Sunday, December 31, 2006
I have to say that, despite my current bout of nasty fatigue having the potential to negatively colour my feelings, 2006 was a really positive year for me. I made at least one new friend, strengthened other friendships, found the cause (and some of the solution) to years of nausea, walked heaps, blogged plenty (almost twice as much as 2005), regained my enthusiasm for work (which had endured 18 months of doldrums), lost 10 kilos and even travelled to far-flung Melbourne.
The trick for me now is to not see that as being the end of the line, but as a launching pad. There is still so much for me to do to feel comfortable with who I am, to increase the positive contribution that I make, to actually feel like I'm not just squandering some vast well of potential by not acting on any of it.
Will I be writing a post 12 months from now where I bemoan missed opportunities, or will I be celebrating great success in meeting my still nebulous goals? You'll just have to keep reading to find out :) Thanks for joining me on the oft-dull journey so far!
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Nonetheless, I now have a fully functional DVD writer in place, as opposed to the barely limping one I've been dealing with for over a year. Even better, the drive worked first time, which I haven't been able to say very often in my previous CD, DVD and hard drive self-installs.
I did, somewhat ironically, miss the slightly-dusty-but-still-easily-readable label at the bottom of the case telling me how to take the front off so I could actually remove the existing drive. After that, though, it was plain sailing :)
I called ActewAGL, got straight through to an operator, and something mysterious was done to fix my lights within an hour of the call, before it was even dark outside. So, in an era of poorly thought out automated messages, it's nice to find a bastion of excellent customer service which involves real people solving a problem in a timely way with a minimum of fuss.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Emily Deschanel plays Temperance "Bones" Brennan, a major genius in the field of forensic anthropology, who speaks her mind and is usually right. David Boreanaz plays Seeley Booth, an FBI agent who convinces Bones to become his unofficial partner. Hijinks ensue :)
This is the closest you're going to get to the Mulder/Scully camaraderie of The X-Files, with the addition of a host of quality supporting characters, all of whom have interesting back stories that are gradually revealed as the season goes on. There are plenty of comedic touches, genuine tension and drama, tugging of heart strings and one moment that actually made me jump in surprise, which almost never happens. There's action too, but the beauty of it for me is watching smart people come up with answers to problems, instead of rushing around shooting everyone.
Basically, I'd like to believe I'm smart enough to maybe make it into Bones team in a small supporting IT role :)
First, an above average walking month:
"Sure Bertie, those columns look great, but what if I want to see them as lines?" I'm glad you asked :)
Finally, with a slight improvement of 0.04 over last month's ADAC (despite partying too hard for my birthday and forgetting all about weights) the overrated action count:
Nothing Safe - Alice In Chains
Mutations - Beck
Blur - Blur
The Datsuns - The Datsuns
Greatest Hits - Devo
I Don't Think I'm Pregnant - Diana Ah Naid
Mallee Boy - John Williamson
Attack - KMFDM
Hau Ruck - KMFDM
Bricks Are Heavy - L7
Public Warning - Lady Sovereign
Hollywood - Little Birdy
Freaked Out And Small - Presidents of the USA
Love Everybody - Presidents of the USA
John Henry - They Might Be Giants
They Might Be Giants - They Might Be Giants
Here's To The Mourning - Unwritten Law
Monday, December 11, 2006
I could just go back to the old one, but I'm practising only moving forward :) A chance to learn a whole new set of syntax, specific to Blogger layouts...
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Four jobs I've had:
Research assistant at CSIRO
Four Movies I could Watch Over and Over:
The New Guy
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Four places I have lived:
Four TV Shows That I Love:
Four places I have been for a vacation:
Four websites I Visit Daily:
I don't actually go to websites much, thanks to the wonders of RSS feeds, but here are some blogs I lurk at...
Joel On Software
Four Favourite Foods:
Tuna and rice
Chicken schnitzel with mushroom sauce
My Dad's chips
Four places I would rather be:
Location-wise, I'm pretty happy right here
More metaphorically, with friends
Four friends blogs I read every day:
Dreaming All The Time
Hello, Here's Me!
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Caught a train to Em's and spent the afternoon chatting with her, and having a lively debate on politics and world affairs with her grandmother. Enjoyed a few forkfuls of mixed vegetable fried rice for dinner, my most substantial eating for a week (I'd forgotten how awesome food could taste!).
Walked uphill into the CBD to meet Jen and AM for lunch, at a lovely little eatery called "Wheat" (the irony of this, given my gluten-free past, was not lost on me as I struggled through part of a tasty chicken salad). Tick catching up with my 3 Melbourne friends, my trip was now complete!
Had a brief chat with Em on the phone, distracting her from all the work she was stuck late at work trying to get done, then spent the evening in front of not much on TV and some more fried rice.
Wandered the Crown Casino Complex and Federation Square, taking a sunnier set of photos to complement the overcast ones from earlier in the week, while trying to work out at least one touristy thing to do. An hour of walking later, I stepped into the Immigration Museum, which was just round the corner from my hotel, and spent an enlightening 3 hours looking at everything on offer.
On my way back to the hotel, a young guy asked me for directions to Lonsdale St, and I confidently pointed him in the right direction (confirming, when back in my room, that my confidence was warranted). Almost a local in one week!
My final night in Melbourne was made perfect by an actual restaurant meal with Em and, as I saw her off at the train station, my thoughts turned to my imminent return home.
Woke up at 5.30 having had 3 hours sleep and, after killing some time trying to stomach my breakfast, headed into a windy, cold Melbourne morning. The beginning of my trek home! My plane was delayed by half an hour, which was exactly what I didn't need, but I had the whole back row of the plane to myself and a little shut-eye let me enjoy the view as we closed in on Canberra. 13 degrees in Melbourne became 31 in Canberra, but the most important thing as my Dad dropped me off home was that I survived (and even enjoyed!) a week away for only the second time in the past 3 years.
Will I be rushing headlong into a new life as an intra/international jetsetter? Well, no, because it was frankly exhausting to fight my poor health the whole week, and it'll take me some time to store up enough energy to launch myself at my next challenge.
The more important question, though, is: Did I enjoy my holiday? To that I can say a resounding Yes. Thanks largely to the efforts of awesome friends like Em and Jen, who spent time with me despite their own busy schedules, I feel that I squeezed every last moment of fun out of my Melbourne week.
Bertie, what was the point of that story? ... I like stories :)
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
No sleep = Not feeling good. Note to self: Don't stay next to a main street without double-glazed windows next time.
Failed in my attempts to catch up with my ABS pals, but wandered the CBD anyway, in a glorious quest for another salad sandwich. Quite the gourmand, huh?
Tried to nap, but sleep continued to elude me, so I threw caution to the wind and headed to St. Kilda with Em for an extravagant sushi dinner (well, a single piece of vegetable sushi...). Before I knew it, 10pm had rolled around, and it was time for me to leave Em to the excitement(/crowd/smoke/noise) of the Gotye concert while I headed back to bed, finally catching some sleep thanks to the wonders of ear plugs.
Yay! Sleep! Still staying very light on the food, but strolled the Yarra waterfront, busily snapping photos for the first time since I arrived. Coincidentally, this was the only overcast day of the entire week, thus my later set to show how much brighter the sights were during the rest of my visit.
Met up with Em to see the outstanding Earth From Above exhibition and do more riverbank wandering (leading to my favourite photo of the trip).
Stay tuned for Part 3 where I catch a train, a plane and see some automobiles!
Thursday, November 30, 2006
"The doctrine of the equality of man was never intended to apply to the equality of the Englishman and the Chinaman. There is a deep-set difference, and we see no prospect and no promise of its ever being effaced. Nothing in their world can put these two races upon a equality."Of course today's prejudice is less bluntly stated. Earlier Australian governments attempted to hide the racism of the White Australia policy behind the Dictation Test which draws an easy parallel with the proposed "Values" test proposed by current "leaders" (including the Labour opposition).
There are plenty of people who would easily pass such a test who I don't consider to be "Australian" in the positive sense of the word at all, our current Prime Minister for example, who has never been about the "fair go" that he bandies about so smugly.
Instead of establishing meaningful demographic policies (e.g. in the search for a sustainable, balanced population), we get ridiculous initiatives like the "baby bonus". Maybe I'm naive, but there seem to be an awful lot of people clamouring to move here already, who either have necessary skills or are willing to develop them. Unfortunately for potential immigrants, our education system overall is constantly being downgraded as a priority, and the avenues for developing skills such as spoken English are insufficient. Chances of gaining citizenship under such an arbitrarily focused test are minimal, except for those whose background most closely mirrors the current economic and political power players. While we're at it, we might as well use the IQ test instead, for all its validity as a measure of Australian-ness, or of a person's innate value.
T minus 2 days
If I had to choose the worst time for a return of my nausea, 36 hours before a flight to Melbourne would be right up there. And so it was destined to be! Prescription for self: Rice cakes and baby food, hot water bottle and peppermint tea, and many Newsradio episodes to keep me distracted.
T minus 1 day
More of the same, with a few teaspoons of plain mashed potato for variety.
I usually enjoy flying, but almost no food and sleep in the past 2 days meant I was feeling terrible by the time I finally made it to Melbourne. Luckily I had Jen there to meet me, and her cheer (and long history of driving a pale me home from work) took the edge off my nausea long enough to make it to the Hotel Enterprize and lie down. Thanks Jen!
Em came to visit after finishing work for the day, and was treated to my alternating green/grey hue and nibbling of rice cake morsels. I'm a super host! But by the time Em left I was feeling almost human again, and much more positive about my recovery chances. Thanks Em!
(note the extent of my bedside snacks - baby food, water and lemonade)
Visited the Crown Complex for some much-needed food - a basic salad sandwich - and then spent the rest of the day in bed watching cricket and concentrating on keeping my food down. How jealous are you of my trip so far?
Luckily my planning consisted entirely of getting to see Em and Jen, which I already achieved yesterday, so even 5 more days of bedridden-ness would count as a success. Gotta concentrate on the positives :)
What will Day 3 bring? To be continued...
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Proper stories to follow, some of which may integrate my latest photos, but if you want to get a visual taste of my trip right now, just head to Melbourne 2006.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
What I did realise is that I definitely need to grab some more Blur. I've always been firmly on the Blur side of "Blur vs Oasis", and love both Gorillaz albums, so this is another in my series of musical no-brainers.
Monday, November 13, 2006
More at the Korn end of "rap/metal" than the Limp Bizkit end. Touches such as guest vocals on Feel Good by Serj Tankian (System Of A Down), help avoid the sameness that many albums in this genre suffer from, including when the intensity lets up slightly to inject a little funk into the mix.
Not really for the Gotye lovers, but enjoyable stress-release music for a try-hard metal fan.
Lyrically, it heads further along the path of the final blink album (more serious, less jokey), and musically adds a significant electronic undercurrent which wasn't present in blink's work. Mark's duet with female vocalist Carol Heller on Make You Smile makes it clear you're not just listening to retreads of old material.
If you love blink-182's entire back catalogue, as I do, this should push all the right buttons. Otherwise, I don't think this'll convert you.
It's funnier than I'd been led to believe, which was crucial to my enjoyment. The relationship stuff was involving, rather than painful and nauseating. It makes me glad not to be a surgeon, while being relieved that some people are. And every episode was personally affecting, in a "how would I handle that?" way. Only 9 episodes in S1, so I've yet to see whether a full stretch of shows in Season 2 will maintain the quality (and my interest).
Friday, November 10, 2006
Political Prisoners (EP) - Insurge
Untouchables - Korn
Greatest Hits - Eurythmics
Timeless - De La Soul
Silent Alarm - Bloc Party
Broke - (hed) p.e.
No Touch Red - Bodyjar
Freibentos - Pangaea
Elva - Unwritten Law
The Downward Spiral - Nine Inch Nails
What Are Rock Stars Doing Today - Magic Dirt
Beautifulgarbage - Garbage
For anyone counting, that's 155 new tracks of rock, punk and a dash of hip-hop to keep me company on my travels. I did try to buy more Avril Lavigne or Lindsay Lohan, purely for the look of disgust on K's face, but no such luck...
Monday, November 06, 2006
I got to sleep at midnight, after an awesome day out with friends (to celebrate the triple threat birthday of K, Shak and I) then woke up at 2am and, after no more sleep was forthcoming, decided to get up and do something, rather then stew in my own sleepless juices.
Thanks to kuka and Em for blogging and thus giving me something to read :)
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Firstly, graphic proof of my dominating October walking performance:
Next, look how much action I got last month! (Thanks to kuka and her tempting Pure Blonde ways for making the 31st negative ;) Nonetheless, an ADAC of 2.19
And, finally, my return to weights is progressing nicely:
Sunday, October 29, 2006
The record's made sweeter by the fact that I only walked once in the first 6 days of the month, while searching for some motivation, so I've only missed 6 days since then, half of which have been my Thursday off.
Is that enough walking stats for everyone?
Saturday, October 28, 2006
"I can't give any credibility whatsoever to anything Media Watch say. They are an outfit with unbelievable agendas and have lost any sense of credibility in the wider world of the media."I'd say pot... kettle... but there's really only one indefensible side to the statement. Self-delusion can be funny after all.
So, basically, I continue to enjoy Robbie's attitude more than the majority of his music. I can't dismiss anyone who so clearly enjoys what he's doing :) And when he gets it right, it's classic pop, such as earlier releases like Me and My Monkey, Hot Fudge, Rock DJ and Let Love Be Your Energy.
I give it 6 Take That reunions out of 10 :)
Krill - a 5 piece from Sydney, with a token guy guitarist. Just an awesome rock/electronic sound.
Jaed - young Melbourne punk band.
Beangrowers - from Malta, with a lot of Chrissie Amphlett in the vocals.
You can check any of their stuff out either as streamed tracks on the various linked sites, or previews in iTunes.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
Helping to keep me company as I attempt to break my March record of 17 are some new music-related podcasts:
The Sounds In My Head - generally softer stuff, with just some back announce and a little bit of backround on the songs/artists. No artsy/fartsy analysis of themes, just the facts. One I just listened to had a couple of tracks from the movie Happy Endings sung by Maggie Gyllenhaal, who has an amazing voice (in addition to her obvious acting chops).
The Bang Music Hour - lots of excellent, driving rock music with minimal talk.
Eclectic Mix - focuses on a single artist each week, none of whom I've heard of, let alone heard, before.
Add to this the hilarious Hi My Name Is Mark, put out by Mark Hoppus from blink-182, which helped get me through my nasty illness of last month with its mix of great new punk tracks and lowbrow comedy. If I can just get the latest damn episode to download...
Sunday, October 15, 2006
I've spent time listening to some new music podcasts, as well as re-watching The New Guy for the umpteenth time, and finding it just as laughtastic as ever. I'm tossing up whether I'm going to make tonight:
- a Zooey Deschanel double with either Elf or HHGTTG,
- an Eliza Dushku double with Soul Survivors,
- a DJ Qualls double with Road Trip, or
- an Eddie Griffin double with Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
First, a rough plan, as drawn by my sister, which gives an overview of how it all fits together.
The lounge room in which I spend time reclining in front of my DVD collection.
The kitchen and adjoining bar, which for years saw no culinary adventure greater than heating up of tuna and rice.
My "sun room", which is starting to turn into a furnace already, and the computer room which opens out from it, meaning that I'll be driven to the relative cool of the front of my house momentarily.
So now when you envision me (and I know you always envision me) composing another enthralling blog post, making a bowl of cereal or just relaxing in front of my latest DVD acquisition, your mental picture will be
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Praise the ABC, last bastion of free uninterrupted viewing!
Well, for one thing, I feel like I'm actually learning something just by tuning in each week. I chip in with words like tesserae, as evidence of Roman occupation, before it's spelled out for me, and am even starting to get a feel for the timing of Bronze Age -> Iron Age -> Roman Occupation. I was never into human history much when I was younger, although I did love prehistory, but have found in recent years that I've been missing out on some really interesting stories because of dismissing it as a topic to dwell on, in preference to the "hard" sciences. All that said, though, I think the main reason is that I love seeing the enthusiasm of everyone involved in the show. They clearly love what they do, and a number have been involved for a decade (which I only just discovered when finding the link above). It's the same reason I enjoy DVD outtakes/bloopers and commentaries. They make it obvious that these people are doing exactly what they want with their lives.
Now that could easily be depressing, with my persistent, recurring uncertainty and aimlessness, but I actually find it energising, knowing that it's possible to find that Holy Grail of happiness. It's a little part of my attempt to find joy in the things I do right now, even if I'm not sure they're part of my ideal future. And it lets me know that I shouldn't settle for so-so, but can (and should) continue to push myself, without making myself miserable with dissatisfaction along the way.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
What are they actually showing? I'll leave it up to the biologist to explain... Sadly I couldn't find the gallstone, but hopefully these are interesting/gruesome enough to satisfy those foolish enough to ponder about my insides.
Before you go rushing our for your own CT scan, after I've sold it so compellingly, keep this little factoid in mind:
The effective radiation dose from this procedure is about 10 mSv, which is about the same as the average person receives from background radiation in three years.I'm not sure that's as reassuring as the website I read it on intended, but just one of the downsides to being in a machine which speaks with calming Enterprise-style tones to "Breathe in. Hold. Now breathe normally."
I must admit the disruption to my eating routine hasn't left me feeling too great, but I still went for an evening walk around 4.30 and, although it was more of a struggle than usual, I felt better for a little while afterwards. Plus the sense of accomplishment helps me feel less like an invalid, when I see that gallstones are much more common in obese people over 60 :)
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Ever wondered what I'd look like as a muppet? (a bit too much like Bert methinks). How 'bout a quick sketch of the fancy case for my Battlestar Galactica DVDs? Or even a random comic face?
Nothing very exciting, but another small step along the path to more consistently drawing.
First, a new look at my walking progress, showing my September lameness (2nd last column). As well as having the first 11 days written off entirely by bedridden-ness, I was simply bored with the whole walking thing. I'll do much better this month, as the weather (and hopefully my health) improve, giving me renewed enthusiasm.
Next come a couple of pictures illustrating my new "Action-O-Meter" (TM) scale of judging whether I'm doing anything.
I'll leave it to the reader to work out what it all means, and how I can have a negative action count (as lazy as I am that seems a bit extreme!). Since I know you're interested, my average daily action count (ADAC) for August was 1.82, dropping to a sad and sorry 1.21 in September. Stay tuned for more ADAC updates! King of the nerds!!! (And before you ask, drawing graphs doesn't add to my ADAC, so my actionosity is dropping as I write this...).
Which Star Wars Character (Episodes 1-6) Are You?
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Anyway, I wasn't going to let that unaccustomed health go to waste, so went for my first proper hour-long walk in weeks, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I did realise that listening to comedy podcasts while wandering supermarket aisles is a good way of having people look at me strangely, as I attempted to stifle laughter.
Upon my triumphant return home, I watched Star Wars: A New Hope, the original theatrical version with 2.0 sound and grainy film stock now on DVD, and realised that it remains an awesome movie, having aged much better than me. Unlike the legions of fanboys who turned their homemade lightsabers in George Lucas' direction when he tinkered with the originals, I didn't have a real problem with the new versions, other than the fact that the old ones weren't available. Now that's solved, and everyone who managed to wait 10 years before owning the original trilogy can rest easy.
Friday, October 06, 2006
You scored 96 Bluthism!
Incredible!! You even spotted my trick question pitfalls! You are without a doubt the biggest Arrested Development master who has ever walked the earth!
My test tracked 1 variable - How you compared to other people your age and gender: You scored higher than 99% on Bluthism
Link: The Arrested Development Test written by HibachiTheHutt
"Big deal!" you say disparagingly, comparative jetsetter that you no doubt are, but this is total-way-hella-cool news for me, having travelled away from Canberra only once in the past 30 months (Road Trip 2005). My flights and accommodation are all booked, I have a few friends to hang out with while I'm there, and the rest will be making things up as I go. (Although if you have advice on must-sees/dos for Melbourne in late Spring, feel free to suggest). Only 47 days to wait!
Basically I've been having some serious back and stomach pain for the past few weeks, and eventually decided it wasn't one of the many things I know to be wrong with me, so I ventured to the doctor. Turns out I was right to check, since the treatment I've been trying the past few days to rule out just a back problem has been ineffective, meaning on Monday I have to book a lumbar/abdominal CT scan, to rule out (or confirm) a problem with my pancreas.
As briefly entertaining as it was to quote The Simpsons with an "Ow! My pancreas!" line, I was seriously hoping that it was just a minor back thing which required some rest and stretching... but that would have been far too simple for my stupid body.
Luckily, work has been excellent and energising in recent weeks, and so I haven't been tempted to stay in bed feeling sorry for myself. I said a number of times while ill with persistent nausea that I would much prefer old, faithful pain, as I could cope with that. I got what I wished for...
So, in summary, mostly happy with a dose of frustration thrown in.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
At the end of the first season, they'd started to inject a little levity into the scripts but this is a return to dark and gritty, humankind in peril stuff. Which, after I acclimatised, became very compelling and I definitely got caught up in the story. Not always comfortable viewing, and therefore not likely to appear on my watch-again list (I like my "drama" interspersed with craziness/comedy, ala Scrubs, X-Files, Threshold, etc.).
If you dug S1, this second installment will certainly not disappoint. Awesome space battle scenes alone (with a more "real" CGI style I'll always associate with Firefly) made it impressive to watch, and the acting is consistently powerful, making me care what happens to the characters. Throw in guest appearances by Michelle Forbes and Dean Stockwell, and you've got a nice little package.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
A little of Jack Black's trademark song styling, extensive use of the word "crazy" and impressive fight choreography add up to a non-stop thrill ride of spills and chills... or, more accurately, a consistently laugh-inducing, warm and fuzzy 90 minutes well spent.
(Thanks for the invite B!)
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
I'm not going to be quite as foolish as Liv in talking up the arrival of Spring, since after that post we had gale force winds and plenty of showers for over a week (lucky I was in bed most of the time anyway). So, instead, I will let the new additions to my Walking photoset speak for themselves.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Earth 2 - The Complete Series
From IMDB: "Colonists, crash-landed on an alien planet, begin the long trek to their originally designated landing place, facing both alien and human threats."
12 years old, but still extremely entertaining. Despite its sci-fi premise, it really is more about the characters and how they handle the situation the find themselves in. Touching, humorous and often thought-provoking.
Arrested Development - Season 3
Sadly this is the final season, but it went out with a bang. Every episode hilarious and I'm going to have to rewatch just to catch the many jokes I missed while laughing. It was definitely worth the wait. If you haven't seen the first 2 seasons, watch them first, because the number of callbacks to earlier jokes might actually make this series unwatchable for newbies.
Veronica Mars - Season 2
Although I'd already seen the first 15 (of 22) episodes, they were equally enjoyable second time around, and I was consistently stunned by how much story was packed into each 40 minute show. Lots of red-herrings, humour, pop-culture references and a climax that resolved big questions while opening plenty more for the 3rd season (starting October 3 in the US)to resolve. Not a painful cliffhanger ending, though, which was appreciated, and showed some faith that viewers will return for the quality of the show, not because they're tormented by a lack of answers.
Currently being watched: Fresh Prince of Bel Air (S2) and The Simpsons (S8)
Next on the list: Doctor Who (S1) and Threshold (The Complete Series)
Monday, September 04, 2006
One other piece of good news is that my blood pressure is down to 110/70, which means that I'm probably not as stressed as I sometimes think I am, and that the exercise has made a significant difference (my BP reading had been something like 140/95 last year, which is right in the high pressure zone). That measurement alone will hopefully allow me to relax, in what may possibly be irony, or maybe just some kind of sensible mental feedback mechanism.
So (1) I'm afraid that weekend plans aren't really on my radar (sorry Em!) and (2) a certain J needs her own blog, when the comment is longer than the original post :)
Sunday, September 03, 2006
So, as is usual for me when I get sick again, after a whole 3 months of comparative health, I lose my confidence that this kind of chronic illness crap will ever end, that my life is going anywhere, that I know what the hell I want to be doing, blah-de-blah-blah. Some of my pessimism surfaces from a lack of activity, and the distancing effect that being confined to bed has, but the fact that negativity sits so close to the surface just makes me think I'm usually just fooling myself that I'm cheerful, and as soon as I get fatigued and have no energy for self-deception the truth comes out.
And that's why: (1) I call this the World Wide Whinge, and (2) why I shouldn't post when I'm feeling sorry for myself. Nothing is ever as bad as I make it sound (quite how useful a talent that is, I don't know) and I'm sure that once I can do more than move from bed to lounge and back without needing a nap I'll be my faux-positive self again. Hoor-koff-koff-ay!
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
In any case, I've set it up so the main links and content get loaded first, so the new toys don't get in the way of my entertaining writing... And if they don't work, it's not my fault.
I hope y'all like it!
Friday, August 18, 2006
S-Club's 30th on the 5th was heaps o' fun, and because of the Shenani-dogs I even talked to people who weren't wearing orange! I ate way too much junk food, amazed youngsters with my long public service career and my Sunday walk was taken care of as I left the party at 1am to get home a little before 2, meaning a sleep-in and day of laziness were my reward.
(Wed the 9th) It's iPod time! I managed a half hour walk in winds strong enough to nearly tear my beanie from my velcro-stubbled head, before deciding that, new toy or not, I was going back home.
(Friday the 11th) I left work and headed to Civic rather than home, with no actual plans (Em would be proud) except the vague hope of seeing some friends. I tried visiting K but he'd already gone to the pub, so I propped up his business by purchasing a handful of comics, and organised impromptu drinks with B and The Boy. A pint of conversation later I returned to Impact, this time meeting K, who looked frantically around for escape before resigning himself to an OK Corral dinner and a second King O's pint with me. He ran screaming for an imaginary bus, which he assured me was his via a shouted over-shoulder goodbye, around 10 and I rode my own flexibus home with a smile borne of a satisfying week.
(Wed 16) A rare catch up with Redhead Kingpin (the first time since Fishy's wedding), then an awesome chat over tea/coffee with Liv, before meeting up with B for Thai dinner (vegetarian massumun, at least that's how the menu spelt it, but I remain skeptical) and it was off home to once again relish the joy that is hanging with friends.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Since my health has been going so well, and I'm enjoying what that feels like, I'm trying out a vegetarian diet. As much as anything, it's to force myself to eat more vegetables, as my tuna and rice habit made me lazy in my food preparation, settling for tinned and processed goods.
So far, over 10 days with no meat, I'm still feeling really good. Coping fine with full work weeks, partying till 2am on Saturday in the cold, and my regular walks. Compared to my gluten-free diet, it's actually a breeze.
I've known for a long time what I need to do to be healthy, but have simply fooled myself into thinking I don't have time, or energy, or whatever, to do those things. Walking is one, getting rid of Coke is another (10 weeks and counting without a drop of cool, black gold). I've had almost no red meat for 2 years anyway, so cutting out chicken and tuna was the next step to try, and not much of a burden (so far).
So even if I don't stick with "cold turkey" (reverse no-pun not intended), I should at least have supplemented my diet with appropriate amounts of veges, and will eat less meat.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
160GB hard drive, twin HD tuners, timeshift, etc. Why would I fork out lots of cash for a new device to tape the nothing that is on TV? Why? ... I've made a huge mistake...
Toy #2 - 60GB Video iPod
Finally sick of issues with my much-abused three year old MP3 walkman, I've succumbed to the lure of the pretty black item below. It should be in my hands early next week.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
I'd actually forgotten what feeling healthy was like. Until this morning.
Yesterday I worked 9 hours, busy the whole time (finally!) and really enjoying myself. Got home at 6.30, spent the evening re-watching Arrested Development (still as awesome as the first time I saw it) and ended up asleep just before midnight, content with a positive day, although unsure how the unaccustomed working would affect me, tiredness-wise.
This morning I woke at 5.45, remembering I needed to send an email to one of my new staff telling him what I want him working on next. So I got up at 6.30, briefly connected to the work network to fire off the email while I ate my breakfast, then headed out for an 80 minute walk (my stepping stones still being flooded over). I got home feeling full of energy and also finding that my latest shipment of DVDs are ready for me to collect from the post office, 2.5 weeks early.
Monday, July 24, 2006
My walking had been going really well this month, thanks to my fancy graph motivating me. I've already walked 11 times, beating all of June and only 3 walks away from my 2nd best month ever. Sadly, the forecast is for rain all week, which may hurt my plans. We'll see.
In related health news, I weighed myself on Saturday (for the first time since May) finding that I'm down to 95 kg, the first time I've dropped under 96 since I became a Shenanigan in 2001. So even though I've been eating a lot, including tasty assorted cream biscuits, Milo, and a huge huge serve of chicken omelette from OK Corral, my very moderate exercise is still making progress. My buzzwords of moderation and maintainability in my diet are paying off!
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
- Watching Pirates 2 with my sisters. The movie had some excellent moments, although pacing was a bit too slow. Hard to live up to expectations after the fun of the first, though.
- Coffee with Liv, hitting some of the deeper discussion topics that I rarely venture into with others.
- OK Corral dinner with B, sharing the Arrested Development love..
- Plus, the cherry on top of this Wednesday sundae, my Belco connecting bus was 5 minutes late, just enough to allow me to make it and avoid a 30 minute interchange wait. So now I'm home and very happy! Hurrah!
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Posting to my journal has the convenience of linking (almost) automatically to artist pages which give anyone interested in following the links more info.
Much like my DVD collection, I hope there are surprises in my music choices, as well as a healthy slab of obvious choices.
Monday, July 10, 2006
I've been using SharpReader to monitor my RSS feeds for as long as I've been blogging, largely for its simplicity. I've tried several replacements and always gone back to basics. But the latest (0.7.1) release of Flock has finally given me a reason to change.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Luckily, it was as excellent as everyone had been telling me (I would hardly have been able to watch 13 episodes straight otherwise). The special effects had the same "reality" used to great effect in Firefly (one of the many things I loved about that show). The conflict within and between characters was always interesting and in the last few episodes I felt there was more confidence in using humour, introducing a few little looks and key pauses to let the comedy come through as a counterpoint to the life or death struggle against the Cylons.
Katee Sackhoff keeps the "Starbuck" character thoroughly enjoyable, adding complexity to the fun stereotype which Dirk Benedict first brought to life. Actually, I think the whole show is evidence of taking what was good about the original series and giving it extra layers. More tension between father and son Adama, less cartoonish villainy in Baltar and more down to earth treatment of the mythic elements of the story.
Season 2 comes out on DVD in Australia August 16 (before the full set is available in the US, surprisingly), so I know what else is on the shopping list.
Like most of my current favourite comedies, this is sans-laugh-track, giving me the freedom to laugh when I feel it's warranted, rather than being frustrated at the strange laugh timing of an artificial audience. When watching How I Met Your Mother and My Name Is Earl on Thursday night, I noticed very clearly how resistant I was to finding the first funny, due to major canned-laugh overuse, while Earl was immediately enjoyable.
P.S. Thanks to Kev for the Scrubs recommendation, saying "I reckon it is awesome" rather than "You have to see this show", thus allowing me to actually enjoy it, and to S-Club for lending me the DVDs.
After spending all week trying (and failing) to recover from a persistent cold, I had to miss out on farewell drinks for a Melbourne-bound friend on Saturday night. Still not feeling much better Sunday morning, I forced myself ready for my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary celebration. I was so glad I did. After they renewed their vows in front of three generations of family in a simple, touching ceremony, we all headed out for a leisurely, laugh-filled lunch.
Since I'd eaten way too much banquet, I left for a walk as soon as I got home, and on the way ran into a friend I hadn't seen for 3 years, who (I found out) only lives 15 minutes walk away. After a quick catch up, I returned to my walk, feeling really positive and upbeat and looking forward to finally starting in my team leader role on Monday. That cheer was cut short when I returned home to the news that my grandmother had been rushed to hospital, having suffered a stroke. Less than two days later, she passed away in her sleep.
I've been spoilt in my life so far, rarely having to deal with the grief of losing loved ones. To be honest it still doesn't seem quite real that Nanna is gone. I can easily picture her smile, and recall the feeling I always got when seeing her that I had made her day brighter by simply being around.
I'm at a loss for more words.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
The animation was spectacular, the characters were well defined stereotypes, and there were plenty of laughs (not just for the plethora of kiddies who shared the cinema). At 135 minutes long, I was expecting it to drag* at some stage, but I think the pacing was really good, and the lack of fidgeting in the tykes indicated the bright colours and loud noises were captivating them too :)
Or maybe I just like hanging with B, and wouldn't really care what movie we saw ;)
* definitely no pun intended...
Firstly, simple maths tells me I've spent 10% of the last 8 weeks watching Mulder and Scully (around 140 hours). So lesson 1 is that I'm wasting my life...
Secondly, The X-Files is an awesome show, and remained so throughout its whole run, despite what less-easily-pleased-than-me people might try to tell you.
Thirdly... did I mention I'm wasting my life?
So, where to from here? How can I possibly fill the X-hole in my life? Suggestions welcome :)
Friday, June 09, 2006
Luckily, thanks to K (and my money), I now have the next two volumes of Fables to enjoy, so it's early to bed for some reading...
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
- shopping without my glasses,
- label colour almost identical to tomato and onion flavour,
- having eaten around a thousand tuna and rice meals the past few years, so paying no attention at all to the stirring together of ingredients,
- missing the fact there was a whole chilli mixed in with the rice.
Not even tuna and rice is safe anymore! Thankfully the spaghetti bolognaise, baked bean toasted sandwiches, chicken schnitzels and turkey sandwiches which have been added to my menu overwhelm a single culinary disaster :) Now I'm hungry...
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Walks in March - 17
Walks in April - 12
Walks in May - 12
While I'm not entirely satisfied with the frequency of walking the past couple of months, it's certainly better than the zero walks I'd done before March. Plus there are plenty of lunchtime walks and walks to the shops for groceries which I don't count.
My weight has remained fairly stable, even with the temptations opened up by now being able to eat anything I want. There's still plenty of work left for me to do before I reach my health goals, but I'm more confident all the time that I will continue the small steps I need.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
I awoke refreshed and positive, and that better attitude was reflected in a much improved work day. At least some of my time was spent away from my computer, discussing things with people and having another tunnel light shone in my direction, with the promise of a real team leader role again. Basically, since I moved to my current section I've felt that it's 1 or 2 managers "heavy" and I've been in a position on the outside, not wanting to steal work/opportunities from anyone else while remaining dissatisfied with my day to day job (I love to play the martyr :). Now 3 of the 5 managers in our section are moving to other areas, giving me more room to create the role I want without stepping on toes. (Tentative) yay!
In X-Files news, I'm now 2 episodes into Season 7, with the promise of the comedic gold of X-Cops, First Person Shooter and Hollywood A.D. The arrival of three seasons of The Micallef Program has slowed down my X-watching, but not by much.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Arrived this week: The Micallef P(r)ogram(me) Series 1-3
Will arrive end of July: Newsradio - Season 4, The Pretender - Season 4, The Breakfast Club
Will arrive end of August: Veronica Mars - Season 2, (the new) Doctor Who - Season 1, Threshold - The Complete Series
Still waiting on a release date for Arrested Sevelopment - Season 3...
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
This was only the second movie I've seen at the cinema this year, and after 4 ads vs 1 movie trailer, I was wondering why I forked out over $15 to be force-fed crap. Luckily they threw in a few more trailers, including X3 (yeah, baby!), and my ad-rage was narrowly averted...
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Sadly, Arrested Development's 3rd season will be its last, although all accounts have it going out still on a high.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
There are continuing displays of a shameful lack of personal accountability in a number of our most senior public officials, the AWB scandal just being the latest of these. This affair alone shows that our "leaders" are either:
(a) utterly incompetent, remaining intentionally unaware of matters within their scope of responsibility, or
(b) unapologetically dishonest, uttering lies with arrogance and impunity.
Certainly scapegoats will be found, individuals who may be partly to blame or may just be victims of attempting to manoeuvre the webs of deceit which continue to grow outwards from the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.
Personal freedoms continue to be eroded, the media sustains a feeding frenzy of stereotypes and irrational fears, and individuals poorly suited to managing a small team of people on a low priority project continue to run rampant, turning the forces at their disposal into nothing more than tools of self-aggrandisement.
The dictatorial mindset so clear in our current government is reinforced by targeted removal of avenues for dissent. Attempts to marginalise employee co-operatives (e.g. unions), "anti-terror" laws stifling free speech, reduced availability of education to the financially disadvantaged (strengthening support for the status quo, limiting diversity in positions of power which are almost universally education based).
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Always in control, you are a great leader, delegator, and diplomat. These qualities attract people to you, and this sometimes annoys you.
Aloof, introspective, and philosophical; you enjoy quiet time in solitude.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Friday, April 28, 2006
We never did a gig but did record one EP. The engineer and producer of this bit of musical history was one of our teachers Brother Kevin. He gave us a bit of advice that I’ll never forget: ‘Stop now, you are just awful’.Definitely worth reading.
We were and we did.
Well said Brother Kev.
Monday, April 24, 2006
Now podcasts have brought me the ultimate product: many of my favourite comedians, who host radio shows which don't broadcast to Canberra (well, they might, but they'd be on commercial radio and hence unlistenable-to), now have their "best bits" neatly cut together into packages of pure hilarity, downloadable for free and ready for my aforementioned walks. I've been listening to Hamish and Andy and Merrick and Rosso for a while, but now there are also shows from Mick Molloy, Tony Martin and Shaun Micallef to add to my schedule, enough to keep me going for my whole week of walking!
What an age we live in :)
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
In theory, I should now be able to eat almost normally, except maybe for milk products. I have to wait until I have more info about the treatment for the problem I do have before I can risk any Coke or beer to celebrate, but things are definitely looking up on the diet front! While I won't actually feel any better until I get some actual medication, at least I can eat things which aren't tuna and rice without having to worry that they'll make me feel worse. Hurrah!
Thursday, April 13, 2006
After not watching any live basketball for a couple of years, it was awesome to be there when Australia's women basketballers beat the USA, for the first time in in 7 years. Thanks to Liv for arranging everything!
In other news, I've finally succumbed to vanilla Blogger comments, so I'll be notified when anyone writes something, rather than padding my own blog stats checking to see if anyone likes me :)
Monday, April 10, 2006
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Firstly, I just got back from my first walk since Monday. What I discovered at the supermarket mid-point of my walk was that, just as I was about to pay for my groceries, I hadn't brought my wallet. Luckily I'd just eaten lunch, or hunger might have made that less than amusing, but I take it as simply another way of ensuring I do more walking :)
Secondly, when I checked my letterbox on returning home I found (along with the usual ton of junk mail) an old-fashioned, snail mail, chain letter scam. I didn't think they still existed! I certainly hadn't received one since primary school. This one assures me that the sending of 200 letters, along with posting a $10 note (which I thought was illegal, but is apparently just "risky" according to Australia Post) will net me over $77,000!!! Interesting to see the effect of inflation, as the original e-version specifies $1 :)
|You Are a Little Scary|
You've got a nice edge to you. Use it.
Friday, April 07, 2006
My cartoon stomach!
It may be a little hard to read, but the main thing the initial exam showed is that I have erosive gastritis, which is as fun as it sounds. On its own, that would be able to explain all my symptoms. It's entirely treatable, which is the best news, so now I just have to hope that the biopsies don't show any evidence of coeliac-icity, or anything else, and I should be able to get away with some tablets, little or no Coke/alcohol and possibly eating as normal.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
After over a month of waiting, I've finally had my gastroscopy, which was even easier than I'd expected. 12 hours with no food and water wasn't quite as tough as I'd feared, although not made easier by only 6 hours sleep in 3 days beforehand. The procedure itself was non-existent for me, since one moment I was talking to the doctor and the next I was waking up in recovery. I really need to get me some of that sedative! I even got a couple of little photos and a little hand-drawn diagram of the visible issues with my stomach (reassuring in some respects that there's something wrong, although any treatment needs to wait till pathology results).
I was only very slightly groggy by the time I got home, watched a little TV and was able to eat my normal dinner. My stomach is still a bit sensitive, and so I won't be rushing back to Coke drinking in the next few days. My only issue is having to wait another 2 weeks to get full results, which will tell me whether I can start having gluten again (or not) as well as, hopefully, what else I can do to finally make a full recovery.
So the bulk of my holidays will remain a tuna and rice zone, with no clear path forward still, but at least still moving in the right direction.
Friday, March 31, 2006
- sunspots were first seen by Chinese astronomers around 28 BC,
- this year marks a solar minimum (which happens every 11 years) meaning no sunspots for most of the year.
Monday, March 27, 2006
That last bit isn't actually true at all :)
Through Antioch I made a whole heap of new friends, who I spent every waking hour (i.e. 22 hours a day) with, leaving little spare time to read/listen. My life became more about people than concepts and things (which hasn't been a bad thing). Then uni almost entirely killed my interest in learning the fun parts of science, drowning me in differential equations and mathematical proofs. I happily discarded organised religion again, while keeping my friends, but now focused on finishing my assignments, getting projects done, and learning only what's relevant to my day to day work.
What I've discovered the past few weeks is that my love of science is certainly not dead, and hearing about why "intelligent design" is a load of crap, a 10th planet in our solar system (take 7), the anthropic universe, and growing tomatoes on Mars has been awesome. Along with reading (and thoroughly enjoying) Simon Singh's latest book, The Big Bang, it's great to have something in my spare time other than watching comedy DVDs. Something which actually makes my brain work!
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Considering that going more than a few hours without a snack currently makes me extremely nauseous (even during the night), I'm not really looking forward to recovering from that fast. Luckily I'm on holidays as of April 1, giving me more flexibility in my sleeping, so I'm planning to stay awake as long as possible in the wee hours of April 5 and sleep most of the time until the appointment.
And then, magically, I'll know what's wrong with me :)
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Monday, February 27, 2006
The next dietary step I've been considering is going vegetarian. I haven't had any red meat for over 18 months anyway, and very rarely eat chicken, so it would only involve cutting out the third of my meals each day which is tuna. I'll wait to see what the gastroenterologist finds first, but if he finds nothing "mechanically" wrong I'm running out of things to remove from my diet. Animal protein is harder to digest, and so the vege option has advantages anyway, but if I'm not adding back in some gluten-based products at the same time I cut out tuna it's pretty restrictive.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Basically, it's Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant (co-creator of The Office) and Karl Pilkingon, rabbiting on about nothing in particular. While Monkey News is obviously a segment they've been running into the ground long before this podcast series started, Karl's Diary made me laugh harder than I have in years. If my diary had been 1% as interesting to me, I would not have let it die a natural (if overdue) death last year. Recounting my days events and thoughts purely for my own benefit lost its appeal soon after this blog began.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
"Pemberton came out of the booth whistling. Good girl, Phyllis. Staunch. He wondered why he had ever doubted her."which perfectly sums up the antiquated gender balance of the preceding 35 pages. That was enough for me to cut my losses and not read any further (and I don't set aside books lightly).
Saturday, February 11, 2006
I'd gone 6 days without any more evening walks, and was really missing them, so tonight I finally got back to walking. This time I took some photos, the start of a Walking set which will hopefully grow as I vary my path.
I'm 2 days into a self-enforced 6 day break from work, because my fatigue has just been too frustrating, and even short work days have exhausted me. Ironically, given my tiredness, I haven't been able to sleep, which hasn't done my health any favours. So my hope is that a slightly extended break will give me the energy reserves I need to power (rather than limp) through the remaining weeks till my April off. Certainly trying to push through the fatigue by continuing with normal work hours wasn't getting me anywhere. Yesterday morning I went for 7.30am blood tests (I had to fast for them, so wanted to get them done as early as possible, removing the barrier to breakfast). Hopefully the results of the tests will show something which I can work on to improve my health. There has to be more than just my dietary problems going on, 'cause it's been 4 weeks since I had some bread with yeast and if that was all that was wrong I would have been better within a week.