films like Kill Bill, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Matrix all drawing upon the martial art originally created at the Shaolin Temple. This show is the legend made real.

Shaolin Monks In a crescendo of kung-fu sequences displaying speed, precision and impeccable co-ordination, the Shaolin Monks are lifted aloft on sharpened spears, splinter wooden blocks with their hands, are sandwiched between beds of nails and knives, and fly through the air in a series of incredible backflips and spins.

Featuring 25 Monks, the youngest of which is just 7, this is fun and spectacular entertainment for the whole family, which will leave you flabbergasted.
I am certain that the youngest member they had on stage was around 5 years old as he was far smaller and younger looking than Quinn. He was amazingly flexible and agile and almost stole the show. I really enjoyed it both from a physical ability point of view and it's spirituality and inspirational qualities. It was well worth going to.

The control, strength, balance and discipline (physical and mental) these guys have is really impressive. I would love to have that level of awareness and control over my body...

Quinn really enjoyed it too and was freshly inspired, he put on his karate suit (gee) and watched his Shaolin video the next morning ;)

Tuesday, 6 December 2005

My garden

I have never been much of a gardener. I used to think 'you stick stuff in the ground - it grows' I now know better! My fingers are not particularly green and a lot of what I stick in the ground doesn't grow! I am getting better though.

I have got some nice indoor plants which seem to be surviving well, some of them have been going strong for a few years now. In our previous house I started dabbling in gardening, but the garden was a bit big and I mostly found it a chore, and there was a lot of grass to mow, and added to some bad experience with garden help, it was not alsways fun at all.

In our new house we have a small garden and no grass, and I am really enjoying the garden. It is big enough to have variety, but small enough to be manageable and fun. We lost a lot of plants last summer due to the heat and drought and a lot of cutworms, and other worms and bugs have been eating the rest, which is quite disheartening, but I think it is slowly recovering and starting to take shape.

There is a gardener/hand-man at the kids' school and we have had him over a couple of times to do a clean out and to turn the soil and he does a great job, which revitalises the garden and inspires me to get stuck it.

I have been buying little pottery and metal work birds to live in the garden, and this week-end I bought a Buddha to sit outside the room I work from....

I love my garden :)

Monday, 5 December 2005

We are going to see the Shaolin Monks!

I have been very inspired and in awe of the East for a long time. The ideas of Zen, Buddism, Tao and Hinduism too, make a lot of sense to me...

I love Thailand (and all things Thai) and indeed all of South East Asia. My favorite movies include Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Hero and House of Flying Daggers. I would love to travel to China, Tibet, Cambodia, Vietnam and Japan etc too.

In Dec 2003 we happened to be watching TV one day when they showed the Shaolin Monks -Wheel of Life show. We were all cpativated by it, especially Quinn would at 3+ years wtahced the entire show enthralled and saying he wanted to learn how to do that!

As a result Quinn has been learning Karate for 2 years now. The first year with Little Dragons, and this year with the Samaurai studio. - Yes I know Karate is not Kung Fu, but I figure at 5 years old it is close enough and once he has learned balance, strength and flexibility, and discipline he can always move on to Kung Fu if he wants to. We have actually found a local Kung Fu Do Jo anyway...

Amazingly the Wheel of Life show came to SA for a week last year, but we only found out the week it was on, and it was only in Johnanesburg (1200km away) and Richard was away that week. So even though I considered flying up to see it, we never did and missed it. I did e-mail the organisers and BEG them to do a Cape Town show though. But I got no response.

On Saturday I was enjoying a post Christmas shopping mayhem coffee and glancing through a Saturday paper when I saw a Shaolin article, I read futher and saw that they are at Spier in Stellenbpsch this week. I quickly booked and Richard, Quinn and I are going this Saturday. We have decided not to take Griffin because it's quite expensive, and only starts at 8:30pm, so he will no doubt be asleep at the time...
I am so looking forward to it - only 3 sleeps to go!

Friday, 2 December 2005


I got myself all worked up over an IRC discussion last night... I should have just gone to bed...

Stupid Raven!

(Flame/Slashdot him now! He takes nice pics but is an asshole.)



Largo picture a bunch of networking geeks telling stories
Largo got some vaguely experienced dudes here
Nuffing heh
Largo got a compliment about ubuntu too
Largo Its pretty
Raven it is, prolly the nicest of the linux desktops that I've seen, still wouldnt use it as primary desktop though
Nuffing Largo: w00t
Nuffing ubuntu rocks :)
Nuffing esp breezy
Raven the installer sux donkey balls though
Nuffing Raven: what's wrong with it? works for me...
Raven Nuffing: its crap
Nuffing Raven: although it is being improved anyway
Raven Nuffing: you've obviously not had enough studies done with non linux people on how easy it is to use
Nuffing er I am basically non linux...
Raven did u install the first one without any help?
Raven cos I've had 3 diff people of varying tech abilities try install it this week and the partitioner screws them over each time
Nuffing the first one maybe (responding to the it's crap comment fyi..)
Nuffing it's matured a LOT since then....
Raven its identical to the debian 3.1 installer, both sux
Raven put a newbie infront of windows installer and they have no probs
Raven I've also had it install on a box where it didnt support the screen card properly
Raven then when it boots you just end up with a blank screen
Raven no GUI
Largo raven: i agree it can be easier but i didnt find it that difficult
Raven but X was running, it just managed to screw the video output up, so you couldnt even log in from the console at all
Raven not giving people choices of what software is being installed at install time is completely unexcusable
Raven redhat got their installers pretty much perfect from day one
Raven you've always been able to do selections of software to install
Raven they got graphical installers around 4.2 or whas it 5?
Raven brilliantly scriptable for automated installs
Nuffing anyway I am in a meeting...
Nuffing but thanks for the opinions
Raven but once its going its not bad, we're giving away 15 desktops to people at work I've got ubuntu on them all
Raven and got the desktop support people to do some of the installs, they ony support the windows machines
Raven so they're a good test audience, they liked it once installed, but the installer gave them all nightmares
Nuffing good to know
Nuffing edubuntu is going for a 'chicken install'
* KnightOrc has issues with people installing Linux
inflex hah
KnightOrc Linux + GUI == problems
KnightOrc Linux without a GUI is fine
Raven yip, ubuntu is pretty etc, but i totally wouldnt use day to day etc
Raven neither would i use any other linux desktop I've ever seen
KnightOrc any server you can't control completely via a terminal session == arse
inflex well, that's why I use Slackware if I must use linux on a server
KnightOrc Windows Shell might be interesting *8)
Raven am forced into using debian servers for something
Raven driving me insane
Raven just cant get over the Debian-exim user
Nuffing this was the old version
Nuffing new screenshots don't show installer for some odd reason
Raven thats exactly how the installer looks that I see when i run the iso i downloaded today from your site :)
Raven and it blows
Nuffing - a goal for the next release " Rationale: The current installer is ugly and confusing, especially in the partitioning stage. We want people to be amazed at how easy and pleasant the Ubuntu installation experience is. We also want them to be able to get work done while Ubuntu is installing."
* inflex CURSES and swears at linux wifi
Raven nods
Raven the screenshots for breezy badger has installer screenshots
Nuffing inflex: mine works fine
Nuffing Raven: where?
inflex Nuffing: this is a Toshiba genuine wifi card (miniPCI) for my laptop (TE2000). Works fine in XP (of course), sort of works in linux, everything shows up, you just can't configure it right
inflex try to configure the AP "Sorry, can't do that", try to configure the frequency "Sorry, can't do that"
inflex gharrrr... this is the trouble with linux... 90% complete stuff
Raven inflex: no doubt the machines that nuffing has were bought specifically for linux used and spec'd up for compatibility etc
inflex Raven: there should be a distinction between "Linux detects it" and "Linux can use this device correctly"
Raven yip
Nuffing Raven: I have an IBM T42p - I am happy
inflex d00d uz3 l1nU><, 1t'5 l33+
* inflex straps on his barbed wire wang and prepares to assult another penguin
Raven Nuffing: like i said, bought and spec'd up to work great iwth linux so you can tell everyone it works shit hot and never have any problems :P no go buy a laptop that normal people would get over the counter and try again
Nuffing Raven: ah right those shots were Colony 1... first CD build for Breezy ... ages ago
Raven Nuffing: it still looks the same on the ISO i got today
Nuffing ok
Nuffing anyway you guys sound so negative for ppl who supposedly support linux
KnightOrc Nuffing: we're FreeBSD supporters
Raven Nuffing: no, we're sounding that way cos you're sounding like the fanboy who cant see how things really are
inflex being in #linux doesn't me we support it.... just like I am in #c but I don't suggest it to most ppl
KnightOrc we just couldn't be bothered to change the channel name
Nuffing and afais things are progressing and improving all the time
Raven Nuffing: I'm telling you i had 3 windows people install 15 ubuntu machines and give me feedback on intall and use experience and the best you can do is tell me yours work great *shrug*
* Raven 's installed linux machines in 15 countries, if i didnt support it that wouldnt be the case
Nuffing no actually that wasn't the best I could do, that was my first resonse I then took a lot of time to explain that it's being improved and to give you the URL of the spec describing it and thanked you for your feedback...
Raven Nuffing: fact is 90% of your target audience will run the OS on a laptop that costs 1/4 of what yours did, and for them the expeirence will almost 90% of the time be utterly crap
Raven Nuffing: but you'd never know that
Nuffing Raven: and just to be pedantic you did not say "i had 3 windows people install 15 ubuntu machines and give me feedback on intall and use experience" initially, you said, " the installer sux donkey balls" to which I replied 'works for me'
Nuffing Raven: don't you think we get user feed back?
Nuffing raven: or buy someting like 100 laptops and give them to ppl to test so we can adapt and improve to ensure they are fully supported?
Raven Nuffing: yeah, works for you cos you had the developer hold your hand and explain it to you
Nuffing Raven, fuck you
Raven Nuffing: thats the spirit

Nuffing try Ubuntu "The only installer with BUILT IN ORAL SEX!"
Raven try ubuntu "The only distro that spams irc channels" :)
Nuffing I didn't bring it up Largo did
Nuffing and what happened to you ppl anyway?
Raven we're bored, you're apparently easy to annoy
Nuffing you all used to be fun, interesting and entertaining, now you are bitter, ascerbic and perpetually complaining
Nuffing yes it is annoying
Nuffing Raven: I still take issue with your attitude, bacuse apart from my initial response, which was very resonsable after your comment (and being in a meeting and unable to respond fully at the time) I have illustrated as well as I could that there is energy and focus going into improving the installer, so I don't know what you are on about...
Raven I'm on abnout "ubuntu roqs" all the fucking time, when there are many many a) issues with it b) scenarios where it does not, which you're usually not prepare to admit
Nuffing so yes I work for Canonical, but I hardly ever mention it, and I didn't bring it up tonight
Nuffing yes there are issues, which are a)being improved on all the time, and b) we welcome constructive feedback
Nuffing and my main point is that it's NOT perfect
Nuffing but it's prgressing and getting better all the time
Nuffing so compared to Breezy, Warty was awful and soom Breezy will seem awful
Nuffing we are trying to keep moving forward
Raven so it doesnt roq yet, cos for every aspect of it, there are distros that does it better, maybe not 1 distro that does everything better, but right now, it has issues
Nuffing it's not trying to be the best of everything
Nuffing it's trying to be useable
Nuffing and right the installer isn't perfectly usable
Nuffing but that wasn't the #1 priority
Nuffing but it is being addressed for the next release
Nuffing windows didn't get to where it is within 3 releases either...
Raven yip, so the first tthing i said was it was pretty and decent once installed
Raven then you made a swooping statement, and i made one right back at ya
Raven and then you proved that you were incapable of having a mature argument when you told me to get fucked
Raven so right at yeah, get fucked.
Raven ..right back at yah...
Nuffing because you offended me by asserting that I would only be able to install it myself with a developer holding my hand
Nuffing I find that very offensive
Raven Nuffing: I wasnt asserting, i was quoting fact, you said you had it shown to you the first time
Raven Nuffing: everyone i showed the first time has no problems installing it now
Nuffing I didn't have someone show me
Nuffing I said the first version's installer sucked
Raven ah so then you just didnt answer my question
Raven i asked did someone help you
Raven you said 'the first one maybe'
Nuffing no they didn't
Nuffing I installed it myself following the prompts
Nuffing I'll concede that I do have a laptop with pretty darn good linux support
Nuffing and some other brands may not be as easy yet
Nuffing but anyway I am done arguing now.
Nuffing Sorry.
* Disconnected (Connection reset by peer).
* Nuffing already in use. Retrying with jane_...
Largo Hello Nuffing...
Largo Sorry my comment started a bit of unpleasantness :/
Nuffing Largo: not your fault at all
Nuffing Largo: I shouldn't have let myself get so worked up
Nuffing Largo: besides your comment was nice :)
Largo I agree with Raven in that it looks pretty (I ahven't used it a lot) and that the installer needs work...I also like that they are working on the installer to make it easier to use...
Nuffing I think I just get riled if I think someone is questioning my abilities (and how I do my job)
Nuffing the installer is one of the main complaints we get
Nuffing so a gui and other improvements are def on the cards
Largo Good...
Nuffing but since it's something you see once, it wasn't the first priority to get right.
Nuffing other functionality came first
Largo Unfortunately first impressions last... :(
Nuffing I would love to get proper feedback from Raven's guys still, we welcome stuff like that
Nuffing yeah the thing is no matter what you do, some ppl won't like it
Nuffing I guess we are trying to make a windows equivalent linux, power users may want their customised best-for-purpose build, and that's fine
Nuffing Ubuntu is for human beings not (just) techies
Nuffing anyway I'll shut up now
Largo heh