Me, Racing Stripes

The Australian Election...

Right, so there’s a lot of talk about what happens next with regards to the Australian parliament.

Current official numbers from the Australian Electoral Commission (5:30pm, Monday the 4th) are:

  • Coalition: 64 likely with another 3 possible.

  • Labor: 69 likely with another 2 possible.

  • Undecided: 6

The House of Reps has 150 seats, and 76 are required to form government.

The possibilities are:

1) Either the Coalition or Labor get 77 seats. This is a clear majority and government would be formed. According to the Australian Electoral Commission this is impossible for the Coalition, and exceedingly unlikely for Labor.

2) Either the Coalition or Labor get 76 seats. This is still a majority, and government can be formed, but then the government would still need to appoint a Speaker, and the Speaker doesn’t vote (except in the case of a tied vote). This would mean either they appoint a member from their own side, and have only 75 guaranteed votes on the floor; or appoint someone else as the Speaker and have 76 guaranteed votes, and a potentially hostile Speaker. Again, according to current AEC numbers this isn’t possible for the Coalition, but possible for Labor.

3) Either the Coalition or Labor get 75 seats. This is not a majority, so at least one independent or member of another party would need to support them for them to become government. The same issue with the Speaker arises in this case.

4) Both the Coalition and Labor get less than 75 seats, but one of them is able to get independent and/or other party support for a government. Still potential problems with a Speaker.

5) Both the Coalition and Labor get less than 75 seats, and neither of them are able to get sufficient support to form a government. The Governor General then orders a new election to be held and we try again.

A number of the members of the crossbench (the elected members of the House of Reps that are not part of the majority party and are also not part of the Opposition) have stated that they will not under any circumstances “form government” with either of the major parties. This does not mean that we’re all doomed, it simple means they won’t vote in lockstep with either of the major parties. They may still support one side or the other to form a government, but that simply means they will vote in support of supply bills and in votes of no confidence. Anything beyond that will need to be negotiated each and every time.

Important thing to note: If option 5 occurs and we go back to the polls, this would only be a House of Reps election. It WILL NOT effect the Senate in any way. The elected Senators are in it for the next three or six years, depending on which seat they got.

For us to go back to a full election, someone would have to form government, and then try and pass bills that fail that trigger another double dissolution election.

With the likely looking makeup of the Senate, that is actually not an improbable thing to occur.

Note: results obtained from the AEC tally room:

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Me, Racing Stripes

Random Words - Doctor's Appointment...



Just came back from a Doctor’s appointment with my local GP.


When I was getting the Penicillin injections to deal with the infection I was getting really itchy and we thought it was a slight allergic reaction to the Penicillin, so to help deal with that we spaced the last pair of injections over a week instead of both at once, and I took some anti-histamines to keep the reaction down.


That was two months ago now, and the itchiness has hung around and actually gotten worse. It seems worse at night (which is making sleep a fucking nightmare), and just after a shower, and just after putting on or taking off clothing.


The doctor thinks it’s a nerve inflammation, which is why it’s worse when things change (clothing, shower, in bed) possibly caused by an allergic reaction to something else. As a result he took blood samples to send off for allergy testing, which I have another appointment now on Monday for follow up, and recommended I take half a Zyrtec (anti-histamine) table morning and night to reduce the symptoms.


The thing is, thinking over this, I don’t actually think this is a new thing. The places where I’m itchy are places that are usually itchy, just not this bad or this often.


The difference? I haven’t taken any ibuprofen since early February, and in addition to being a muscle relaxant, it’s also an anti-inflammatory. I strongly suspect that the amount of ibuprofen I was taking was keeping the allergic reaction down to a more manageable (and less noticeable) level.


Which ties in nicely with the other thing I talked to the doctor about while I was there. April last year I got a case of Bells Palsy, and it mostly went away over time and treatment. Since coming out of hospital it’s felt like it’s been slowly getting worse.


I don’t think it has been getting worse though. The basic treatment for Bells Palsy is Prednisone, which is a steroid, and works as an very strong anti-inflammatory. Again, I suspect the lack of ibuprofen since February is why it’s feeling worse, because I don’t have that low level of anti-inflammatories in my system.


Ugh! I’ll keep people updated, just expect me to be a bit more grumpy than normal while we work out what’s going on.

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Me, Racing Stripes

Argh! Dilemma!

Argh! Dilemma!

I love the apartment I’m in. It’s awesome. However, I do have 2 issues with it.

Firstly, it is just a smidgen too small. I little bit of extra room, an extra meter longer, or a bit wider, would make a huge difference to the liveability of the place. Going from half a 4-bedroom house to a 1-bedroom apartment is a big change. I’m managing, but it’s not the most comfortable change.

Secondly, is the lack of ventilation in the bedroom. The apartment is a long box. Walk in the door, and the bathroom and laundry is the first door on your right, the bedroom is the second door on the right, and then the hallway opens out into the rest of the living space, with the doors to the balcony at the end. The only access to the outside is the doors to the balcony, and the bedroom is an internal box. Because I have to sleep with the bedroom door closed (I love my cats dearly, but I can’t sleep with them in the bedroom, unfortunately) ventilation becomes an issue, and with the layout it’s very hard to get fresh air into the bedroom.

Today I had my six month routine inspection.

I get along very well with Anne, my real estate agent, and casually mentioned my two gripes with the place. She then mentioned that one of the larger 1-bedroom apartments on the seventh floor is currently available, and has an inspection tonight.

This apartment:

It’s so tempting.

The 1-bedroom apartments in this building are one of two basic layouts. Most of them match mine, and are a long box, with small variations in layout depending on whether they are at the end of the building (larger) or not. Then there is a small number of the larger ones, which have the bedroom beside the living area, which results in a bigger and better layout, including a bigger balcony, and an actual openable window to the outside in the bedroom.

I can afford it, but I don’t know if I want to afford it, if you know what I mean.

At least the move would be easier, in that both places are in the same building, so it would just be getting stuff to the lift, travelling up, and then into the new place. The vast majority I could do myself, and I would only need help for the large bits.

Inspection is tonight, so I’m going to go and have a look (because Victorian law says they can’t rent to anyone who hasn’t inspected the place) and make sure my memory is accurate. Then, some thinking.

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Me, Racing Stripes

Work Ranting

Ranting about a client ahead.

My current task is to get some data from one of their clients into their database. As far as I am aware, usually they do this themselves, but something is stopping them this time, so they are getting us to do it.

First problem: No one at OurClient remembers where the data is actually supposed to go. Other than the owner/CEO, no one at OurClient has been working there for longer than 18 months, their employee turnover is so high. As a result, I had to work out what went where.

Lots of investigation, and too-ing and fro-ing with OurClient and I eventually worked out what went where.

The source data is 3 (large) csv files as the primary data, and then there are 14 secondary csv files for each primary file of related data.So, that’s a total of 45 files worth of data. The good news is that the primary files all have the same structure, and the related files also all have the same structure, so what I’ve worked out for the first lot can be reused for the rest, with just changes to the appropriate magic numbers.

I run the first of the primary files through the tool, and end up with a 100Mb sql script.

So, the SQL Management Studio on the database server (I must run it on the server, can’t run remotely) can’t cope with 100Mb sql script files, so I need to break them into smaller pieces. In addition, SQL Server can only cope with 1000 inserts in a single action, so they have to be broken up into smaller batches of at most 1000.

Rewrite, re-export, re-copy to the server, re-run. That’s when I discover the data is nowhere near as clean as I was lead to believe, and includes lines that will cause key violation errors. Argh!

So, rewrite again, this time instead of just inserting the data, I have to check each row to see if it already exists, and if it does update, otherwise insert it.

This means the 100Mb primary script is now almost 1Bg of script, split over 88 files.

(Big thank you’s to Dan Findley​ for pointing out that Powershell scripts would make generating the sql scripts from the csv source much easier, which has saved my sanity.)

I end up having to do a similar thing to the related data files as well, and the 14 files each end up being 9 sql scripts, so 126 files of about 10Mb each.

Running each of the secondary files in batches of 9 (so, each batch is one of the original source files) takes between 30 and 60 minutes. Running the primary files in batches of 10 takes about the same amount of time.

And now I’m dealing with the sanity destroying issues, now that I’ve actually got the sql scripts correct.

Firstly, I cannot get to the database server directly. I have to remote desktop to another one of their machines, and then remote from that machine to the machine I actually need. As a result, every time I need to copy files, I have to copy through the intermediary machine. Thankfully sql scripts compress really, really well, and the zip file tends to only be about 5% of the original size of the files.

Secondly, Remote Desktop automatically logs me out if there is more than 15 minutes of inactivity, discarding whatever I was working on at the time. As a result, I can’t go off and do other things, because I have to make sure there is continual activity on that machine. From the looks of it, I may have found a solution with MouseMove ( which automatically moves the mouse for you, and will fool screensavers and the like.

Thirdly, Remote Desktop automatically ends every session 3 hours after it was started, no mater what. So, even with MouseMove, long batch runs are impossible.

The only good thing out of this is that OurClient is paying time and materials, so they are paying for the fact I am sitting here, not really able to do anything else, poking their machine every few minutes (just in case) and ready to restart the remote desktop connection every 3 hours.

And so far, I am about half way through the related files for the first of the primary files. I still have the other 2 primary files and all of the related files for them to go.

This entry was originally posted at Comments are accepted here or there using OpenID.
Me, Racing Stripes


I am back to reading my Live Journal again on a semi-regular basis as I have found the LJ client for the iPad is actually quite decent.

So, hi, how ya doing? :)
Me, Racing Stripes


Not a good way to end the day.
As some of you may be aware we had a little bit of weather here in Brunswick yesterday (Tuesday). At work we had rain and hail so hard that we had water getting inside via dodgy flashing around one of the windows and hail getting inside due to dodgy roof. Barkly Square shopping centre had to be partially evacuated due to flooding, and when we were there today some of the shops were still shut while they dried the carpets. After it had passed Brunswick Rd looked like a river due to the storm drains not coping.
I was a little bit concerned for how the apartment had fared, but when I got home I could see absolutely nothing had changed other than the watering can had moved from one end of the balcony to the other.
All fine. Or, so I had thought.
Decided to do a little bit of a clean up and move the oil heater I had sitting in my bedroom (which I've used once over here for a grand total of 15 minutes and then turned it off because it was getting too hot) down into the storage cage. I drag it and the empty boxes down there and see water.
There are puddles of water, sitting around the basement. First glance my storage cage looks fine. Second glance shows it isn't. The outer edges were dry, but every else was sitting in a very small amount of water.
End result: Nowhere near as bad as it could have been. 
There were four main piles of boxes, plus other things placed in and around the piles. Three of the piles had plastic crates on the bottom, so they were fine. The box on the bottom of the fourth pile was soggy and had to be unloaded. Thankfully everything inside it was kitchenware, so nothing there had a problem with getting wet. All that stuff is upstairs now.
I threw out an Ikea mirror that I've had for ages that I never got to put up because it was heavy enough to have required a permanent mounting. Also threw out two folding card tables. They all were resting one edge on the concrete floor and had absorbed water.
Threw out an old frame that didn't have anything in it. My university diploma will need to be reframed, but the actual diploma looks fine. I had a framed photo of my parents that was taken by one of the glamour photography places. The frame has had to be tossed, as it had a fabric backing and it had absorbed far too much water but the photo itself looks like it should be fine. I currently have it sandwiched between paper towels to absorb any remaining water.
Thankfully all the other framed artwork I had sitting down there seems to have gotten through it ok. I would have been really upset if the framed The Taxman print by Ursula Vernon had been damaged, but it looks like it was sitting up a slight bit and water didn't touch anything that couple have absorbed it.
Now I'm going to have a shower and go to bed, because I really didn't need that headache to end the day.
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Me, Racing Stripes

Stuff to give away

I have a lot of stuff, and I’m giving some of it away.

Black Bookcase Black Bookcase

Black bookcases: either 1 or 2 of these.

30cm deep, 90cm wide, 179cm high.

Desk Desk

Desk: either 2 or 3 of these.

75cm deep, 180cm wide.

There is also another desk of a different type, 90cm deep,150cm wide.

Chest of Drawers Chest of Drawers

Chest of Drawers Chest of Drawers

Chest of Drawers. I usually cover the top with a towel so I don’t have to look at all those old stickers. 

43cm deep, 89cm wide, 70cm high.

Ikea PAX Wardrobe Ikea PAX Wardrobe

One Ikea PAX wardrobe. I forgot to measure it myself, but according to the Ikea website it should be 60cm deep, 100cm wide and 236cm high. It comes with 2 shelves and a pull out drawer. 

It’s currently in pieces so it can be moved, but even so the end pieces are 60cmx236cm and solid.

Iron Mirror Iron Mirror

Iron Mirror Iron Mirror

Mirror. I think it’s cast iron. It’s heavy and I’ve never been able to hang it up because of rental properties. Hopefully someone wants it.

Armchairs Armchairs

Armchairs Armchairs

Armchairs Armchairs

Armchairs Armchairs

Two armchairs. There is also a matching footstool. Both armchairs have been used as cat scratching posts, so are ratty at the edges. 

One of the chairs has a damaged arm.

White Shelves White Shelves

White Shelves White Shelves

White storage shelves: 2 of.

Bottom half is 43cm deep, top half is 21cm deep. 120cm wide. Both halves are 86cm high, for a total of 172cm high.

In addition:

Two single beds, currently in pieces, but easy to reassemble.

Computer hutch on wheels. 52cm deep at the base, 64cm wide and 146cm high. Has a pull out shelf for the keyboard.

Desk rolling return with two drawers and a filing drawer. It currently lives under one of the desks, so it will fit under a standard desk easily.

Another wardrobe. This one is three pieces. The bottom piece is a set of drawers, the middle piece is the hanging section and the top piece is general storage. The doors of the hanging section have taken a bit of damage, but it still operates fine. Wouldn’t be all that hard to replace the doors with another piece of laminated particle board if someone wanted.

Two dinning tables. Both have taken damage over the years, but are still usable. One’s an extendible table that can seat up to six, the other one looks like it could seat six but due to the leg placement it can really only seat 4.

Vacuum cleaner, though Kim Asher has first dibs on that.

4 handset wireless phone with answering machine. I don’t have a landline phone here, so I have no need of it any more.

I think that’s everything.

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Me, Racing Stripes

Random Words: Moving Thoughts

This move is proving to be different to most.

There is a lot of stuff that I have moved from house to house (including the interstate move from Brisbane to Melbourne over seven years ago) that I didn’t really pay much attention to when I moved it. It was mine, therefore I moved it.

As a result, there’s stuff here that I’ve known that I’ve owned, but that knowledge is a bit theoretical, a bit tenuous. Yes, it’s mine, but have I really owned it, or has it just been following me around all these years?

This time I am going through everything, making sure the the reason that I’m moving it is because I choose to move it, not simply that it’s following along. Case in point is my CD collection. I have a reasonable number of CDs that have been sitting in a CD holder either under my computer desk or on the mantelpiece of my computer room. Tonight is the first time I have looked at any of them since I moved here over three years ago. I’m picking them up, looking at them and packing them away in a box ready to be moved.

But, the important thing is I am looking at them, deciding that yes I am going to keep them. After the move I’ll probably (finally) rip them all to computer and put them away in a box in the storage cage, but I am paying attention to the fact that I have them for the first time in I don’t know how long.

A lot of what I own has just become caught up in the wash, following along behind me as I’ve gone place to place. To be perfectly honest, it’s probably cost me huge amounts of money in moving and storage costs over the years that it didn’t need to. Some of the stuff has gone straight into the bin, something that I am finding much easier now. Other bits are getting assigned to part of my mental to-do list of things I need to do after the move. Some of that stuff is probably worth money to the right person, so I’ll probably attempt to sell it on eBay afterwards. Other bits have gone into the “give away” pile. I don’t need it, and if anyone else wants it they can have it.

I’m still going to be overly cramped in the new apartment, at least for a while, but I know I’m still going to be continuing on the down-sizing after the move. Before the move is the obvious stuff, after will be the finer details, and working out what works and what doesn’t in the new space.

Things to note:

  • The rubbish bin is nowhere near big enough. I have almost 2 decades worth of collecting to get rid of, and while the bin has been full every week for the last month, I will still be getting a skip to dispose of all the rest after I move out.

  • The recycle bin is also nowhere near big enough. Same deal. :)

  • I was thinking of using Taxibox to temporarily store the books, DVDs, CD and all of that sort of stuff that I don’t need straight away until after the move, but the logistics of this house isn’t making it easy. Being on Bell St means we can’t put it out front, and the rollerdoor access means we can’t put it out back, so it’s likely it’s not going to happen.

  • I’m planning on buying a new computer desk and dining table from Ikea, as the current ones I own are far too big for the new space. This means my current ones are going to be given away. Once I’ve made a bit more space and am able to take photos I’ll post details. I’m giving it all away, but if you want it, you need to come and get it before the end of the lease, otherwise I’ll be donating it all to charity or chucking it in the skip.

  • I am giving away bookcases as well. I know I have more than will fit in the apartment, all I have to do is work out what I have room for and which ones I am getting rid of. I know I am getting rid of the white storage shelving units (ideal for a workshop or craft room) and the 4 generic black bookcases. Adrian has first priority on the black bookcases as he’s currently already using 2 of them, however if he doesn’t want them then they will be up for grabs.

  • I will be buying a new fridge, washing machine and microwave. I have my own fridge, but it’s a large 600 litre model that’s too big for the fridge space in the new apartment. I was originally thinking of loaning Adrian my current one until I need it again, but I’ve reconsidered and I’m probably going to sell it instead. I only need one fridge, and having another one just hanging around in the back of my mind is probably not worth the hassle. The current washing machine is a top-loader, and it’s actually a loaner from people who don’t need it, so I’m going to buy a new front loader which will fit better. The current microwave is Adrian, and he’ll be taking that.

  • I have a portable air-conditioning unit with window kit that I bought at the start of last summer to help my bedroom survive the really hot spells. I’m not going to need it, so I’ll be selling it. It cost me $400 new, it’s only been used for the one season, so I’d like to get $300 for it if I can.

  • I keep on looking around the place and noticing something that I hadn’t considered. So I’m constantly thinking about will I take something, and if so, how will it fit in amongst the rest.

  • For instance, I just remembered the 3 door cabinet that’s sitting in my study. The only place it would “fit” in the new apartment is down the hallway, and I really don’t know if it would fit. 120cm long, 42cm deep and 90cm high. The hallway is only 92cm wide, so that would take a large chunk of that width, but it’s not that high so won’t feel as big because it won’t be crowding you in at eye level. Not sure.

  • I put together one of the single beds just to make sure I have all the pieces. It’s missing 2 of the slats (which if I remember correctly, I broke, which is what prompted me to get my first queen size bed all those years ago). If anyone wants it I will get replacements for the two missing slats. The one problem with it is it has been sitting in storage for quite some time, and some parts of it have gotten sunbleached and/or dried and cracked. It could probably do with someone who knows wood giving it a little bit of care.

  • I am hoping that going through all the crates and boxes will allow me to find the bolts for the other single bed. It’s going to be a bit of a challenge to find replacement bolts if I can’t find the original ones. I think I’m going to have to take some measurements and wander down to Bunnings and hope for the best.

  • I also have a 68cm flatscreen CRT television. I doubt anyone wants it (as I have tried to give it away before) which means it will probably end up in the skip.

Physically I am finding the actual moving of the packed boxes exhausting, but the rest I am finding strangely pleasing. I wish I’d done this clean out a hell of a long time ago.

This entry was originally posted at Comments are accepted here or there using OpenID.
Me, Racing Stripes

The Move

Hmm… It seems I forgot to update.

I have a new apartment, and will be moving in under three weeks. After making my decision I put an application in on the $285 per week apartments with the agent that guarantees an answer within 24 hours. I did that on the Sunday night.

On the Wednesday, having heard nothing from them (and being a nervous wreck) I rang them up to inquire and was told “we should have those applications dealt with today”. So much for 24 hours.

Thursday night I did another inspection with a different real estate agent. I’d dealt with this agent on one of the $400 per week apartments that I had put an application in for, and then later decided against it and withdrew the application (when I came to my senses). They had a slightly bigger apartment (42sqm instead of 40sqm) for $315 per week, that was north facing (which I preferred) that didn’t have a car parking space. It was a little bit more than I was hoping, but still reasonable, so I decided to go for it. I was told that since I had already put an application in through them, I didn’t need to put another application in, just to email them to let them know officially I wished to apply for it. They would then do the necessary checks, and pass it by the owner, and they should be able to have an answer for me the next day.

Went back to the office and sent them email, and was told I had the place Friday afternoon. YAY!

Lease start date is Thursday the 14th of August, and Adrian and I have arranged the end of the lease at the current place on Monday the 25th of August. That gives us a week and a half to finalise everything and clean the place properly.

Electricity and gas are a little bit interesting in the new place. Electricity must go through their specified supplier (OC Energy), because that supplier specialises in new apartment blocks and puts their infrastructure in as the apartment block is being built. I’ve looked at their costs and they are considerably cheaper than what I’m paying now so I have no problem sticking with them. The individual apartments don’t have gas (electric oven and cooktop) but share a very large gas hot water heater, and the gas account is merely for the hot water that the apartment uses.

NBN is already connected (Internode had it all sorted within a couple of days ) and I’m not getting a landline phone since I have NBN. Water is sorted as well for the new place.

For the old place I’ve organised the disconnection of the water, gas, electricity, telephone and Foxtel (Cable TV).

I’ve booked my move in for Friday the 15th. Moves have to be booked in with the building manager so they can organise usage of the lifts correctly, and so they don’t have multiple people trying to move in or out of the same building at the same time.

I’m looking forward to it.

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Me, Racing Stripes


I have made a sensible decision, and anyone who knows me should be suitable shocked at the concept. :)

With where I am currently, rent plus public transport costs plus telephone and Foxtel (which I am not going to worry about in the new place) comes to about $300 per week. So as a result the plan was to find a place on my own where I can walk to work for about $300 per week. This would put me directly no worse off from my current state, overall better off as a lot of the related costs like electricity would end up being much lower, and being able to walk to work would make me feel better.

So my first inspection last weekend I saw a number of apartments in the new Tip Top redevelopment just off Lygon St. Most of them were 40 square meters in size (plus balcony) for $285 per week, and my immediate reaction was “not quite”. You see I need three spaces in my home: bedroom, living space plus computer space. With these apartments there just wasn’t quite enough space in the open plan kitchen/dining/living room to be able to fit my computer desk and a couple of couches and a dining table.

In the same complex was another apartment that was 48 square meters (plus balcony) with a better layout and a car space, for $355 per week. While outside my original budget, I theoretically should have been able to sub-let the car space to another resident for $30 per week, bringing the cost down to $325 per week, which still seemed reasonable.

I put an application in for the large apartment, but unfortunately didn’t get it (probably because I put the application in Monday afternoon and the real estate agent prides itself on responding to applications within 24 hours, so I was probably too late).

The problem is, that raised the theoretical bar in my head above what I wanted to spend, which meant that I was looking at some 2 bedroom apartments on Saturday that were $395 to $416 per week, and I was about to put applications in on them.

Stupid, stupid rat creature.

After a deep thinking night and morning, I’ve reset my brain back to where it was, and am not considering any of those expensive properties. Preferred is $300 per week or less, up to $325 per week for something really good, or $355 per week if it includes a car space that I can reasonable expect to sub-let for the duration of the lease.

I am going to put in an application for the original apartments I saw that were $285 per week. Some of them are still available (I spoke with the agent when I was looking at some of the others on Saturday) and I shouldn’t have any problem getting one of them. If I get one I’m going to need to do some shopping though. My large fridge is too big for the spaces these kitchens have for the fridge, so I’m going to have to downsize, I’m going to get a front loader washing machine so I can stack the drier on top of it in the laundry cupboard, and I’m probably going to need a smaller computer desk.

I don’t think I’m going to worry about a dining table initially. I don’t expect I’ll be having dinner guests, so eating at the end of the computer desk should be fine for me on my own. If I find I can fit one I can get a new one later.

Overall this should save me a reasonable amount of money, and that’s the end goal. I’m never going to be able to afford to buy if I’m never able to save up enough for a deposit, am I?

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