Sunday (29th) was my 30th birthday. I received some emails from friends and family and spoke with Mum & Dad, Nan & Grandad and the I’Anson family on skype. It was the first time I’d seen Sandra, Justin & Amy since we left Australia in ’09 and the first time I’d seen Micah since he was born. That was definitely the highlight of the day for me – even if Sandra did get stage fright and didn’t really know what to say
A few weeks ago Cathryn asked me what I wanted for my birthday. Nothing came to mind. Since I got my kindle last year in November I’ve been happy on the gadget front – I even gave Cathryn the iPod Touch and went back to using the small ipod that’s about 4 years old.
After some more thought, I was inspired by something I’d seen on the internet where a guy had painted a wall sized mural of Calvin & Hobbes in his kids bedroom. We moved into our new place a few months back and it’s quite a bit larger than our old place and comes with less wall art so the walls are looking a bit bare. Despite the obvious value that a full sized Calvin & Hobbes mural would add to this apartment, I decided that it probably wasn’t worth the fuss. Instead, I asked my incredibly talented wife to paint me a series of paintings I call the 4 seasons of Calvin & Hobbes
While I was away on business a week or two ago, Cathryn went to the art store and got 4 medium sized canvases. Then I went looking for suitable images to use. Unfortunately we have no Calvin & Hobbes books here. So I got a kind soul to send me some high-res scans from the covers and splash pages of some of the books. From these images I chose 4 and my beautiful wife went to work.
Day 1 – Pencil Outlines
Cathryn spent the first few hours sketching out the outlines of the images onto the canvases and the results can be seen here:
Cathryn doesn’t realy get Calvin & Hobbes. To her it’s just another kids comic strip. She can’t understand why my whole family likes it so much. There is no Korean translation available that I can find, but maybe one day soon I’ll sit her down and read it together with her. At the moment, she can see how much I like the paintings and she is doing a fantastic job.
More to come tomorrow.
I’m one tooth lighter tonight, but I don’t think I’ll be a dollar richer. Apparently the tooth fairy doesn’t visit in Korea.
It has taken me almost 3 weeks to get health insurance here, but finally this afternoon it came through. Our first stop was to the dentist. We didn’t make an appointment, just rocked up. Unfortunately, when we arrived they apologised, because we hadn’t made an appointment, we’d have to wait – 30 minutes!!
2 checkups (Cathryn and myself), 2 scalings, 1 wisdom tooth removed, and the removal of some kind of metal pin from Cathryn’s jaw from some previous dental work and we were hit with the bill of $26.50
Plus $2.50 for some prescription pain medication.
Tomorrow we’re off to see the skin specialist and an ear, nose throat doctor.
I love Korea sometimes. But I could do without the -17 degree weather.
I’m currently in Korea watching the flooding in Australia from afar. The pictures and videos are jaw-dropping and I think my sister-in-law and her fiance might be reconsidering their decision to move to Brisbane after they get married in March.
However, sadder than the disaster and the loss of life, was this paragraph that I read on the internet just now:
As the death toll from the floods and their damage bill rise, The Australian can reveal a secret report by scientific and engineering experts warned of significantly greater risks of vast destruction from Brisbane River flooding- and raised grave concerns with the Queensland government and the city’s council a decade ago. But the recommendations in the report for radical changes in planning strategy, emergency plans and transparency about the true flood levels for Brisbane were rejected and the report was covered up.
The fact that people knew that this could happen 10 years ago and covered it up should make all people affected, all Australians even, incredibly angry.
Things have been a bit quiet on here lately, but a lot has happened.
In the last week we’ve had our Christmas party with around 30 Chinese students/friends. We’ve packed up our house and put everything into storage and are now in Korea for a month where we hope to accomplish a few things before returning to China in early Feb.
To start off 2011, here are some thoughts regarding resolutions from my favourite philosopher:
Happy new year everyone
It has always been a wish of mine to shoot some lightning photography. Unfortunately I’ve never found myself in the right place at the right time with the right equipment to do so.
In the past few weeks we’ve had some amazing electrical storms here in Kunming, and this has given me the opportunity to try my hand at something I’ve always wanted to do. During several of the recent storms I’ve set up my camera on my tripod at my window and experimented with various settings and timings trying to get a perfect shot. Unfortunately our apartment is only on the 8th floor of our building and has a view limited by the building next door, but out of around 100 or more tries, I did manage to get this shot:
While it’s not an incredibly amazing shot or something I want to frame on my wall – it’s a start and I did learn some lessons in the shooting of it.
While I did OK with the shutter time for my shots, apparently the aperture size I was using was wrong. I had it opened all the way up, and this meant that a lot of flashes that went off while the shutter was open didn’t actually show up in the shots. Next time I should be using something around f7 instead of f22.
I also forgot to turn off IS, which can cause some problems when you’re shooting on a tripod.
Next time gadget, next time!
The factory that I visited last week is rather large. It’s more like a campus, with at least 7 multi-story buldings and warehouses. The company has been in manufacturing since around 1987 and at one stage was looking to set themselves up as the radio shack of China. That didn’t pan out for them, but they still have fingers in quite a lot of pies.
The reason I’m visiting them every few weeks is to oversee the production and shipment of Satellite TV Set Top Boxes for a customer in Brazil. On each one of my trips so far, I’ve also inspected the production facilities for products other than the Set Top Boxes.
On my previous visit I looked at how CAT 5 and 6 ethernet cable is made.
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I need a new passport. There are still 3 years left on the passport that I originally got for my trip to Japan at the end of ’03, but the large number of trips, especially in and out of Korea and Taiwan, in the last few years has meant that I’m about to run out of pages.
In a way I’m glad. The braided beard that hides my neck in my current passport photo makes me look like a terrorist and gets me puzzled looks, smirks and stares when I pass through immigration lines. When I think back to that beard, part of me smiles as having it was fun, especially for the stir value, but another part of me cringes… what was I thinking?
Whatever I was thinking at the time, some part of it came back recently and here is something I wore for a few days in a lull between business trips (pic after the jump):
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Our family is known as the board game family. We have successfully converted many of our friends into lovers of carcassonne, settlers of catan and other great games.
Cathryn and I are always on the look out for new and interesting games to play with each other as well as the friends that frequently visit our house. From time to time I check out the top scoring games at boardgamegeek.com to see what’s good and occasionally we drop into the board game shop that recently opened up near our apartment. Read the rest of this entry »