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I've been so busy with my application for "The Best Job in the World" that I never posted my original article on it. Well ... now that my application video is submitted, I finally got around to finishing the article. Good background information, but old-hat to anyone already following along
"Caretaker" of the Australian Great Barrier Reef Islands
Tourism Queensland, in Australia, has hit a gold mine with their recent "Best Job in the World" campaign.
Timing for the campaign, which aims to promote Queensland's Great Barrier Reef Islands, couldn't be better. It was launched on Jan 12th, in the dead of winter for the northern hemisphere and on the heels of a tremendous downturn in the global economy.
If you haven't heard about it on your local news (weather segment, most likely), Tourism Queensland is looking to hire someone to be "caretaker" of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef. It's billed as "The Best Job in the World". The successful candidate will live on Hamilton Island for six-months and must be willing to explore the other Great Barrier Reef Islands. The only catch: you must report back on your adventures to a global audience (via weekly blog updates, photo diaries and video snippets).
"They'll also have to talk to the media from time to time about what they're doing," says Anthony Hayes, CEO of Tourism Queensland.
Upping the ante even more, the successful job applicant is paid $150k for their six-month job and is provided a 3-bedroom, ocean-view home (which comes with some other perks, such as a golf cart, computer and video equipment).
(Ewe ... sounds rough, doesn't it?)
If you think you're up to the task, just head to www.islandreefjob.com and submit your application. They must include a 60-second video (saying why your the best candidate), photo and contact details. The application deadline is currently February 22, 2009, but Tourism Queensland reserves the right to move it forward, once 30,000 applications have been received.
That may happen, as the promotional campaign has been very successful. Interest in the job overwhelmed the site's servers, shortly after the job was announced and Tourism Queensland had to scramble and add additional equipment to handle the web traffic.
I estimate that about 3,500 applications have been received, thus far.
Of course, this begs the question: "Will Scott or Rachel throw their name into the hat?"
For the second time in five years, my computer bit the dust. This time, however, armed with a "Ghosted" image of my operating system, it was a snap to start over with a clean install of Win XP Home Edition. Learn how Norton Ghost can allow you to laugh at viruses, corrupted system files, driver problems, malware and software conflict. Reimage your system drive in 10 minutes flat.
A new computer is a bit like the attic in a new home - shiny, clean and empty. You are happy. You begin to fill it with your belongings and life is good.
As time passes, you store more items into your now, not-as-new attic. Finding things becomes more difficult. The attic is filling up and you're running out of storage space. Bugs, water leaks, the kids and other things are randomly damaging some of the items you've stored. Tools and appliances no longer function properly when you pull them from storage and try to use them.
"It worked last time," you think, "What happened?" Frustrated, you throw the item away, go down to the store and buy a newer version, perhaps by a different manufacturer. At least this new one works.
More time goes by. You take a Saturday and instead of having fun playing with your family, or going golfing, you spend the entire day cleaning the attic and organizing it. You throw away some items, reorganize contents of boxes, re-label others and generally shuffle things about. You feel good about it, in the end, and the result is that the attic functions better.
More time trickles by and you now realize that the attic is getting cluttered again. You think, "Didn't I give up a weekend to organize it, not so long ago?" Discouraged, you devote another weekend. Soon, "organizing the attic" becomes a regular, unwanted and unrewarding chore.
"Couldn't I just throw this out?" you ask yourself, looking at some loose parts to the dim light. "Better not, they might be an important part of a favorite game, useful tool or something. I might need it later."
Bugs, dust, mildew and chaos creep into your, now old, attic. You pull out your hair. The attic isn't even much good for storage anymore. It's messy, you can't find stuff and you can barely walk around. Most of what you pull out, no longer functions properly. Aaargh!
You realize you need to start over and you fantasize about a new, clean storage space. "Wouldn't a clean, new attic, filled with things like my (now old, moth-eaten) vinyl record collection, be great? (Since it's your fantasy, the record albums aren't old any more, they're in the same condition they were when you first stored them).
This scenario may be a fantasy for your attic, but it can be reality for your - similarly afflicted - computer.
Unlike your attic, you can start over with your computer's operating system. Just like it was 'brand new'. Remember? Bug-free, clean and functioning? Better still, you can also have spanking new copies of the programs you use, the settings you've tweaked, your bookmarked favorites, special fonts, treasured pictures, important documents and other precious data.
Best of all ... you don't have to spend days laboring to reinstall Windows (and the billion updates that came after). Nor do you have to reinstall every program, re-tweak the settings (if you can even remember where they are), or installing hardware and their pesky drivers. In less than an half an hour, in most cases, you can 'start over' with a 'brand new' computer!
Sound too good to be true? I'm here to say it's possible. All you have to do is purchase and use a disk imaging back-up program by Symantec called "Norton Ghost".
Alex "wrote" her very first letter to Santa Claus, with a list of what she wants for Christmas. Her wants are few! She also visited Santa at the local mall and is eagerly awaiting the red-man's trip down our chimney. Merry Christmas everyone!
Alex's first letter to Santa Claus!
Well, it was more a dictation that actual writing, as Mom played the part of "secretary" and Alex acted as "the boss" (a role she plays all too well).
The Oop did pen the salutation to Jolly St. Nick and then - at the end - penned her name, which was followed by an alternating, ungulating row of X's and O's - for hugs and kisses. (I think she's pretty smitten with the rosy-cheeked, gift-giving man)!
You can see from the above image that Alex is still struggling with the letter "S" (and also has a tough time writing the number "3"), though she fairs pretty well with the others. There's always the occasional "backward" letter and sometimes - guess this is common? - Alex writes a whole word (her name, usually) in mirrored reverse. I couldn't do that if I tried. I wonder if that's why Dad and Mom are palindromes? Makes it easier for kids to spell!
Although the body of the letter was in Rachel's handwriting, the words belong to our 5-year-old kindergartner.
To read Alex's cute Santa Claus letter, Merry Christmas greeting and pictures ... carry on
An electrician advised Scott against moving our electric Maytag dryer controls, but we really didn't want to purchase a brand new dryer, just so we could stack it onto our washing machine (and save space in the utility room). Read about how Scott sorted the spaghetti and modified our dryer.
Utility Room Remodel
Moving Dryer Controls so the Dryer Can Stack onto the Washer
Our utility room is pretty small and not well utilized. One of our ideas for gaining space, was to stack the dryer onto the washer. Unfortunately, our older-model dryer isn't a match to our newer, front-load washer. Not only is the dryer is a different make, model and year, but the controls are at the top and back. If we stacked it - as is - you'd need a ladder to dial in a setting and turn it on!
What to do? Plunk down $400-$500 (or more) for a comparable stacking dryer? Our dryer, a higher-end model that came with the house, has an "intelli-dry" sensor that shuts off the unit when the clothes are dry. It works great! Seems wasteful and expensive to purchase a new one, just to stack it.
Instead, we thought Scott could find a way to move the control panel to a lower position. This would enable us to stack our old (working) dryer on top of our newer, front-load washer, for a lot less money.
Our neighbor, Charlie, a retired electrician, thought this would be a tough job. "Do you know how many wires you'll have to extend and move?" he asked, "There's about 30 or so wires back there."
This is one of those cases where ignorance is bliss. Undaunted by Charlie's warning, Scott pushed forward and - last weekend when Rachel was off with Alex in Vancouver and he had the house to himself - he tackled moving the dryer controls.
For a low-down on putting the dryer high up and learning how Scott managed to move the dryer controls ... carry on ...
Nanaimo - Record snow fell on Sunday, dumping 33 centimeters overnight and in the morning. Record cold temperatures accompanied this record snow dump, changing what had been a mild winter thus far, into something a tad more extreme.
Thirty Six Centimeters of Snow
Rachel and the Oop were off visiting grandparents in Vancouver, so they missed witnessing yesterday's record snowfall.
"When I went to bed on Saturday night," Scott said, "there had only been a light snowfall that afternoon and nothing after that. When the fire hall pager went off at 5:30 AM Sunday morning, I woke up and looked out the window. It was a white winter wonderland!"
Thirty three centimeters of snow had fallen, during the night. Outside, Scott flipped "the beast" into 4-wheel-drive and plowed his way to the North Cedar Fire Hall, seven kilometers away. There, personnel put chains on the front-line pumper (Engine 1), back-up pumper (Engine 7) and the water tender (Tender 6).
Another 3 centimeters fell Sunday morning, bringing the December 14th total to 36 centimeters. This beat the previous December 14th record of 19.8 centimeters, which was set in 2000.
For more Nanaimo snow records and photos ... carry on.