Wednesday, 27 September 2006

people come to town, people leave town

It occurs to me that I've neglected to mention that other people are, or have been, around. The Avenir girls started playing again a couple of weeks ago, with a fairly appalling home loss for their first game. Weird vibe after the game. People come up for a bisou, but do you ask them how they're going after a game like that, or just stay mum and assume they're kinda pissy about it?

Last week was also Nanou's farewell before chooffing off to Vancouver to follow in Sandy's still-fresh footsteps and work as a jeune-fille-au-père (nanny, I think). She also played in the NF3 game on Sunday as a farewell, I guess, to basketball. Actually, that game was pretty impressive in that the team was actually organised and managed to get the ball into the post and moving, which was the main problem with the NF2 girls the week before. Anyway.

Last night I went over, on spec, to the student residence where a friend of Ashu's lives to farewell Katrin, who's driving back to Germany today with the noble aim of getting her studies back on track.

In other news, I've actually pulled my finger out a little the last 3 weeks or so and made some progress on my programming. As had been the previous tendency, the problem gets harder the closer I look at it, and I'm in many ways still working on stuff a little precursive to the guts of my real "contribution". Nonetheless, at least now it feels more like a monkey on my back and less like a parasite.

Sunday, 24 September 2006

From the mouths of, er, ...

This from my new jeans:
This jeans runs flat broke.

I, er, don't know either. I don't think it was an accident; it was on two of the tags.

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

coming to grips

I have to confess that I got pretty freaked out when the specialist told me I'd busted my ACL, and I've been thinking a lot about it since.

Perhaps the reason I got freaked out is that, being a fairly keen follower of sports, a lot of my heroes are sportsmen, and for these people, a busted ACL is a big deal, for some the worst injury you can have. For them, it puts in jeopardy their profession and passion, which is pretty hardcore. For me, I'm increasingly realising, playing tennis, basketball or football is important to me, but I'm fortunate enough that cutting them out would still leave me with plenty of alternative pursuits.

I'm also coming around to the idea of having the reconstructive surgery in France. A couple of people I've talked to in Australia seem to think that it would be elective surgery in Australia, which would mean no or little public coverage, and a long waiting period before getting it done, neither of which particularly appeal to me.

In the interim, apparently it helps the recovery process if the knee is strong prior to surgery. In aid of that, I went for a run last night, and plan on going and getting my bike fixed up this week so I can go and do some cycling a bit beyond what I normally do to and from work. Who knows, it may even have the effect of getting me fitter, which would certainly be no drawback.

holla atcha boi

I have a continuing saga of how I call home to Australia.

In the beginning there was silence. I waited for people to call me on my work phone and chatted to them at work. I once called home with a bog-standard phonecard, which ticked down 10 euros in about 8 minutes, from memory.

Then I got skype going and started chatting on that, typically from work, since the times for calling Australians in their evenings are between 9am and 3pm here - work time. Around the same time, I got my ADSL hooked up with Free. Their rates were 3c/minute to Australian landlines, while Skype's where 1.7c/minute, but I preferred to use the Free phone when at home because of the superior ergonomics of holding an actual phone. Also, at the end of last year Free lowered their rates to make calls to Australian landlines free. That's cheap, but it didn't help me at work.

Recently Free, in their wisdom, started offering a SIP service in the freebox (ADSL modem). I activated it last night, and tried connecting this morning. X-Lite and SJPhone both had trouble punching through the firewall and/or NAT here at work, so I gave Gizmo a spin. Sure enough, I was able to connect to my freebox at home and via that call my folks in Toowoomba, profiting from the low (free) call rate of my ISP. Sweet.

I'm a nerd, yo. And that shit gets me free calls.

Tuesday, 19 September 2006


I got up this morning with the daunting realization that my knee specialist appointment was at lunchtime and I still hadn't even booked the MRI. I called up and did so, getting the pressing date of November 14th, then called the specialist's office to cancel. The secretary suggested I come anyway, so I trotted out to St Gregoire around 11. I got to the office at 1145 for my midday appointment, queued to present myself for 20 minutes then sat for an hour. Good training for the prefecture next month, I figured.

I told the doc what had happened, and he had a look with a little machine for measuring how much my shin moved from my thigh. Apparently it was too much. The doc tells me I have a busted ACL and need surgery before I can play sports like tennis and basketball again without getting hurt and swelling up for weeks at a time. So I'm scheduled for surgery on January 2, unless the MRI goes the other way.

Thinking about it afterwards, though, I'm not sure whether I want to do this in France or wait and do it when I return to Australia. I really need to call some people and get some advice on things like public health system coverage for injuries sustained while overseas, the politeness of turning up to the first day at a new job on crutches, and generally about where is a good place to be unable to walk for a few weeks.

In my head, I had this great big list of "things to do when I finish my thesis". I really hadn't considered adding "knee surgery" (do I get to say reconstruction?) until today. Getting my driver's license and playing organised tennis had both been on there too, but may have to be shuffled down.

Thursday, 14 September 2006

burn them, ralphie!

Apparently next week (or the week after, my sense of time is off) is Banned Books Week. I've been reading around the ALA site, and I keep having to pick my jaw up. Some of the books on that list are among the best I've ever read; how anyone can challenge anything about Of Mice And Men, let alone attempt to have it banned, is absolutely beyond me.

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

curse you, cage of water!

I was right! It started raining a couple of hours ago, and it's quite possible it won't stop until April; it just has that look about it. Unfortunately I cycled to work today in a haze of Beatles-misled optimism, and consequently didn't bring my raincoat, so I can't ride home for fear of getting wet. I ate my last gummy bear at 3:30pm. Please send food via the comments section.

Monday, 11 September 2006

last rites of summer

Summer is ending; I can feel it rattling.

I risked spending all Saturday inside watching teev, but Mark swung by and we rode out to Chantepie to have a look at overgrown retail warehouses and stuff. After a couple of hours of that I had to leave him in order to head back and make biscuits ahead of dinner at Erwan & Manu's. We had Sylvain with his wife and two kids (respectively 2 years and one month), plus Ashu, Erwan and Manu. Audrey Dub turned up later on, and we had a pretty decent fish tandoori marsala. Most entertaining.

Sunday looked like going the same as Saturday had, but I got off my butt and went for a little 20km ride up the canal towards (but not to) Betton. There were lots of people out making the most of the sunshine, on foot, bike and boat. I stopped after about 10k just to relax and read a little of my book, but some other cyclist stopped at the same bench to have a ciggie, so I only read a few pages before feeling uncomfortable and heading off. Soundtrack for the whole adventure was PMG's First Circle on the way out and Louis Armstrong coming back.

Teev of the week has been House MD, Love My Way (Australian drama!), and My Name Is Earl. The latter isn't exciting me too much, but the others are pretty watchable.

Thursday, 7 September 2006

not dead, not writing up

Been a while since I posted. For the most part, that's had nothing to do with me being busy. Its generally been the usual rota of rubbish television and computer games interspersed by periods of being at work but not working. People continue to ask me if I'm writing my thesis yet, and I continue to say that I'm quite close.

Having said that, the last three days have been gangbusters at work. I've gotten more coding done than in the preceding 2 months, and I'm starting to think about planning to anticipate the possibility of later seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. I may be overstating things, but what can I say, I'm excited.

In other news, the stewdents are back in town.