A quick Daggy update

Everything seems to be choofing along quite well at the moment, but here's a quick rundown on where things are at

After the closure announcement in January, everything seems to have settled down. Although Manufacturing is shutting in 2017 for ourselves we learn our fate at the end of the year. So I guess the nerves for everyone will start to build up once December arrives. For now though everything is fine.

I've been back with Star Walking for almost a year now and we're finally seeing an increase of interest in the club what with the new movies and TV show being in production. On top of that I'm also the editor of the club's newsletter and starting in October it becomes a digital only publication which is something I've pushed heavily for. Yep, The Force is going to be a monthly all-colour PDF production!

Considering the Disney Star Wars train is only going to increase from here, I suspect I'll be around in the club for another decade at least if all goes well.

As tragic as it might sound, I really do enjoy allowing my nerdy side to run free when talking about Star Wars and the newsletter has beena good outlet for this.

Con 70:
Word of the con's existence is now getting around which is good to see, still if it's like Con 9 then it probably won't hit top gear until next year sometime. From an organisational perspective it's running smoothly which is great news and I must say my team has been really supportive in this regard.

It would be nice to have a few more memberships but I know it's still early days. As a baseline, Con 9 had 80 confirmed memberships the day before the con started so I'm hoping with Con 70 that this record will be broken.

No updates here since the landscaping was done and the 'skylights' went in. There are still some things to do but nothing that's a high priority.

Yeah I'm doing pretty good. I've lost most of the excessive weight I'd been carrying around for a couple of years, even though the extra beef around the waist just will not go away (you can thank genetics and my age for that). Fortunately I'm over the heavy chocolate endulgence I experienced when Lynne first joined Cadbury - though I do have a little each night - and have balanced my evening meals out as well.

It's also been over a year since I had any soft drink (I haven't even been tempted to touch it) and I'm eating more fruit these days as well.

This weekend we take delivery of an exercise bike, though I would've preferred a treadmill but we just don't have any space for it which is a pity. Now I freely admit that I despise exercise bikes, however, I acknowledge they can help with cardio and for that reason alone I'm ready to start using it because cardio is one area where I have been slacking off.

Rediscovering the past

As I've reported previously, I've been writing my fandom memoirs over the past year or two and one of the things I always wanted to do was go through all the old Captain's Logs to clarify some dates and events.

It took me a long time to get around to it, but last week I went to the State Library to review all the old Captain's Logs ranging from 1979 to 2000. Fortunately they were all in the state library archives in Ballarat and they gave me one week to do all my work with them.

Though I didn't go through every single issue, the experience really was quite remarkable. I was reading about fan events I'd attended as if they only occurred last week yet happened 25+ years ago. I saw names of people who have been away from fandom for so long that everyone has forgotten they even existed. I saw ads for social events I doubt anyone remembers, plus I even saw articles even I had written but have long since forgotten.

But most important of all is that I got relive the history of those times: This was the era of typewritten pages, photocopied pictures, and even handwritten comments on occasions. Plus I got to see first hand the devoted passion everyone had for both Star Trek and Austrek.

It brought back a lot of memories and did wonders for my memoirs and helped clear up my own past. I was certain I joined Austrek in September 1984 whereas it was actually November 1984. Then I thought my first club meeting was October 1984 whereas it was actually January 1985.

Although I found a lot of the material fascinating to read through, it did make me realise just how much of this history is forgotten by everyone involved. Looking at the archive boxes I realised they contained a history no one cares about, no one except myself and that made me a little sad, but by the same token I understand it doesn't interest everyone.

The biggest spin out of all is when a few months back someone at a Geoffro party mentioned the Star Trek 30th anniversary banquet held in 1996 in Heidelberg - which I thought didn't actually exist. When I discovered through the Logs that it really did happen I assumed I hadn't attended because I don't remember anything about it at all - nothing whatsoever. Yet sure enough in a Captain's Log there were photos of the event and included was a picture of me standing there with Katharine! WTF! Not only that but the review of the event was written by Katharine and myself too! Far out, how on earth can someone forget something like that!

Thank the Lords of Kobol I have these memoirs to refer too, though now they're gonna need a LOT of retyping!

Holy moly, surely not ANOTHER ring around the trunk!

Well it's my birthday again today and as is the tradition I'm keen to look back over the past 12 months to see what I've been up to. Like most people in this situation it's easy to think you haven't done much but the reality could be totally different.

So from May 13 last year to today, what have I achieved in that time:
* Conceived and launched Con 70
* Rejoined the Star Walking committee and became editor of the newsletter
* Had the pergola put up in the backyard of the house
* Had all the backyard landscaped in the house thus completing all the external house work
* Had special downlights installed in the house
* Enjoyed my first cruise to NZ with Lynne
* Lost some weight and got back into exercising
* Stayed off drinking soft drink, I've also cut down the chocolate too
* Notched up 25 years working for Toyota
* Achieved a dream by sitting in a Ferrari and a Lamborghini
* Finally got around going to the state library to look up the old Captain's Logs for my fandom memoirs (actually this occurred today).

For the most part my life these days runs via little squirts of activity as I'm nowhere near as socially active as I used to be, in fact I'm quite happy to have a quiet weekend at home rather than feeling the need to be out and about all the time. As a consequence the listing above may not be as long compared to my glory days, but I'm still pretty pleased with the achievements because it means I'm still going upwards. :)

Here's to another year of Daggy excitement!

The back of my front

Well you've heard me yabbering on about the backyard landscaping for a long time now - probably 10 years from when the house was built. Well after all the talking here are the pics.

This is how everything looked after my neighbours had the ground flattened for me. They probably felt sympathetic to my plight because previous to this the yard was an ugly jungle of weeds and dirt mounds.


It took a long time but we were FINALLY able to make that entire area of horrible desolation liveable, attractive and suitable for entertaining.


Another angle of the side fence next to the entertainment area.


Needless to say the plants still have to grow and there are trees planted along the back fence (a bit hard to see in the pic), but considering what we used to look at it's just nice to know that our home is now complete. The only thing I want now is for the grass in the backyard to settle in so Lynne, Lulu and myself can have a nice family picnic up there. It'll be truly fantastic :)

Well we're off and running

As most of you will know by now, we kicked off Con 70 last week. Once again we're competiting against the Procons and the Pop Culture Expos by running an event that doesn't have any Guests of Honour, isn't commercialised and is designed to have a great atmosphere.

Fortunately we've got the shoulders of Con 9 From Outer Space to stand on, so the response to Con 70 has been really good. Looking around the place it's clear we're definitely a small fish in a big sea considering we are running the only fan based media convention around, plus having a convention these days with no guests (therefore no expensive autographs and photos) could almost be considered sacriledge!

It's funny because there are people out there who cry for the days of Multiverse and the enjoyment those fan based conventions brought to their lives. Well we aren't Muliverse but we sure are the next best thing. In any event be sure to wish us luck.


Surging forward

Despite the recent announcements at work and the uncertainly of what lies ahead, Lynne and I have had a chat and we've given the green light for the backyard landscaping to commence at the end of the month.

If all goes well it'll be finished by my birthday in May which will be a nice little (albeit expensive) gift because I said in July 2004 when Michelle left me in the house alone that the backyard would NEVER EVER be worked on. For me it was destined to remain a wasteland of unloved empty space for all eternity, which is something I truly believed and no amount of "don't worry it'll get there" comments from others could change my mind.

Well things ARE about to change. In a couple of months The Dag House (though its real name is "Sylvia") will be effectively finished - allowing for a couple of outstanding electrical and painting jobs to be scheduled in. The completion of the backyard will finish off around $100,000 worth of major home improvements and updates ranging from all the landscaping to simple things like new bedside lights.

Who would've thought it possible? I certainly didn't and all of it has taken place since Lynne moved in about six years ago and it's she who has given the house its soul.

When new plans go up the spout

Well the new year started off pretty good: we had the trip booked, we were looking at getting our backyard landscaped and everything was cruising along well.

Until last Monday when THAT announcement was made.

Now that Toyota is closing in three years, Lynne and I have had to reassess our plans accordingly. To start with I work in head office not manufacturing so I'm not directly impacted, but I have no idea what the flow on effect will be so we have to take everything into consideration.

To start with we've cancelled our Vanuatu cruise in October to save the $$$, however, to make matters worse we've received a quote from our landscaper to do our backyard and it's thousands more than we expected - but we have to get it done as I'm not keen to compromise by getting a cheaper alternative. So as a result we may redirect those funds to get that work completed though it will be a major financial hit to the savings.

Once the backyard is done, we'll do a big push to lower the mortgage as much as possible just in case I'm made redundant or if we reach a worst case scenario.

So what is the worst case scenario? If I'm made redundant from Toyota - or take a package - and can't find employment and we still have the mortgage (acknowledging that a redundancy payout would go directly to the loan), we'd be forced to sell the house with the hope being that the selling price would pay for the balance of the remaining loan and allow us to buy a cheaper place outright so we would end up debt free. It's not an ideal situation but it's one we have to be mindful of.

For now though we'll just keep an eye on things and see how we go. Fortunately aside from the mortgage we have no other major expenses and if we can get the backyard done it'll mean The Dag House will be finished (who would've thought it possible).

A new year = new plans

Like most people, I've had a look at 2014 and worked out what will be occurring this year - or at least what's planned.

Obviously we have the cruise to Vanuatu in October so that's already taken care of, but the next big ticket item is tackling the backyard landscaping. This weekend we'll paint the fence and from there we'll call in our landscaper to see what can be done with our yard. Unfortunately our budget won't allow us to finish it entirely but it should make it far more presentable than how it is now.

Con 70 will officially kick off promotions this year which should be good for us, if all goes well it'll be just as successful as Con 9 and fortunately the interest generated by the convention so far has been very positive.

My fandom memoirs are still rocking along. I've completed my history of Austrek but need to raid the big Library Archives in the city where all the old Captain's Logs are stored just to clarify some points and dates. Otherwise it's been a great trip going down memory lane even if it's a road I'm walking down alone.

Despite my best intentions last year I'm giving up the gym again. But knowing I HAVE to do some exercise I've opted to take up walking which though somewhat tedious isn't too bad thanks to an iPod Nano I bought last year which helps pass the time when trudging along. I also have some other plans regarding extra exercise so it'll be interesting to see if they come to fruition.

So things are going quite well which is a nice feeling, also Lynne and myself are going great guns after seven years together and I have to say she makes me very happy and we do make a pretty good couple.

In the words of C-3PO "here we go again"

OK the next cruise is now booked and the deposit paid - no mucking around here. We've opted to do a 13 night trip around the South Pacific (Vanuatu and those island areas) as the price is affordable to us. As it turns out we'll be on the same ship as the NZ cruise but unfortunately our room was already taken so we've opted to have the room next door.

Chances are this will be our last trip for a while because with all the sagas happening in the car industry (and yes I'm expecting Toyota to be hit hard), we'll have to keep an eye on our pennies for the next few years until we know where things are going.

On a more pleasing note, I've finally finished jotting down all the random details for my fandom memoirs and are now starting to write everything up properly to make it more readable. Currently at 135 pages I've just finished my time leading up to joining fandom and have nearly finished the history of Starforce Theatre Group as experienced by me.

Pretty soon I'll be starting on my time with Austrek and considering I've been in the club for almost 30 years, that should be a bit of fun to do.

Keep on cruisin'

Well the big NZ cruise has come and gone and I've gotta say it was a blast, in fact we were already looking at the next one before this one had finished (we're looking at October next year for the follow up trip).


To talk about it here would take up a lot of space and I have to look at adding in some pics, but suffice to say I was really impressed with the professionalism of how the cruise was organised, the quality and cleanliness of the ship, the hospitible nature of the crew and the general feeling that everything was taken care of at all times.

In terms of memorable moments I think these would have to top the list (in no order):
- Sitting in the spa by myself watching Star Trek Into Darkness on the big screen under the real stars - now that was a top way to watch a movie

- The wonderful meals and our main waiter for our dining table

- Visiting Hobbiton which was really groovy and just seeing Lynne love every minute of the experience

- Relishing the fact that over 99% of our passengers were older/elderly people. We think about 15 x Gen Ys were on board with maybe 5 x kids out of 2,000 passengers. This meant that the cruise was always quiet, there were no hoons, no parties, the pools were mostly empty, and by 10pm the ship was practically desserted so it was a great time to just wander around enjoying the nightlife at the bars and feeling completely safe

- Sitting in the spa (again by myself) at the back of the ship when departing Auckland at night just looking at all the lights of the city on the horizon

- Our Key West Cooler drinks which were a mocktail containing watermelon, cranberry juice, Sprite, ice and some other stuff which became our drink of choice

- The really great stage shows which were like 45 minute broadway spectaculars which occurred every third or fourth day

- Enjoying breakfast delivered to our room each day and being able to sit on the balcony looking at the world eating Corn Flakes and crossaints wondering what the poor people were doing

- Enjoying a 5 hour scenic train trip from Dunedain where I was able to stand outside the train carriage on the viewing platform and see all the grandeur before me in the open

- Playing table tennis with Lynne on the ship, it was just such good fun

- Being able to have food anytime. In our dining room our waiter began to serve us three desserts and at one point I had two entrees and two main meals because they were so nice. Also for some reason the quality of their ice cream was just pure magic

- After seeing cruise ships over the decades from the ground just looking up at the people on board wanting to be them, to FINALLY being one of those people looking back everyone on the dock. Particularly in Auckland where our balcony faced the dock, it was a surreal experience seeing the people below knowing that for so long I used to be one of them.