The Ramblings of Channy

Friday, October 14, 2005

I'm a recalcitrant blogger!

Okay so I’ve been recalcitrant in posting to my blog, but at least I’m not dead. I have been hooked on another craze at the moment. I’m collecting Series 2 of McDonalds Happy Meal Neopet plushies. I just finished my collection off this morning with the final three plushies, a Shadow Grarrl, Green Kiko, and Red Kyrii. Now all I need to do is go back and hunt down the Series 1 Neopet plushies. I’ve recently acquired a Starry JubJub and a Starry Quiggle, and I am also waiting to receive my Starry Blumaroo and Shadow Aisha from the US. If you’re wondering how I’m able to still acquire Series 1 McDonalds Happy Meal Neopet plushies, it’s because I’ve been buying them off the ever helpful eBay auction website.

My overall favourite Neopet plushie so far is from Series 1, JubJub. From Series 2, my favourite is my Starry Pteri, but the Speckled Bruce and Shadow Mynci come close to being my favourites from Series 2 as well.

My current collection consists of (from Series 1): 1 Green Ixi, 1 Red JubJub, 1 Blue JubJub, 1 Starry JubJub, 1 Starry Quiggle, and 1 Green Scorchio. (From Series 2) 1 Speckled Bruce, 1 Cloud Flotsam, 1 Red Gelert, 1 Shadow Grarrl, 1 Yellow Kacheek, 1 Green Kiko, 1 Blue Kougra, 1 Red Kyrii, 1 Blue Meerca, 1 Shadow Mynci, 1 Blue Poogle, and 1 Starry Pteri. To complete my collection I need to get from Series 1 an Aisha and Blumaroo (which are on their way), a Chomby, Grundo, Lupe, Moehog, Shoyru, Techo, Uni, Wocky, and Yurble.

I have rather unfortunately not been able to track down any new Parmas to review, but the next time I get the chance to do one, I’ll be sure to post it to my blog however.

Also in the hunt to complete my Simpson plush toys, I have tried rather unsuccessfully to nab myself the final member of the family, Marge Simpson. I’ve spotted her in a number of skill testers, but they have all been stuffed in difficult positions to extract so the quest will continue. Thanks goes to Bevis for keeping an eye out for Marge in skill testers whenever he passes by one.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Another day another chicken parma...

Another day, another chicken parma. This time I had a parma near where I work at the moment in Kew on the Friday. The place I ate this latest parma was at the Skinny Dog Hotel, 155 High Street, Kew, Victoria. My work mates were rather surprised that I was going to order the chicken parma and when it arrived I understood their bemusement. The chicken parma served here is massive! I was pretty hungry though, so I started in on it. Unfortunately it got the better of me and I was only able to get through half of it and most of the chips that came along, and sticking to my old habits I didn’t touch the side salad. While this parma is massive (it dominates the plate it comes upon), the quality doesn’t stack up quite as good as the one at Café 22. The chicken fillet is thinner and I preferred the thickness of the one at Café 22. The cheese wasn’t as well thickly melted and the sauce had a bit more bite to it than I like. Overall, this chicken parma stands up well as a meal where you’re famished and in need of a parma fix. Also at nearly $18, you really need to have a large appetite to finish this plate of food.

For Michael Wilson’s information, these guys make the rather unfortunate mistake of putting the parma on top of the chips. Nasty stuff indeed!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

JSR 168 Portlet Development Training Day One

I rocked up early to the training location at IBM’s Education centre on Collins St in Melbourne, and upon exiting the lift, found out that I was so early the doors were still shut. I waited only a moment before a rather familiar face appeared and opened the door. The instructor from my Portal Administration course greeted me and promptly informed me that we were in the same room as last time. I was rather taken aback by his appearance, and dazed I muffled a quick response and shuffled off to the training room. The reason I was so surprised was that during the course of the previous training course, I had heard him talking to my team leader that he most likely wouldn’t be leading the course I’m on currently in two weeks time. The instructor entered the room after a short while and having regained my wits I remarked that I was glad to see he was running the course and we had a quick catch-up on how we were going. He then told me that there had been three students slated for the course (including me), but that the third student had to pull out at the last moment. That meant that he would be teaching only two students! A fantastic thing for us two students because we could really take it as slow or as fast as we wanted to go. The instructor and I talked for a bit more while we waited for the other student to arrive.

The other student arrived a bit late, but we were soon underway on our course. The other student hasn’t really done any portlet development, where I’ve done a little as well as knowing more about the Portal in general than him so he’s asking most of the questions at the moment, while I’m answering more of the questions the instructor poses. It’s strange to answer questions at the moment considering there are only two students in the room and I don’t feel very confident of my answers sometimes. Nevertheless, I’m pretty glad that I get the chance to answer the questions and test out the knowledge I’ve gleaned over the last course and what I’ve been experimenting with at work. The day progressed quickly and we only did some rather simple exercises, but it’s certainly bolstering my understanding of portlet development and how everything hangs together.

By the way, if anyone is ever in Melbourne and is in need of lunch, Café 22 on 22 Williams St (Cnr of Flinders Lane) is a great place to grab a Chicken Parma and Chips, and I’m not saying this because I get a free lunch voucher as part of my training, but because I’m very particular about my Parmas and I like to critique them whenever I get the chance to eat one from different restaurants and pub/bistros. I the Parma itself is nice a nice and thick bit of breast chicken, nicely crumbed and well covered with tomato sauce and well melted cheese. The chips aren’t too bad, with a good sprinkling of salt to add taste, but it misses the bonus point I would’ve given for a slice of ham. So do yourself a favour and check it out the next time you get the chance.

Monday, September 05, 2005

More training...

The training continues in my new job. The end of last week I spent two days learning a bit more about IBM Workplace Web Content Manager v5.1. It wasn’t an overly structured training program since it was moulded to the purposes of my company’s needs, but it was helpful enough for me to understand how WCM fits into the scheme of things and to get an early taste for the API that works with WCM, which brings me to my next little ramble… API’s & Javadoc. Java has tons of API’s (or Application Program Interface) and Javadocs, the annotated documentation that comes with API’s. I personally can’t function without having ready access to the Javadoc’s of all the various API’s I use in my day to day work, and since I’m learning new stuff at the moment, a new API and the Javadoc that goes with it is like putting a little kid in a candy store. Given a problem to solve or a requirement to fulfil and I’ll happily potter around inside the API until I’m able to gather enough information on whether a solution is plausible or not. Take Friday last week as an example. My first exposure to WCM’s API and with the help of the lecturer we were able to come up with a solution that I could implement on a problem provided by the manager who attended the training days. She was very excited that a solution was found in such a short time and I’m rather happy to give the implementation a shot, not that I’m able to actually work on it right away unfortunately.

Tomorrow I will be starting a 3 day course on IBM WebSphere Portal V5.1 Application Development Using JSR168. I’m very excited about this as it’ll give me the confidence after completing the course to rip into all the work that’s lining up for the rest of the year, plus there’s the freebies that I’m sure I’ll pick up as well. Hopefully I’ll be able to post a new entry sometime over the next 3 days to update how the course is going and what exciting new things I’ll encounter.

For my anime fix, I’ve picked up volume 5 of Chrono Crusade. I can’t wait to get the spare time to watch what happens next in this crazy mixed up saga. Oh and I finally watched Disney’s Tarzan DVD which I picked up about a three weeks ago. I was nearly in tears in some parts of that movie.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Smiley Socks

Today I'm wearing my smiley face socks because I'm happy. Why you might ask am I happy? Last night we had another Special Church Business Meeting to decide on whether we would issue a call for an Assistant Worship Pastor after four weeks ago having had the same meeting to decide on the same person and same issue. Four weeks ago the vote went against issuing the call, but the general consensus after the meeting was that issues not relating to purpose of the meeting had caused the meeting to be derailed and the vote to be possibly/probably affected by these mitigating issues. Two weeks ago a general meeting was called to address those concerns and I certainly hope that they were addressed and will continue to be addressed as time goes on, but last night was a revisit of the issue of calling an Assistant Worship Pastor. There were issues raised about revisiting the matter of calling an Assistant Worship Pastor two of which I am anxious about, but one of which I leave in the hands of God (he's good at that kind of stuff anyway), and the other only time can tell whether it becomes a truly disconcerting issue. Anyway, the vote went through this time... and so therefore I am happy, and wearing my smiley socks to prove it! The person we've issued the call to be Assistant Worship Pastor is a fantastic guy and perfect for the role of being a pastor (well a pretty darn good fit if he ain't perfect anyways). He's the kind of person who will walk the journey with someone no matter how dark it gets and since I'm one of those whom he's walking the journey with, I can certainly attest to that part of his character.

In the Java world... I continue to potter around doing my WebSphere Portal thing and now I'm reviewing and cleaning up code as well as doing my favourite task... documentation. I really get upset with people who don't document their code. How's the next person who may never get to meet you supposed to understand what you've built if you leave no pointers on how things work or what purpose this twisted line of code is meant for and even worse, in cases where that line of code was meant to be removed because it serves no purpose and it wasn't; it really confuses future development or maintenance of the code. Documentation of code is not the most glamourous job in the world and it does take time to properly comment your piece of work, but the hours of deciphering it saves in the future, is simply enormous! So programmers of the world, please comment/document your code it saves lives! Well, maybe not lives but it certainly saves me from tearing out my hair!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Java at last!

At last I'm back to doing the stuff I love most, and the stuff I feel most comfortable working with... Java! I started working on it a couple of days ago with a contractor who's come in to help and I'm loving it! No more floundering around trying to work out what goes where, or how this or that works, I know how things fit and where things go. I'm loving it so much I might end up doing too much work. I'm already getting to work earlier because I live closer to work now, and it's so easy to log on to my work network from home to do even more work in the comfort of my own bed! I can't wait for the next two training courses I'm going on because once they're done I'm hoping that the work will start flooding in for me. I particularly like the idea of being asked to build a footy tipping portlet. I don't know whether that'd be for real or not, but I certainly wouldn't object if asked to build an application for tipsters on our corporate intranet.

In other news, the I managed to get another of the Simpson family from the skill tester... young Bart. Unfortunately I chose to wait until after work on the Friday to test out my skills and by that time someone had managed to liberate Marge from the confines of the skill tester. Doh! Oh well, hopefully sometime in the future I'll complete my Simpson family. The spare Homer I liberated has gone to Bevis who happily accepted the free toy even though he guilted me into it... NOT! I really have too many of these skill tester toys... I'm running out of space in my room to stuff them :-)

Friday, August 19, 2005

WebSphere Portal Admin Training - Day Two & Three

Ahh, the joys of training. The one thing I love about training is that if you finish early you go home early and I'm really good at running through labs. The other thing is freebies! We got a nice IBM coffee mug and an IBM water bottle, at the end of the course we get our IBM certificate to say we completed the course, isn't that so nice of IBM. As a special bonus for day two though, I got to go home extra early because a work colleague had a very important meeting to attend back at work. So with the early end to the day I did some banking and Medicare refunding... and play on a skill tester! I love skill testers. You put your money in (only on the ones that have easy gets) and then you manoeuvre the claw into the right spot, drop it and it picks up your valuable prize. I got dozens of these stuffed toys at home now and they generally only average about $5 a toy which given that I'm sure they retail for much more than that is a real bonus. For $10 last night I picked up a Shrek Donkey, Lisa Simpson and Maggie Simpson plus some a swag of chocolate for when I missed catching a toy. All I need to finish off the Simpson family is Bart and Marge, I've gotten Homer twice already.

Day three of training and I'm here bright and early. I'm hoping that we'll finish early again but it doesn't matter if we don't because I'm catching up with an old work colleague here in the city so I won't be going home right after the end of this course. Oh and the other thing about training through big corporations like IBM, you get free lunches! We've been visiting Cafe 22 here in Melbourne and the lunches have been fantastic. Mind you I've only had their chicken parma, but it's been wonderful both days I've had it. I'm already looking forward to eating it again for lunch today. Well, that is all again from me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

WebSphere Portal Admin Training - Day One

Today is the first day of a three day course I'm on for work in IBM WebSphere Portal Administration training, so this will be a short blog. The weird thing about this course is that about three or four years ago I had the same instructor for another IBM course when I was working with a different company. It really is funny how small this world is. This first day seems to be fairly basic stuff so far, most of it I've been exposed to, but it's nice to know that I in my own self-taught exploration I've been on the right path so far.
In other news, my Church which I'll refer as Tempy from now on, had a Church Business Meeting last night. As usual it went on for several hours, but it was a good meeting. I generally end up leaving those meetings wondering why I went because it was either boring or distressing, but last night was definitely a good one. Well led, informative, and encouraging in all aspects.
Well that's all from me. Till next time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

My first post

Hi to anyone who ends up reading this. My favourite things are Anime, Singing, AFL (in Winter), Cricket (in Summer), my Church and working as a Java programmer. For my first blog post I'll talk a bit about my current growing collection. My Anime DVD collection. I'm currently in the process of collecting the Chrono Crusade saga and I just started on Scrapped Princess this weekend. I don't know very much about Scrapped Princess, but the two episodes I've watched so far are certainly entertaining and the characters are interesting if only just a tad too one-dimensional. Hopefully they'll develop more as the story progresses. Chrono Crusade on the other hand is funny, action packed, and the undertones of Christian (or westernised) mainstream religion. The setting is 1920's United States of America, a period when crime syndicates were rife and to add a twist, the populous mass were searching for their thrills in the occult. In comes the heroine and hero of the story, Sister Rosette Christopher and Chrono a demon. The odd pair are joined by a contract where Rosette's lifespan is reduced whenever she gives Chrono access to her life force to use in order for his full abilities as a demon to surface in times of great need (generally when they're fighting another powerful demon that can't be conquered by Rosette's normal means). Their primary purpose is to locate Rosette's brother who has been abducted to be a servant of a powerful demon who wants to rebuild the world. They belong to a militaristic order known as the Order of Magdalene, and are joined in this adventure by Azmaria a young girl who is the Apostle of Charity whom they rescue from evil-doers, and Satella Harvenheit a Jewel Witch, whom they meet in their battles against the forces of evil. Some interesting side characters are The Elder who makes the weapons that Rosette ends up using but who is a pervert, the charming Father Remmington who works from the sidelines giving advice and assistance to Rosette (and whom Rosette has a bit of crush on), and Sister Kate Valentine the head of the Order of Magdalene New York chapter, who has a hernia whenever Rosette's assignments go awry (and they go awry every time). Well, that's all for now. More later about Scrapped Princess once I've watched a few more episodes. If you want to comment on Anime or have your own favourite, please do so, or you can just leave a comment saying Hi.