Friday, March 30, 2007

My MacBook Arrives!

Yesterday after a loooonggg wait, my MacBook finally was delivered to the uni. It was actually meant to be in last Friday, but the store was refurbishing it's main desk and so things were going slow all round apparently.

After the long drive home (everything seemed to take so long!), I had to quickly rush to the bank before it closed to deposit the cheque from Google into my dad's account, since he paid for the Mac on his credit card (yet another delay!).

All the GoodiesFinally I got home and started unpacking :) I was taking photos along the way, which took a huge amount of patience, but hey you only unwrap a Mac once. The packaging was really cool, and I actually forgot that it came with a remote for Front Row, so that was a surprise when I saw it in there. I also got a video connector so that we can connect it to the tv. I'll probably need another connector to plug my monitor in but I'll get that one later.

The MacBook and the iPod

AlllmmoosttIt really was great fun opening it up, and because Matt has a PowerBook, I already knew how to get started, so I could get into it straight away. I set up some nice folders for uni and transferred all my work from this semester from my pc, which was really fun since it's all ready to go if I want to take it with me on Monday (how exciting). It's sort of hard to decide what to put on it legacy wise; I've decided to keep all of my old photos on my pc and eventually just burn them to DVD, and I'm just in the process of transferring all the 2007 photos onto my Mac, so I'll sort of start fresh from this year with iPhoto.

I'm really looking forward to learning how to use it properly, since it takes a bit of getting used to before you can use a Mac to its full potential. I started writing up an AI tute on it last night and it just felt so nice for some reason. I guess because it's so cute, but also because it already feels like home.

When Matt got to my house after work he didn't quite know what to do first! He was playing with the Mac for a while before he realised he had his iPod to open! There was a special offer from Apple so that if you by a MacBook you get an iPod for $200 off, so Matt got a 30GB iPod video in black, which is really awesome. Now I've just gotta figure out how to get the rebate, since the instructions are all cryptic.

So I am now officially a Mac user! I'm still going to have to install Windows on it (how disappointing) since there's a couple of programs I need for engineering that only run on Windows. But I'm so glad I finally decided to get one, and I'm in love with it already :)
The Mac's Warming Glowing Warming Glow

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Nice Surprise from Google

When I got home from uni this afternoon there was a FedEx package waiting for me in the study. I had absolutely no idea what it was or who it was from, and I certainly wasn't expecting anything. When I picked the box up, I noticed it was very light, and it also had the word "ball" scrawled on it in red marker. I was pretty sure I wasn't expecting any balls in a big package, so this further perplexed me.

So I finally found a pair of scissors and opened up the box to find... a surprise present from Google! It was a giant black and pink throw blanket with the Google girls logo on it. There was a really sweet card from Meghan, Neetu and Will from Global University Programs at Google, mentioning that the blanket was a memento of the Google retreat in Sydney, and is intended to keep me warm "as the weather cools" (how sweet is that - thanks guys!).

It was a really nice surprise and considering that it's just crossed into autumn and already started raining, it will definitely go to good use right away, as you can see in the pic below :)

A present from Google - a nice warm Blanket!

In related news, the $1000 reward money from Google also arrived in the mail today (it's been an exciting day for opening things today for me)! I've already decided what it's going towards (and it's arriving next Tuesday yay!). I'm getting a 13inch MacBook as an upgrade to my PC, and I just can't wait to get it. I thought it would be nice if the prize money was put towards something relevant rather than me slowly frittering it away on shoes and clothes and the like. Also, there's a special offer on at the moment that if you get a Mac, you get $200 off an iPod! I've already got a mini so Matt's decided to get a 30GB iPod for effectively $180 so hooray all round :)

So it's been a good day all thanks to Google! I'll definitely fall asleep tonight smiling under my Google blanket, dreaming about my Macbook, ahhhhhh :)

Snuggling up with the Google Blanket

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My New Pet - Morris the Mouse

Last weekend Matt's little sis Elissa rescued a little mouse as he was being attacked by her cat. She knew I wanted a mouse so she made a little cardboard box house for him and kept him in there until we had time to figure out where to put him!

We couldn't quite figure out what he was since he didn't look like a regular mouse - he was much more pointy and stood on his hind legs a lot. It turns out he's a field mouse, and we originally thought he was a baby (since he's SOOO small) but it looks like he's full grown and won't be getting any bigger.

Morris's CageSo we went and bought Morris a cage for him and tried to make is as comfortable as possible with lots of fun things for him to play with. Unfortunately, at the corners of the cage the bars were slightly further apart than everywhere else, so in about 5 minutes Morris squeezed through and was running around the house quick as lightning. Elissa managed to catch him again, and we put him back in the cage but made sure to seal the big spaces up with masking tape.

It took him a while to get used to it, and he kept hiding under the newspaper. After a while he built up the courage to explore and finally discovered his wheel. It's so cute! He runs on it for like 10 minutes at a time, but he's yet to figure out that if he stands on top of the wheel, it will turn and make him fall off.

Weeee!He's really nimble so I haven't been handling him much (he's so small I don't want to hurt him!) but he's already used to people and doesn't get frightened at all. He actually keeps running in his wheel even if I'm carrying his cage around! I've noticed that as soon as we start talking to him he'll run out of the house and go straight to his wheel - I'm pretty sure he's showing off to us!

My parents were angry at first (my grandma still wants to kill it) but now they love him (how could you not!) and I often catch my mum or dad talking to him when they think no ones looking :)

Morris Resting in his Wheel

Monday, March 12, 2007

Tomato Sauce Day

Yesterday was Tomato Sauce Day, the day that Matt's (very Italian) family makes tomato sauce for the year ahead. I think I'm the only person that actually enjoys Tomato Sauce Day, probably because it always ends up with everyone in the pool after a long day's work, but mostly because my family is quite small and I always enjoy the big family affairs of Matt's huge family.

So here's a glimpse into how a traditional Italian family makes tomato sauce...

Step 0. Wash the Tomatoes
We washed the 20 crates of tomatoes on Saturday ready for the actual making of the sauce on Sunday. This is the boring part and your fingers always get all wrinkly by the end of it ewww.

Step 1. Cut the Tomatoes
The Sauce Day ConvoyI should mention that everyone always plans to get up at like 5am and get started, but no one is ever that organised on a Sunday morning, so we actually started cutting at about 8am. Me and Matt got there early, but a few people arrived later on (shame shame shame) . I got a photo of the driveway at about 11am, and about 3 more cars arrived after that!

We cut them up in quarters and get the core out. Everyone has their own technique for getting the core out (and everyone thinks theirs is the best way, but I KNOW my way is the best). Notice that everyone's wearing gloves so that our hands don't turn red just yet - there'll be plenty of that later on.

1. Cut The Tomatoes

Step 2. Boil the Tomatoes
We put the tomatoes in material bags, and boil them in a big pot to cook them and soften them up. This is what the dad's usually do, and everyone doing it usually gets burnt some way or another.

2. Boil the Tomatoes

Step 3. Run them through the Machine
The boiled tomatoes are all run through this crazy contraption that has one "in" pipe for the tomatoes, and two "out" pipes - one for the sauce and one for the scraps. The scraps are run through a couple of times to get all the juice out. I love doing this part, but all the steam coming out of it means that your pores get filled with sauce - which is not a good place for sauce to be.

3. Run them through the Machine

Step 4. Put the sauce in a Big Bucket
All the sauce that comes from the machine goes in a big bucket ready for the bottles. We have to stir the bucket occasionally to keep the consistency constant otherwise the bottom gets all chunky.

4. Put the Sauce in a Big Bucket

Step 5. Fill up the Bottles
We fill up all the old beer bottles with the sauce, leaving enough space so that the bottles don't explode on the shelf. This part takes skill and you can usually figure out how much to put in the pot so that you can fill the bottle to the right place all in one hit. When filling starts sauce pretty much goes EVERYWHERE including in your shoes, in your hair, on the dog, on the ceiling etc etc.

5. Fill up the  Bottles

Step 6. Close 'em Up
Putting the lids on is the worst job and I'm really bad at it - I usually just stick to other stuff. That's Chloe (Matt's brother's girlfriend) putting the tops on.

6. Close em Up

Step 7. Boil the Bottles
All the bottles go back into the pots and are boiled to sterilise and seal them.

7. Boil the Bottles

Step 8. Pack the Bottles up
After they're all boiled, the bottles are split up between everyone, and the sauce is ready to go. But of course nobody actually feels like pasta after spending a day pretty much soaked in the stuff.

8. Pack the Bottles Up

Step 9. Bury the Evidence in the Back Yard
All the scraps then get burried in the back yard in a big hole. You can't really see how deep the hole is but there's a lotttaaaa tomataa in there.

9. Bury the Evidence in the Back Yard

So that's it! After we finished me and Elissa (Matt's little sister) were the only ones who braved the icy cold pool, but I think I would have gone in no matter what. And I can tell you that the shower after sauce day is the BEST shower you'll ever have in your life.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Look What Matt Did!

Matt's been busy working in secret on a dashboard widget for the Mac. It started when we wanted to know when Lost was coming back, and got sick of continuously checking. Matt came up with this handy solution, take a look! I'm so proud :)

TV Forecast Dashboard Widget