Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Let me tell you ...

... what doesn't help you recover from a bout of fatigue. Being woken up at 1am by my old friend "severe stomach pain". Sitting up eventually helped ease it (that's good), but I couldn't lie down again for another 5 hours (that's bad). I got to sleep immediately after that (that's good), but woke up an hour later when my stomach cried out for its regular breakfast feed (that's both good and bad).

Is the fun over? Time will tell...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Lazy updates

Considering I never even update my Facebook status (because my life is filled with routine and enjoyable solitude), it hardly seems sensible to make use of another micro-blogging avenue like Twitter. However, I've now done exactly that and only time will tell whether the updates flow more regularly into the sidebar of this blog as a result. It certainly requires less thought from me than the infrequent paragraphs about my health which have adorned the pages thus far, so maybe you'll find out a little more about the much less that I do with my time :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

November rain

In contrast to the positivity of my last post, the past couple of weeks have been a health struggle. A week after my hospital visit, the kidney stone pain came back and hung around for a week, until it finally passed. I got a whole 3 days of relief and health before embarking on 4 days of gastro, starting Thu last week, meaning this morning is the first time for a week that I've finally been able to eat normal food.

Hopefully that's my quota of new illnesses for the year and December will be more pleasant!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

How not to ...

... spend one's birthday.

I've had some sickly November 3rd's in the past, but this may be just my second where I spent the day in hospital (my first on my actual birth-day). I woke up to severe abdominal pain, distinct from the usual variants caused my GERD, and after trying all my usual remedies and only getting worse, headed in to Calvary for my 12-hour stay.

After tests, drips, morphine and lots of waiting, it luckily turned out to be no more than a kidney stone, which should take care of itself over the next few days. I somehow have to drink 5L of water each of the next few days, while also returning to my usual eating regime (after almost 24 hours with no food).

I'm pleased at how well my stomach has bounced back, even though a small bowl of cereal took me an hour to eat when I got home last night. Considering any digestive stability I have is the result of a finely-tuned eating schedule and prescription medication, messing with my routine often means a week or more of rebuilding my tolerance for food. Right now all I have is a nasty headache, and general fatigue, but have successfully eaten my normal breakfast.

It was also great to get home to many SMS and Facebook birthday wishes :) Here's to being 35!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


On Saturday I had an excellent time celebrating the wedding of Sid and Sarah. Since I don't generally post photos of people without a web presence, the evidence below is fairly lightweight...

The ceremony took place right by the Carillon:


Here I am enjoying the sun and my free balloon:

Me and my balloon

Between the wedding and reception, we all enjoyed a Hawks grand final win, Spuddy more than all of us:

Hawks supporter

Then, after much merriment, an entirely sober me was still smiling, long after my bedtime:

Almost midnight

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Music, listening to

I upgraded to iTunes 8 earlier in the week, and it has two main new features:

(1) A grid view to let you navigate albums and artists by the pretty cover art. If you happen to listen to your music whole albums at a time rather than via playlists, the new grid view will be perfect for you. For me, it just gets in the way.
(2) The "Genius" music suggester which can create an automatic playlist from your own library, based on a selected track, as well as give you options for music you might like to buy from the iTunes store. The accuracy I've seen so far isn't bad, but the last thing I really need is more options for parting with cash.

One other thing I had a look at was Songbird, an open source iTunes-alike. If you want more customisability, and don't have an established addiction to the iTunes/iPod combo, this could easily be the option for you. It's designed to allow easy music discovery (either free or for purchase), and you can replace the often-gappy album art of iTunes with access to Last.FM (and presumably other sources) instead. It grabs data from an existing iTunes library easily, and plays even iTunes-store-purchased music quite happily. It doesn't include podcasts or movies (by default anyway) but these may well be  available add-ons, which would mean it can do anything I already use iTunes for. It recognised my iPod, but I wasn't game to risk synching from it, since some of my content wasn't visible, and could easily have disappeared.
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New playthings?

It'd been a while since I last tried out a new flavour of social network, so I splurged on a handful of online aggregators today, looking for something which compared favourably with Facebook for pulling together my various activities across blogging, music, photo and bookmarking sites. Sadly, nothing really succeeded.

Out of the multitude of available options, I had an initial play with the following: FriendFeed, Mugshot, SecondBrain, Youmeo, and SocialURL.

Of these, FriendFeed was really the only one to come close to what I was looking for, delivering a seamless RSS feed from 7 of the sites I use. Normally that would only be useful for someone-not-me, since I'm the one putting the content there in the first place, so an update to the feed shouldn't really surprise me. However, FriendFeed allows you to define "imaginary" friends, by specifying their public pages (e.g. blogs, Flickr, LibraryThing) and it turns that all into one big combined feed. To be honest, that's not immediately useful, since I already subscribe to a host of individual feeds giving me the same info, but if my PC dies or I'm away from home it would make getting updates much easier.
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Friday, September 12, 2008


More Wii news:
  • I've had to adjust the Wii Fit exercises I was doing, as I've been suffering from a nasty aggravation of ankle tendonitis (something which was creeping upon me even pre-Wii). Easing off on some bits of yoga and hard stepping seems to be helping, and in the meantime my abs and back get the workout they sorely need.
  • I've successfully survived an entire week of self-imposed Zelda ban, after averaging more than 5 hours a day seemed a bit extreme. Will I return to my virtual adventuring soon? Time will tell.
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Getting rid of the bother

I recommend having your phone offline for a couple of weeks (replacing it with VOIP), as it seems (for now) that after years of multiple telemarketer calls every single day, I have had not one in 2 weeks. My phone number remains the same, the persistent "hello... hello... is anyone there..." no longer cluttering my answering machine is a welcome change.
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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wii madness

I overdid the Wii fitness somewhat on the weekend, so have toned it back a little to avoid killing myself with activity. However, I've swapped that craziness for a solid 20 hours of Zelda playing over the past few days. Always my favourite title on the SNES and N64, Zelda has exceeded even my high expectations. Due to my lameness at game playing, I've barely scratched the surface of the game, so I have weeks more of obsession to get through before any closure-disappointment looms :)
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Friday, August 22, 2008

Another DVD batch

The latest set of titles to be devoured by the insatiable, but reclining, laziness that is my life:

Eureka S2 (awesome), Birds Of Prey (Dina Meyer), Pretty In Pink (OK), Short Circuit (Ally Sheedy), Zathura (great), LXG (looked pretty), The Neverending Story (80's flashback), The Pretender S4 and telemovies (poetic justice aplenty), Mr Show S3 (patchy), Bones S1-2 (fantastic).
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Mii fit

On Wednesday I bought myself a Wii and associated Wii Fit, since the crappy weather (and my inability to get interested in either exercise bike riding or weights again) has interrupted my regular walking exercise. Plus I've reached my weight target of 86kg and so need an extra push of motivation to add a little fitness to my leaner frame.

I didn't really know what to expect, never even having tried out a Wii before, but I'm thoroughly impressed by its ease of use (although even a little golf managed to give my back a workout!) and I think it'll be money well spent as far as a continued drive to restoring my health. Amazingly, I even did a little jogging tonight, the first time I've moved faster than a speedy walk for 3.5 years (since I gave up basketball), and the jaunty Nintendo accompaniment made it entirely palatable.
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Semi-sans email

Not that my absence from here would be especially noteworthy, but in case you try to contact me in the next week or two, I'm running on dialup (at best) while my new ADSL account is setup. The advantage is that will then give me 80 times the speed of my old "broadband", free local/STD phone calls and no more Telstra dependency. And all for $15/month less than I currently pay!
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Aforementioned DVDs

Hmmm, that didn't take long... The list of DVDs I've ploughed through since I last wrote is extensive, so here's an indicative list:

Watched - The IT Crowd S1-2, Eureka S1, I Am Legend, Michael J. Fox's Spin City Favourites, Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs, Jericho S2, The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, Flight of the Conchords S1, The 4400 S4, Resident Evil Extinction, People Like Us S1-2, Sliders S4, Southland Tales

Re-watched - Angel S1-5, Arrested Development S1-3, My Name Is Earl S1-2, Newsradio S1-5, Back to the Future 1-3, the John Hughes collection, The Pretender S1-3, Mr Show S1-2

What I'm watching now - The Pretender S4, Mr Show S3, Red Dwarf S1

What I'll be watching as soon as they arrive (today?) - Eureka S2, Birds of Prey

If I was the type of person who rated things, I'd have to choose some kind of favourite... but I'm not, so I enjoyed every single minute of the watching :)
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OK, I'd be surprised if anyone's even bothering to check this blog any more, after my extended absence, but here goes with a return of sorts:

That "cold" I succumbed to last post turned out to entirely wreck my health for an extended period, my CFS flaring up as badly as it had for a decade. I am now mostly recovered due to:
  • many hours in bed over April and May,
  • a reduction in my work hours from 30 to 20 hours a week,
  • various relaxation strategies,
  • an even healthier eating regime,
  • the (intentional) loss of 10kg in 19 weeks.
So now I sit here in my transformed body, fairly content enjoying some "alone time" (which is admittedly a lot of DVD watching) and with little of interest to write :)

Will I continue to post, or am I over the public persona that is Bertie? Only time will tell...
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Monday, March 31, 2008

Some more walking

I've now hit 22 walks for the month, which'll have to do as my new record as my body's finally succumbed to a cold which has been mounting since last Thursday. But I'll still have the memories of a significant first step returning to exercise:


Dog scouts
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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A start

To commemorate the equaling of my all-time-monthly-walking record of 19 (with 5 days left to go), I thought I'd take a few snapshots of new areas (or different angles of old areas) along my extended marching path.

Bermuda triangle ahead

Bridge's end

Tangled light

If you like those, there are plenty more here.
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Monday, March 24, 2008

Where it's at

So what has my first week of holiday contained? Walking (as promised), DVD watching (as expected), drawing (as hoped) and lots of "me time". My energy levels remain low, and I can't seem to establish a sleeping routine that actually works, but this getting healthy business is a long-term project, so I'm not disillusioned just yet. Especially since I've already lost my first kilo.

For those wanting a bit more info on what I've been watching:

Quantum Leap - the final season
The Expurgated Micallef Tonight
The Bourne Ultimatum
Extras - The Christmas Special
The Dresden Files
National Treasure
Battlestar Galactica: Razor
Star Trek Insurrection
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
SNL - Best of David Spade

Hmmm, when I write it up like that, I'm surprised I've had time for anything else!
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Saturday, March 08, 2008


In one more week (3 actual work days), I'll be embarking on 7 weeks of leave from work, with my singular goal being to rebuild my health, and regain some semblance of living. For the past couple of months, it's been all I can do to get out of bed, and eating has been far from pain-free. I've had just enough in me to drag myself through work days (which is frustrating, because I really love my job) and then collapse back to the horizontal.

So where is this magic goal of health going to come from? On doctor's orders, I have a reasonable expectation that if I cut out almost all processed food (mostly 'cause of the sodium) and lose at least 4 (and up to 9) kilos, both my nausea and my fatigue will be minimised (I'm well past believing in a cure). Sadly, that seems all too much like common sense for good general health anyway, so I have no excuse but to follow instructions!

Cue a committed return to walking, weights, cycling and stretches... next week...
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Saturday, January 05, 2008

More movies

Another batch of watched DVDs to report on...

Day Watch
The follow-up to Night Watch, sensibly enough! Not as good as the first, but still an interesting journey through a stylish fantasy world, with a uniquely Russian flavour. The effects are great, and trying to work out what exactly is going on kept me watching.

One word: Spectacle. Josh Lucas and Kurt Russell are excellent co-leaders, and the supporting cast was also successful in making me care enough about them to not want them to die (with one exception, watch and see if you can guess who annoyed me). Especially good was seeing Mia Maestro in a non-Alias role.

Bender's Big Score
The long-awaited first of three straight to DVD Futurama movies, this is an excellent addition to the 4 series I've rewatched so many times. 90 minutes of mind-bending time travel, in-jokes aplenty, nude aliens and Fry's butt. For the truly nerdy (i.e. me) there's even a video lecture on the maths of Futurama.

10 Things I Hate About You
I'd only seen this once (or maybe twice) before, but after my latest viewing I'm surprised this hasn't been one of my fallbacks for more frequent viewing. Lots and lots of laughs, relationships you can root for and a happy ending. Hurrah!

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