Married on the third day of December in our backyard, Canberra, Australia.

Monday, July 31, 2006

New Pet

We have a new pet; Bubbles, the sourdough sponge.

We are trying our hand at making sourdough, just like the early Californian gold miners. We picked up a starter pack at the Farmers Market in San Francisco a few weeks back. The starter pack contained a powdered yeast mix and instructions, such as:
"Think of the mother sponge as a sort of pet, you want to feed it, and keep it acclimate to its environment."

The main mix is called the mother sponge. We feed it twice a day with a mix of flour and water, the more frequently you feed it the more sour the final bread becomes. We needed somewhere warm (but not hot) to keep it, and the top of the fridge is consistently the right temperature (we guess).

To make bread you seperate off a baby sponge, feed it extra flour, and use it to start bread about a day later. When you feed the mother sponge you take out and discard a cup of the sponge, so rather than throw it away we used the first feeding to make a baby sponge, which will be used to make bread tomorrow.

Overnight Bubbles doubled in size, as it bubbled into life.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

View from The Metreon to SF MOMA

This is the view from the 4th floor of The Metreon in San Francisco across Yerba Buena Gardens to the Museum of Modern Art (SF MOMA). We saw the the Titanic Exhibit at the Metreon, and we saw the Xefirotarch exhibit (and some Andy Warhol pieces) as SF MOMA recently.

Alamo Square

At Alamo Square in San Francisco is the famous Six Sisters (also known as the Painted Ladies). They are a group of townhouses that were designed by the same architect. Remember Full House? Well in the opening scene, the six sisters are shown as where the family lived. These houses are worth big bucks, but I just love how quaint they are!


We have recently discovered or rediscovered some old games that we love(d) to play.

Sean found SimFarm on sale at a book store, and knew that Louise loved this old game. She has been building up her farm by farming strawberries and gladiolas.

Colin mentioned that he had been playing Warlords IV, a turn based strategy game. Sean has been enjoying building up his heroes as he conquers maps in single player. Hopefully, he will play Colin some time soon.

Titanic exhibition

On the weekend, we went and saw the Titanic Exhibition in San Francisco. Two words - ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!! The exhibit had about 300 items that they had brought up from off the ocean floor and restored. Things like old playing cards, a gentleman's bowler hat, jewellery, clothes, old letters, and even a huge section of the hull! What truly amazed me the most, apart from recreating the famous staircase, was a huge chunk of ice. They encouraged you to touch the ice and the water that the people perished in was colder than the ice!!!! So, many of the passangers died of hypothermia! But, really, the exhibit was very fascinating and extremely well done!

Ps. On the back of the tickets it says "If a legal game, as defined by major league baseball, is not played for any reason, this ticket may be exchanged for the same priced seat for any other regular same season baseball game for which tickets are available." Baseball was not played at the exhibition, so I guess we get tickets to the baseball :)


I have been going with some of my friends (Sarah, Dina and Tanya) to Petroglyph. At Petroglyph you buy and paint ceramics, and they glaze and fire them. You pick up the finished ceramics a few days later.

My latest trip with Sarah and Dina was on Tuesday! I decided to paint a butter dish as I was so sick of fiddling with the wrapped butter. It seems that in the US they don't have butter in a tub, only margarine. So, I was determined to paint one! Here are some pics. for you to look at.

New scrapbook pages!

Here are my latest creations! Enjoy! :) I'm working on my Australian pics as they remind me of home, plus I can show off Australia to my American and Indian friends. :)

Indian Rock

We recently went for a drive and ended up at Indian Rock in Sanborn County Park, which is only about 45 minutes drive from our house.

We drove along Skyline ridge. As you can guess from the name, there are great views along either side as you travel along the ridge. It is a popular road with cyclists.

We came across a park, which had some impressive boulders/rocks sticking out from the ground. It was a bit reminiscent of Remarkable Rocks but not as remarkable.

Before we got out of the car Louise was telling me that the bamboo forest at Hakone Gardens, where parts of Memoirs of a Geisha was filmed, is tick infested. If you develop a rash after visiting there, you need to check for ticks. This park is not tick infested, but I still checked my legs after getting back to the car.

Whilst I was flying around like superman, we could hear somebody shooting. A bit up the road, we found a shooting range. That was a relief for the man of steel.

Fourth of July

Hi All,

So sorry it's taken us awhile to update this blog. It seems we like to do things in big chunks. :)

Fourth of July weekend was quite interesting over here. The nightly fireworks at the Amphitheatre started on a Saturday night and went right through to Tuesday night! Most of the companies in the local area generously gave their employees the Monday off (it was a public holiday). However, the Library was still open and was very thankful that I came into help them out as it seems that lots of people go away for the long weekend - now we know why!

We decided to go up to Seans work on the Tuesday night to watch the last of the fireworks. We found a lovely spot on a balcony and made ourselves comfortable and waited for the fireworks to start. Meanwhile, crowds of people below us were eagerly trying to find their own spot.

After waiting for an hour, I noticed that the temperature was dropping. I only had on a t-shirt and everyone else had blankets and jumpers on! Wasn't this suppose to be summer? Not Autumn yet? Anyway, I soon warmed up with a nice cup of hot chocolate from the minikitchen - thanks! :)

Well, the fireworks mainly consisted of red, blue and white colours. Gee, I wonder why?

From our place, Sean's work is about a 10min drive. But on that Tuesday night after the fireworks, it took us an hour and a quarter to get home!!!! Sean estimated that it would only take us 15 mins in the traffic to go half a block!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Optus Bills

Optus want to keep us in the loop, so they keep sending us bills for $0. Having terminated mobile accounts before I understand that this is not unusual, it just means they love us.

During my last chat with them I mentioned that I had moved to the US. They offered to update my mailing details.

Their computers interpretation of our conversation is on the left. California is actually in Victoria.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ted Stevens: senator, comedian

The US government is deliberating on whether to create a tiered and partitioned Internet, where the more you pay the faster your traffic gets through. It is sad to watch, given that the level playing field we currently have has promoted much innovation.

Ted Stevens, an 84 year old senator from Alaska, took $50k in campaign contributions from the telecommunications industry. For their $50k, the telecommunications industry bought his vote on this issue and 10 minutes of Ted saying the darndest things.

Ted doesn't understand how email might get delayed:

I just the other day got, an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?
Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially.

Ted forgets that failed dot coms left an overcapacity of fiber:
I don't have to have the type of speed they're introducing, but the people who are streaming through 10-12 movies at a time or a whole book at a time... for consumers use, those are not you and me, they're not the consumers, those are providers.

Ted doesn't want startups to provide innovative new services:
There's one company now you can sign up and you can get a movie delivered to your house daily by delivery service. Okay. And currently it comes to your house, it gets put in the mail box when you get home and you change your order but you pay for that, right.
But this service isn't going to go through the Internet and what you do is you just go to a place on the Internet and you order your movie and guess what you can order ten of them delivered to you and the delivery charge is free.

Ted gets to vote on whether the Internet should be tiered and partitioned. , my personal web site hosted at our apartment, has been down for a while. In fact it has been down since I stuck another network card into the web server.

Both the router and the web server are connected to the internal and external networks. The router provides a NAT to an internal address on the web server, so access to the web server is via the router. The web server serves DNS directly on the external interface via another IP address.

The problem is that the NetGear RP614 router only properly does reverse NAT on the interface it sent the NATted packets out. Access to the web server would go through the router (SNAT to the routers external IP + DNAT to the web servers internal IP) and exit its internal interface. The web server would respond via its external interface (due to the SNAT) and the router would only reverse the DNAT, resulting in Syn-Ack packets with internal source addresses.

So the web server had to send packets with an external destination address out the internal interface if the source address was in Normally, the interface is determined from the destination address, rather than the source address. Luckily, the Linux kernel has pretty flexible routing rules.

Here are the commands I used to route packets from internal source addresses via the internal interface, and those with external source addresses via the external interface:

# Funky routing based on source address rather than destination address


/sbin/ip rule add from $INTRANGE table 250
/sbin/ip route add table 250 to $INTRANGE dev $INTDEV
/sbin/ip route add table 250 to via $INTGW dev $INTDEV

/sbin/ip rule add from $EXTRANGE table 251
/sbin/ip route add table 251 to $EXTRANGE dev $EXTDEV
/sbin/ip route add table 251 to via $ISPGW dev $EXTDEV

So now is available again.