Friday, December 16, 2005

More music

I felt the need to splurge on CDs again today, and added 10 new albums to my collection by artists from Bjork to Metallica to Weezer to Public Enemy. They made for great listening this evening while watching the cricket (an essential relief to actually hearing the commentary).

Taking a step

The first step was collecting together a lot of the management/leadership content I've been reading/listening to over the past year or so, and all the ideas which sprang from that new learning, in a format ready(ish) for use as a launching pad to hopefully inspire/challenge a broader group.

Well, it's not really a jump yet (although I built it up as one in my head), but I finally made the second step in progressing these ideas, talking with the top people in my division's HR area. And they were very enthusiastic about it, with several ideas for improvements and ways of moving it still further to a wider audience. Their knowledge and networks are key to any possibility of success for an initiative I think has real value. And knowing that people who see the good and the bad of our management on a daily basis think this is a worthwhile approach gives me a whole lot of confidence.

One of the things which has held me back has been that management within my division is already very good in a lot of cases, so there's a hesitance to fight the "If it ain't broke, why fix it?" mentality that may exist. But this is about helping managers take the step from being "OK" or "Good" to being "Awesome!", the kinds of leaders that people are excited to work with. As anyone reading my blog the past 12 months will have noticed, my work hasn't really been inspiring/challenging me too often. This is what I'm doing to change that. Something I am passionate about is the coaching/collaboration/mentoring aspect of my job and I feel that, while I still have heaps to learn, I can make a contribution. I want to play a role in improving the working life of not just my team but the whole organisation (nothing like aiming high!).

The past few weeks I've finally had some people assigned to work on my main project (after over 2 months of waiting), and the process of building a new team, one which is already performing well and working well together, is just the "juice" I've needed.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

More Sliders

Watching the brief "Making of" at the end of the DVD set reminded me that Jerry O'Connell is also in Crossing Jordan, where he's excellent, in an entertaining show (although I've only seen a few episodes, this being one more casualty of my draconian "No new shows" rule).

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I'm huge, Jerry, huge!

After finishing today's weights session, and writing down my data (ooh, look who works at ABS...), I got to wondering what it would look like if I totalled up the weight I lifted. I had a feeling I was generally making positive progress, but how can a person be sure without some type of chart? So, being someone capable of making even the manly pursuit of lifting weights seem nerdy, here's the result.

I have to say it sounds impressive to me that in a given session I've gone from lifting around 600kg 3 months ago to lifting over 2 tonnes. I'll be turning green and ripping my shorts in no time!


I hope John Howard is proud of what he's created. If immigration and foreign policies (not to mention the whole "Be afraid not thoughtful" campaign) designed to promote an "us against them" mentality in the entire populace isn't all the trigger needed to cause such a horrible event, I don't know what is. Of course it doesn't hurt when arrogant morons like Alan Jones chip in with their pathetic pandering to base human aggression. Quite the future we have to look forward to...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

[DVD] Sliders

It's been 10 years since Sliders appeared on TV, with a premise giving unlimited freedom to play with world history. And it made good use of this opportunity. I'm halfway through the Season 1+2 box set and enjoying each episode more than the last. Any show which has the line "I haven't seen fans going this crazy since Michael Jackson rejoined Public Enemy" is all right by me :)

Sadly, most of the excellent core cast has been lacking in quality roles since. Jerry O'Connell hasn't done anything better (even Jerry Maguire, and his fun cameos in Can't Hardly Wait and The New Guy) [disclaimer: I didn't see him in Kangaroo Jack, so maybe that was his peak...]. Sabrina Lloyd has made a recent TV comeback in Numb3rs [pronounced "numb-three-rrs"]. John Rhys-Davies, the exception to the rule, well he obviously struggled to find high profile roles, except for a little trilogy called "Lord of the Rings". Luckily, having something of Sliders quality on your CV is enough to have me remember you fondly (I'm sure they're sleeping better for the knowledge...).

[Music] Spend the Night - The Donnas

Several kick-ass singles later, I finally got around to buying the album and it was worth it. If an all-girl quartet, doing nothing but smashing out way fun, rocking tunes sounds appealing, this is definitely for you. No serious issues covered. No deep thought required. Aaaah, that's the stuff...

[DVD] The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Bill Murray once again proves how awesome he is. As with any Wes Anderson film, this isn't all about gut-busting laughs (although there are some of these) but gentle, subtle humour which leaves you feeling happy as the movie ends. Not as dark as The Royal Tenenbaums, stranger than Bottle Rocket, just a wonderful, thoguhtful ride.

[DVD] Be Cool

Vince Vaughn kicks comedy ass (no surprise there). The Rock was entertaining, as always, in a role you've never seen from him before. Andre 3000 carried across the humour evident in Outkast videos/music to a hilarious performance. Oh, and some little known performers called John Travolta, Uma Thurman and Harvey Keitel do their thing too. A thoroughly enjoyable Sunday afternoon diversion :)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Jumping, for kids?

After asking myself How do you jump?, I realised that my jumps are certainly much less joyous and frequent than they once were. I'm talking jumping metaphorically really, since broken toes, patella tendonitis and lame ankles (plus an extra 10kg) have entirely cramped my real jumping "style". Although even these are all treatable, and I'd love to once again feel the momentary elation of having to actually wait till I return to the ground. But I digress...

Metaphorical jumps in particular should be unencumbered by all my many reservations (ok, fears) about just about any change in my life. I've never been adventurous (ask anyone who knows me well, and I doubt that would feature in the top 1000 adjectives they'd apply to me. Try it in a sentence: "I can't believe how adventurous Bertie is" :) But is that "just me" or is it the me I believe myself to be? If I believe, really believe I'm a risk-taker, do I become one? Do I want to be? Is my cynicism about myself too ingrained?

Is the answer as important as the question?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Beer o'clock

Just ordered some gluten-free beer in preparation for the festive season. I haven't had a beer since June 2003 (maybe that's what sparked my blog, which started a couple of months later. Sobriety leads to whingeing :) Reports on taste and side-effects will be forthcoming. In the meantime, I better do some exercise to lose the weight the beer will put back on...

Side-note: One of the bottle shop in Byron Bay stocks the beer (Road Trip!), while Debacle is the only place in Canberra where it can be bought directly. Another reason to head North!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Worst ... song ... ever

Un-fan of hyperbole that I am, I don't use that title lightly. But having heard The Black Eyed Peas "My Humps", I feel entitled to make such a grand statement. Now I'm sure it's s'posed to be funny (oh God I hope so!) but if you have a look at the lyrics or hear the dullness of the accompanying beat (dullness which seems to plague every single off their latest album), you'll find it makes "Shaddapa you face" or "Agadoo" seem like masterworks of lyrical genius. Which is all extremely disappointing after I thoroughly enjoyed "Elephunk".


OK, now that I've got that out of my system, I have to retract my overstatement. On reflection, this isn't even a contender for worst song when compared with anything by The Streets (either the musical artist or the ice-cream mislabeller) or Macy Gray.

Cash 'em in

To celebrate the re-opening of the Belconnen second-hand CD store, I splurged a bit on what felt like a whole lot of variety but, when ripping, mostly gets classified as "Rock". Which is exactly why I ignore classifications (as statistically unsound as that is to say) and, instead, enjoy tunes from this diversity of artists - The Animals, Cypress Hill, Depeche Mode, The Donnas, The Killers, Harvey Danger, Morphine and Eagle-Eye Cherry. Hopefully CD reviews will follow but, for now, let's just say music once again got me through an uninspiring work day.