Sunday, December 30, 2007

One more

Slither
Eager for a Nathan Fillion fix? Not bothered by some (read as 'lots of') gratuitous gore? This just may be for you. Plenty of laughs to be had, largely through Fillion's Bill Pardy character and his realistic reactions to the craziness of alien worm infestation. Not for the squeamish, but enjoyable for others.

Blogged with Flock

This week's movies

Sunshine
Do you like happy endings? Do you like everyone to live? Then this is not the movie for you. But if you like your sci-fi with a touch of 2001 style (without the boredom) and horror (but nothing too graphic), then you should enjoy the latest movie from the director of Trainspotting.

Tomb Raider 2
Good, escapist fun, which is exactly what I was hoping for. If you didn't like (or want to watch) the first one, don't bother with this. Otherwise, switch off brain and enjoy :)

Loaded Weapon 1
A blast from the past, with quality deadpan work from Emilio Estevez and Samuel L. Jackson, Kathy Ireland, and lots of great cameos. At only 80 minutes long, it sensibly doesn't overstay its welcome, as maintaining rapid-fire sight gags for too long just gets old.

Die Hard 4.0
Ah, John McClain, how I've missed you. This is exactly how OTT action movies should be! Will the hacker be a hero? Watch and find out.

Blogged with Flock

Monday, December 24, 2007

Waves

IMG_1908

My slow health improvement continues, with a solid work quota last week, although ending in a day of sleep on Saturday to recover. The photo above shows I didn't miss much...

Today begins my hesitant return to walking, after 5 weeks without any significant exercise.

Blogged with Flock

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Harrumph

Bah humbug

It's been a long time between posts, mostly because my last fortnight has been little more than bed-rest, with occasional breaks to eat and gradually ease back into work, plus a couple of conversations with Liv which were real bright spots.

Despite the illness, my mood has remained quite positive, probably because my eating has remained unaffected :) I'm well and truly sick of the lingering cough that remains, but pleased that the first 2 days of this week were almost full work days, and didn't result in total exhaustion. The slow process of rebuilding my superhero-like strength and stamina now begins ;)

Blogged with Flock

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Finally!!!

I've spent more than two-thirds of my voting life frustrated by a Liberal government focused on their exclusively financial dogma, with no regard for anyone but the already affluent. From a purely self-centred viewpoint, it makes no difference to the comfort level of my life who is in power. I own my own home, have a solid education and well-paid job. But I'm in the minority, and I don't believe Australia can be sold as being prosperous while so many are still disadvantaged.

Yesterday's election marks a long overdue turning point, where social justice is high on the priority list. I had become demoralised reading ALP policy, knowing that the existing government had no intention of changing their ways. This morning I'm able to look at those same Labor policies with hope and enthusiasm, a genuine belief that things will improve. For example, just the initiatives mentioned in this Julia Gillard speech a few days ago illustrate a radical change in focus from the last 11 years.

I feel like a huge weight of decade-long cynicism has been lifted from my shoulders and I dare to dream of Australia becoming the country I want it to be, untainted by the impersonal, workers-as-drones, everyone-for-himself world our former government was pushing, but can no longer progress.

Blogged with Flock

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Remembering

Due to my hatred of shopping, I've delayed upgrading my PC's memory for waaay too long, coping with the almost constant thrashing caused by 512 MB of RAM plus too many hungry apps. Yesterday I bought an extra gig of RAM via the magic of e-commerce, it arrived via post today, and it has now tripled my available memory in one go, making those greedy apps work much more smoothly, and making my impatience less of an issue.

Of course the ridiculous heat means I will only be able to enjoy the newfound performance boost in short, few-minute gasps before having to escape the sauna that is my computer room... Roll on winter!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

[DVD] Transformers

Optimus Prime

I watched this (birthday present) with some trepidation, as I didn't want my fond childhood memories of the Transformers squashed. Luckily, there was a decent amount of transforming going on (although too light on the classic sound effect). I'm sure I missed out on some of the spectacle by not seeing it on a cinema screen, but it was still an enjoyable diversion, and fits well with the other entries in the Michael Bay ouevre already in my collection - Bad Boys, Armageddon and The Island.

Add to that the unbeatable timbre of Optimus Prime's oration and the imposing DVD case (above), and it's a tidy little package (with over 2 hours of running time value).

Friday, November 16, 2007

[DVD] Bones - Season 2

I hungrily devoured this long-awaited season, and was left satiated (how's that for some metaphor, huh?). The humour is finely balanced with the horror of the subject matter, and the characters and their relationships continue to deepen, with the knowledge of a third season currently screening in the US giving me further involving stories to look forward to.

Episode 9, "Aliens in a Spaceship", is particularly powerful and totally absorbed me, despite having no aliens and no spaceship. Plus you can't go wrong throwing Stephen Fry into the mix for a few episodes.

[DVD] Boston Legal - Season 3

I can't rave enough about Boston Legal, it just gets better with each season. It is genuinely exceptional in its storytelling and performances, and manages to deliver important messages (relevant to a broad audience, given the Americanisation of world culture) without ever getting preachy. It ranges widely in tone across hilarious, touching, powerful and thought-provoking, without ever skipping a beat. The Alan/Jerry and Claire/Clarence relationships in this season are particular favourites of mine. I also enjoyed every moment the 4th wall was kicked down, allowing the show to be enjoyed for its absurdity along with its pathos.

Wonder years

I've been trapped in my own thoughts the past few weeks, really struggling to get any coherence out of my head, Thank to Em, and a lunchtime chat with her today, the worst of my cyclic mulling has been removed. And it would be a shame to waste this taste of clarity, so I've returned to my neglected blog. (Disclaimer: The following may bear no resemblance to clarity as you understand the term...)

Here's what was crystallised by talking to Em, but was triggered by my brief period of acting director. Without realising it, I'd settled into a management routine and was no longer questioning my skills. The additional responsibility of my temporary role forced me to review many assumptions, and I found myself wanting. As I wound back to my previous role, I've been leaning back towards the hands-on technical (i.e. programming) part of my previously people-focused role. This reaction could have at least two interpretations:

1 ... Having exposed a lack of interest in taking on a broader, more challenging management role, I've decided to give building another go, shifting the career direction I'd been taking, away from the project/people management.

2 ... Scared to actually have to work at the parts of my job I already felt I was outstanding in, but proved myself wrong about, I've gone scurrying back to the black and white of code.

To be honest, I don't really know which of these is most accurate! And my perception of a lack of ability in the management area, or being able to step up another level, have had no external drivers. The feedback from others on my time in the acting role was exclusively positive. Being aware of this internal uncertainty at least allows me to work towards establishing/confirming goals for myself career-wise. While I miss the comfy rut I'd created, I at least know I need to reset my path. What will it be? Excitement awaits!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

[DVD] Veronica Mars - S3

Less than 48 hours (and exactly 20 episodes) after the final season began, it also ended :(

On a positive note, the quality remained high throughout, the new characters who appeared once college started supplemented the cast really well, there were plenty of laughs, as well as some genuine suspense. While I'm disappointed the Veronica FBI season didn't get the go-ahead, and the ending left plenty of unanswered questions, it was one enjoyable ride.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

In the place where I work

I'm on the verge of a move from the too-much-sun environs of 2S to hopefully window-free 5S and, since no one else was in when I arrived at 7.30 the other day, I took the opportunity to record for posterity my current luxurious space.

First a glimpse at my Mr. Happy, "I'm So Happy" Droopy and mini-dolphin, who sit beneath my monitor and remind me of... friends? ... something? ... hmmm...

Some friends


Then there's the sweep of my desk, encompassing my array of snacks, piles of paper (which I'm forced to endure due to a complete lack of wall space) and my purdy VoIP phone...

Workstation

Finally, the whole expanse of my double space, with meeting desk, electronic whiteboard and test PC desk, looking out over not only my team but the entire floor, master of some of what I survey...

My office

I bet you wish you were me right now :)

I... am waiting... for a bus

7am... Friday morning... Sensational clouds...

Clouds

Waiting for lunch

Here are a few photos I took while sitting by Lake G waiting to have lunch at Black Pepper with Liv, Em, K and L a few weeks back.

By the lake

Lake

IMG_1880

Friday, November 02, 2007

Blergh

A brief little note to celebrate an upcoming 5 days of R&R, the finale to a 4 month Director stint which has been enjoyable but draining. And my microwave has finally returned home!

I've watched My Name Is Earl S2, Millennium S2 and the first season of 30 Rock over the past few weeks, and now have Boston Legal S3 and Seinfeld S9 (plus the impending arrival of Bones S2 and Veronica Mars S3) to look forward to, as I head into a month with only 6 more working days, and a whole lot of holiday.

Plus I might occasionally get out of my recliner to go for some walks... we'll see...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Lunch ahoy!

I have to say that the past week was almost universally excellent, despite my lack of hot food.

I had lunch with friends on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and my stomach behaved itself amazingly well (until last night, there's something about Fridays...).

Plus, I did a bunch of drawings which are now clogging up my Media Empire.

In addition to all that (which would have been enough), work was really positive, and I actually felt like I earned my Director $'s. I'm even overly enthusiastic about the stuff which should fall into place over the next month to better position our publishing process/systems to handle our future web directions.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The dark ages

Almost 12 months to the day after my last microwave kicked it, I find myself again lacking in nuclear power. I've heard it's possible to heat food using something called a "stove", but I have yet to be convinced...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Spider-Man 3

I finally got around to watching this, and wasn't disappointed. There's a weird tonal change a bit over halfway through the movie, as an alien parasite turns Peter Parker into 70's John Travolta, but that's funny rather than jarring. Venom looks great, and the fight scenes suitably one-up the earlier movies.

Heroes



My well-practiced patience, having waited until the DVD release to watch Heroes, was amply paid off by an absorbing 3 day marathon, where each episode was better than the last. It even had me saying aloud "That's awesome" several times, despite watching it solo.

Of course I now have to wait another year to watch Season 2...

American Gothic

I was thoroughly enjoying my viewing experience of the American Gothic blast from the past until the completely-out-of-order episodes kicked in, and any narrative flow disappeared entirely. Now you may well say "Bertie, surely it can't have been that bad". And I'll reply with the ordering of the episodes, rearranging the order they appear on the DVDs and listing them in the order they should be viewed:

1-5, 19, 6-7, 14, 13, 8, 20, 9-12, 15, 21, 16, 22, 17-18

"Hmmm," you say, "I agree Bertie, that's seriously f**ked up!!!"

The problem here is that I'd watched the first 12 eps before I noticed anything wrong, and by then it was far too late.

On the positive side, the performances were excellent, with some genuinely conflicted characters, and the slowish in-episode pacing creates a uniquely unsettling mood. Not to mention that (when watched in DVD order) you can't possibly predict what's going to happen next...

Brisbane

I've slipped out of the photo-taking habit, so my Brisbane photos from the weekend are exclusively of the ride from the airport:



and the view from my balcony:



But they give a good impression of just how great the weather was, and how different the sights are to my usual Canberra vantage.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Congratulations!

While it was quite a struggle for me health-wise, I'm incredibly glad I had the opportunity to be in Brisbane for Linda and Byron's wedding this weekend. My friends, many now from distant capitals (as well as those from Canberra I don't see often) have always helped me to push through my many varieties of chronic illness, and this was no exception. Thankfully, a few doses of sleep since I got home have taken the edge off the crappiness of my body, and I now have a couple of days to relax, enjoy the rest of a 5 day weekend, and be ready to launch back into work on Thursday. 48 hours of Brisbane trip with only about 5 hours of sleep certainly makes time go by slowly, and while that can be a double-edged sword, I didn't get cut too badly this time around ;)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Not a bad weekend really

  • The Eels snuck through in the first round of the finals.
  • The Hawks also won.
  • Had one of my Flickr photos "published"
  • Sunday morning has returned to fine weather, allowing me to walk again.
  • I've watched many, many episodes of Veronica Mars (Season 1), in preparation for the DVD release of the final season next month.
  • My new DVD shelves have been installed, giving me room to grow my collection to even more ridiculous widths.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

So very lazy

In the absence of having anything to say...



You scored as Wallace Fennel, You are an awesome friend and Veronica's sidekick, but you don't mind... except you're afraid of getting expelled for getting all of those permanent records.

Wallace Fennel

50%

Veronica Mars

44%

Backup (2.0)

44%

Logan Echolls

38%

Keith Mars

25%

Lilly Kane

13%

Duncan Kane

13%

Eli

0%


Which Veronica Mars Character Are You?
created with QuizFarm.com

To be honest, I expected Keith Mars, daggy and bald :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Gorgonzola mittens



As you can see, I made a (successful) last gasp effort at my cycling, 85km in the last 3 weeks, before I switched over to walking to take advantage of the fine spring weather. So this particular graph has come to an end, but I have just returned from my 6th hour-long walk in the past 6 days, ready for my Thursday rest day.

I'm halfway through Sliders S3, and thoroughly enjoying yet another reminiscing TV experience, as well as finally completing my Fast and the Furious trilogy, with an adrenaline pumping Sunday night viewing of Tokyo Drift (aka Fastest and Furiousest).

Interesting? No. My life? Yes.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What else?

And since I finally found the receipt telling me what other DVDs I'd seen the past few weeks...

The Illusionist - You can't go wrong with Edward Norton, and this is a moody murder mystery very different to what I'd expected.

Pan's Labyrinth - Meshes the horrors of the real world seamlessly with fantasy elements to create a distinctly Guillermo del Toro vision. Don't watch this if you're looking for some chuckles, but it's the movie equivalent of a compulsive page turner, really drawing you through to the end.

Hot Fuzz - Just as good the second time around, and having watched the first season of Spaced (with many of the same creative talents involved) since I saw this at the cinema, it's enjoyable seeing just how many of the action techniques were already in place back on Spaced, just cranked up to a larger scale here.

X-Men 3 - Some cool set pieces, but ultimately lacking the sense of real threat which X2 had.

Click - Not the laugh-fest the premise suggests, really focuses more on opportunities lost, with the middle third quite dark... then again... Kate Beckinsale!

Doom - Not bad as videogame adaptations go (at least I'd actually played the game in this case). A couple of surprises, but really it's all about the first person shooter scene which comes late in the movie.

Trontastic

The past 2 weeks have been quite a health struggle, with first my fatigue and then a return of nausea. Neither has been so extreme as to require time off work, or even a return to the doctor (yet), but it's taken up all of my energy and concentration just to get through each day, meaning blogging has been low on my priority stack.

In an attempt to push past this latest illness bout, I've returned to walking, thankfully enabled by a couple of awesome, warm days this weekend. A little over 3 hours of traipsing the suburbs since I got home from work Friday, with DVD watching in between to ensure recovery.

So, what have I been watching?

Tron - I hadn't seen this since my early teens, and I was surprised how well the effects hold up. Maybe I'm viewing it through nostalgic, old-school computing eyes, but it almost made me want to return to coding again.

Alexei Sayles' Stuff - a blast from my mid-teens past, this was mandatory viewing for me on TV back in the laste 80's. And it still has plenty of laughs. If you want to see socialist philosophers advertorialising press-on nails and hair curlers, this is the comedy for you.

The Late Show Presents Bargearse and The Olden Days - Far too many years in coming to DVD, but still genuinely funny, with a few extra tastes of other Late Show sketches.

Thank God You're Here S2 - Sadly only 10 eps long, but this is an even stronger season than the first, which was already hilarious.

The 4400 S3 - Another excellent season, with heaps of surprises all too rare on TV. Thankfully a 4th season is being made, so the story continues.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Return of the G-Raph

The sad fact is that graphs are more exciting than any other content I could write about... So, rather than fight it, I've brought back the most potent weapon in my action-selling arsenal.

At a minimum, this graph shows that, contrary to my usual routine-in-everything, my cycling is either on or off. All up a total of 230km over 3 months, which is actually less than I walked during my year-of-the-repetitive-'burb-circuits. Time for me to up my effort!

Why movies are...

... awesome
  • The Simpsons Movie lived up to my expectations, and really ramped up the scale of animation, and took advantage of the longer run time. Plenty of laughs, great in jokes, and pretty much every character who's ever appeared in an episode shows up.
... crappy
  • $15.50 for a ticket.
  • It took 3 staff 10 minutes to get through the 4 people in line in front of me.
  • I got into the cinema 10 minutes after the movie was supposed to start, and still had to wait another 5 minutes before the trailers even started.
  • Is "Bratz" really a movie which will appeal to Simpsons fans?
Ah, just like the good old days of "the whinge"!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Memory lane

My photo excursion with Liv this afternoon included an aimless wander at the edges of the ANU, my old stomping grounds, and it left me with only positive memories of a more complex time in my life. Since I left uni, my life has become progressively simpler and easier, and this jaunt brought that cheery truth home to me.

That's all wonderful, I hear you say, but what did it look like? Something like this...





Saturday, July 21, 2007

Dodge

While I maintain my MySpace moratorium, I've been sucked into the newer, hipper version Facebook. One feature it has which has made me quite a convert is that I can set it up to import my posts from this blog and have them display as Facebook notes. Excellent idea!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

[Music] The Else

They Might Be Giants new album is chock full of catchy tunes, and sits nicely alongside their many other excellent albums. While I didn't dislike The Spine quite as much as most critics seemed to, this is certainly an improvement, with every track a worthy single.

What's that? You missed my point? ... I like this album :)

[Music] New Maps of Hell

Bad Religion are still going strong in their third decade of pumping out politi-punk, and I love their new stuff as much as I did when I discovered them back in '92 with Stranger Than Fiction. You won't hear more intelligent punk rock anywhere.

En garde

While I have no real aspiration to be a Director, I've quite enjoyed my first week of EL2 acting (with another 5-11 weeks to go). The transition has been far easier for me given that:
  1. my team leader role had me overseeing 60% of the staff/projects in my section already,
  2. I've been in the section for 18 months, and am familiar with all the clients and most of the systems,
  3. my boss is still around, just in a changed role.
Pretty much the ideal intro :)

Outside of work, I've finished watching 3 seasons of Alias over the past month, along with plenty of Scrubs, a dash of Fawlty Towers and, over the past couple of days, several movies...

Boytown - I was always going to enjoy this, Mick Molloy and Co. never having let me down before. While there was not nearly enough Bob Franklin, and the ending was a bit "down", this was a good way to wind down the end of my working week.

Ghost Rider - The effects were very cool, Eva Mendes looked great, but otherwise it was only so-so. I admit I'm not any kind of big fan of the comic, but it just plain didn't grab me as a Rider newbie.

Pulse - One word: Kristen Bell :) It did a good job of being creepy, but hasn't scared me away from my computer...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Away

Long gaps between posts for me usually means one of two things. Either I'm sick/depressed or I'm happily doing stuff, without analysing it enough to feed into musing posts. In this case it's been both. I've thankfully recovered fully from last weekend's gastro, and am eating as "normal". I haven't started back into riding my bike yet, but have been busily drawing away.

While I've had very little sleep the past week, that time has not been spent pondering my place in the universe, but just unthinkingly enjoying my current health (robust enough to dismiss illness which would have had me bedridden for weeks if it had hit 12 months ago) and lack of stress. And unthinking is good for me, but not really fodder for blogging...

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Urrrgggh

To quote an email I sent out on Friday:

"I've managed to get through the first 6 months of the year without a single sick day"

To quote the doctor who came around at 1am this morning, as he gave me an anti-nausea injection, after I'd spent the last 4 hours throwing up:

"You have viral gastroenteritis"

All I've been able to stomach today is one litre of diluted apple juice, and I haven't even felt that hungry, which tells you just how sick I've been. Thankfully, my backlog of podcasts has kept me company as I've lain in bed drifting in and out of naps. I'm only up now while I wait for my iPod to recharge, before I go back to bed, knowing that tomorrow will be sans work.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sight restoration... almost

Got home to the news that my glasses have arrived, so tomorrow I will pick up my replacement eyes and will finally be able to see sans blurriness. Expect drawings and blog posts to quickly follow!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bkrnd Bwrtey

Blog posts and drawings will probably be thin(ner) for the next several days, as my only pair of glasses is having new (stronger!) lenses put in place. While I can see without them, it's much harder on my eyes and brain, and I need both of those for getting through hours of blurry work. Luckily I have DVDs to console me :)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Windy and windy

Here's what it looks like when I go for a scenic tour on the way to and from the National Gallery with my good friend Liv:

Monday, May 28, 2007

Realisation of entropy

A continuation of yesterday's theme, my day at work today was amazingly good. Not because everything worked out (in fact there were/are significant dramas and stresses in a number of cross-section and interpersonal relationships going on). But I realised that I'm genuinely contributing to improving things, to minimise damage where needed, while adding value to my team's decisions.

A couple of times I found myself spontaneously smiling and being grateful for where my work life sits right now. Whatever it is that I'm doing is exactly what I want to be doing (even in spite of working 8-5 with no lunch break, practically workaholic in my usual terms).

I even had the energy left over to ride 10km, and add my latest drawing ... and now I'm off to bed to rest my weary eyes, as I'm forced to wait another week or so for the inevitable news of a changed eyeglass prescription, to hopefully improve a waning focus which threatens my burgeoning artistic habit.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunny side up

All the work I've been putting in to developing a more positively focused mindset seems to be getting to the point of automatic now.

Exhibit A - A thoroughly frustrating and pointless day of meetings a couple of Mondays back had me ready to explode with annoyance, as I headed home. My solution? 20 minutes of weights and 10km cycling, and all the ill will towards the world was gone, allowing me to relax into an evening of DVD watching, the anomaly of a bad work day not to be perpetuated into a bad week.

Exhibit B - On Friday, I got home from work feeling pretty good about achievements over the past couple of days. As I went to put a couple of cartons of So Good in the fridge, one slipped from my hand and smashed on the ground, leaking soy milk all over the floor. With a shrug of the shoulders, I grabbed a cloth, cleaned up, salvaged what I could of the carton's contents, then went about my cheery way. This is certainly not the Bertie of the past.

Exhibit C - After an excellent time catching up with friends in Civic last night (despite any angry-looking photos you might see!), my last bus home drove away within eyesight but out of running distance. Rather than being angry about it, I strolled to the taxi rank and appreciated the much faster ride home, including an enjoyable conversation with my African taxi driver (who was actually enjoying the start of winter, saying he'd had enough of heat!). I was snugly in bed 20 minutes before I would have even been home via bus, and that's (occasionally) worth the extra $30.

None of that's to say I'm the perfect beacon of cheer, but I certainly feel more resilient in dealing with the inevitable downs of life. Not only good for me, but certainly better for those around me too :)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Engaging virtuosity

Just in case you thought I'd lost my camera, and only had time for sketches, here are some shots I took on Thursday evening, when I got off the bus and began my walk to my family's place.

Purdy!

Birdy!

Dunno

It only took 5 days for the below pic to move to #4 in my most viewed Flickr pics. While I'm happy with how it turned out, I don't think it's anywhere near my best drawing. So, somehow, despite not tagging it with "hot bikini chick" or some other obvious fodder, it eclipses all my other creative works! The web is a weird and wonderful and wacky place - that's what www stands for you know ;)

P.S. It still has a way to go to catch up with the #1 viewed pic on my Flickr account, which was pushed up to its astronomical heights by the favouriting of foot fetishists (ah, alliteration abounds):

Monday, May 21, 2007

Adventure thy name is Bertie

As misleading titles go, that's a doozy :)

However, the last few days have been very active for me, in an almost totally sedentary way. Roughly 10 hours of drawing spread across the weekend, followed by my entire team being away on a training course today, leaving me to carry the burdensome load all on my own.

Bought a replacement DVD player at lunchtime because my current one started acting up last week, and I have too many new TV DVDs to watch to tolerate that (Family Guy, The Larry Sanders Show, and Thank God You're Here, to name a few).

When I got home from work, a malfunctioning security screen kept me out of my house, luckily rescued by a quick call to my Dad, bearer of useful tools. Which only removed my excuse not to do an hour of weights and cycling, before setting up aforementioned DVD player and spending the rest of the evening in front of the TV.

Now, if you try to say all of the preceding run-on sentences out loud, in a single exhalation, you will capture the sheer, breathless magnificence which is my existence ;)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Hobbyist

A little update...

I've been busy doing weights and cycling (working hard to get my waistline shrinking rather than expanding again), as well as watching many a DVD - Blackadder, Clerks 2, and Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny to name a few.

But, more importantly to me, I've finally regained my drawing passion. I'm seeing steady improvement as I do a lot more drawing, which is heartening, and it totally absorbs me while I have pencil to paper, which is rare these days, my concentration flagging steadily as time goes on. As my proof, below are a couple of my favourites from last night and this morning.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Eurovision triumph?

OK, I take it all back. Last night's musical acts were actually much more enjoyable than I've come to expect without the excessive cheese factor usually present and there weren't quite as many ballads as I'd warned of. The song that won was the one I chose to use as my toilet break, because of its boring-ness, so it was destined to succeed. However, 2 of my selections for top 3 (Finland, Russia and Turkey) made it into the final 4, so not too bad overall.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Eurovision disaster!

Apparently the voters on the preliminary final decided rock wasn't the wave of Eurovision future, and largely blanded out the final 10 qualifying spots with ballads. I was hanging out for Andorra's pop-punk in the final, the most fun I've seen performers ever have on Eurovision, but it was not to be. Not to mention there'll be no Netherlands to wear my long-sleeved T for, and no Denmark drag queen for B (hope that doesn't spoil the night for you!). There was some great variety in the preliminary finals, countries actually taking some chances, but unfortunately safety first seems to have won through.

My hope now is for a back-to-back Finland win, with their Evanescence-alike entry.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Sweeping vistas

Or just some simple representations of a lovely autumn day...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Water the frogs

"Sorry, the frogs all jumped out when I tried to top up their water."

I was a split second of reflex action away from this being the greeting for my zookeeper housemate when she returned from holidays. Luckily, I managed to close the door quickly enough to avoid the amphibian exodus, and found an alternate way to fill their enclosure.

Gave me some cool photos though!

Tempting fate

Hmmm...

After a week of not-nearly-enough sleep, I finally managed to scrape out a whole 6 hours on Monday night, which gave me some actual energy and enthusiasm to start my 2nd day back at work, after my first was hampered with nausea and fatigue. I coped with 11.30-2pm meetings, which conflicted heavily with my eating timetable, got to catch up with JS for the first time since I visited Melbourne last November, and went for my first decent walk in a fortnight.

So, rather than risk some kind of fatalistic collapse of my universe into negativity by daring to crow about good things, I figured I might hold off on this post. But, apparently, the mere thinking of positives is enough to smash my sleep back into many fragmented moments, meaning that I woke up at 2am, after a whole 2.5 hours sleep, and it took me 3 hours to return to somnolence.

"Yeah, we've heard all this insomnia crap before, Bertie!" I hear you rant.

"Not so!" I reply.

This time, I didn't calculate how many hours sleep I would be able to get before my alarm went off, or really worry at all about the disturbance. I simply listened to a few podcasts, enjoying the extra kind-of-awake time, and eventually let nature take its course. Of course, I'm grateful for today being my day off, so a return to sub-6 hours of sleep is far more manageable.

I have no idea why I'm having trouble sleeping, and I'm not going to overthink it, just keep on exercising, being relaxed and making use of the extra hours.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Pending hegemony

I haven't really had much to write lately, my concentration being taken up with drawing, reading and spending time with friends. It's been a matter of enjoying what I'm doing enough that I haven't needed to write about it to convince myself that I'm doing something. Which is great (even if the description of it is a horrific, run-on sentence...).

On that note, I think I'm finally starting to reap the reward of actually doing some regular drawing. After numerous posts over the past fortnight bemoaning my inability to get a decent likeness of any of my chosen subjects, I think I've finally got things working, and have found a comfortable process, with acceptable results. Below is one example of today's efforts, but I'd recommend checking the others too, if you want to see where I start to feel that my pics aren't total crap and that I can actually draw a little :)

I still need to experiment a bit with getting the scans to best reflect my pencil sketches, as I think the originals definitely look better than what I've been able to upload in electronic form. Who'd have guessed I might be an analogue fan?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Yangtse furphy

More of my "pictures are lazier more poetic than words" schtick:

Tasty!

Blurry!

Futuristic!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Absentee megalomaniac

If you're wondering where I've been, when I should have been "entertaining" you with complaints and tales of repetitive action, my time has been taken up running my Media Empire.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Flippant excoriation

My DVD watching today, enumerated for your edification:

Gremlins - I haven't seen this since high school, so there were still some surprises. It's a weird mix of slapstick humour and gruesome death, along with still convincing puppetry. Plus Corey Feldman as a little kid!

16 Blocks - an excellent movie, once again showing the awesomeness of Bruce Willis, as well as another great character performance from Mos Def. Contained some genuinely surprising twists, and I'd definitely recommend this, if you want to see a variant on the world weary cop comes good genre.

The Break-Up - not really a feel good movie, I wouldn't say. Enjoyable enough, with a couple of funny patches, but probably darker than I like my romcoms (i.e. actually had moments of reality in it).

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Venerable oddity

Tagged along with my Mum and sister this morning as they walked our dog Starr at Deek's Forest Park. Apparently it used to be wall to wall pine trees before the bushfires, but now there's very little to block the panoramic views.

Here's Starr waiting, amazingly patiently, for us to get going:

and my compulsory shot of Black Mountain Tower:

plus a fallen tree:

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Immigration

In the absence of any semblance of a heart, and having played their part in making the world a more dangerous place for everyone, especially those least able to defend themselves, our fine government resorts to ridiculous, over-the-top grandstanding.

I think I'm going to have to stop reading any press releases, before I explode with fury :@ The price of staying "informed" is too damn high. This is why I can't watch the news...

Monday, April 02, 2007

Sleepy horizons

While I waited in the lakeside shade for a work lunch to start (that's right, I'll use up precious holiday time for a free feed!), I enjoyed the third straight perfect Canberra day:


I even had this guy to keep me company...

After lunch I went for a stroll, indulging my love of bridges...

before embarking on the short bus ride home.

All that activity before it even hit 3pm, giving me license to veg in front of Newsradio Season 5 DVDs for a while, before I go for another walk.

Deforestation

Sure this sounds like a good idea, but as usual indicates the "big brother", condescending attitude which our government takes on all matters, including its dealing with the states.

"However, a common element of any incentives is that they will be provided only on the achievement of pre-agreed forest sustainability milestones (e.g. agreed reductions in national deforestation rates). Measurement of achievement of these milestones will be underpinned by the investment in the technology and systems to robustly monitor forest resources."

In other words: Do what we tell you, or you get nothing from us. And you better believe we'll be watching...

The idea is a very late implementation of an approach apparently discussed 2 years ago at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

As Wayne Swan says:

"it’s a strategy for the election. It’s not a strategy to combat climate change. That’s what it is. He only ever gets on board when there’s an election around the corner... He doesn’t believe in the science and he doesn’t understand the required policy responses. He’s just playing politics. It’s John Howard being a clever politician."

Speaking for myself, I want leadership not politics.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Vivacious luminosity

I just noticed a weird disparity. The Flickr photos I tend to favourite are usually filled with bright colour, while my own shots are almost universally bland. I don't know if this is some unconscious yearning to escape the bounds of my drab imagination ... or an incomprehensible coincidence ... or neither...

Reflected success

When I started my walking routine last March, I had no idea I'd actually stick with it. I'd tried, and failed, a number of times before. What was different this time? A number of things - the need to have something to report to Em each Friday, coming good on at least one of the many plans I'd reported to Liv, the fact that my weight was continuing to escalate - but really, let's be honest, it's really all thanks to graphs, and plenty of 'em!

As reported earlier, my graphing ended yesterday. But the walking has not! In fact, I walked twice today, even without the impetus of a climbing line. My thought is that I may even walk more now, because I won't have the numbers to fall back on as I craftily calculate just how slack I can be without going backwards. This is illustrated by the decline and then reinvigoration in the below:

The fact that I would be ending the charting bonanza meant I wanted to end on a high note, which I managed by beating Feb by a single walk. And I just noticed how much better I've been in the second half of the measurement period than I was in the first.

Since I know my loyal audience will miss the graphs even more than I will, I'd like to leave you with the most action you've ever seen (from me), ADAC 4.74:

Thanks for keeping me company on my graph-fuelled ride!