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I just downloaded a funky moon phase calculator app (titled MoonCal) to my Crackberry. I noticed that it listed November 21st as a 'blue moon'. As it is NOT a second Full Moon in the month of November, I was a little confused.

A little Google Fu later and I came upon this at

Although the full moon that you will see on Nov. 21, 2010, looks like an ordinary full moon, it is actually a bit extraordinary—a blue moon.

What is a Blue Moon?

There are in fact two definitions for a blue moon. According to the more recent definition, a blue moon is the second full moon in a calendar month. For a blue moon to occur, the first of the full moons must appear at or near the beginning of the month so that the second will fall within the same month (the average span between two moons is 29.5 days).

The Other Kind of Blue Moon

The older definition, which is recorded in early issues of the Maine Farmer's Almanac, states that the blue moon is the third full moon in a season that has four full moons. Why would one want to identify the third full moon in a season of four full moons? The answer is complex, and has to do with the Christian ecclesiastical calendar.

Some years have an extra full moon—13 instead of 12. Since the identity of the moons was important in the ecclesiastical calendar (the Paschal Moon, for example, used to be crucial for determining the date of Easter), a year with a 13th moon skewed the calendar, since there were names for only 12 moons. By identifying the extra, 13th moon as a blue moon, the ecclesiastical calendar was able to stay on track.

So, yes, my app is indeed correct in keeping with the older definition. BTW, it also calculates the lunar phases, the solstices, the equinoxes, the Chinese New Year and what Zodiac sign the moon falls under. It's a really funky app!
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It took while to actually get to reinstalling Windows yet. On a suggestion from my friendly ISP, whilst getting needed info for my internet service, I downloaded and ran Malwarebytes Anti-malware. As AVG did it, it came up with a system clear. AVG, however, as Malwarebytes was sniffing through the system restore files for my external hard-drive, picked up a trojan that Malware flushed out of inactivity, but did not see itself. This trojan may very well be why I haven't been able to do any system restores, which was the first thing on the list when I tried fixing a number of my system issues. I'll be going ahead with the reinstall, though, when I get home from work.

Today after work, I finally got to business. After a little bit of fiddling with partitions, I've finally got XP up and running on the lappy, as well as AVG installed. I still have a whole host of drivers and such to install, but I at least have a working internet connection. Yay me! 

In other news, I got about 90 minutes off for a paid lunch today, as I was part of the winning team for a competion at work. Had me a damn fine Angus burger and plenty o' laughs. Meanwhile, the rest of the department was dealing with the queue that arose when our team left the floor. *evil chuckle*

Whilst getting the 'puter sorted out, I watched a moderately spooky film, "The Unborn," and lots and lots of the first season of the cartoon series "Shaolin Showdown." (Yes, I'm a big kid at heart. *chuckle*) All in all, a good day.   : )

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Okay, it's finally arrived in the mail - my very own copy of Windows Xp, as the disks that should've come with the lappy didn't. Yes, that's right; I have purchased it so that I can wipe my drive and, thus, do away with all the silly lagging stuff that's been evading my efforts to eliminate thus far.

Reformatting and reinstalling may... take a while. If you don't hear from me for more than a week, then you know I've torn out all my hair in frustration and I'm currently shopping for a gently used system to replace the lappy.

Wish me luck!
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It involves hopping on one leg and punching the air at waist level with both arms enthusiastically! *very silly grin*

Recently, I had learned that I had been passed over for the position of acting trainer. That was disappointing, but predicted. Still, it had me feeling a little under appreciated and questioning where I was going to go in this organization, especially given that the overtime opportunities I had been counting on to make some extra cash seem to have dried up recently.

About ten minutes ago, I just got a call from my team manager. As I was, according to him, among the most technically minded of his team, he just offered me a position to go into Blackberry technical support! It'll mean an immediate wage increase of 50 cents/hour, far more human hours than I'm working now, a chance to learn some really wild technical stuff and, oh yeah, the use of a BLACKBERRY!!!


I start training on the 24th!!!

PS: I feel a bit more appreciated by my company, now.  :)

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There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who don't.
 - (Seen on a t-shirt somewhere)
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In amongst the treasures found within the plastic crate of stuff my uncle donated to the cause of furnishing my new flat was this little doodad:
Rival 4071WN 32-Ounce Hot Pot ExpressIt is the Express Hot Pot by Rival, a 32 ounce offshoot of electric kettle technology that is designed to not only boil water, which it claims it can do 60% faster than a microwave, but can also be used for soups, veggies, noodles, etc.

When I first found it, I thought that it might come in handy, living the life of a bachelor as I am.

I tried it for the first time tonight with a large can (540 ml) of chicken and pasta soup. When they say it's fast, THEY ARE NOT SHITTING YOU. The thing got that whole huge can of soup and noodles boiling hot in about half the time it takes my Betty Crocker Jug Kettle to boil the same amount of water.

I'z impressed!!!
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It's Wednesday and I is tired. Not so much in the spiritual, emotional, or mental sense, but pretty much in the physical. And that, even seems to be focussed primarily in my legs. Yep, instead of getting easier after a two day break, it seems that biking to and from work is getting harder. That's a bit troubling as I figure I won't be moving out till the end of August, leaving well over two weeks of biking left to suffer through (*whimper*). Over the last two evenings, I've actually had to walk my bike over hills that I used to be able to ride. And not only are my legs wearing down, all this riding is taking its toll on the bike, which is in dire need of some maintenance (including adjusting the chain tension, readjusting the derailers, readjusting the seat height, reseating the front tire bead, and replacing the rear brake pads, as well as a good lube job). The new apartment cannot come soon enough!

Sadly, though, finding a new roost is proving a lot more involved than first anticipated. That mostly has to do with me being picky. With an 'okay' from the Universe (provided by [info]haikujaguar in her latest One Card Draw found here: ), I've decided that I'm going to be a bit less miserly about how much I'm going to be spending on my apartment this time 'round. I want a living space, not just a space to live in. That means something larger than my last flat, and definately not a shared accomodation. Still, I figure I should be able to get something decent for only $650 a month. What's an extra $100 for a bit of luxury?

Finding the dream home may prove a challenge, if my first attempts at viewing are to be any indication. The first place I went to see was in a small, four apartment block building. The interior was rather nice and had ample space. It even had features such as built in humidity control and in-wall heating. The outside was, well, unfinished. That, in itself was not such a bad thing, as the building had just been recently erected. However, I couldn't help but frown on the support posts for the external stairway and balcony resting half-way off their concrete feet. Even more alarming was noticing that the floor on the inside of the apartment was already sagging over a beam (the place had been finished just last November!). Add in that the neighbourhood looked kinda skeezy and that makes it an 'uh unh' from me.

I was supposed to attend a viewing at another place today. Yesterday, however, I decided to scout out the neighbourhood for the place, as I had a bit of extra time and the apartment was very close to work. Sadly, the apartment, a basement suite, was also very close to a number of downtown's nightspots, conjuring the uncomfortable image of my living room window being peed on by some drunken reveler at three in the morning. If THAT wasn't deterrent enough, as I was looking around, I was startled by the thunderously loud 'BING BING BING' of a railway crossing signal. Yes, the apartment was right next to the only rail line running through town, a rail line, I might add, which is exceedingly active.

Can you say "cancel the viewing"?  I knew you could!

I think I may actually look into one of the professionally managed apartment complexes. They're pricier, but may prove much more worth the expense. And, hey, my job will be paying me enough to afford a slightly more affluent lifestyle any how.

Speaking of the job, the training is going well. I've had a second test in which I've scored very high. And the crew I'm with continuous to be a fun lot to be around. This is aside from all the nifty stuff I'm learning about cellular communications, like how wireless telephone networks work and how to send an e-mail using the text feature of my phone (didja know you could do that?). I think I may come to really enjoy my employment with this company.

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I'm two days into training as a wireless technical support guru. Despite the late hours (and maybe even because of 'em), I've actually been having a good time. The crew I'm with is relaxed and fun. The material I'm learning is both interesting and challenging, though not overwhelming. My only real problem, aside from the increasingly sore legs from riding to and from, is trying to cram all the acronyms (most of the three letter variety) into my brain. Wireless network diagrams involve a LOT of acronyms!

As for the riding, I've discovered that, for all the perceived risk, the night time rides back are very quite and actually kinda pleasant. At least they're more pleasant than my afternoon ride to work, which, despite being mostly downhill, actually seems to hurt more. The nearest guess as to how that's supposed to work is that I spend more time awake between the afternoon and evening ride, rather than vice versa, thus giving my legs a longer period of increased circulation in which to clear out the lactic acid in the muscles. (Any of you got a better theory?)

Other'n that, life is life.  :-)

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Yep, I'm up at one the morning. I'm currently trying to swing myself around to schedule I'll be following at work. In theory, I would be finishing my shift about now and getting ready for the 40 minute bike ride home. That last bit is somewhat problematic for me, as I listen to the rush of the rain outside; not only will I be taking my choice of hazards travelling late at night, but then there's the potential for rain to be considered. I guess I'll have to start packing a light rain jacket, one of they types that can be stuffed into a small bag. I'll also have to pick up a high vis vest or the like. Yes, the bike has lights and reflectors, but I don't think I want to solely rely on them for visibility. I gotta say, though, I think all the added exercise will do me a world of good. I sometimes feel exceedingly slothful sitting around counting trucks.

'Course, I've still been losing weight, so I can't be all THAT slothful. I've also noticed that I'm becoming rather vein...y. At least my legs are (okay, the arms a bit, too). Yes, I've noted weird networks of veins on the backs of my calves in the recent past, and now surface veins on my thighs, but I think the topper was when, a couple of days ago, I noticed huge ass veins on my
feet... by the bulges through my socks! I am curious as to what I'm gonna look like by the end of biking season.

In other news, it looks like I'm going to have to shell out a semi-substantial amount of cash to replace the hard drive on my notebook, which has given several startling indications that it will be giving up the ghost in the imminent future (like often failing to initialize on boot up - THAT is worrisome!). Thankfully, I've been able to use Seagate Diskwizard to back up my ailing drive to my external drive, as well as create a bootable recovery disk to sort out the restoration once I've gotten a new drive installed. The only consternation is going to be choosing the right hard drive. The folks at HP say that my system is only rated for a piddly 30 gig drive (currently running 20) at 4200 rpm. Hmm... Meanwhile, going to the online memory shops and punching in my 'puter's model number gives me a range of drives much bigger than that. I suspect that I can actually purchase a bigger drive, but I may have to fiddle with EZ Disk to create a suitable drive partition that my 'puter's wee bios can handle (I've had to do the same with some legacy tower systems). 

'Course, some might ask "Why go through all that hassle instead of purchasing a newer system outright?" Well, frankly, it's going to cost me a lot less to replace the drive than it is to replace the system. Everything else is in fine working order. The screen is in great shape, I've got a full keyboard (the paint isn't noticeably worn off of them, even) and everything else seems to be working well. Yes, it's an older system that's vastly outpowered by even the bottom end stuff put out today, but there's some good stuff to being an older system, like having a DVD player that can be rendered region free with a simple software application and, more importantly, running Windows XP instead of that wretched Vista crap (Why must all new systems be offered with Vista as if that would be a desirable option? Heck, even my somewhat IT illiterate parents came to a quick disliking of it.). The system does pretty much what I really need it to do (or at least will do once the USB 2.0 card I ordered last week finally comes in - then I can watch media off my external drive without it hesitating over a USB 1.1 connection), so why replace it when I can fix it for a lot cheaper? Newer systems can wait till I've got a number of paycheques under my belt. (I've got at least two major trips to save up for, after all.)

Meanwhile, I'm still trying to figure how I will resolve 'winter'. Yeah, it's really nice and all to be riding my bike during the summer months, as it is FAR less expensive than any other means and gets me in shape at the same time. But in only a few months time, the roads are going to covered with annoying things like snow and ice, which make biking rather treacherous. I've got two real choices as to how to resolve this problem: buying a car or moving closer to work.

The first solution, unfortunately, involves a number of hassles such as trying to find a cheap used car that will actually be reliable, getting financing for the thing despite my horrid credit rating, dealing with maintenance, fuel purchases, insurance, registeration, etc., etc., ad nauseum.  The bennies would include being able to go wherever the hell I want on a whim, like say the beach, or visiting relatives in nearby towns. More importantly, a vehicle would make it MUCH easier for me to get to the various schools I could find myself substituting at. As it stands, from where I am now, any excursion into town takes quite a bit of time. Worse still, some places, such as *sigh* the beaches, are simply unreachable, as there is neither public transit or even reasonable coach service to them. Granted, I could compremise by purchasing something like a scooter. Now, true, those can't be used in winter, either, but, frankly, I don't see myself wanting to visit all that many beaches in winter. 

Of course, the whole plan of purchasing a car hinges on being able to remain at my uncle's property once my folks have returned to PG for the winter. (This is not an unreasonable expectation as he has to keep the place heated anyway and methinks it might be a lot less hassle for him if there was someone in residence looking after the place.) Staying at the property would be nice in many ways, given the space and the peacefulness. However, I'm not really interested in having to fork out for both a vehicle AND rent, so if I have to do the latter, the former is out.

Speaking of the latter, I'm actually leaning towards moving into town. Yes, it is quite likely that my rent, utilities and what have ye will amount to more than owning a vehicle, but it's far less hassle for me to acquire a new place. Putting myself much nearer to downtown will also help me to get out a lot more, as there will be far more to explore within walking distance. And, yes, I'll be able to reach work even when vehicle traffic is brought to stand still. (Northern Boy is well used to wading through snow.) I wouldn't be able to own a large vehicle for extended excursions, but travel by Greyhound to a large chunk of my relatives wouldn't cost an extraordinary amount (except for maybe some knife resistant armor) and, as I mentioned earlier, a scooter can help me reach the places that transit and coaches don't, so long as I stick to the times of year I'd rather be visiting them anyhow. As for getting to the various schools, with a bit of planning and forethought, I should be able to manage with the local public transit system, even if it is a cludgy way to do it. If all else fails, as it may on some occasions, there's always the fallback of using a taxi.

I also have to admit, I got rather attached to having a space to myself during my last year and a bit in England. So, yes, moving into town seems the more likely.

But, yep, I've still a lot of thinking to do.

the_vulture: (Default)

Yes, I finally got to a beach this summer! I don't recall the name of this one; it was one that my uncle led us to, but it was a reasonably pleasant beach, if a bit too warm for my taste. I even got to dunk myself in the ocean, though, sadly, I didn't stay in long as it's kinda hard to relax and float there when you realize that you have to be on the lookout for roaming jellyfish. Still, it was a pleasant and relaxing day.

In other news, I finally made it to the third (and final) temple in Zuma after many repeated attempts (made very frustrating by coming 'this close' multiple times). Yay me!

Sadly, tomorrow will be spent counting trucks. Ugh.

PS: I apologize for the crappy quality of the photo; it was shot with my phone. Shots taken with it also sometimes include my finger (which this one appears to have the tip of). I used the phone because I wanted to text the photo to a bunch of my friends in the UK, but alas, I just don't have stable enough coverage to transmit the photo. Silly phone network.

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Yep, now that we have good weather again, I'm back to watching Blue and Red haul off loads of dirt. Oh yay. As the excavator is carefully digging the ditches, it's taking them a long time to load the trucks. This is the second day of it. I'm so really, really glad I have access to a computer during all this. 

Granted, being forced to stay in one place has given me LOTS of time to do sit down things. With it, I have:

  • Done a lot of work transferring my favourite journals from PDC to here
  • Tagged a number of postings from my memories
  • Tweaked my resumes some more
  • Applied to a few more jobs online
  • Started getting involved in an e-mail RPG
  • Gotten more deeply involved in Scarybirds - a dark fantasy fiction collaboration site
  • Started a short story at said site
  • Engaged in a lot of correspondence
  • Finished off Knife of Dreams, by Robert Jordan (The Wheel of Time series rocks!)
  • Played far too much Zuma for my own good
  • Recorded a little work on my didge and a try out for a bit of voice acting

Yep, lots done! (Oh, there goes Blue.)

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This weekend has been pleasant, if a tad on the lazy side. The biggest, brightest point has to be arriving home on Friday to find, waiting for me, a cheque for over £860, courtesy of overpaid taxes. Now, granted, I knew said cheque was on its way, but, for me, it just isn't real until it's in the bank. 'Course, courtesy of a train that wasn't there, I missed actually getting to the bank to deposit it, but it can wait till Monday, I suppose. It's not like I'm desperately strapped for cash at the moment, by any stretch of the imagination. 

Contemplating what to do with £860 I didn't know I was to have two weeks ago or so has been a pleasant exercise. Visions of a new laptop danced by my head, as did possibly squeezing in a trip to Ireland, taking a couple college courses when I get back to Canada (ooo...! glassblowing...!)or maybe even, as the need for my next paycheque is no longer so great, just saying to hell with the school and bailing at the end of next week.

Of course, knowing that my future is a wee on the uncertain side of life, I've opted to save (most of) it as emergency funds. Having that as a backup is actually quite reassuring.

The most pleasant thought I've had today, though, is that, should Fate continue to smile warmly on me for a while and I do not have to dip into those funds for any major disaster, I actually have more than enough to cover the airfare to a certain special someone. It would seem that, when a number of folk said that she and I were meant to be together and things would work out for us, they may not have realized the extent to which Providence would act to ensure their veracity. *beaming smile*

I did however, splurge just a little (if you could call it splurging); I ordered a new MP3 player, along with a new pair of quality headphones. My current player, quite frankly, is crap and direly in need of replacing before I lob it through something breakable. (Note: The 'Onn' brand (from ASDA) of household appliances and electronics is good for a lot of basic things: MP3 players are NOT one of them.)

Soon enough, however, I'll have one of these: 

It's small, it's cute, and, according to most reviews, it blows the iPod Shuffle out of the water for performance, functionality and price.


Of course, the weekend hasn't been entirely 'all that and a box of chocolates'; I've discovered, much to my consternation, that shipping my stuff back to Canada is not going to be made more expensive because of the weight of it all; it's going to be because of the damn volume. The cheapest shipping company gives their prices in boxes up to certain set weights. The best option for me, at the moment, is to try and load my boxes as close to 25 Kg in weight as I can. However, I'm discovering that my stuff just isn't dense enough to reach any where near thta weight with the boxes I have. Furthermore, there is also 'volumetric weight' I have to contend with, so I can't just switch to bigger boxes. I can't make this as cost effective as I want to, dang it! *rueful grin*

Good thing I have extra cash to throw at the problem.

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Okay, tracks, actually. Tomorrow morning, I'll be leaving my aunt and uncle's place in Ontario and beginning a day long train journey to New Brunswick. For the next few days, internet contact will be patchy, especially as I'll be staying with my grandad, who has no computer and there isn't an internet cafe in the town he lives in.  


I'm looking forward to the train journey, though. It will be nice, relaxing and a pleasant way to get some private space for a while (I'm getting a bit over socialized). Besides, travelling by train is one of the few things I'm going to miss about living in the UK.

And, hey! I'll get a few hours stop over in Montreal! Tres cool, non?

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I really miss having my own computer. I don't have access to Photoshop, which is grievously delaying the processing, and blogging, of all my recent shots. I also cannot resolve my cell phone issue, as I don't wish to download the software I need to unlock the damn thing onto my uncle's computer. Finally, I'll be wholly reliant on books and the like for entertainment during the day long train trip on Monday.  


I know I'll soon have my father's old laptop when I finally meet up with my folks near the end of May, but that's like FOUR WHOLE WEEKS!

*melodramatic sigh*


Aug. 25th, 2006 11:45 pm
the_vulture: (tvhead)
In terms of my computer, I had hoped to do the following: upgrade my system to exceed processing speeds of 1.6 GHz, eliminate the dodgy power button issue, have front access for USB and audio connections, and reduce the fan noise.

I shelled out over 60 quid for a motherboard with an Athlon XP 2200 CPU and a brand new tower, as well as spent many hours this evening labouring away.

At the end of all that, I have: a damaged and unusable motherboard (mostly resulting from the inability to find a %$&^ing schematic for it), an Athlon XP 2200 chip sitting on a shelf collecting dust, a system that is now quiet enough so one can really hear the irritating whine of the one fan that didn't get replaced, front ports that are taunting me as there was no where to plug in the connectors on the audio and USB boards I'm using, a front panel desperately in need of black face plates for assorted drives, and one fully functional power button.

That was a lot of grief and aggravation for one fully functional power button.

And I still have to clean up the mess before I can go to bed.

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... today was another completely slack day. Fortunately, my back is feeling much better and I'm thinking I may have just enough reserve cash to make a trip into London tomorrow. I've also caught up on a number of films I've been meaning to see.

The first was Stray Dog, by Akira Kurosawa. It's a Japanese variant of a gritty noire post-war crime story, only without any really strong characters. I appreciated much of the cinematography, but not much else. For a Kurosawa film, it was disappointing.

The next I saw was a classic Cronenberg film, Scanners. I remember, in my youth, having seen bits and pieces of it, including the classic exploding head scene and thinking that it could be a real cool film. I've been meaning to see it in the full for many years, but never quite got around to it. Part of me was dreading the disappointment that often follows watching a favoured childhood film over again, only to come away realizing that the film was no where near as good as I remembered it. Scanners was a refreshing surprise! Sure, the costuming and special effects were dated and the lead character was acted out quite woodenly, but the story was brilliant! In fact, it was quite RPG-esque and I recommend it to anyone who plays such games.

Finally, I watched the first four episodes of Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, the remake of the classic anime series. This, again, was something I've been meaning to see for quite some time. It was good, bubbly anime fun!

Aside from the films, I've spent a good chunk of the day hunting about on the internet for a schematic for the mother board I just acquired. Unfortunately, it is a bit of an obscure one, used in some Compaq Presario models, for which the schematic has proven thus far elusive. I may have to go solely by the somewhat nebulous jumper labels on the board and hope for the best (my only saving grace is that this board is quite jumperless). 'Course, that'll have to wait until I get a new tower for it (my old one is just utter crap).

Yep, that's pretty much the day...
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... the day wasn't completely useless (though still exceptionally slothful). I did return home to find all manner of packages awaiting my eager hands. The results of recent online shopping included new XXXL T-shirts, a five port USB controller and a wireless keyboard and mouse set. I also won a bid for a new chip, motherboard, and fan, so my system will get a lot more interesting in the near future. I did have some serious disappointment with one of the things I purchased, though; I was greatly looking forward to the Tick DVD series I bought on eBay, only to receive a (very poorly) pirated set of disks. I must now wrangle with the seller for my money back. I don't need that kind of aggravation.

I also watched one of those films that every serious movie critic will tell you should be on your must-see list: Lawrence of Arabia. The cinematography is exceptional! The acting and characterization were excellent! It is definitely a film that must be seen at least once.
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...for real, this time. Did little in the way of walking and only did an hour on the belt. Blech! I just felt really drained and lazy much of the day.

Still, it was enjoyable. I spent much of it relaxing in front of the idiot box, watching such programs as X-Factor and the movie Dumbo. There was also much cuddling to be had and [ profile] imapunkin cooked up a lovely meal of BBQ pork with mash. Poor Punkin hasn't been feeling herself as of late, hence the comfort food.

As for upgrades, the option of buying a better CPU and overclocking to get 1.6 Ghz seems a lot more feasible. I may just do that (not that I really need an additional distraction in my life whilst teaching!(silly grin)); it has been a while since I allowed my inner geek to express itself.

Off to bed soon...
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Yep, having discovered how cheaply I can get parts on eBay, I've been fighting serious temptation to completely overhaul my system. I've already purchased a few new peripherals for cheap, such as a wireless keyboard and mouse, but I'm now looking at serious stuff, like replacing my processor and motherboard so I can run at least 1.6 Ghz (and thus be able to play D&D Online). Of course, if I'm going to do that, I really should just save up a bit and pick up a reasonably priced laptop (which actually makes better sense for me, courtesy of portability). But maybe I might just be able to pick up a reasonable motherboard and chip for cheap ('course, that'll likely require a new case as well).


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