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Those Pop-Up Restaurants at the Showgrounds

Recently, I was out driving around Rockhampton and silently judging everyone’s driving. I noticed all the traffic was going to one place, and unusually, it didn’t seem to be Centrelink.

I followed some cars whilst observing most of the road rules and ended up at the showgrounds. I figured there was some kind of pop up food fair going on and the stuff must be awesome for all these people to be here.

It was only a short walk to the entrance, thanks to me only needing to do three laps of all possible parking spaces to find the absolute nearest one. Unfortunately, a lady at the gate robbed me. She was smiling the whole time so she totally knew what was up with it.

Once inside it turned out we were at a different kind of event. This one, based on what I could see, involved standing in lines to take turns getting into cages, and then screaming as much as you can until they eventually let you out.

Ignoring all of that I found the food section and ordered a few dagwood dogs for the princely sum of $8 each ($10 at the establishment next to it). For this price you get a free napkin and a dip into a mystery barrel behind the countertop. The dagwoods were generously-sized although the dip wasn’t. I stopped and thought about that for a bit too long before realising I was holding up the line.

They were pretty good, and worth it! I didn’t complain, and the kids didn’t complain. Some of you may not be aware, but sometimes if kids don’t like things they will let you know.

We walked along with our stick sausage entrees, discussing why we weren’t allowed to have sauce on the whole sausage, enjoying all the background screaming whilst playing chicken with baby prams that seem to be ultra wide this year.

Since we came all this way I suggested we try one of the games. I began to line up and then noticed the, “No Losers” sign above it. Did this mean that everyone wins, or that nerds aren’t welcome?

I noticed that roasted meat rolls were avalable at a very reasonable $15 or $18 each depending on which identical trailer you looked at. I asked my son if he wanted to eat mains here, or buy a car instead, and he opted for a car plus Hungry Jacks (I am not a good negotiator).

We did briefly discuss trying the dessert fairy floss which now conveniently came in 44 gallon drums, however it became apparent that there was no real food here.

Whilst leaving I reflected that hell must be something like this – endless screaming, queues, clowns, carnies, balloons busting, and sauce on one third of the sausage only.

It has taken me a while to write this review because I wanted to go back and try a few more items, but sadly they closed already.

But we all know if they do come back I’m going again anyway.

Note: This article originally appeared on the Rockhampton Food Rater Facebook page, and was written by me on 28 June, 2023.

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McDonald’s Gracemere and Old Man Hanrahan

This morning I was supervising my teenage daughter’s driving as we proceeded around town picking up vegetables, second hand video games from the distant past, and a bulk lot of pot noodles with suspicious warnings in a language I can’t read.

As we neared home one kid told me they were dying of hunger, and the other was totally dying of thirst. Obviouly, I was wanting to maintain my position in the top 98% of parents, and losing a kid on my watch was going to seriously mess with my stats.

After carefully evaluating all of the healthy options available, and discussing how important fresh and nutritious eating was, we went to Maccas anyway.

We ordered up a shared meal and went and sat at a table coincidentally located under the blast chiller. I figured it was just character building, and that kids dying of malnutrition could handle some arctic temperatures for ten minutes or so.

In between all the teeth chattering I struck up some table talk. My 12 year old son filled me in about a new game called Minecraft that just came out for the Game Boy, which he plays every Fortnight with a friend named Roblox. I haven’t met that kid yet so I made a mental note to be in better touch with the people my offspring hang out with. My 18 year old daughter told me about all the places she was going to go to when she gets her license, and how fast she would be able to get there. I decided to increase our car insurance.

Our food arrived fairly quickly. Up until that time I wasn’t aware of the new technique for building hamburgers. Apparently, one kid holds the burger bun at one end of the room, and another kid who is the same age but wearing a managers badge stands at the other end of the room and hurls burger ingredients at high speed towards the buns. After three rounds anything that sticks to the burger is jammed into a box and sent off to the waiters. The customer is never informed of the scoring system, or who the winner is, which is a shame actually.

The chips were good and I believe that if you’re in the lucky minority to get fresh McDonalds chips then you should not only be appreciative, but should also go and buy a lotto ticket.

I found the nuggets to be pretty good, and they came with some sweet and sour sauce which was nice of them. However, I’m relatively certain that my local Gracemere store has served the same sweet and sour sauce repeatedly for the last four or five years. I probably messed up their winning streak by managing to open one of the packages through a combination of using my fingertips, teeth, one of my feet, and a pocket knife. If science ever has need for a packaged sauce that can survive a direct nuclear blast they should contact McDonalds and ask for the design of their sauce packets.

I bet that after we left a conversation like this happened:

Manager: “Oh great. They OPENED the sauce! Does anyone even know where we get more from?”

Assistant Manager: “I don’t know, let’s ask Old Man Hanrahan.”

Manager: “Hey, old Man Hanrahan! You’ve been here the longest, where do we get the new sauces from? Some jerk came in here and opened up the only one we have.”

Hanrahan: “Stop calling me Old Man Hanrahan!! I’m 15 years old, and I’ve only been working here for 3 months.”

Anyways, all kidding aside, and apart from the sauce packet that can’t be opened without mechanical assistance, and the burgers built blindfolded, my kids were happy enough with their lunch.

9/10, would recommend.

But remember: If you eat the pickles then some poor kid is going to have to figure out how to order more of them.

Note: This article originally appeared on the Rockhampton Food Rater Facebook page, and was written by me on 20 July, 2019.

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Lunch at the Kabra Country Hotel

Today I was driving around at a leisurely 50km/hr in a 70 zone. Presumably there was a party going on that all the caravan owners knew about, although none of them seemed to be in a big hurry to get there. Fortunately, I have been playing Mario Kart for something like 30 years, so I feel like I’ve been training my whole life for this.

I tried explaining to my wife why this was an impressive feat, but I will never understand women and why she thinks I was being childish. Thinking about it later I realised it was because I always beat her in Mario Kart, so that must be it.

Having picked up our shopping, my wife mentioned that we had been invited to lunch at the Kabra Country Hotel. That was really good, because I like lunch, and it was also a good reason to put off the yard work my wife had been helpfully reminding me about, for 4 or 5 weeks now.

So we headed out there, along with one of our kids. If you haven’t been, it’s just a few kilometres past Gracemere, right on the Capricorn Highway.

Once inside we found our pre-booked table and checked out the lunch menus. I decided to get the ‘OMG Burger’ which seemed pretty much to be a works burger with jalapenos and a ‘fiery hot sauce’. My wife said, “I knew you’d get that.” She knows me so well. If there was a menu item that said, “This thing will either kill you, or put you in a coma for a week, and you have to update your will and sign this waiver,” I’d definitely order it.

Our friends were arriving now, and we ordered up a jug of softdrink (I never drink and Mario Kart). Pleasantly, it was a jug with ice and a BOTTLE of softdrink, and not postmix. A+ for that!

The lunch menu has a good selection of pub favourites, plus pizzas, burgers, and toasties. I thought it was cool that most meals have the option of either beer battered steak fries, sweet potato wedges, or waffle chips.

We sat around talking about people who weren’t there, whilst my daughter kept herself up to date on world events using a website called toktok, or something like that. She says I won’t like it, but I’ve been meaning to check it out so that I can stay in touch with what my kids are up to. I did an online survey on Myspace that said I was in the top 70% of parents in that regard, if you need any tips.

Before long our meals came out, pretty much all at the same time. I mean, I get that it wasn’t peak hour in Kabra, but there’s plenty of places that can’t manage even this basic thing, so thanks for not putting us into some Lord of the Flies situation where you don’t know if you can start or not. Or if you have to wait. And does eating a chip count as starting?

My ‘OMG Burger’ was brilliant. It’s everything you want in a works burger – a tower that needed structual support to stay upright – plus a bit of spicy oompf. I knew the jalapenos were good when one of them slipped out of the bun and I ate it first. My eyes watered a little and my wife said, “Are you right?” which was when I realised I might have made a sound like a small injured animal. AN INJURED ANIMAL BUT WITH FIERY HOT SAUCE AMIRITE!?. Seriously, it was just good, and not overwhelmingly hot at all and I recommend it.

And this place, people… they know how to make some chips. The chips could be a meal! I’m just saying beer.battered.steak.fries are a thing and they have them! They have waffle chips and sweet potato wedges too which I want to try. But also, it creates an agonising situation where there’s the chips I already had, and want again, but there’s also new kinds of chips that are probably also good, but what to do? Is it normal to get them all? Sorry for letting you in my head for a minute.

Checking in with the family everyone seemed very happy and content with their lunches, and we’re coming back! If you haven’t been I reckon you should get off your butts and head out ASAP. If you have been before then get some friends and head out also.

Oh, I just noticed they have a FLAMIN’ JOE pizza with jalapenos and ‘fiery hot sauce base’. Next time, my saucy friend.

On the way home, in case you were wondering, there were no caravans.

And I didn’t do any yard work.

Note: This article originally appeared on the Rockhampton Food Rater Facebook page, and was written by me on 25 July, 2021.

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Check for Spectre and Meltdown CPU flaws using Windows Powershell

Microsoft have provided a Powershell tool for checking and reporting on an individual Windows computer.

Press the Windows key on your keyboard and type PowerShell – when you see the shortcut appear in the search results, right click on it and choose Run as Administrator.

Quick Instructions

To install the module type

Install-Module SpeculationControl

You might get prompted to install the NuGet provider. Type Y and press enter. If you’re asked about installing from an untrusted repository do the same thing again.

Once the module installs type


If you see messages about execution error you can type

Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass


Microsoft have released an article explaining the output of the tool.

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Exporting Microsoft Exchange Mailboxes

Often, you’ll want to export a user mailbox from Exchange and store it as a .PST file. In my organisation I do that when people leave the company. We don’t want to keep the mailbox active but it’s handy to have the old mailbox in case we ever need to go dumpster diving to find something from the past.

The easiest way it to use PowerShell to export the mailbox to a UNC file share (local drives don’t seem to be supported).

Click your Start button and type Exchange – select and run the Exchange Management Shell.

When the shell finally loads enter a command similar to this, substituting your own mailbox name and export path and filename.

New-MailboxExportRequest -Mailbox Paul -FilePath \\myserver\export\paul.pst

Some output will show that the requests is queued. It might take a few minutes to start. You can also make multiple requests and Exchange will export them whenever it feels like it.

You can check the status of the export(s) like this:


A table will be displayed along with the current Status. Once the export shows as complete it’s probably okay to delete the mailbox from Exchange – but that decision is yours to make 🙂



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Windows 10 Creators Update and Controlling Delivery Optimization (or how to turn off the Peer-to-Peer Updating)

The first versions of Windows 10 introduced the ability to share and download updates from other computers on your network, or computers from the Internet. Importantly, it will probably also use your computer to upload those same updated to computers elsewhere in the world.

Sharing is great. I taught my kids to share with their friends and family. But I draw the line at sharing my previous (limited) upload bandwidth with random people on the Internet when Microsoft should be more than capable of providing the services for this themselves.

During installs of Windows 10 up until the Anniversary Update I noticed that this option could be disabled during installation. So they give you an up front way to opt out, albeit it’s still a bit cheeky considering many people won’t understand the setting and will leave it on anyway – no doubt something Microsoft are well aware of.

When recently updating a machine to Creators Update I noticed that this option (along with many others) are absent when the machine starts up. I do need to investigate further to see if the setting is changed or inherited from the previous version.

Nonetheless, if you have a Windows 10 machine there’s a reasonable chance that you’re sharing your upload bandwidth with the Internet.

To check your settings and possible change the settings, click the Windows icon in the bottom left, type Windows Update and run the applet. Once it’s open click on Advanced options.

On the Advanced options screen click on Choose how updates are delivered.

On the Choose how updates are delivered screen you can change the behavior of Windows 10. If you only have one computer or only want updates to come direct from Microsoft you can turn the feature off. If you have more than one computer on your local network I believe it’s reasonably safe and appropriate to change your settings as per below, and choose PCs on my local network.

If you have a business network with a Windows server then your IT guys should have configured a local update server which will take priority anyway. The IT team can also configure these options via Group Policy – but again, use WSUS if you can.

Advanced users can also make the change directly into the registry thus:


Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Major possible values for DODownloadMode are:

0 = Off
1 = On, PCs on my local network
3 = On, PCs on my local network, and PCs on the Internet


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The Gracemere Hotel – At Least It’s Close By

It was my wife’s birthday today and I managed to talk her into going out to dinner with myself and the kids. Fresh back from a weekend away we were kind of all restaurant’ed out so we figured the Gracemere Hotel was a good choice due to being close by. We tend to go there a few times a year, irregularly enough that the menu always changes in between visits.

This time around they pulled out all the stops and even changed the carpet and interior furnishings for us.

Our previous visits have been a bit of hit and miss. I’m a fan of pub food but my recollection last time was of a fairly lackluster offering at restaurant prices – an expensive “seafood topper” that consisted of about 2 prawns and a teaspoon of sauce for $12 or so.

Upon arriving I was surprised that we couldn’t find a park directly out the front. Being ignorant of the time that alcoholics usually go home from pubs I couldn’t really see why it’d be so busy on a Tuesday. Turns out that Tuesday is schnitzel night, and the place was pretty packed.

We met up with our fellow diner for the evening, and after entering I was relieved as usual that a photo of our kids wasn’t behind the bar, with the words “banned for life” sharpie’d under it.

We started the evening with a win!

The new decor is fairly upbeat and the remodelling seemed to add a lot more seating. Looking down the middle of the restaurant reminded me of gazing down the aisle of a 747. A lot of people in a very small amount of space.

As we wandered down to our pre-booked table I noticed that the old floorboards still make you feel like a drunken sailor swaggering on the deck of an ancient sailing ship. Creak, everyone to the left, splash, everyone to the right.

We were seated and the youngest shouted something about a pizza whilst disappearing off into the kids play room.

The daughter, struggling against her impulse to join him and probably hang him upside down in the play equipment by his underwear decided to stay back at the table – apparently she is now old enough that food matters more than tormenting brothers.

Entrees, dinners and drinks were all ordered at the bar for a reasonable sum. I had opted for the schnitzel which allegedly was coming with chips at discount price that was forgettable enough. I added a “topper” of calamari for a value amount that could have been $8. The wife ordered some kind of beef that came with oysters, chips and a Diane sauce.

While we chatted we were delighted to overhear many conversations from the people talking loudly and close by. Up until that point I thought my exploits in the garage trying to fix things had educated my kids on all the swear words there were, but I think I even learnt some new ones tonight.

Anyways, our entrees arrive first, along with a mini pizza for the boy. Our cheesy toast was pretty good, although the mini pizza looked really oily – I’m going to think that the cheese they’ve used was to blame for that. I always think that you can judge a restaurant by how they treat kids’ food. I think a lot of places really disrespect kids and use the worst ingredients under the assumption that parents won’t pay for anything decent. Or maybe they just plain think they can get away with it and nobody will know.

We had quite a lengthy wait until our mains arrived. Actually, the place had just about emptied out. When they did arrive everybody seemed quite happy. My wife’s dish in particular looked interesting and different. Her Diane sauce was not too bad. I don’t know what it is with restaurants and sauces but I think they must all go and play golf on the week that sauces get taught, or they’re so used to getting it from a bottle, can, or packet that they have no idea how to mix 4 basic things together to make simple things.

One of our party ordered a mushroom sauce and I tried it. I was aghast – it should have been called rosemary sauce as the flavour was so incredibly overpowering that it was essentially inedible. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt on that one. Probably the mushroom sauce was bubbling along nicely, and then the cook suddenly hallucinated and thought the pot looked like a 65kg roast lamb and loaded it full of all the rosemary in Gracemere. And probably from two towns over.

I got no sauce. Yes, three paragraphs about sauce, that’s how important it is to get right!

However, I was sauceless, but my chips were quite delightful. Crispy and battered – I was really happy with them. The serving size I felt was generous too, although the schnitzel was clearly of the budget variety and itself unremarkable and maybe a bit on the smallish side. A basic garden salad was wedged underneath there also and I was hungry enough that nothing escaped.

My “topper” of calamari was a generous serving I thought, lightly herbed (not rosemary, there was none left obviously) and lemony. Really nice.

My wife was happy enough with her meal, although she did comment that the oysters were particularly great. I tried a little bit of the pork belly topper from another meal in an effort to analyse what was wrong with it. I believe it was unseasoned and quite plain. Also, I would suspect it was probably bits of pork chop and not pork belly – and there was also no crispy “crackling” at all.

Overall it was a pleasant evening, the meals were enjoyable and nothing worthy of complaint. Pubs prices were paid and reasonable pub meals were received. The lack of table service still surprises me – I definitely bought less drinks because of the effort involved in ordering and hauling them back.

After the new fit-out the place looks pretty flash. Plus, they haven’t yet banned our kids yet so they have that going for them.

Don’t order the mushroom gravy. Ever.

Note: This article originally appeared on the Rockhampton Food Rater Facebook page, and was written by me on 28 April, 2015.

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Retro Commodore 64 Style Command Prompt on Windows

I was using my command prompt today and noticed that my default font had somehow been changed and seemed a bit squished. I made the joke that it looked a bit like the Commodore 64 font.

And then… BAM… inspiration struck and I decided that I actually wanted a retro Commodore 64 style command prompt 🙂

This would involve altering the default font used, the colour scheme, and showing some text at the top to look like the Commodore system info.

Here’s how to do it!

First, create a shortcut on your desktop and point it to cmd.exe – which is of course the standard Command Prompt executable. Edit the properties f the shortcut and change the target to the following:

C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /t:98 /k cls & echo. & echo     *** COMMODORE 64 BASIC V2 **** & echo. & echo  64K RAM SYSTEM  38911 BASIC BYTES FREE & echo. & echo READY.

We’re almost there already! If you run the shortcut you can see that the default text is shown and that the colours have changed.

With the command prompt open, right click the title bar on the top of the window and choose Properties. On the Layout tab change the Window Size Width to 40, 60 or 80. 40 is more authentic, but 60 and 80 are more practical to actually use!

But wait… if you go and download the c64 TrueType font from and install the mono spaced font called C64_Pro_Mono-STYLE.ttf you’ll be able to choose this as the font on the Font tab. I would recommend setting the Size to about 12.


That’s it!

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Kinka Kippa Fission Chips

Just a quick one…

This past Saturday I was casually wandering around the Causeway Lake (situated between Yeppoon and Emu Park) photographing unsuspecting things. My wife and various friends were zipping around on jet skis, getting extremely soaked and commenting about how cold the water was. It’s winter. Just saying.

The kids, having destroyed as much nature as possible reluctantly dragged themselves back to the car. I mentally added another location to my inner map of places that we can never return to in case we’re remembered from the time before.

It was cold, and people were wet, and it was getting dark. Insects were bothering people.

Fish and chips were suggested, and in double time we were piled into cars and headed off to find a shop that did not have our photo on the wall yet.

A short trip down the road was Kinka Kippa, an unassuming place that looked like it could have hailed from a bygone era. The phone booth, post office box and the Streets ice-cream sign out the front reminded me of my childhood past, and the local corner shop. If you looked hard, you could almost see the Telecom sticker on the side of the phone box.

Some of our group went in the order, while a couple of us men stood around outside and made casual, idle conversation. Topics ranged from building things, to how fast other things go when you turn the engines on, and whether or not NSW is any good at football. I tried a few times to steer conversation towards whether or not Superman was better than The Flash, but I just got some odd looks. Thinking about it now, this could be why I’m not always invited.

After a little while our three separate orders came out and everything seemed to be intact. We’d ordered a variety of crumbed and battered fish, calamari rings and crumbed prawn cutlets – and chips of course. The servings seemed fairly generous. Each of the “pieces” were actually two smaller pieces, so we almost had double the expected amount. If you go and check these guys out on Trip Advisor you’ll notice that some people whinge about the fish size – I suspect they can’t count and didn’t realise they had double the serves.

I think we had $8 worth of chips between four, and it was a substantial amount. We actually had some fish left over, despite all my efforts to turn it into an eating competition.

Everything was cooked rather well and it was some of the best fish and chips I’ve had in a really long time. I would not only go back, but I would TRAVEL to go back.

As we sat outdoors an elderly gentleman started belting out some tunes from the attached restaurant. I am extremely hesitant to make any commentary regarding the singing, as I don’t want to damage any future career plans he might have to appear on Australian Idol or other shows like it. But, I did check for hidden cameras, to see if it was a reality tv show, and we were being filmed or something.

All in all, it was good food, we fed four of us for about $50 and had a bit more food than we needed.

I would recommend it, and I will be back.

This short review was also posted in the Rockhampton Food Rater on Facebook, on 5 June 2017.

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Annoying Command Prompt Window Appearing Every Hour

I noticed recently that every hour my Windows 10 PC was popping up a command prompt window and closing it very quickly. At first I thought I had some kind of malware installed but all the scans I ran said that I was seemingly okay. I then thought Windows Update might be the culprit but it too, seemed to be innocent.

I then went hunting in the Scheduled Tasks and lo and behold I found the bugger. Armed with this knowledge I took to Google to discover that this is apparently a common thing that is annoying a lot more people than me – especially if you run stuff in full screen mode like games or media players because the process seems to minimise those things when the task runs every hour.

Anyway, to get rid of it you can do so manually by clicking your Start button and typing Task Manager and running it.

Expend Task Scheduler Library, the expand Microsoft, then expand Office. Right click on OfficeBackgroundTaskHandlerRegistration and Disable it.


If you’re familiar with the command prompt, run it as an administrator and enter the following command:

schtasks /change /tn Microsoft\Office\OfficeBackgroundTaskHandlerRegistration /disable