>Hello, is this thing on?

>If there is any body out there still dropping in occasionally, I would like to apologise about the distinct lack of contact! No excuses, just an apology.

I’ve been up to all sorts lately. Mostly related to work. But there have also been flashes of excitement too. For example, I have been spending a lot of time playing with PCs and continuing to learn as much as possible about Linux – driving the lovely Ms. Mac out of her mind.

If you’re interested, you could look into the distribution I prefer, available at Ubuntu. It is in an upgrade cycle at the moment and there is a new version to be released at the beginning of June. The best thing about it is that it allows you to download a Live CD which you boot from and it makes no changes to your existing system whilst still giving full functionality to test the features of Ubuntu. When you take it out of the CD drive and reboot, your system is back to normal.

I also attended the Swiss Blog Awards in Biel last night. An interesting evening, whereby a very good friend of the Chateau Mac crew, the delightful Heather, had her blog, dontmentiontheskiing.com nominated as one of the best blogs being written in Switzerland. We all thought that there wouldn’t be much chance that a British woman blogging in English in Switzerland would win.

Imagine the surprise of all involved when she was announced the winner of the Best Blog in Switzerland!!!! I want to congratulate her and urge both of you to head over and give her your best. A very deserving winner who was exceptionally charming in her acceptance. The funniest part was when they gave her the opportunity to write an on-the-spot post right there on the stage and she couldn’t remember password. Really funny shit, man!

Big hello to Matthias too! We have known him through his blogs and also his winning of the Elf Shorts (where the fuck are those bad boys???) for some time now, but last night was the first time we had met in person. Enjoyed a nice meal in a pizzeria with him, the victor and her husband and had a lot of laughs. All in all, a good night tat the awards, which turned out better than I expected.

Not much else to report – will be continuing toplay with the computers, take delivery of a broken PC and see if I can’t fix it and then try some more Linux shenanigans. We’ll see…I might even blog more????

>Is it that obvious?

>Today I was in the Low Yat market in downtown Kuala Lumpur saving big dollars on PC parts and mobile accessories. More on this story later…

Prior to that, I was in Bukit Bintang Plaza checking out some “original release” DVD box sets of The Sopranos. Imagine my surprise when I saw a copy of Season 4 and Season 5, which I just happen to need for my collection. I turned to ask Mr. Man what the price for these would be, obviously reckoning that it would be cheaper than the grief from Ms. Mac when I hogged t’internet “legally purchasing” them. I turned back and the next thing I know, I’m being shoved out of the store, the roller shutter support is frantically being put into place and then without so much as a by-your-leave, the roller shutter was slammed down. It happened all over the market and there were scores of presumably Malaysian Chinese strolling around with their hands in their pockets, whistling nonchalantly…what a scream.

I didn’t even have time to flash my MPAA Identity Card – they rumbled me in seconds. Must formulate a clever discguise for next time…

>Rockin’ My Box

>
During the whirlwind tour of France last weekend, I discovered that my charming (though slightly shy) host had a modified Xbox that offered many new features that Micro$oft couldn’t or wouldn’t implement. Naturally, I wanted my Xbox to have all these too and had to purchase the necessary hardware mod chip and new 200 GB hard drive for the modification. Then I had to source the tools such as soldering iron, Torx screwdrivers and on and on.

To be honest the prospect of disassembling the Xbox and the very thought of applying a heated soldering iron to its delicate motherboard filled me with dread. The wealth of info on the internet was perfectly adequate and I had not one problem. The mod chip worked as soon as I reapplied the power, and all the (probably?) boring techie details were accomplished with the minimum of fuss.

Needless to say, the modifications have proved to be a hit and I can barely get near the thing. I’m glad because a large part of the fun for me is in doing the task and achieving the result. I recommend this to anyone whose Xbox warrantyhas expired – you’ve got nothing to lose.

If you do it, I also recommend that you use the Team Avalaunch dashboard cos it rocks too.

>Urrgghh, I feel horrible….but I’m still happy!

>Stream of consciousness today…I just got back late last night from a two-day trip to Germany with corresponding daily meetings in German. You’d think that living in a german-speaking country, that there’d be no problem. Well you’d be wrong. I don’t have to speak German all day long. I tend to speak loads of English so sitting in meetings that go for hours on end in German is actually hard work. You cannot afford to lose consciousness even for a second.

Which is of course made all the worse when you spent your 15th wedding anniversary on the toilet in a hotel in Bremen!!! I must have taken a bait somewhere or picked up a stomach bug because I felt like hell. Thankfully the Hilton in Bremen provides lots of toilet paper. Needless to say, the next day meeting was even worse when you consider that I had a toilet-shaped impression on my backside. For lunch they served some fancy sandwiches which were pleasant enough but I wisely avoided the Beef Tartar canape which looked to my delicate stomach like raw mince on toast – blechhhh.

You may have noticed that I mentioned that it was my 15th wedding anniversary on Monday. The little lady is an absolute doll and I couldn’t ever have found anyone better. Here’s to at least 115 more!

Our Wedding

Love ya baby.

Stella

>You’ve got to be mad haven’t you

>I was perusing the newspaper this morning from my beloved Melbourne and came across this story that frankly, beggars belief!

Is there really anyone out there who believes now (or has ever) that the emails you get from people purporting to be the head of an African bank or aide to an exiled / dead president of an African nation yet come from Yahoo and Hotmail accounts are real?

I mean really, “I will give you 10% of 75 million gajillion US dollars if you will let me have access to your bank account.” or “I will give you 10% of 75 million gajillion US dollars if you will please send a Western Union Money Order for USD7460 to Mboko Nagumba in Lagos , so that we can bribe the officials of Zaire to release the money.” Oh OK, let me just run down to the Western Union office and do that now.

If it was real, why wouldn’t they just go to the officials and offer them the 10% of 75 million gajillion US dollars?

Check out this site for a good laugh at the expense of the scammers. They suck the scammers into believing that they will comply with the request for money and make the scammers do all sorts of stupid and humiliating things. normally posing for photographs with silly signs and stuff. Take this for example:

We all know that it’s a scam, but what troubles me is that there are some of my fellow countrymen (Queenslanders mostly – which sort of explains it) who have been fleeced for up to AUD 2.2 million!!!! In total, police estimate AUD 7 million has gone to these scams from Queensland “victims”. I say “victims” because “dickheads” would be too inflammatory – oops, I said it. In case anyone needs to be reminded, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Still, if you’re a greedy bastard, you’ll soon fall over yourself. As they say, a fool and his money are soon parted.

Now if you would just leave your account details in the comment box, I will share 20% (twice the going rate) of a Swiss cheese baron’s estate that I can get access to, if I could just get a couple of thousand Swiss Francs with which to bribe the caretaker at the cheese factory . Email me soonest your accordance such that we can do a profitable business. I would never try to cheat you – honest!!

>Crocheting is now officially great!

>My beloved Nana used to crochet littel baby clothes, covers for coathangers and stuff like that, just like everyone’s grandmother – no real news here.

However, this amazing lady does crocheting too and her’s is out of this world. Check out these examples of crocheting excellence.

crocodile

A crocodile ate my baby!

steak1

A delicious dinner!

sadomaso

Can you beat a pink crocheted gimp mask?

Crocheting is back baby!!

Thanks to BoingBoing for putting me onto this one too.

>Foo Fighters – Fucking Awesome!!!

>This just in:

The Foo Fighters concert was absolutely brilliant. The lovely rock goddess Ms. Mac and I spent the entire concert right down the front, centre stage in the midst of the mosh. Needless to say we had a ball!!

And Dave even played the drums while Taylor sang a song. That fucking rocked too – love to see Dave on the drums.

Foo Fighters, Switzerland, Jan 2006

Mr. Mac excellence rating: 10 / 10

>I nearly blew it!!

>Big news – an admission of guilt on my behalf.

Regular readers will be aware that the adult Macs are going to see the Foo Fighters this month. There has been a lot of build up to this concert and Ms. Mac and I are heavily invested in the gig. It is something that we have wanted to do for years and years. Normally when the tickets go on sale in Australia, they are sold out in minutes so it was a big deal for me to be able to waltz into Ticket Corner and nonchalantly pick up a couple of tickets without any queuing, sleeping bags or thermoses of braised steak and veggies!

For about a month now, I have been convinced that the concert is the day after pay day. So much so that I have also sold Ms. Mac on the idea and we have been planning our entire week around going to Foo Fighters on Thursday 26th. Being a cautious type (and having screwed us up on dates before*), Ms. Mac asked me last night “are you absolutely sure that the concert is on the 26th???”

I replied “of course I’m sure – the day AFTER payday.”
“Yeah well you better check! I’ll kill you if there’s a mix-up!!!”

So last night I suddenly remembered that she had told me to check the dates and opened the top drawer where the tickets have been hibernating and took a peek. Lucky I did too – the concert is tomorrow, not Thursday!!!

Can you even begin to imagine what would have happened if I had not checked and we turned up on Thursday only to find the place deserted and our tickets reduced to the status of the world’s most expensive bookmarks?

The agony doesn’t bear thinking about.

*Once, we were scheduled to travel on the Superfast ferry from Zeebrugge in Belgium to Rosyth, Scotland. This overnight trip is a fun way to cross from Europe to the UK and we were really looking forward to it. Zeebrugge is about 10+ hours drive from Z├╝rich so we packed up the car, the kids and our troubles and set off in the dead of night for Belgium. We turned up at the ferry port expecting the usual tailback of cars waiting to board the ferry and were pleasantly surprised to see that we were the first (and only) car there. I went up to the lady sitting in the office and asked what time the gates would be opening for boarding. To which she replied that the ferry didn’t sail on Sundays in winter – we were a whole day early! We got a hotel room and stayed the night, had chinky for tea and the boys loved it. So much so that they asked if Mum could always screw up the dates in future!