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About urchin

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  1. you've convinced me
  2. nice - i have my eye on one of those but it will take some convincing... i have a new weber gas grill for everyday bbqing, the gas pizza oven... justification for the small grill is weak but if i am hoping i can justify it by using the "authentic japanese bbq" argument. either that or i will just buy it when she's home visiting the rellies and tell her i got it cheap on sale... i suspect that will be the way to go.
  3. well, LLs are only able to increase rent by 1.2 times the average rent increase for the region over the past 12 mos. (as determined by the gov't--you should be to find the precise numbers at the tenant's union website) unless there are special circumstances (i.e., major improvements made to the property). so if rents have decreased in canberra they will not be able to (legally) raise the rent. I wonder if one could argue that they are obliged to reduce it? i suspect not...
  4. mmmm maple..... that does sound good. nitrates - well it can't be any worse than the mass produced stuff, right? and if i say it's potentially dangerous i won't have to share it with anyone else . let me know how it goes
  5. you do not want the aldi slicer. trust me. it's completely useless. let me know how the nitrates go - where did you order them from? i was going to just ask a butcher to sell me some of theirs but i am too shy... i've been wanting to do my own baconing for a while but, like you, botulism seemed to me like less fun that it sounded. of course nitrates kill you too, but you can't have everything. i wonder if using belly with skin on will make any real difference (costco is skin off, yeah?)... oh my, but do i want some really good bacon now.
  6. that is very clever.... must try it.
  7. i'm not familiar with the details (my 4 years are already up, i'm free on probation), but yes i'd imagine you'd want to check with your solicitor to make sure everything is done correctly, but in the supreme wisdom of the australian gov't it is no longer necessary to wait until the 4 FY requirement is fulfilled before buying.
  8. what SG said. you need to wait 4 years to take it out but if you don't need it for your deposit you can just apply it to your mortgage once the 4 FY requirement is up. i think the FHSA is a pretty good deal for those who can actually save. a tax free 17% on everything you put in (up to a certain point) and flat 15% tax on interest is pretty good. the interest rates are nothing special but when you're getting 17% it's more than compensated for. i think you get the bonus for the first 6000 each year now, so that's a cool grand. not much in the grand scheme of things, but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
  9. over the past year i've been changing one of my classes from a lecture format to a flipped classroom model and it's been a huge improvement - for me and for the students. the online component offers a lot of flexibility - it's more or less entirely self-paced, they can pick and choose the components that are most effective for them and once they have achieved sufficient mastery they can move on. by putting all of the lecture component online i'm able to use contact hours much more effectively--creating a student-centred environment, with people working in groups and pairs rather than just listening to me drone on (or not listening as was likely the case). contrary to what most of my colleagues think, however, this doesn't mean less work for me (substantially more, really), but it's a hell of a lot more interesting. i'm hoping to put together a 100% online course (but for credit and with active teacher/tutor involvement so very diff't from the mooc model in that respect) over the next year or two if i can scrape together enough grant money. there's a lot that can be done with technology now that will, eventually, change how we look at education (hopefully in a positive way) but the university will stick around for a while yet, i think (i hope). there is still the whole experiential aspect of it and, thinking back on my undergraduate days, that was by far the most important component. i learned far more from the people i met at uni than i did from my coursework.
  10. it would depend on the class environment, i imagine. it is extremely difficult to replicate a seminar-style course online. however if we are comparing traditional lecture type formats with online courses i would be surprised if online didn't prove to be a far more effective model.
  11. you sound like you need a good night's sleep. all that good property news keeping you up at night?
  12. haha, i love the comment that "this puts downward pressure on prices" despite all evidence to the contrary. limiting the grant to new builds (unless "substantial renovation"=new bookshelf - will they have to submit building applications or will we just assume that people are telling the truth?) will minimise its impact, esp, since it sounds like they are eliminating the $7000 grant for existing buildings. did the original 7k fhog come from the ACT or from federal coffers? if ACT coffers this could be a ninja budget cut of the most brilliantly cynical kind. after all, what % of FHBs buy new builds? a mere fraction, i reckon. the act gov't is running a budget deficit yet can't possibly afford to appear to be anti-housing. so they screw the housing lobby by agreeing to a boost to the grant while making existing houses ineligible. brilliant. what does the gov't care? they get most of their money from new land sales, so it's two birds with one stone. less money paid out in grants and greater incentives for people to buy their overpriced squares of dirt. if that was their intent, i have to hand it to them - well done. they look pro-housing, they look pro-tradie but it's all self-interest. very elegant.
  13. this. i never give to door knockers anyway, regardless of the charity. it isn't terribly hard to make yourself a badge and buy a t-shirt and clipboard. i do my donating online and direct to the charity.