Almost the end of the decade
With one full day and a half left of the decade I am not sure whether I am happy, nostalgic or just plain disinterested.
I am looking forward to next year and have started to formulate a plan, goals and objectives.
All small things leading up to big things.
we have a friend staying with us for a couple of days starting today so not sure if I will have much time to myself.
The beagle has already voiced her disapproval of someone taking over her room by plonking herself right in the middle of the sofa bed in the spare room.
I am sure she will be fine though as the friend is a huge dog person and has a hungarian pointer that has the run of his house too.
I can hardly believe it.
I have finally finished writing my novella Life at a Private School
which I have been writing and off for the better part of ten years
I am not going to put it online tonight though I am going to wait till tomorrow as I am exhausted since I have been writing since ten o'clock this morning
So there we are
Stay tuned for the last six chapters.
Christmas and holidays
I am happy that the main part of Christmas is now over, it was a huge undertaking having both our families over for lunch with all the trimmings.
By the time everyone left I was bloody exhausted from the preparation and actual day.
I have been pretty well behaved the last couple of days and have done virtually no work, instead reading on my new Kindle
, reading news and tech articles that I have missed and continuing on converting the media collection.
I am loving the Kindle it is so easy to use and reading is pretty much exactly the same as a normal book.
I have worked out that it's easier (far easier) to search and look for books on the Amazon website rather than using the store on the Kindle.
I intend to keep the low key not do much for the next couple of days, I do find it very difficult to stop my brain from working and even though I am not putting words to paper (or screen) for work I am thinking and rethinking about next year and also reviewing the last year work wise.
It's a curse that I can't stop my mind whirring away but at the same time when I do stop like this and I don't have large deliverables it does allow me to think about some goals, problems and solutions in quite new light.
I saw the picture above on GWIP and I just loved it!
Still building the media collection
As a key part of my digital home media strategy (doesn't that sound geeky!) I am converting all our DVDs to Digital mpv format for streaming from iTunes to the Apple TV.
We don't have that many physical DVDs, we stopped buying them a couple of years ago instead downloading them on iTunes to rent or own.
So we only have about 50 or so DVDs in total.
After much searching online I have found the best application for converting and 'backing up' my DVDs.
The only issue I have had really is the time taken to convert each DVD which takes about one and a half hours each.
Years ago I converted all our CDs to digital so we could use them on our iPods and I now have boxes of CDs sitting in storage from then, and I suppose once I have finished this process I will end up with another box of DVDs in storage as well.
There are still some significant legal issues surrounding this, technically even backing up your CDs or DVDs like this is illegal, but I certainly don't share the files with anyone and they are in my mind my own backups.
As for the quality of the conversions they are pretty damn good. I choose to convert to the maximum quality I can do, I end up with 2gb or there about for each file, but I would rather have as much quality picture and audio.
I reckon it will take me about 10 days to convert the collection over and I am looking for another 2 x 1 terabyte drives, so they can be mirrored in case of hard drive failure.
Not such a great consumer experience
My new Kindle arrived yesterday and I very excitedly ripped it out of its recyclable box and turned it on.
Not having any time in the office to actually play with it, I just plugged it in and let it charge up fully.
By the time I got home after a very hectic day of dealing with a mountain of client requests to get done before Christmas I finally had some time to play.
Now when the boy received his Kindle it was pre-registered and he instantly connected up to the wireless network and everything worked.
Mine on the other hand refused, and I mean refused to show any wireless signal.
After an hour of Google Searches and no closer to discovering the problem I finally rang the support line - In the United States.
Well it was a US international number but I dare-say it was downtown bangalore India with the first person I spoke to.
She was very polite and unhelpful really, she didn't understand a work I was saying and kept on telling me to reset the Kindle.
Yeah sure I told her, I had tried that three times already.
When she realised that she couldn't help I was redirected to the actual technical support department. At least this guy spoke better english and helped me download the latest software and download it.
Since this process would take ten minutes and he promised me this was the problem I hung up.
So after waiting ten minutes while the Kindle did it's thing and upgraded the software I tried again.
Still no wireless signal.
So ANOTHER call to the Internal call centre in Bangalore.
Again I had to deal with an operator whose english was probably as good as my Russian, IE non existent.
Then another 15 minute wait for the actual technical support people.
This time we tried changing carriers a few times and still nothing.
So we started the process of having a new Kindle sent, then magically as if someone in the technical support division had just found my Kindle was not actually enabled on their network it started to work.
So after about 30 minutes in total on the phone and a good two hours playing with the thing it finally worked.
I suspect that Amazon have been shipping the damn things without registering them on their network and that was the problem, but who really knows?
It's not a great consumer experience, every single Apple product I have purchased has pretty much worked out of the box and worked seamlessly.
I am a technical person at heart so generally I can do Google searches on something and find the problem but this time there really was a lack of available support online which is very frustrating.
What I did learn about the Kindle is that there are a huge number of hidden diagnostics and setting changes.
For example if you go to the settings menu and just type 311 it will show you all the available wireless carriers and you can select one from the list, or as I was instructed to, try each one to see if one will work.
At the end of the day though I do love the device, I downloaded a book last night and started reading it. The quality of the screen is just fantastic!
It's so easy to read and use.
Sure there is a whole lot of stuff that I have to explore on it, but I will do this in time.
One feature that I hadn't thought about was the fact that it can be used as a usb storage device too, there may only be 1.5 gb on the device but that's enough for some simple file storage and transfer.
One aspect that I don't yet like and I have to do a lot more research on this is the shop on the Kindle, but I suspect it's easier to go to the Amazon Kindle store online and review, purchase books etc.
A small feature I do like is most books offer at least a 1 - 2 chapter sample so you can review the book (kind of) before buying it.
The boy and I are using the same account for both Kindles which means we can share books between us which is useful!
So once I have finished the next few days of intense work I will site down and start relaxing and reading.
Are twins in porn wrong or right?
There seems to be a whole lot of identical twins (and triplets) doing gay porn right now, whether it be the Visctoni Triplets to Matt & Dave Studding from Next Door Male seen above.
Sure they look hot but it's a bit weird actually photographing two brothers in a porn jerk off.
Is this enticing and erotic or is it weird and wrong?
The article is strangely erotic but disturbing at the same time, sure I know twins often have a strong bond than family, friends, lovers etc but I just don't know.
The erotic fantasies of having sex with brothers / twins is very prevalent in the gay world. But I have never actually met twins who admit to sleeping with their twin.
Some have admitted to 'experimenting' you know showing each other etc when they are growing up, but most twins tend to forge their own identities as individuals.
So what do people think about this, and should the gay porn industry be promoting it?
DNA Pool Party on Saturday
On the weekend we went to the 2nd DNA Magazine Pool Party at IVY.
It was an absolute blast!
Some of the highlights were:
- The multiple DNA models running around in speedos, underwear and towels giving out candy canes and generally being HOT!
- Chatting with one of my favorite photographers Pedro Virgil - and can I just say that Pedro's boyfriend is just hot!
- Swimming in that glorious pool which was the perfect warm temperature to float around in and get silly with good friends.
But with good comes ridiculous too:
- Never stop the music half way through the party for twenty minutes to give out lame prizes.
- If you are going to give out DVDs as presents please don't stereotype us by giving out movies like Shirley Valentine, the first wives club etc. Give away more underwear and speeds from one of the sponsers.
All in all though I love the venue and I loved the day lots and lots of fun.
The former underwear model stopped exercising and ate junk food to balloon from 80kg to 120kg in five months so that he could better understand his obese clients.
He returned to the gym in July and after a couple of anxious months where his weight stayed unchanged, the kilos started dropping.
I find the day 14 picture to be just so amazing, within 14 days of no exercise and bad eating look at that gut! And when you calculate the weight gain it's only about 4 and a half kgs of fat in less than 11 days.
It is just truly scary to look at what a former underwear model can do if you stop working out and eating badly.
I do wonder whether he will ever actually get back to that amazingly cut body that he had in the first picture.
What's really interesting is that even though he had a huge amount of extra skin to cover that fat around is body the skin itself seems to have pulled back in.
All in all this is awe inspiring for anyone who wants to trim down or get fit.
Yeah sure he is a Fitness Trainer and can spend hours a day / week at the gym, but if this does not convince you that you are truly what you eat and do, I can't imagine anything that will convince you.
It sure makes me want to get straight back out to the gym and tone up again.
My problems is not that I am fat, I am not I am quite a good size, but I am unhealthy and since not going to the gym for months have lost all the extra muscle I put on earlier in the year.
A friend is 'downsizing' and wanted to get rid of his small aquarium over the weekend so I immediately put my hand up to swap the aquarium for a bottle of sparkling shiraz.
Now I must admit I know virtually nothing about fish, aquariums or aquaculture.
Actually let me rephrase that I do know nothing.
I have always wanted an aquarium but the closest I came was a Siamese Fighting Fish a couple of years ago we called blinky, but blinky died and we wended up with the beagle LOL.
I am busy doing as much research as I can on salt water aquariums at the moment (well as much time as I have anyway).
I am in no real hurry to get the thing set up and done, I want to do it right, and since the first step of cycling the aquarium with Live Rock can take 4 weeks or even longer of not done right I want to get it right.
In my mind I have a vision of a set up like the one above, but I can count up to 6 invertebrates and that could be a huge undertaking.
I think at the moment my vision is for one sea anemone, two clown fish and some complementary small fish / snails etc.
With some nice aqua scaping and live rock formation I think I could do it.
This will take me a while but I will take pictures and periodically post them as I go along!
The quirks of online advertising
impose a measure that will damage the most vulnerable in the city
Not really sure who the most vulnerable are that will be damaged by allowing same sex marriage, but I digress.
The banner advertising on the site is served up based on the demographics of the readers right?
This makes advertising somewhat relevant to the readers.
So from this I can surmise that the readers are overweight women with bad teeth.
There were no fewer than 5 advertisments aimed at women to lose their belly fat, and two advertisements for making grotty disgusting teeth white again.
But even funnier than that Google's own ad servers also included a link for Gay and Lesbian Immigration Services.
Oh the irony!
So after the major market of fat ugly women who are 'concerned' that 'the gays' are going to ruin their lives, we have gay men looking to settle in America.
I love irony!
I truly do.
A couple of months ago one of my contract employees went missing and has not been heard from since.
At the time I tried ringing, emailing, checking his twitter, linked in a Facebook.
For months there was no activity on anything, and after I got over my extreme annoyance I started to wonder what happened.
Some of the options I thought about:
Scheduled in a mental institution;
On the run from debt collectors;
On a huge Crack bender or similar.
I still have not had any form of communication from him , BUT he has stared twittering again, so I can only assume he is alive and did some sort of runner or had some incident.
According to my contract with him he owes me money for not reaching his target for the month, so in the next day or so he will be getting an invoice for the contract rebate.
I am pretty amazed really, if he did have some sort of accident and was out of the loop for months you would think he would contact his employers and explain to them what happened once he was OK.
Just a bit of hotness
Can you see yours?
MORE than a third of Australian men cannot see their genitalia when they look down naked, a survey has found. The poll of 1000 men was commissioned by the weight-loss company Jenny Craig and reported that 38 per cent of men found that their bits were obscured by their bellies when they looked south. But digits can be tricky - the study's numbers, that is.
Updates to a busy week
The next week leading up to Christmas is franticly busy for me.
Loads and loads of client work and projects to get launched all before Christmas, and a whole lot of new clients to train on using our software.
I am very much looking forward to closing the office over Christmas and New Years and chilling for a while.
In light of trying to chill, I have decided that like the boy I will get an Amazon Kindle eBook
reader. I love reading and end up when I have time off buying 4 - 6 books a week which is expensive and then you have to store them somewhere as well.
The whole ability to share multiple Kindles on the one account is a great bonus too. Whilst we don't alway read the same books, it does make it a lot more cost effective to share the books we would like to read.
And with the ROI based on less then $10 USD an ebook compared to about $30 USD a normal book you break even on about 15 books, which in my mind is an excellent ROI!
Sure I am a total gadget freak, but I am a judicious gadget freak and generally only buy gadgets which solve some sort of problem.
Talking of which it's now been a good month since we installed the Apple TV at home as our multi media device and I have to say I am totally in love with it.
As the boy and I have discussed it isn't revolutionary as such, we could do most of the things we do now with the old server. The real difference is in how easy it is do do everything now with the setup.
Because we still have the old server connected to the network and we are actually streaming all Network attached media and the hard drive size on the Apple TV is kind of irrelevant.
I am definitely thinking of getting an older 40gb Apple TV and installing it in our bedroom with a spare screen so we can watch movies (porn) in bed LOL.
With technology and gadgets I like my technology to be 'invisible' I don't want to be confronted by it I want it hidden away to make my life easier, leading edge not bleeding edge.
Was wondering what happened to Brent Corrigan
I was wondering what had happened to Brent Corrigan, his blog had not been updated in well over a month and from prior posts it was obvious the site was going the way of the dodo.
The picture above was taken by brent a while back and it is just so hot I had to paste it here for everyone to see. Read the caption on his Twitpics
it's very cool.
I like Brent, he's a kid with a life so far that many people never experience, and I am hoping his new site will allow him the freedom to be more open and himself on line.
Just in time for summer
Just in time for summer I have finally finished the outdoor lounge on the roof. The benches were made at the end of last year, but it's taken me till now to get the material for the cushions.
We threw our first summer party yesterday and the new lounge was definitely the highlight with the spa the second most popular feature.
And as you can see the beagle is very happy on the new lounge too.
two weeks ago I took advantage of the Andrew Christian 99 cent sale and purchased three pairs of bikini speedos. The shipping was more than the three pairs, but still almost 120 USD less than retail!
They arrived yesterday and OMG they are sexy as shit!
They are briefer than I am used to and I need to get a new tan that covers up the old speedo tan LOL
But now all I need to decide is which color to wear to the DNA Pool Party at Ivy next weekend.
Or maybe I could take all three and do costume changes?
Can you believe it's just over two weeks till Christmas?
Where the hell has this year gone already?
I am desperately trying to get a whole slew of clients launched and delivered before the break so I am nose down ass up (and not in that way)
And of course Hump day wouldn't be hump day without something to look at to hump!
The new sports performance drug - Viagra
Viagra is going to be offered to the English Cricket team as a legal performance enhancing drug.
Now the only bats on the field won't just be the cricket bats LOL
Seriously though I am not sure I would want to be playing an international sport after having a viagra, because I am sure I would end up with a raging boner on field!
Sometimes I wish...
With the circus of Australian Politics in full swing again, and the Federal Opposition voting in as their leader a religious nut job, I sometimes wish we lived in a more socialist system.
Not that I want socialism per se, just a utopian political system that could actually get things done.
The problem of course with our current political structure is that no long term big and I mean big steps forward seem to be made.
Forget Climate Change for a moment it's just too much of a hot potato.
Think in terms of infrastructure and health care.
In Australia we have multiple levels of government funded healthcare with competing interests, some overlap and lots and lots of duplication of services.
The split of funding between local councils for aged care services such as meals on wheels etc, your local GP being federally funded while your hospitals are state funded.
A long time ago many light years away I worked in the health system in Health IT / Informatics and saw from an insiders perspective just how complex the health system is.
Going backwards and forwards between medical appointments with my mother has reminded me just how inefficient and problematic our healthcare system is.
Each time she saw a new specialist, they would get a written letter from the referring DR, half the time the new DR would ask the same questions as the last and even worse would order the same diagnostic tests.
Then they would have to start their own health record that they create on her because we have no universal healthcare record accessible by all health practitioners.
But not just the lack of sharing of test results etc, there is a general lack of consistency or management of care.
My mother's GP tries to be the one in the loop on all of these things, but because a GP is paid by the Federal Government for the actual time they see a patient unless the GP is a good GP they are not going to manage the care properly.
The Hospitals are starved of funds and facilities for two reasons,
1) The cost of healthcare is skyrocketing,
2) No one politically wants to actually spend the billions of dollars required to fix the failing infrastructure.
Sure this is all high level utopian stuff and it's a simplistic view on the problem, but at the core of the problem is when politicians are only in power for a 4 year term there is little impetus to embark on a program that ay take twenty years to actually fix and could just be a money pit with little results for ten years.
Personally I believe very strongly that ALL healthcare should be managed federally, sure you can have local and regional management, that's important.
But we need to get rid of the competition for funding between different parts of the healthcare system.
It's ridiculous that GPs and hospitals are funded by totally different levels of government and have totally different political machinations.
In NSW we have multiple different Area Health Services which manage different hospitals, guess what most of them have different procurements systems, different HR systems, different systems full stop. Each with their own costs and own problems.
If banks did that for each 'region' of branches they would be losing money hand over fist through the mere inefficiencies.
I understand that there is no one solution that fits all problems, but did you know that in Australia we can't even agree on a standard version of what an Electronic healthcare record should look like?
Sure there are huge privacy implications for the Health Care Record and gay men have a valid privacy concern. Technically we don;t even have a standard way of identifying each person in the health care system across australia, the medicare number is kind of it and there have been pushes over the years to link their with a an electronic health care record.
But privacy advocates have quashed this as big brother being able to track us etc.
So it comes down to political will to actually change the system and make a system that actually works, but with politicians only on power for four year terms the really really hard and controversial issues never get addressed properly and no one will make a stand.
We as citizens demand superb health care and bemoan the state of our public hospitals, but then in the same breath we jump up and down at the outrageous claims of lack of privacy, potential discrimination etc.
It's about time for us to realize if we want a superb health care system we also have to make some choices and draw a line in the sand.
In a utopian world we would have:
Standardized Electronic Health Care Record - that we as consumers controlled who saw what;
Centralized services for the simple stuff like, procurement, HR, finance etc
One overarching government department which linked all health care together.
But of course we live in the world we live in, with no real progress being made because many of the choices to be made are difficult for the masses to actually get their head around, and so the masses get whipped up by the media sensationlism -
Guess what just like Barrack Obama's health care plan.
Now that's a body!
Conversations with my mother
My Mother's health has been improving nicely, the extreme anxiety and depression have now pretty much all but passed.
The 'mood' altering medications IE the anti-depressants have done wonders and she is a lot happier.
The memory however is deteriorating. I tend to notice it more than I did before, putting much of 'confusion' down to just Mum being Mum and at times not wanting to discuss things.
A few weeks back I took her to the 'geriatric specialist' for the follow up of the formal dementia assessment. Even though she had been to this doctor less than two weeks before she had no recollection of it, which was rather telling in itself.
We all knew the outcome before hand but the diagnosis was confirmed as advanced dementia most likely caused by the degeneration of her vascular system. Whilst the cognitive tests are generally very good the clinical diagnosis is based on parts of the brain 'shrinking' which is a sure sign of the disease.
We were also told that dad, whilst seemingly very forgetful has only mild or early signs of dementia.
Over the last couple of weeks I noticed a pattern that up until recently I hadn't really seen before.
When my parents are together and my mother gets confused or forgetful, my father will jump in with a totally unrelated story or anecdote, it's usually something inane or silly and quite often about a child hood dog or situation.
I realized that he subconsciously tries to minimize my mother's confusion by interjecting. It's certainly not conscious on his behalf, and half the time he isn't really able to follow the conversation or train of thought himself.
It's just ingrained behavior that he does.
But with my mother for a while it has been obvious that complex reasoning escapes her and has for some time.
These days it's just easier not to enter in conversations with her where she will get confused, because that causes anxiety.
Most conversations with my mother will involve her telling me the same thing multiple times, and half the time even if you do tell her something its variable whether she will actually remember.
My father rang the office today so my mother could ask me for the boy's parents address so she could send a Christmas card to them. I did remind her that she would see them on Christmas Day so a card wasn't necessary, I wasn't sure whether she remembered or not.
In the course of the couple of minutes conversation where I told her I was at work working, she repeatably asked me what I was doing.
Each time I told her I was at work working away.
A few moments later the same question, but with some variation in theme, then at the end of the conversation she asked me why I was at home.
From what I have read about this type of disease it doesn't progress in a steady fashion, she can be stable for a while and then there will be a big change in her cognitive state of mind.
I am pretty pragmatic I suppose about it all, and so long as she is happy and not upset, anxious or depressed we can take each day as it comes.
Some days are good with her and she sounds on top of the world, whilst others like this morning are a little bit more difficult.
Conversations with my mother are both entertaining and frustrating, the mother I know is still there but day by day I can feel it slipping away.
A bureaucratic Christmas!
Click to enlarge!
Some Kerry Degman hotmess
This time of year always stresses me out with work.
I always worry that we will be closed for a few weeks which means no new clients, and no projects finishing which means no cash flow.
So I make a concerted effort to get new projects running and offer great deals to people to start projects before the end of the year.
The up side is business is good.
The downside is, well I have even more on the plate at the moment trying to get stuff done that has been promised.
It's a dammed if you do and dammed if you don't really.
I am however very much looking forward to having some time off over Christmas and a few social engagements in the meantime.
It's the boys birthday next week and we are throwing a day time party at ours which should be different, then we are off to the DNA Pool Party at Ivy before Christmas as well.
I love the venue and am hoping that this time round unlike the pre - sleaze party the weather will actually be nice enough to get in the pool.