Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wiley verdantistic

So, where have I been the past week? As this graph shows, I've been walking:

One walk short of my best, thanks to 10 walks in the past 10 days. I won't be bridging the gap tonight, as I'll be enjoying B's dinnertime company (way higher priority), but it's twice the effort I put in last month, so I'm really pleased.

When I haven't been walking, I've been continuing to enjoy my work, reading, watching lots of Simpsons episodes and Secret Agent Man, and talking/writing/IMing with friends. I couldn't have asked for a better start to 2007!

Now I just have to avoid the consistent drop-off in effort which my delightful walking graph clearly shows. Don't need a stats degree to see a pattern there...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Cranial maelstrom

These random post titles are using up my good SSS words...

I've been feeling amazingly energised the past week or so. Waking up somewhere between 6 and 6.30, after having had a solid 5 or 6 hours sleep, getting into work early on the relevant days and churning through lots of work. Every day seems to be better than the last right now with my team and our projects, and while there are still plenty of frustrations for someone as impatient as me, I actually feel in control of removing obstacles to getting things done, rather than a passive victim of circumstance.

None of which makes very compelling reading I'm sure, and I'll spare you the details of what feels exciting to me in a work context, but it hopefully explains why I dared to leave a 2 day gap between posts :)

I've just been in an almost unflagging good mood for a whole week, and I'd forgotten how amazing a feeling that is. Being able to carry it across into all the conversations I have and the work that I've been doing is something even rarer. I hardly remember even complaining about anything (well, except for the heat...) but that may just be a figment of my overly positive imagination. Me, not complain?!? Inconceivable!

(I'm taking a huge risk being so cheery on this blog, it usually signals a horrible health collapse of some kind. So you all better squeeze some positive vibes out of it for yourself, while they last!).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tenacious gargantuan

OK, I know there were no charts for December, and there will never be, as they were extremely lame, including my second worst walking month ever. So, instead, I'm going to dazzle you with impressive stats :)

Exciting stat #1: 70 - the (approximate) number of kilometres I've walked per month since starting to count back in March (not including all the shorter walks I've done). This makes for a total of 730km so far!

Exciting stat #2: My ADAC for this month is running at 4.5, more than double what I've managed in previous months!

See how exclamation makes the numbers seem more compelling!!!

Monday, January 15, 2007

The beaten path

I was provided more proof of my brain's tendency to get in my way over the last few days, along with evidence that I can ignore it when I need to.

Saturday evening rolled around, my usual walking time, feeling really sore, decided I wouldn't bother going for a walk. Before I knew it, I was 15 minutes into my walk, and thoroughly enjoying it. Sunday, same story, and once again I was magically walking, all thanks to the positive habit developed over the past year, where it is now genuinely easier to walk than to not walk.

I'm starting to believe this action thing might actually stick!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I done a pikcha!

What does that mean?

Dichotomous frenzy

Any day is already totally awesome when I've hung out with Em, Liv and K before it's even noon. So getting home from Civic and knowing that I have a whole afternoon to enjoy new comics, read one of the pile of unread books sitting in front of my CDs, or just veg in front of a DVD makes for a great start to the weekend.

I don't often do the kuka gratefulness thing, because it'd get a bit dull for everyone when I constantly said how lucky I am to have family and friends who always accept me for who I am, are patient with me when I complain endlessly about anything I can find, and who help me along my path to self-betterment without ever judging my many failures, or telling me what to do. Be assured that, despite my rarely demonstrating my gratitude (yeah sure, that's the word I should have used above), I never take any of you (and you know who you are) for granted.

Anyway, as I said, that would be dull, so you won't hear me thanking all those people who bring joy into my life :) Well, not after this anyway, since you'll all just get a big head!

Disclaimer: May continue to thank people...

Dissonant connection

Recently, I've been focusing very hard on changing a long-term habit of mine from defaulting to "No" rather than "Yes" when invited somewhere, or when I have an idea, or make tentative plans to act on something. I'm extremely good at talking myself out of things. Now on the good side, that makes me almost immune to peer pressure, but peers (particularly mine) are frequently sources of positive pressure too, which I'm also resistant to, which isn't so good after all :) I can easily list (or invent) many, many reasons not to do even clearly beneficial, fun things. Which means that in order to break my habit I have to overpower the part of my thinking that jumps in with a "No", forcing it to become a "Yes" until that becomes my new standard.

I was expecting this to be much harder than it has been (although it hasn't been completely trivial) and I wondered (as I like to do) ... why? Today I found my answer! I think this whole default to "No" when taking actions is an outlier in the rest of my thinking, and that in every other aspect of my life it's the reverse.

For example:
When I listen to a new bit of music, or watch a new movie, or read a book, I always go into the experience expecting I will enjoy it. That's why my reviews are always so "soft". Any of these artforms have to go out of their way to piss me off, before I will even consider not liking them. Exactly the same applies when I deal with people. While I'm not good at initiating any kind of relationship, and am basically an awkward dork around anyone I don't know (and many I do!), I hold a strong belief in the goodness of others, that everyone has good in them. There are, of course, people who challenge that belief by their actions, although no one I know personally (but I'm sure you can guess which political figures fit into this basket!).

So maybe living as the positive person I (on my good days) believe myself to be, is no harder than treating the remaining parts of my life, which I pass judgment on before the fact, overthinking religiously, as if they're no different to putting on a DVD, something I rarely analyse too deeply. Hurrah!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Jiminy jillikers

Here's a snippet of something I said in a conversation on Tuesday - "blahdyblah mild summer blahdyblah sleeping well blahdyblah haven't even needed my fan to keep cool".

If ever there was a way to bring on 38 degree temperatures, that kind of self-deceiving stupidity is it!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

[Book] The End of Science

Today I finished reading The End Of Science (Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age) and, even though it was written 10 years ago, it makes points which are still worth pondering.

Basically, the author posits (through numerous interviews with well known scientists) that most of the big science is already sorted out, and all that remains for today's scientists is application and fine-tuning within the frameworks laid out by such grand theories as Darwin's evolution, Einstein's general relativity, quantum mechanics, etc. He also states that a Theory of Everything simply isn't going to be found (not in any objectively measurable form anyway). Here's some more detail, in the author's own words.

That sounds pretty negative and, if it's true and if you're planning on being the next Einstein, it probably is. I must admit that it doesn't bug me too much, as computer science doesn't impact my daily life anywhere near as much as managing people. The complexity of software and hardware (or any of the physics and mathematics underlying them) is rarely the limiting factor in my work. Computers today still follow the same basic principles defined by Alan Turing back in 1936. There are plenty of people with far deeper knowledge and interest in computing theory than me, who continue to seek improvements to make computers more useful, but until that happens it's my job to use existing technology to help with real business problems.

More generally, there are plenty of unsolved societal problems which improvements in applied science can undoubtedly aid with, so there's no need for anyone who loves science, in any of its forms, to slip into a metaphysical funk :)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Gundaroo Jack

"Revelation" #1
The more action I take, the better I feel. I set a new action PB of 6 on Sunday, to be quickly topped by a 7 yesterday (leading to an ADAC so far in January of 4.0). Skype chats, writing letters, lunch with my only Canberra-based ABS friend, plus a return to a stretching regime all add up to a really positive vibe :)

"Revelation" #2
Buying good quality shoes translates to even more enjoyable walking. This evening I christened my new foot-holders and they're awesome! In fact I feel like going for another walk right now, even though I just got home! Go for it Bertie, walk again! ... Nah, I'm going to watch the 20/20 game instead...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Ready to walk

Here's a picture of my fancy-schmancy new walking shoes (I only just noticed the orange flavour... they were obviously calling me!):

and here's the reason I needed new shoes:

That hole goes all the way through to my foot, and is repeated on the other sneaker too. My $15 pair lasted me over 100 walks, let's see what $80 of Nike does for me :)

Sunday, January 07, 2007


If you've ever wanted to see all my graphs collected together, or confirm how soft I am in every movie review, you can now use the handy new label feature.

Right now, you can check out everything tagged as 'action', 'tv', 'movie' or 'music'.

[DVD] Superman Returns

On the cutting edge of entertainment, as always, I finally got around to watching the continuation of the Superman movie saga...

And it was excellent! Brandon Routh was perfectly cast, and managed the duality of the Clark Kent/Superman roles really well. There were a few moments of inconsistency with Lois Lane, but through the script, rather than Kate Bosworth's performance. James Marsden was strong in his role as the third vertex of a love triangle. And you can't go wrong with Kevin Spacey and Parker Posey, as they balanced the comedic and dramatic needs of their characters perfectly.

I'd read that the movie was low on action, but I thought it had just the right balance between character and full-on spectacle.

A worthy addition to the Superman canon. (Plus, with 3 hours of making-of on the DVD, you're left in no doubt how it all came together).

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Obnoxious permanence

As kuka points out, it didn't take me long to fall off the wagon of non-postage. I got too caught up in my "Earl" watching, and then reading The End of Science, as well as going for my first walk of the year (not getting home from that till almost 9, since I had to wait for the heat to ease off).

I don't actually want to be the master of mediocrity, so I'm going to display what little common sense I might have in only posting when it feels pointmore to me. It shouldn't all be about the stats :)

Most of my thoughts the past week have been work driven, and I'm not sure yet how much I want to post about that. Screen caps of budget spreadsheets don't necessarily enhance the excitement factor of my writing... or maybe they do... in which case this is even more dull than I thought...

Happy now B?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Delicious subsidy

Ah, sleep, how sweet it tastes! I finally managed to grab enough zzz's to help me power through a busy work day and a bus ride to my family's place, before finally succumbing to an almost-nap (watching the cricket can do that to a person).

I'm really pumped about some of the stuff happening at work right now, although I have to avoid getting too excited, since that leads to insomnia for me just as surely as stress. It's all about balance and moderation (and Bertie Mabootoo!).

The cynical among you will note this is a post purely to extend my streak to 6 straight days ;) That might even be a personal best already! Quantity over quality! The battle for mediocrity is mine!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Indelible legacy

I've finally given up on meaningful titles (at least for now)...

Had a great time at dinner last night, catching up with Liv, J, Shaq and The Darwin Two (confidentialising names can make for an interesting sounding group :) Enjoyed a tasty Aloo palak at the Taste of India, then a so-so decaf soy capuccino (the second wankiest drink I've ever ordered, not quite matching the blended soy ice mocha) at Cafe Essen.

When I got home at midnight, I was stunned, thinking it was maybe 10.30 and never once having checked the time. Being with friends totally overcame my tiredness and for 5 wonderful hours I was largely ache free and my brain actually functioned a little conversationally.

I've found out I won't be getting a new housemate yet after all, the prospect found a better location yesterday, but I've done the soul searching necessary to realise that I'm kinda ready to share my house again. Or maybe I'm just sick of buying my own DVDs...

This is exactly the kind of blog post derided in conversations at dinner last night :) Am I worried about alienating my devoted readers with bland tellings of the events in my life? I can't afford to worry about that, it's all I've got!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Really, I'm only writing this to help me stay awake long enough to go out again, on a bus ride to Civic. But I do have some stuff to say:
  1. I've been awake since 4am, less than 4 hours after getting to sleep, and still survived my first day back at work for 2007.

  2. I may have a housemate again for the first time in over 12 months, without even having to advertise.

  3. I'm going to dinner tonight with a group of friends (none of whom I've seen since 2006!) once again requiring no organising effort on my part.

  4. I hurt all over because of my fatigue, but my stomach is behaving, and so I'm happy.
How much longer can I maintain my post-a-day habit? Suspense abounds...

Monday, January 01, 2007

Ah summer!

I hope the rain is helping someone, because it's certainly playing havoc with my walking plans! Any climate change doubters still left might possibly be convinced by the fact that Canberra now has afternoon storms more fitting for the tropics... (although thankfully without the heat).