Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dinner with the Girls

Tonight I had a very entertaining night with Suzie and Rosemary, who I used to work with at Melbourne Uni. I met them at Suzie's house, which is just around the block from my apartment. It was great to catch up with them and hear what is going on in the Economics Department. While Suzie cooked dinner Rosemary was telling me lots of eye-opening stories about all the scandalous things that have been going on in the department that I had no clue about. It would make the most insane soap opera. We had pasta with eggplant and other veggies, which was very yummy. For dessert it was tea and chocolate. I laughed and smiled so much that my face hurt by the end of the night. We are hoping to make these dinners a regular occurrence.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

My Ceiling of Woe

I thought my leaking ceiling issues were over but last week I heard that dreaded sound of dripping again. I couldn't find where the water was coming from until I looked up at my kitchen light and saw that the fixture was full of water. This happened on a Friday night, so of course I had to wait until Monday to speak with anyone at Body Corporate. On Tuesday the plumber came out and checked Unit 23, but there were no obvious signs of leaks, so he figured it must be coming from Unit 24. Unfortunately, we didn't have access to the unit, so the plumber returned the following morning to check Unit 24. After running water from all the taps, it was determined that the leak wasn't coming from there, but from Unit 23 after all. We didn't have access to the unit that morning, so the plumber decided to cut a couple holes into my ceiling to see if he could find the leak. However, he couldn't figure out where the leak was coming from so I had to wait until Friday when everyone's schedules were finally coordinated to get things fixed. It turns out the water was coming from the kitchen sink area of Unit 23 and after putting 3 more holes into my ceiling, the leak was finally found near my ceiling beams! The cause was two segments of pipe that had completely separated from each other because someone forgot to blue-glue the two pipe segments together when the building was constructed. The plumber glued the pipe back together and also anchored it to a beam in the ceiling (they had forgotten to do that too). Now the problem is getting all these holes in my ceiling repaired. I'm waiting to hear from Body Corporate when the plasterers will be coming out (better be early next week) and then once that dries the ceiling will be painted. I am hoping to get this all fixed before my parents arrive on September 3rd.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Essendon vs. Hawthorn

Tonight's Essendon game was a tribute to James Hird, so Michelle and I headed to the Telstra Dome for this week's match against Hawthorn. I was hopeful that last week's win against Collingwood meant that Essendon were finally back on track and getting it together (it's been a bad season). However, the first half was a total nightmare, and Hawthorn dominated every aspect of the game. Their lead at halftime was 61 points!

Thankfully the second half was a bit better. Essendon finally found some defense and offence, although we had a lot of shots at goal that were behinds (1 point) instead of goals (6 points). It was a frustrating match, and if we had made more goals we could have won. However, even though we got close in the last quarter, we ended up losing by 18 points. It wasn't the best way to celebrate James Hird's career, but Hawthorn deserved the win.

Final Score:
Essendon- 15.16 (106)
Hawthorn- 19.10 (124)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Marvelous Melbourne

This is a funny 10 minute short film on the history of Melbourne by Shane and Chris Northey. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument

This week at work we had a professional learning forum in our branch around the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI), which measures the way you prefer to think, learn, communicate and make decisions. The Whole Brain Model was developed by Ned Herrmann, who discovered that there were four patterns that emerged in terms of how the brain perceives and processes information. A Quadrant is rational, B Quadrant practical, C Quadrant visceral, and D Quadrant cognitive. Our profiles were compiled from a series of questions we answered on an online survey, and it was really interesting to get my results. The HBDI profile shows you which of the four quadrants of the brain you have a preference for- looking not just at left/right brain but also cerebral (upper) and limbic (lower) modes.

Here is a scan of my results. As you can see, my preferences are for the B and C quadrants. Here is what they say my profile means: "The profile is characterized by very strong preferences in conservative thinking and controlled behavior with a desire for organisation and structure as well as detail and accuracy from the Lower Left B quadrant. Persons with this profile tend to worry about details. The primary in the Lower Right C quadrant would show itself equally strongly by interpersonal skills and sensitivity to feelings. It may indicate emotion, and perhaps interest in music and a sense of spirituality. It would also be likely to demonstrate sensory intuition or 'gut feelings.' The two limbic primaries could represent an important duality for the person to resolve within themselves. The opposing qualities of control and structure, constrasting with the emotional and interpersonal feelings can cause internal conflict." Interesting and fairly accurate, don't you think? The dotted line shows how I scored on an adjective pairs exercise, and this is supposed to demonstrate how you react when under pressure. Notice how I withdraw almost completely from D quadrant and have more preference in C quadrant.

In our branch, there are a lot of people who place in the C and D quadrants- and almost no one in A quadrant. Knowing how your co-workers think can help you to understand each other and work together better. The ultimate goal though is to become more whole-brained in your thinking, which means you are able to utilize the thinking preferences for each of the four quadrants. It enables you to take a comprehensive view of any situation and look at it from a variety of perspectives.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Why Is My Ceiling Leaking?

On Tuesday night I was starting to make my dinner when I heard the sound of water. I turned around to see a stream of water pouring down from my ceiling off the support beam and onto the carpet. I quickly grabbed a pot to catch the water and rang my real estate agent to ask what to do. Thankfully the water stopped after a few minutes, but I ventured upstairs to chat with my neighbors to see if they had any leaking water. There was nothing evident happening in either of their apartments, and thankfully they were nice and sympathetic to my situation. I woke up the next morning and everything was still dry. It was a good thing that I left the pot on the floor though because when I got home it was half full with water. After chatting with Body Corporate I ventured upstairs again to chat with my neighbors. We suspected that the problem could be with a shower leak that one unit had had repaired earlier in the week. They got the plumber to come back out, and there hasn't been any water since, so I'm hoping that the problem has been fixed for good.

If that wasn't enough apartment drama for me, I've also just gotten notice that my rent will be going up $44 a month when my lease is up in October. I'm not too thrilled about that, but there's not much I can do. Good thing I have a 3% raise going into effect that month as well.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Census Night

Tonight is Census Night in Australia. There was a whole advertising campaign here around the census, which is done every five years and considered a mandatory activity. I filled out my form online, and it was pretty quick and painless. There are the usual questions that you would expect: age, ethnicity, education, religion, etc. They do focus on country of origin and where your parents were born (probably because a large part of the population are migrants). A couple of the more interesting questions asked were about unpaid hours of work (as a care giver or just plain domestic work), and for females how many babies you have ever given birth to (they do have a baby bonus payment here). The last question asks if you agree to have the information on your census form kept by the National Archives of Australia and then made available to the public in 99 years. I figured why not- after all, I don't think I'll be around in 2105.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Bic Runga

Last night I got to see Bic Runga in concert at Manchester Lane. Peter was kind enough to let me tag along with him as her shows in Melbourne are sold out. We met up for dinner after I finished work and went to Italy 1 on George Parade off Collins Street. I had the best Ravioli di Zucca I have ever tasted- the sage butter, toasted walnuts, and pumpkin were delicious. After dinner we walked along Swanston Street and stopped at a cafe for dessert. We got the biggest piece of cheesecake (thankfully to share) and hot drinks.

Around 8pm we headed over to Manchester Lane. Since Peter does work for Bic we were on the guest list and got excellent treatment inside the venue. We were given a table in the middle section, which was cordoned off from the rest of the crowd. After about 10 minutes Bic came walking over to say hello to Peter. She sat down at the table next to us for a chat while she ate her dinner. It was kind of funny to have Bic sitting there eating while all the people standing above in the next level were able to look down and watch- they had come to see her perform, after all.

The show itself was great. Bic played material from all three of her albums in the set. I loved hearing all the new songs off her latest release "Birds." Bic has the most amazing voice, and this was definitely the most relaxed I've ever seen her on stage (perhaps because of her trip to the day spa?). She played mostly acoustic guitar, but did a few songs on electric. John Walsh, the guitar tech, came out and played keyboard on the song "Birds." I wish the show had gone on longer than an hour, but she did finish around 11 pm. Peter and I quickly went backstage to say goodbye, and then headed back to his car. Peter was nice enough to drive me home, which was great since it had started raining by the time we left the venue.
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