Thursday, June 30, 2011

Whats in a haircut?

Today I decided to take a sneaky break and get a hairy, I was well overdue. My last one was about 3-4 months back I went to our local hairdresser it cost me 12 smackers.

When I used to work on St Kilda road I had a great hairdresser that charged $28. That included wash, dry, choice of beer or wine and aftershave. When we moved to brissy I was forced to find an alternative to get a mop chop and opted for the first decent looking place I saw. They had awards all over the shop and insisted I strip down shirtless and don' a bathrobe where I then ate lemon sorbet before getting one of the worst hairys I've ever had. The price tag of $55 seemed very steep but I just wanted my shirt back so I paid it, walked to the nearest shaver shop, bought some clippers and did a zero all over. That was an expensive hair day.

For the next few years I shaved my own head, sometimes with the clippers sometimes with a razor. It always guaranteed me a seat on the train.

Today I walked into the nearest decent looking hairdressers near work and before beginning was offered a beverage and explained that a cut & blow dry was $62 dollars. I should add that this salon had awards that looked like oscars on their front desk, this should have been a warning to me but alas I needed the chop.

After the initial shock I decided to see what $62 dollars bought be in the hairdressers world.
  • I had my choice of beverage (non-alcoholic as it was before lunch)
  • I was presented with a gown that didn't really fit over my jacket
  • I had my hair washed and a scalp massage while sitting in a massage chair (very comfy)
  • In the chair beside me was a model getting hair extensions for a photo shoot, she had 2 different hairdressers and they talked way to much about fashion
  • On the big screen there was continuous catwalk footage of some fashion show comprising mostly male models (though some were wearing dresses)
  • After very meticulously measuring out the dimensions of my head she bcane to do her thing using scissors and only used a trimmer to do around my ears
  • She wasn't overly chatty, I don't think this was a personality thing I believe she was very much in total concentration of cutting my locks.
After most of the cutting was done I moved back to the basin for another wash and longer and more vigorous scalp massage. I was then returned to my chair where I received a blow dry and had some product applied that smelt nice.

I then had my shoulders dusted and paid for the 30 minutes of hair cutting elitism I had now come to know.


Was it a good haircut?
Who knows............the difference between a good one and a bad one is usually a few weeks, but I will say I'm not going home and shaving it off with my clippers.

Did I fell I got value for money?
While it was nice getting massage and pampered I couldn't help feel like a bull in a china shop so I wasn't really truly relaxed so I'm going to say no $62 for 30 minutes of upper class hair cutting.

Would I go there again?
Probably not, I prefer my local hairy that's open Saturdays & charges 12 bucks

The most rewarding part was when I walked out the door, and took my new, improved, buffed, polished, professionally styled locks and put on my motorcycle helmet.

Friday, June 24, 2011

B Boyz

Spot the celebrity

Thursday, June 23, 2011

You know you're working for a good organisation when.......

The person who signs your time sheets pulls you aside and comments on the fact that you didn't take lunch on the previous Wednesday. (I'm guessing its the first or maybe second time I've skipped lunch and worked through in 6 months).

I really like the work ethic here. I worked through countless lunch breaks at my old job, not to mention the times when I would try to leave on time and my old boss (aka satan) would say "Just one thing.............." starting a 45 minute conversation epic that would see me home later.

Also with the trailer for this movie fresh on my mind from the weekend it was very pleasant today thinking about how much I don't miss my old boss.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Superheros, their superpowers & their weaknesses

MB and I enjoyed some 1-1 time on Saturday, we had originally planned to spend the night in the city with miss H but instead opted to drop off all the children at MB's parents and go to the movies, then pick up miss H, head out for dinner and so on....

After dropping off the children we headed to the closest cinemas which were attached to a medium sized shopping centre, we had 30 minutes to kill so we just browsed. I was able to show her the laptops I'm thinking of getting and also the latest offerings in terms of big screen tvs (something I cant see us getting til the new house is built). These days we rarely go major shopping centres together. I do my non-grocery shopping in the city and MB does hers out in the country so being in a busy & crowded place together felt quite foreign. We headed up to the cinemas and saw the movie "Bridesmaids" which despite being fairly predictable and thin on the ground in terms of storyline was actually a riot, we both had tears in our eyes at some points during the film, the highlight was actually from one of the co-star. after the movie had finished it was starting to get dark so we headed to the grand parents, picked up miss H and made a quiet escape for a pub meal in Warrandyte. I have to say anything i've ever done been to or seen in Warrandyte has always been overrated, the pub was no different, we both agreed that our local was still our favorite place to eat and wished we had been there. We headed home, snuggled up on the couched and and pretty much hit the wall.

We both slept like logs and although I woke at 8 (MB closer to midday) I was really tired all day Sunday. I think having such a large family commands a certain level of energy and when you no longer need to operate at that level you crash, I certainly did. We headed out for some sight seeing and visited my grandparents before having dinner back at MBs parents before the home journey.

All in all I felt it quite a musing that we rarely get time off from parenting and when we did we were satisfied to stay home and do the things we would normally do. I think that in itself is proof of our contentment with where we live and what we like to do.

It seems my super powers come from my children, take them away and I'm weak.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


I'm in somewhat of a bind tech wise as my laptop is 3 years old and in need of replacing but I also have a need for something to use on the train each day like a tablet.

I've been super happy with my trusty XPS M1330. Its only had 2 issues & both were my fault. Once where I put it in my wardrobe and it fell off the top shelf (needed a new MB & chassis) and once where the video card died (a known issue which 4-6 hours of COD4 a day surely didn't help).

It was very comforting knowing I had complete coverage for hardware support including accidental damage. Normally I'd reload a PC every year however I only did this once in three years as its performed flawlessly. Recently the battery died which I put down to my using it predominantly on mains power rarely draining the battery, Luckily you can still get replacement batteries for $99. There are only two things that have irritated in years years of use. One is the lack of back-lit keyboard (I am envious of MB's dell for this feature) and the fact that despite being 13inch & having a WLED screen it is not the most "portable" or easily used on the couch.

I'd looked into getting a desktop to use as my primary workstation or a full house laptop (ie Alienware m17/18) and compliment either with a tablet however I'm starting to see that my storage needs are starting to take priority as well as the need for a functional portable may be the new flavor.

I currently have a 2TB drive that stores all my images and videos (75% capacity) While a data cull is needed (Maybe get it down to 1TB) I think the 2-3tb is certainly is my minimum requirement. I also currently download on a spare dell optiplex desktop so transferring data from that machine to the main drive or the DVD player means an abundance of USB keys.

What I am thinking is:
  • Make my current laptop the children's
  • Get another portable Laptop (Good specs, long battery life)
  • Build a server style desktop with plenty of storage (raid) so my 22inch screen and 5.1 speakers don't go to waste. This will also be used for downloads.
  • Use the current 2TB drive attached to the DVD player so the children can watch all the movies and TV shows I have saved on there easily

This means plenty of storage, no need for copying movies to USB keys to watch them & most importantly a more functional device for my internet usage. I currently use my PC predominantly in the study but i'd prefer to be in the lounge. Using an ultra portable as opposed to a tablet also makes more sense to me as I prefer the "proper keyboard" and ability to hook in peripherals.

The other issue I have is that I've well and truly outgrown Microsoft. There will always have to be a place for it in my work but for home use I've been happy with my current laptop running minimal MS software. I use Vista Pro but that is the only Microsoft product I have now. No MS office, no IE just Mozilla (Thunderbird & Firefox) and Open office. I'm over the windows experience & while I've used some of the other options out there like linux or the bsd derivatives I think I want to return to Mac for my primary.

My first mac was a Quadra 660AV circa 95 and I loved it. If it broke you could fix it. It handled all the families needs at the time & I never owned a windows PC until somewhere around 2000 as I was always happy with Mac. Then for some reason it made sense to use the same at work and home and i did, then Apple became poseur chic and I guess I never gave them another look.

Fast forward to 2011 and while I've been happily window shopping tablets for a few months and looking closer at the ipad the 13" MBA (Macbook Air) has also caught my eye. It sports similar specs to my XPS - 4gb ram, similar processor, faster hard drive (solid state) and the nicest ultra portable design I've seen. I've been to the city JB hifi and played extensively with all the apple and dell laptop offerings and just keep coming back to the 13" MBA. Good battery life, good ergos, big track pad for my gorilla hands & while there is a mix of reviews (like with any piece of tech gear) I'm feeling pretty sold.

Dollars wise its a more expensive option to the IPAD. I was looking at the top spec IPAD and with a decent amount of prepaid data, case, screen protector, warranty etc etc I wouldn't have seen much change from $1500 the MBA with the up'd specs and decent warranty I'd go for come in around $2700. I would also either need to up my data plan on my phone & use it as a wireless hotspot or look into some of the Telstra wireless broadband options.

A key draw card for me with an IPAD was putting in on a 12GB prepaid sim from Telstra giving me better coverage that my Optus mobile currently lacks. There is rumor of a new MBA model being released so either way I'll wait for that. It would be sweet to see a sim card slot for the new MBA but I don't think apple will go that route who knows. I also like that I have the option to run a windows emulator should I need to do something specific.

Along with switching to a mac for my portable I will still need to sort out a PC/Server & run a non windows OS. Something with ample storage that can take over downloading duties from my current optiplex. Its been a few years since I've built a desktop so I'm looking forward to this, nothing fancy just a decent video card and ample drive space (ie raid).

I'd love to pull the trigger before the end of the financial year but will more like wait and sus out what the new MBA and apple OS run like.

Stay Tuned.........

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Snip Update (Well sort of)

I'm please to report everything is functioning as it was before I was vasectomised.

The plan was to take the new and improved neutered steve for a spin on Saturday night alas the stars were not aligned....... Here is why.

Saturday evening MB and I were kicking back with a movie in the lounge, the older boys were down stairs and the younger children were drawing in the kitchen.

Mr B came running in clutching his hand saying "Its not T's fault it was an accident" repeatedly with Mr T following just as quickly and equally upset. I told him to quickly put his bleeding hand over the sink while I got up and came out into the light for further inspection. It was pretty clear that he was more frightened for his brother getting in trouble than he was about the condition of his hand. After a minute or so running it under water we managed to get it out of them that T ran out of the bedroom after a Lego dispute slamming the door as he went, B who was following and as T slammed the door it collect B's Lego filled hand in the door. After they both calmed down I was able to take a proper look & could see that the webbing of his left hand between his ring and little finger was nicely opened up bleeding steadily. Clearly in need of at least a stitch or two.

I hastily swapped my long johns for jeans, dressed his hand to stop the bleeding and jumped in my car for a trip to the local E.R. Unfortunaltely the "Local" E.R. is about 45 km away.

We arrived at the hospital and I was pleased to see an empty waiting room so we saw the triage nurse immediately. When the nurse removed my dressing it began bleeding perfusely once more on the floor so they quickly re-dressed it and walked us both through to the Paeds section where he said it would need stitches.
I'd guess we waited for at least 90 minutes while they did B's obs and took down all the necessary details He read the Chronicles of Narnia while I watched "The Castle" on TV. After a visit or two from the on duty doc we switched to a treatment room where they explained to B that they would need to give him a local anaesthetic and stitch his hand, they gave him the option of having some gas with the local which I urged him to take up. I could see he was nervous, more so about the gas so I explained to him about how I had sang while having my broken wrists manipulated many years earlier. Reassured by my story and after 20 or so minutes they doc and a nurse came back in, set him up with some laughing gas and began to wash the wound. He smiled and giggled while they did this so I knew the injection wouldn't be an issue. 3 stitches, some glue and a new dressing later & he was good to go. They gave us the option of coming back to have the stitches removed but I explained I used to be a nurse and they were happy fro me to do this in 10 days. They also let him keep the tubes used for the gas to show his siblings.

We headed home via McDonalds for a well earned chocolate sundae. It was about 2am by the time we got home and I was well and truly spent, B stayed up watching Harry potter.

Which leads me to the reason for this posting, trying out my new modified package.

A gentleman never tells but I will say that I was able to give it a good test drive....Twice actually ;)

Until Next Time.......

Monday, June 13, 2011

Update (Belated)

(Typed the Other Day - Posting now)

Its now Wednesday 11:36am. A week plus almost a day since I had the snip here is a bit of an update.

Again I apologise for a little TMI but hey, I'm pretty open and you decided to read this.

I think spending last Tue-Fri in bed only prolonged the inevitable. Saturday was my first semi-active day since the op with the children's swimming and basketball games taking up the majority of the day. By Saturday night I could hardly move and was forced to spend the evening on the chase with a bag of frozen corn down my pants. After looking at copious amounts of images of vasectomy recovery I noticed that the majority of incisions on the front of the scrotum caused bruising where as incisions on the side caused swelling. By far the right was the more painful and considerably larger in size. The left was more bruised and didn't cause much discomfort at all.

Sunday I tried to take it easy but in a house with so many people there is always something that needs picking up or a load of washing etc so again by afternoon I was kicking back with frozen vegetables getting to know me in the pants.

Monday I got up with my alarm for work and although the train ride was fine getting in and out of le boos as well as a fair amount of walking and assisting some people with desk moves had me feeling really uncomfortable by late afternoon. I hit the couch the moment I walked in the door and remained there with frozen peas tucked in for the whole evening.

I awoke Tuesday morning after a terrible night of uncomfortableness combined with an unwell wife, 1 & 3 year old all Sharing my bed. I called my boss and worked from home again keeping the meat and veg on ice as often as possible. I spent the majority of the evening on the chase again.

This morning I felt much better, I was awake at 5 so I could give the ol' rightey a chill with peas before I got up. MB and the children gave me a lift to the station, the train ride in and walk to the office were much better than yesterday.

Its interesting the discussions one has with others when they know you have recently been vasectomised. For the most part I have been surprised by the number of guys I work with saying "Yeah I got done XX years ago". Also the reactions to me getting done by others are of shock and disbelief, not sure if this stems from their own issues with commitment or not knowing they're done. I for one knew I was done the moment MB held the pregnancy test stick in front of me.

I Hoping I've turned the corner and things get more tolerable from here on

Friday, June 3, 2011

First Attempts @ 2tone paracord

For Jo (I think it might be a touch snug but you're small so I'm sure it'll be OK)

The cool thing about two tone is its reversible, I used one of the hand made wooden buttons I scored last week

Missing Family & Thanking Friends

The quiet was nice for the first few hours here at MB's parents but now I can safely say I'm ready for home. I really miss the chaos of my children and the company of my best friend.

MB and I chatted for hours last night on IM, we even hooked up video and I was able to say hello to Mr C and give him a sneak peak at some pressies I bought the children. Its funny saying it so much but we are really missing each other. I guess its amplified because MB has been so ill with the pregnancy over the past months so I have been making extra sure that there is little for her to do in the way of washing, cleaning & cooking. While MB is more capable than I at managing 6 doing it solo for most of the week while feeling ill and having no energy makes me worry more. She isn't the sort of person to complain or expect people to help as historically we have always "gone it alone". I knew MB was really low last weekend when she started suggesting Queensland and moves and stuff, something that was once our dream but had to be put permanently on hold. I think 20 years in the one house has made her a bit of a nomad.

I'm so grateful for our Friend, Neighbor & Doula Julie who offered to take our girls (Miss L overnight). She also cooked a meal for MB and delivered it. Julie has had a had time herself of late her a new bubba and to see her make this gesture was truely heart warming. Things like this show you what true kindness is. I've seen MB help out her lots of friends over the years so its good to see some karma in action. I do find it interesting that friends that have been helped out the most by MB have remained somewhat detached. I guess its not the done thing to ask a superhero like MB if they need a hand.

On a lighter note Julies offer to have miss L up for a sleepover then Miss P as well in the afternoon for a play date was an excellent opportunity for miss L to spend time with Julie's daughters. Its my one gripe about homeschooling that Miss L isn't as outgoing with other children and tends to shy away from new people (despite clearing wanting to be included) I cant wait to hear her version of how her sleepover went.

Still on the family front (albeit extended) I have really enjoyed the 1-1 time with my inlaws. I rarely see them without the whole fam in tow so we've been able to have some great chats about life, parenting, the children, cars, motorbikes and all sorts. I brought them a new DVD player to say thanks for having me. Theirs was old, didn't eject dvds properly and wasn't multi format. Now they can play all formats (including TV shows I have downloaded) and with a USB port they can also look at their photos on the big screen tv. Its one technological step closer to computer ownership. A concept they are slowly warming to after years of my subtle hints. With us living a fair way away and MB's brother and family even further away its my mission to get them setup with a PC and internet in the coming months so we can all communicate freely. They have helped us out on countless occasions over the last 17 years and now I'm really focused on returning some of my immense gratitude.

I also find it amazing saying this.... I wish I could have been working in the office today. I have an important meeting, one that pivotal in the work I've been doing since I started and how our work will pan out in the future. Its been an ongoing cause of stress and considerable heartache for my manager as there is a particularly prickly person involved that makes a point to be snide and insulting wherever possible. I really wanted to be there to back her (My Manager) up, I'm dialing in but on the phone isn't the same as being there.

MB will be arriving with the clan sometime this afternoon so I'm really looking forward to lots of hugs and kisses and to give the children some gifts.

Until Next Time......

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Vasectomy Holiday - Slightly TMI

Vasectomy Holiday (It should be a reggae song)

I'm starting this post today, Thursday @ 2:36 Pm. I had my vasectomy performed at 1PM on Tuesday this week & this is a bit of a dump of how it went down.

MB's parents dropped me off at the specialists rooms a little early as I planned on having to fill out some forms and the like, after the surgeon had seen his first appointments I was up. We had a brief chat in his office, my GPs referral outlined that we had baby #7 on the way it was pretty obvious that my mind was made up. He explained that a small number of patients cannot be done under local on the day for a number of reasons (he didn't elaborate but I assumed this would be due to anatomical issues, couldn't locate the Vas etc etc) He discussed the procedure to me, there are several, he uses steel clips to clamp the Vas and stitches you up afterwards, some do it with a stitches on the Vas and no external sutures). His method meant I could shower the same day which made me glad. He also explained the risks of infection, and that this could sometime be in the form of inflammation and swelling 6 weeks later. He also explained that sometimes additional bleeding inside the scrotum could result in a hard lump that would dissolve over time. I signed my consent as he elaborated on the time it could potentially take before I could be considered infertile. It was then time to move to the procedure room.

We headed down the corridor, I thought I would have butterflies and feel a bit anxious but I was pretty collected (despite it being on my mind steady for the two weeks leading up to it. I removed my jeans and trunks and hopped up on the table/bed and laid back as he examined me. Lying on my back with him standing to my right he quickly located the right side Vas and then the left. This was slightly unnerving as it involved quite a bit of paddling round in my scrotum. He then explained that he had no issues locating each vas and confirmed he would be able to complete the procedure then and there. He then shaved me, (which was also a unique feeling), washed me with antiseptic (freakin cold it was) then gloved up and got ready to begin. He showed me the tiny steel clips he would be using and assured me no patients had ever reported setting off a metal detector. I looked out the window at the clear blue sky as he once again located the right vas, this was quite awkward, it didn't hurt just really made me squirm, once he had it located he injected the local anaesthetic which aside from an ever so slight pinch was hardly noticeable at all. He started to make the incision, which judging on the need from what I could tell was on the right side bout midway from front to back. I felt a twinge of the scalpel so he stopped then injected more locate and proceeded. I talked constantly through the first side, more so to take my mind of what I knew was going on. In this regard it was probably a bad move to watch the video on you tube as I could mentally picture everything he was doing. I yacked about MB, the children, Mr C's nevus, moving building straw bales and before I knew it I saw his hand go up as he completed a stitch. "All done" he said with a smile, "time for the left".

He went to locate the left vas which he did from the front as he remained standing on my right, this was extremely unsettling, I jumped and immediately broke out into a sweat as he located and vas. I was relieved to feel the needle go in as it knew I'd soon feel less uncomfortable, it really is a strange feeling having someone did around in your balls. He made quick work of the left side as I chatted more and more and before I knew it there was the familiar site of him completing a stitch and I knew I was home free.

I sat up, dripping with perspiration (from the heat of the room more so than anything else) I looked at my balls, which after 32 years of good service looked foreign too me, shaved & discolored from the antiseptic wash. I asked where the stitches were so the doc showed me a stitch on the right side of my scrotum and one on the front side. I went to wing my leg over the the side of the table and felt something touch my leg which came as a shock until I realised it was my scrotum, which was till numb.

The doc explained that I could shower and wash off the antiseptic that day and that within a few hours i'd feel pretty sore and more so the next day or two. he instructed me to to get home, take some panadene and have a glass of whisky. My only question was naturally "Is Red Wine OK"?

I made an appointment for the next week to have the stitches out and do a check up and walked out the door. I immediately texted MB to tell her all was done but I was a bit shakey. I then called her to elaborate on how I felt, told her all was well and then called her Mum & Dad to come and pick me up. I had planned for to spend a few days at my in-laws after the procedure so we headed home via a chemist for some panadene.

That night I wasn't really as sore as I expected to me, more slow on my feet and hesitant to move quickly, sitting was a little uncomfortable but all in all I was feeling pretty good. MB's mother cooked me a delicious lamb roast which we washed down with a nice bottle of red before MB/s father and I retreated to their upstairs big screen TV to watch tron. I didn't feel like sleeping or lying down and after some Facebook messaging with Jo decided to break out the paracord and attempt a two tone bracelet. this killed an hour (as it didn't work the first time and I had to unravel it and start again. and by about midnight I was ready to lie down. Unfortunately I had trouble getting comfy in bed and opted for several pillows between my knees, setup my laptop chatted to MB on MSN (which was sooooo good) then put on an American hot rod playlist and watched several episode before finally falling asleep some time after 3am.

I woke at 7:30 and went to the toilet and had a fair amount of discomfort walking so I decided to hop back in bed and watch some more movies and TV eps of American Hotrod on my laptop. I chatted to MB with video chat at about 11am then again at 3pm, at this point I thought it best I get up, shower and have breaky, which was really a late lunch. I cooked a chicken fillet for a roll and watched some TV for about an hour before getting back in bed around 4:30PM. I then watched more TV on my laptop and when I heard MB's parents arrive from work headed down to say hello. MB's mother cooked another great feed of veggies and a t-bone for me with hot jam roll and ice cream for dessert, I was feeling truly spoilt.

After dinner I watched "The Departed" on the big screen before hitting the hay around midnight, I fell asleep almost instantly but woke at 3am feeling pretty wired so I watched more American Hot Rod til about 5am before sleeping til 9:30.

Today I wanted to get some work done so I connected and caught up on all my meetings, emails and documents for review. I love technology, I have my phone setup as a 3G wireless access pouint and am connected on my laptop from bed. which brings us to about now.

It hasn't been anywhere near as painful as I expected, There is considerable discomfort but pain wise it is very tolerable. My balls went from tomato to beetroot over a few hours but now look semi-normal (albeit shaved). I'll probably submit this then have a shower I think. While the quietness here (read silence) is very relaxing and who would complained about the spoiling i'm getting I am very much missing MB and the children with the exception of a family holiday in the first year or two of going out we haven't spent this much time apart in 17 years and I'm really missing her. Tech is great though with IM and video chat making it bearable. I know its been a stretch for her with all the children solo whilst still feeling ill 24/7. A friend of ours was kind enough to take Miss L overnight and then miss P for an afternoon with her girls which i'm sure made things a little easier at home as those two generate the most noise, mess & washing I was due to go to work for an important meeting tomorrow arvo but don't really feel like making the drive or the train ride or sitting in an office chair all day so My boss has setup a conference for me to dial in. I'm hoping to grab a bite with a mate of mine tonight because MB's parents will be out at a wake. This will also allow me to get them a new DVD player as theirs has issues and doesn't play divx.

Until next time.....